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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2020 
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
  Immigration News & Updates              
Immigration How To:
How Do I  Prove That I Paid My Child Support When I File For Naturalization?
Questions About Immigration? We have the answers!
We Are Here To Help, Call us now for a FREE consultation (954) 382-5378
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...
Question: I am just graduating from the university here in Florida and me and my longtime boyfriend, now fiancé plan to get married later this year. But since we heard the immigration admission fees are going up soon, we have been talking about getting married and filing earlier in September instead of in October when it will cost us a lot more money. My question is about whether it will be a problem if we get married at the courthouse instead of a ceremony? We had planned our wedding in October when my parents would be here visiting. We are afraid it will hurt my case if we don’t do the family wedding before we apply for my immigration papers, is that true?
Form I-765 is used to apply for work authorization, formally called an “employment authorization document” or work permit. The request for a work permit can be made when an individual is in an immigration category which permits employment, for instance, when an immigrant files for adjustment of status (form I-485), Asylum, TPS or as the spouse of an E or L visa holder, etc. 

The Department of Homeland Security recently modified rules which impact the data required on the I-765 form, including those for asylum applicants and the form has been updated.
News Flash – Don’t Get Rejected! 
New Work Permit Application Form Required

                  LAW CENTERS

Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
  POSTING DATE: August 24, 2020
Answer: No, not true. Most couples, including immigrants get married at the courthouse these days, even if they plan to have a ceremony in church or another venue later. It is a wise decision to move your wedding date up, since USCIS filing fees for residency will go up from $1,760 to $2,750 at the beginning of October, so you can save nearly a thousand dollars to use for your wedding ceremony later! In marriage immigration cases, the legitimacy of a marriage is always an issue, however if you follow my advice and take steps to establish marital documentation together after you are married to present to the officer at your interview, the fact that you got married at the courthouse will not have any relevance at all. 
USCIS Currently Not Requiring Public Charge Form, Despite Recent Court Win 
Following a recent court decision on August 12th, which allows the Trump administration to apply the Public Charge Rule nationwide, (except in the states of Connecticut, New York, and Vermont), the USCIS has remained silent about re-implementation of the Public Charge Rule. 

This means that immigrants filing for adjustment of status are not currently required to file the I-944 Public Charge form along with form I-485, until further notice. However, this could change at any moment, so immigrants filing for adjustment should make sure to check the USCIS website before filing applications. 
Failure to provide proof of child support payments is one of the most common reasons that Naturalization applications are denied every day. This often happens even when a parent has actually paid child support, but simply fails to provide evidence of payments. 

Generally, Residents must show that they have “Good Moral Character” in order to be eligible for U.S. Citizenship. This covers the preceding five year period prior to applying for Naturalization for most Residents, and three years for those eligible to apply for early Naturalization through marriage to a U.S. Citizen. 
Hurricanes Are Stirring In The Atlantic And Gulf of Mexico, 
Are Your Immigration Documents Safe?
Hurricane season is very active this year, with several storms already forming in the Gulf which could become hurricanes in the coming week, threatening Florida, Louisiana and Texas. And even though South Florida is not in the direct line for a hit this time, we still have several more months of the season to go. 

So now is a good time to think about your Immigration documents, including your green card, Naturalization Certificate, USCIS notices and copies of immigration applications, in order to properly safeguard them to prevent potential loss due to storms, hurricanes and water damage. 

Here’s a few tips: 
Question: I got my work permit last November in 2019 and then my residency appointment notice in March 2020, which got cancelled because of the virus. Since then I have not heard nothing from immigration and now my work permit will expire soon. I don’t know what I am supposed to do. I called immigration and the lady just told me I have to wait and she could not even tell me any information about when I might get another appointment. Can you please tell me what I need to do about the work permit in case time keeps passing and I don’t get the new appointment?
Answer: Yes, thousands of immigrants like you are still waiting for residency interviews to be rescheduled. The good news is that once a renewal of your work permit is filed, you are allowed to legally work for 180 days past the expiration date. The actual receipt you receive from the USCIS is all the evidence you need for the automatic extension. This applies to your authorization to work and obtain a driver’s license renewal as well, if you need it. The actual work permit approval, however, may take six months or more, but hopefully you will have your rescheduled residency interview and green card long before that.
Question: My wife and I have a disagreement. I have my residency since 2017 through marriage and we just moved here from California. I have back problems and I got a medical card from a doctor in san Francisco and have used legal marijuana for a few years. It really works for me and I want to apply for one here in florida. But my wife says I cant that its not legal and I could get into trouble. I find that hard to believe since I did it legally in California and didn’t get in any trouble. Can you please tell me something in writing so I can show to her and she can stop worrying, thanks.
Answer: Well, I hate to disappoint you, but your wife is correct! Even in states which have laws that allow legal marijuana use for medical or recreational purposes, its federally illegal for non-citizens to partake. I know it does not seem fair, but federal drug law supersedes state regulations, particularly when it comes to immigration. Its not so much that you will have a problem getting a prescription, but if you come into contact with immigration authorities for any reason and marijuana shows up in your system, it can cause problems for you. The best approach is for you to hold off on using any more marijuana for a while and then apply for early naturalization once you have been a conditional resident for at least two years and nine months. Once you are a citizen you can once again partake in legal marijuana without worries about your immigration status. 
You Can Print Out Your I-94 Online and Get Your Five Year U.S. Travel History

Since 2013, visitors to the U.S. have no longer had to receive an I-94 card upon entry, which is necessary to change or extend status in the U.S. when making an application with the USCIS. Instead, they may get a stamp in their passport and information about printing the I-94 out online. To access and download an I-94 card and view past travel history, visitors can access the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Website which gives Non-immigrant foreign nationals travelers access to printout their I-94 record, as well as a U.S. travel history going back five years from the request date.
For a quick background, on February 24, 2020 a new Public Charge Rule went into effect, which required form I-944 to be filed by most immigrants filing for adjustment of status. The new rule gave government officials wide discretion to deny residency to immigrants who they believe are likely to obtain public assistance in the future, by a set of criteria which factors in the age, health, education, English proficiency and financial resources of each applicant. Lawsuits were filed against the government and on July 29th, a Federal court forced the agency to stop applying the rule during the pandemic. The administration appealed and on August 12th, a higher federal court reversed the decision, allowing Trump to apply the rule nationally, except in a few states. Many expected the USCIS to issue an announcement requiring that form I-944 be filed with all adjustment of status applications. Yet to date, no such notice has been released, and the USCIS website simply refers to the earlier July 29th Federal court decision and states that form I-944 is not required to be filed. Stay tuned…. 

Read the USCIS directive about form I-944 
1) Copy and Scan Documents: Be sure that you always make a copy of the entire immigration petition and supporting documentation BEFORE sending to the USCIS and make copies of all receipts, notices and correspondence to and from the USCIS as well. 

2) Make copies of Birth, Marriage & Citizenship Certificates, Divorce Decrees, Green Cards, Passports, I-94 cards, Driver’s License, home and car insurance, car registration, healthcare cards, mortgage statements and other important papers.  

3) Upload Documents To Free “cloud”: If you have a scanner, scan all your documents and save them on an online “cloud” like, its absolutely free! If you don’t have a scanner, you can download a program called “Tiny Scanner” to your phone which will use your phone camara to scan your documents. If that is not possible, as a last resort, be sure to take clear pictures of your documents using your cell phone. Each document should be a single photo. 

4) Original Documents: Originals should be kept safely together in a file and enclosed in a zip-lock bag or other waterproof container or safety deposit box at your local bank. 

5) Document Copies: Copies of all your documents should also be placed in a zip lock bag and should be easily accessible. 

Visitors to the Website must enter their name, date of birth, and passport information. To access the current I-94 record, click on “Get Most Recent I-94”. The record can then be printed out and used for all required immigration-related purposes. To access U.S. travel history for the past five years, click on “Get Travel History” and print out the report. 

Visit the new CBP Website

One of the main Citizenship requirements for a parent who does not live with his or her minor children, is demonstrating payment of support for all children whether in the U.S. or outside, until the age of 18, for the past five years. This is required whether or not there is a Court Order for child support payments. The standard is that if you are a parent and do not live with your minor children, you still have the moral responsibility to support them, even if the custodial parent does not require you to do so. This corresponds with Question 30 H of the Naturalization application asks “Have you EVER Failed to support your dependents of to pay alimony. Even when a Resident ticks off “No”, if the application lists minor children living at any address other than that of the applicant, the USCIS will generally ask for proof of child support payments for all children under the age of 23 at the time of filing the application, since you only need to prove Good Moral Character for the past five years, and payments for children up until they turned age 18. For example, if you apply for Naturalization and you have children ages 17, 19 and 24, you would need to provide evidence that you paid child support for the 17 year old for the past five years and the 19 year old for four years until the child turned age 18. No proof would be required for the 24 year old. 

Naturalization applicants, who do not provide adequate proof of child support payments at their interview, later receive a USCIS notice from the officer, requesting that the additional documentation be provided. This is often a total shock to many applicants, who were not aware of the requirement to provide proof, believing that since there is no child support order from the court, they are not required to show payments. Many applicants fail to provide any or all the documents requested, which usually results in denial of the case and loss of the USCIS filing fee. 

In Florida, the simplest case to prove is one in which there is a court order for child support and the applicant makes the payments through the Florida Department of Revenue. This way, there is a record of every child support payment and the applicant can get a printout showing of all support payments and provide that, along with a certified court order for child support. Those who are in arrears and are not current on child support payments, should wait until they are caught up before filing for Naturalization. Other proof includes copies of wage garnishment deductions from paychecks, cancelled checks or other proof of monthly payments.

It gets a little tricky, however, for applicants who don’t have a court order from the U.S. or other country and don’t make formal payments through a government system. In such cases, applicants should provide proof of payments for the required period, through Cancelled checks, Money Order receipts, Western Union (or other money transfers) receipts or transcripts (a history of payments by wire transfer can be ordered from western union and other companies for up to five years or more) and a notarized letter from the custodial parent that all child support has been paid and is up to date, along with a copy of their proof of identity, like driver’s license, passport biographic page, etc.

Residents who plan to file for Naturalization in the coming years, who are not currently making formal child support payments should begin to do so immediately. For those without court orders making payments inside the U.S., its best to get a signed, notarized agreement with the custodial parent, which sets out an exact monthly payment to be made. Then, make only formal, check or money order payments and save the receipts for each one, make sure and write child support on the memo line. That way, if the custodial parent later refuses to provide a letter confirming that child support is up to date, the applicant will have proof of the agreement and of all payments made. The same advice goes for those with children abroad. Get a formal agreement between the parents and begin sending regular monthly Wester Union or other transfers directly to the custodial parent, not to any other person’s name. Finally, never, ever, ever pay cash! There is no evidence of payment and even if a custodial parent writes a letter confirming child support payments, a USCIS officer can still request evidence of payments.

Proving payment of child support can be particularly problematic for those with children abroad in the Caribbean and other countries, where there is usually never a court order for child support and payments are often made casually, not formally. In a typical case, a father may pay for a child’s school, clothes other expenses, but not pay child support to the mother directly each month. In these cases, it can often be very difficult to prove child support payments. For those currently supporting children in this matter who intend to apply for Naturalization in the near future, the best advice is to start paying support in a regular, formal manner. Send monthly Wester Union or other payments in regular amounts and only send in the name of the custodial parent, not in the name of another person or family member, since there is no proof that the funds were actually paid to the parent for child support. Keep a log of the date and amount and a copy of every transfer in date order so that you don’t have to sort through them later. 

The key to success with Naturalization and any other immigration matters is to learn what the requirements are and plan carefully to make sure that all the requirements are met before applying. Filing an application without this knowledge and preparation can in some cases, end up being a waste of time and money. This is especially true for proving child support, since it often requires extensive documentation, affidavits, receipts, Western Union transaction reports, which take time and a lot of effort to assemble. So the best approach is to have the documents available before filing the case. 

We can assist you in understanding what documents you will need to provide in your particular case, and properly present it to the USCIS on your behalf, just give us a call for a free consultation at: 954-382-5378.

The old edition of Form I-765 which was available on the USCIS website was dated 12/26/19 (see lower left hand corner of the form). However, beginning Tuesday, August 25, 2020, the USCIS will only accept the new version of the form with the edition date of 8/25/20. As a result, I-765 applications postmarked before 8/25/20 will be accepted by the USCIS using the old 12/26/19 form edition, however those postmarked on or after 8/25/20 will only be accepted with the new edition date of 8/25/20. So if you have downloaded immigration forms from the USCIS website recently, your form I-765 is likely out of date. Just make sure that you download and complete the new 8/25/20 form edition before sending to the USCIS.

Download the new form I-765 
USCIS Explanation About I-765 Edition date