Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: August 20,  2018
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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2018 
For questions about U.S. Residency, Green Cards and Immigration Visas, Visit our Website at: or  call our office at: (954) 382-5378
Questions & Answers
This Week's Immigration News 
By Immigration Attorney Caroly Pedersen
Question: My question is about my son. My daughter is a us citizen and filed for me back in 2012 and I came up and got my green card in 2013 and filed for my 24 years old son in the Bahamas in 2014. He is single and just graduated from college so I am wondering if he can come up with his visitor visa and live here with me and work while we are waiting for a green card for him. My case only took a year and I was inside the us the whole time, so I don’t see why his case is taking so long. How much longer do we have to wait for his final immigration papers and how will his process go from here? Thanks.
Answer: As the adult single child of a U.S. resident, your son is in the F1 Family immigration category, which has a waiting line of about 7 years or more. Since you filed the I-130 family petition for him in 2014, four years ago, he has another three or so years to wait. Immigration regulations do not allow family members being sponsored to live or work in the U.S. until they receive Residency, or unless they are in the U.S. legally in some other legal status like H-1B for professional workers, or come as a students on the F-1 visa, etc. If a family member comes to the U.S. and overstays, they become ineligible to be able to receive a Green Card in the U.S.. So if he does come and visit, he should not remain in the U.S., so he will continue to qualify to immigrate later on when the time comes. Your son’s case is lengthy because he is in a different immigration category than you. As the parent of a U.S. Citizen, you were an “Immediate Relative”, which has no waiting line, so you were able to immigrate quickly.

For your son’s case, once the I-130 case you filed for him is approved, the USCIS forwards the file to the National Visa Center (NVC) to hold, until the time in the future when an Immigrant visa is available in the F1 category. At that time, the NVC will pull the file off the shelf and start processing the case for the U.S. Consulate in Nassau where he will have his interview. From the time that a visa becomes available, depending upon how long it takes you and your son to provide the NVC with the required financial and other documentation, it can take 2-3 months before the file is finally sent to the U.S. Consulate for his Immigrant Visa interview to be scheduled. He will receive instructions to have a medical exam done and a list of original documents to bring to his interview. Once he attends the interview and is approved, he must pay the immigrant processing fees online and enter the U.S. to receive his U.S. Residency. That is an overview of the entire process in a “nutshell”. 
Widespread Reports Of Immigrant Arrests 
At Residency Interviews Continue
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
Immigration How To:
How Do I  File For Late Selective Service Registration?
 Make A USCIS e-Request For Pending Cases 
Outside of Posted Processing Times
As part of the regular immigration process, depending upon the type of case, once filed, processing time can take many years to process. However, there are processing time ranges and cases which continue to process without receiving a final decision after the posted processing date, are eligible for inquiry. After checking the regular processing times on the USCIS Website, Applicants can make an electronic e-Request for information using an electronic inquiry form on the USCIS Website. In order to make an inquiry, you will need to have the case number, form type, filing date, zip code on file and other information. It can take up to 30 days or more to receive a response.
​Late Selective Service Registration And Naturalization Eligibility 
Men who live in the U.S. or who get a green card at any time between the ages of 18 and 25, are required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, to be called up in a military draft if ever needed. Those exempt include men between 18 and 25 who were only here in a nonimmigrant visa status, like tourists, students, etc. Strangely, undocumented or illegal aliens are required to register. The issue of Selective Service Registration generally comes up for Immigrants who apply for Naturalization and are required to list their Selective Service Registration information. 
Reminder To New U.S. Citizens –Register To Vote Before the Deadline!
Tips On Eligibility Requirements for Naturalization
It becomes clearer every day, this year’s election in November is critical for immigrants and our nation as a whole. And while it’s not a Presidential election, which usually brings many out to vote, this time it’s just as important, as the outcome of this Mid-term election will have far reaching effects on immigrants and Americans alike, in all areas of our lives for many years to come. 

If Democrats succeed in taking over the House of Representatives or even the Senate, this nightmare of a presidency will take a more positive turn, as Democrats exercise their power to put a “check” on Trump’s autocratic power and provide more safeguards for immigrants and our democracy.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to know basic requirements for filing any immigration application, particularly for Naturalization to become a U.S. Citizen. Generally, in order to qualify, a U.S. resident must be at least eighteen years of age, have physically resided in the U.S. for the requisite period of time, have “good moral character”, be able to read and write and be proficient enough in English in order to answer the USCIS officer’s questions about the Naturalization application, U.S. history and civics (with few exceptions).

But in some cases, applying for naturalization is not as simple as just filling out the form and sending it in, since now days, filing any application with the USCIS carries risk, especially for those with certain problem issues. 
As part of Trump’s escalating enforcement measures targeting immigrants for deportation, reports continue that ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents are routinely arresting immigrants who have past deportation orders or criminal convictions at their scheduled residency interviews, even when “waiver” requests have been filed. 

Apparently, local USCIS offices are coordinating with ICE to schedule interviews for “targeted” immigrants so that arrests can be made during the interview. As has been reported, immigrants in marriage and family sponsored cases appearing for what they think is a routine residency interview, are interviewed by the USCIS officer, then ICE agents take the immigrant into custody. 
The American Civil Liberties Union has now taken the lead in suing the USCIS and ICE for conspiring to “trap” unsuspecting immigrants by inviting them to these interviews only for the purpose of having ICE to arrest them there. As a result, immigrants with prior deportation order of any kind and those with pending criminal actions or convictions should seek legal assistance from an immigration attorney before filing any residency and especially before appearing at a scheduled residency interview.

Washington Post
So remember, that after all the procedures you had to go through to become a new U.S. Citizen, your process is not complete until you register to vote! Most states have voter registration deadlines. In Florida, a Citizen must register to vote at least 29 days before an election. This year’s General Election is Tuesday, November 6, 2018, so the deadline to register is October 9, 2018. The deadline for the Primary Election (when the candidates from both parties are chosen) already passed on July 30, 2018.

In order to register to vote in Florida, you must be a U.S. Citizen at least 18 years of age, residing in Florida and must provide your current, valid Florida driver’s license or identification number or your Social Security Number. It’s worth noting that non-citizens who register to vote, risk being denied U.S. Citizenship. Occasionally, an Immigrant is mistakenly put on the voter registration list or mistakenly registers as part of the Driver’s License or other governmental application process. The Immigrant usually finds out that he or she is showing up in the voter registration records when they receive a notice to serve on “Jury Duty”, which is reserved only for Citizens. In such cases, Immigrants should immediately notify the voter registration office to remove them from the rolls and get some written notice confirming the removal. Otherwise, if a U.S. Resident’s name shows up on the voter registration rolls during the naturalization process, not only can Citizenship be denied, but the Resident may also risk losing their residency status as well. 

Voter Registration Deadlines by State
Florida Voter Registration Application
Increased scrutiny by the USCIS amid the current anti-immigrant atmosphere has resulted in far more denials over the past year than in previous periods. In many cases, the worst case scenario is simply denial and the loss of $725 filing fee, however in others, the result can be much more ominous, including deportation.

One of the most common reasons for denial of naturalization is failure to meet the physical presence requirements. Residents who stay outside the U.S. for extended periods of time often believe that they have accumulated the required number of days to prove “physical presence” inside the U.S., only to find out at their naturalization interview that trips of six months or more outside the U.S. breaks the “physical presence” requirement and the new period of five or three years begins the day they return from that trip. There are exceptions when a resident can prove that even though they were outside the U.S. for 180 or more but less than a year, they still continued to maintain residency in the U.S. by showing extensive documentation that they were maintaining a household, utilities, car, insurance, filing taxes, etc, but it’s a very tough case to win. Re-entry permits allow residents to remain outside the U.S. for up to two years, but do not preserve “physical presence”, so none of the time accumulated prior to a trip of 180 days or more can be counted towards the naturalization requirement. There are a very few exemptions to the rule, which include military service, religious workers, members of the media, and some residents, including government workers are able to meet the requirement by filing form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes.

Another common reason for denial is for failure to prove the payment of child support for minor children both in the U.S. and abroad during the preceding five years. In most cases, a letter from the child’s mother that child support has been paid will not suffice, without additional documentation like Western Union and other money transfer receipts.

Other reasons include failure to pay taxes, which in many cases can be easily overcome with evidence of a valid payment plan with the IRS and proof of ongoing monthly installment payments. Often, however, residents do not understand the requirement and are only denied simply because they failed to provide the officer with sufficient evidence to prove tax payments. Failure to register for Selective service can also result in a denial, if the failure to do so is not adequately explained, since all males between ages of 18 and 25 are required to register, including residents, asylees, refugees, parolees and even undocumented immigrants. Those who failed to register without good cause must wait until age 31 to re-apply.

Failing the English and/or Civics Tests is also a common reason for denial. Applicants who are not fluent in English often memorize the questions and answers, but are unable to communicate with the officer about simple questions on the naturalization application. Those who fail the initial test are rescheduled for a second test within about 60-90 days. There are exceptions to the English portion of the test for those age 50 and above who have been a resident for at least 20 years, those age 55 or above with residency of 15 years or more and those who have a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment (and request a N-648 waiver). However, waivers are very difficult to obtain and most are denied. Qualifying cases are generally those where an applicant has been diagnosed with and undergone long standing treatments for dementia or some other disability for several years prior to applying for naturalization.

More serious issues which can result not only in denial, but further action against a resident involve criminal convictions, registering to vote (even unknowingly), obtaining certain public benefits, fraudulently obtaining residency (through fake marriage) or through employment, when the resident failed to work for the U.S. employer after receiving residency.

As a safeguard, residents are well advised to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to assess any problem issues, BEFORE filing for naturalization. This helps ensure that any problem issues which can be cured, are handled prior to filing for naturalization. And in some cases, residents are legally advised not to file in order to avoid serious consequences which could result in revocation of residency and likely deportation.
Question: I have a question about my fiancé’s case. We have been dating for 8 years and even have a child together, but we didn’t get married because his dad in new York is a citizen and sponsored him, so he had to stay single. He finished the process and just went to America in june and got his green card last week. So we want to know how long we have to wait to get married so he can file for me and our 3 years old son. I don’t have a visa, but we heard there is a fiancé visa that maybe he can file so I can go there and we can get married, then he can file our paperwork, it that true? Will that let us come there are stay while waiting for our green cards? Can you help us get that visa?
Answer: USCIS regulations are very different for Spouses and Children of U.S. Citizens compared with U.S. Residents. U.S. Citizens can sponsor their spouse and children (referred to as “Immediate Relatives”) while they are in the U.S. and they can file to adjust their status to U.S. Residency immediately, without the need maintaining immigration status. 

However, the law is very different for spouses and children of U.S. Residents, since they must wait until there is an Immigrant Visa available in order to obtain U.S. Residency. Currently, it can take up to two years for a visa to be available once the family petition is filed. In such cases, spouses and children of U.S. Residents who are the beneficiaries of a family petition cannot come and wait inside the U.S. unless they have another legal visa status. Spouses of residents who fail to maintain legal status in the U.S. are not eligible to obtain a Green Card inside the U.S. until the sponsoring U.S. Resident becomes a U.S. Citizen. 

Unfortunately, only U.S. Citizens can bring fiancées to the U.S.. The good news is that there is no waiting time for your fiancée to marry you, so once you are married, we can immediately file the spousal petition on your behalf to get your immigration case in process.

Click Here to Visit the USCIS e-Request Webpage 
And since failing to register for Selective Service can result in Naturalization denial for failure to show good moral character, it’s a very important issue for those to whom it applies.

For some, it’s not too late to register: Men preparing to apply for Naturalization (U.S. Citizenship) who failed to register for the Selective Service in the past, but who are not yet age 26, can still register online. However, those who have passed age 26, are not eligible to register and must face the potentially negative immigration consequences of passing the required registration date. For those who failed to register, the easiest thing to do may be to wait until you are age 31 to apply for Naturalization so you have five years of good moral character or 29 years of age to show three years of good moral character (if you have been married to and living with a U.S. citizen).

If you don’t want to wait, you will need to prove to the officer that you did not know you were supposed to register and that you didn’t “willfully” fail to register. 

To do this, you can submit the following along with your naturalization application: 

1)  Status Information Letter from the Selective Service System (obtained from the Selective Service System website or by calling 847-688-6888.) 

 2) your sworn declaration, and sworn declarations from people who knew you, attesting to the reasons why you failed to learn about and did not know about the requirement to register or believed you were automatically registered.