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Question: My mom has her green card and filed for me back in 2017 when I was 23 and single. I got pregnant earlier this year and me and my boyfriend just got married in April. When I told my mom she went crazy and said that now I wont be able to immigrate to the U.S. because I got married. So my question is this, my mom filed for naturalization and she has her interview coming up in October. If she gets her citizenship can my immigration papers still go through? What about if I get divorced now, will that allow me to still get my immigration through?
Trump’s immigration ban issued in April and extended until December 31, 2020 put a halt on nearly all family and employment immigrant visas, as well as visas for winners of the Green Card Lottery under the Diversity Visa program.
In response, family members and visa applicants filed lawsuits in federal court to force the State Department to resume issuing visas. In a decision issued on September 4th, federal judge Amit Mehta, ruled that the State Department should resume issuing diversity program visas before the September 30, 2020 deadline.
Court Orders State Department To Issue Green Card Lottery Visas
Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
POSTING DATE: September 14, 2020
Answer: Unfortunately, there is no immigration category for an adult, married child of a U.S. resident. So once an adult single child of a U.S. resident (immigration category F2B) marries, the immigration petition filed by his or her parent is automatically cancelled. This happens even if the child then divorces. Another important issue involves your mom obtaining her U.S. citizenship. If she had obtained her citizenship, then you married, your immigration petition would remain valid, but you would go from the F2B (which currently has a waiting time of about 5 years), to the F3 immigration category for married adult children of citizens which includes spouses and children, which has a waiting line of about 12-14 years. However, when a child marries before their resident parent naturalizes, they become ineligible to immigrate on the original I-130 petition, even after the parent naturalizes. The only solution is for the parent to refile the I-130 all over again and the child goes to the back of the line. Some immigrants who marry, then realize the mistake get divorced and immigrate without disclosing a marriage. The problem comes when the child gets a green card, then sponsors their spouse, since they were not supposed to be married. The result is that the child then looses their green card. Immigration laws are not fair, so its really important to understand what your immigration options are before taking any steps which might jeopardize your case.
Check the USCIS Processing Times For Your Immigration Case
When making an application for Immigration benefits with the USCIS, its always important to understand how long the process is likely to take for a decision to be made on the case. The USCIS publishes information about the approximate processing times for different Immigration cases on its website. Before filing, you can find out which USCIS Service Center will be handling your type of case by checking the appropriate USCIS address for your application form.
Understanding The New DACA Policy
After Trump cancelled the DACA program back in 2017, which led to a long court battle, the Supreme Court finally issued a decision in June 2020 which prevented the Trump administration from abruptly cancelling it and instead ordered that the USCIS should resume accepting new DACA applications for Dreamers who qualify under the 2012 Obama program.
The agency refused and a federal court then ordered the USCIS to either resume accepting new applications in accordance with the Supreme Court order or issue an advisory about what its position on the DACA program would be going forward.
Answer: Parents of U.S. Citizens are not exempt from Trump’s immigration ban issued recently, which currently extends until December 31, 2020. As a result, your parents will likely not receive a new appointment until early 2021. The visa medical is valid for a year. So as long as they receive their interviews in early 2021 and enter the U.S. before their medical’s expire they are fine. However, if they are issued the visas but they fail to enter the U.S. before the medical expires in April 2021, they will have to redo the medical before being allowed to enter the U.S. on the immigrant visa. This is a very common issue now that covid-19 has interrupted international travel. Many immigrants who were issued immigrant visas had delayed entering the U.S. so long, that by the time the pandemic hit and they were then unable to enter the U.S., their visas and or medical expired. Now they are stranded abroad and must wait for the U.S. Consulate to notify them to get a new medical issued before being allowed to immigrate to the U.S.. The lesson for all in the future is to enter the U.S. as soon as possible once the immigrant visa is issued, then if necessary, return home to take care of any issues which require attention.
For background, every year there are 50,000 immigrant visas set aside under the diversity visa program for nationals who come from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S.. Those who are not issued immigrant visas by September 30th each year lose the opportunity to immigrate to the U.S.. This year, due to covid-19 and the immigration ban, only about 12,000 such visas have been issued so far.
To the disappointment to many, judge Mehta did not extend the deadline past September 30th and failed to issue an order to force the Trump administration to issue visas to the thousands of family members and workers who have been shut out of the U.S. by the immigration ban. Challenges to the immigration ban continue, stay tuned…..
On July 28, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memorandum outlining an even more restrictive policy, in which the USCIS will not accept any new DACA applications or advance parole requests (for travel) and will even restrict DACA renewals to a one year validity period, instead of the current two-year period. The Memorandum reiterates the agency’s intentions to terminate the DACA program and to reject all new pending and future requests for DACA, with the exception of one year renewals. The release also indicates that the agency needs additional time to review DACA policies to determine how the Supreme Court decision should impact the administration’s handling of the program.
On August 21, 2020, the DHS released guidelines for the new policy, which confirm that the agency will not accept any new DACA applications, but, will, however, accept DACA applications from individuals who have ever held DACA status in the past. This is significant, since under the old policy, any DACA applicant who had failed to renew within one year of expired status, was ineligible to obtain new DACA status again. For instance, a Dreamer obtained DACA status in 2015 for two years. When DACA status expired in 2017, the Dreamer did not have the funds to pay the filing fees, so the DACA application to renew was not filed. Then in 2018, more than a year after the previous DACA status had expired in 2017, an application was made to renew, which the USCIS rejected, since the applicant had been out of DACA status for at least one year or more before reapplying. However based upon this new policy, those who have ever had DACA status at any time in the past can now file for new DACA status.
Policy guidance reiterates that renewals will only be for one year, (rather than the previous policy of two years), however, current two year DACA status remains valid and those who have lost an employment authorization card may apply for a replacement which will still reflect the two year validity period.
The agency will also continue to reject applications for travel permits called “Advance Parole” which allow DACA holders to re-enter the U.S. after travel abroad, except in very limited circumstances, including those for urgent humanitarian reasons or “significant public benefit in keeping with the governing statute”, whatever that means. Examples given include situations when a DACA holder travel to:
Support the national security interests of the United States;
Support U.S. federal law enforcement interests;
Obtain life-sustaining medical treatment that is not otherwise available to the alien in the United States; or
To support the immediate safety, well being or care of an immediate relative, particularly minor children of the alien.
As always, federal litigation to force the government to return to the Obama DACA program rules continues in the courts, but progress is very slow, leavings hundreds of thousands of Dreamers with more uncertainty about their future and with even less benefits than they had before the Supreme Court ruling! With so much at risk, current DACA holders who are expiring should file for renewal within 150 days before DACA status expires.
Biden Plans To Grant TPS Status To Venezuelans
Once He Becomes President!
As Venezuela’s economic and political systems have drastically deteriorated over the years, its citizens have been forced to flee their country, in fear of persecution by the Maduro regime and continuing crackdowns on those in the opposition.
As a result, Florida is now the home to thousands of Venezuelans who have sought safety and protection from return to a dangerous and lawless country where Maduro’s gangs victimize innocent citizens. Many have applied for asylum, but increasingly many more have been shut out of seeking asylum due to Trump’s restrictive policies.
For years, as Venezuelans have streamed into the U.S. in search of refuge, both Democrats and Republicans have called on the White House to grant TPS status to this vulnerable group in need of protected status, But Trump has denied all such requests, in violation of U.S. TPS policy. In March 2019, the bi-partisan “Venezuela TPS Act of 2019” was introduced into Congress to put pressure on the administration to issue TPS status to Venezuelans, yet Trump has continued to refuse as part of his anti-immigrant policies. And while many have applied for asylum here to escape the dangerous conditions caused by increasing crime, hyperinflation, food, electricity and medicine shortages, most will likely not qualify under the administration's increasingly tough U.S. asylum eligibility requirements. To make matters worse, Trump has even applied his immigration ban to Venezuelan family members waiting to immigrate and join their families in the U.S., who are instead being forced to remain in an unstable, lawless country until the ban is lifted. If Trump is re-elected he may extend the ban indefinitely.
That is why it is so important to Venezuelans and all immigrants that help is on its way! If Presidential Candidate Joe Biden is elected, he has vowed to immediately grant TPS status to thousands of Venezuelans who have sought refuge in the U.S. (likely on day one), which will allow them to remain in the U.S. legally and obtain work and travel permits. He has further vowed to sign executive orders to undo all of Trump’s proclamations and anti-immigrant policies to restore asylum laws designed to protect those including Venezuelans, in order for them to be granted asylum and become U.S. Residents. Biden has also pledged to pursue Comprehensive Immigration Reform to legalize millions of immigrants and allow them to legally live and work in the U.S. on the road to obtaining green cards and eventual U.S. Citizenship.
So don’t lose hope, achieving your immigration dreams is closer than you dared hope, as long as Biden is elected in November. Tell your U.S. citizen family members to vote, this is perhaps the most important Presidential election in history for immigrants and their families!
Question: I am a citizen and I filed for my parents. They got their interview appointment in April which got cancelled because of the virus. They already had their medical exams done and everything. I heard the embassy is starting to reschedule interviews now. How long will it take for my parents to get their new interview appointment and do they have to have a new medical?
Answer: Good question. The answer is yes, you can file your residency package now without the medical report and then wait until your residency interview is scheduled and have it done at that time and give it to the officer at the interview. Once your case is filed, you will receive the receipts, then a short while later a yellow letter which says that you have not submitted the required I-693 medical exam. You don’t need to do anything, just wait until your interview is scheduled and bring it to the officer. I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you want me to take care of your residency case for you.
Question: Me and my wife got married a few months ago just before the virus hit and then so many life circumstances came up and we never got around to putting in my immigration papers. Now I heard that the immigration fees are going to cost double in oct so we are trying to get everything we need together. But we called some doctors to get my medical and it was like $375 which is way more than we can spend right now if we want to get my papers in. So we want to know what would happen if we just send everything in before oct without getting the medical done and then once we saved the money get it done and send it in later?
If your case has already been filed and you have received the I-797 Notice of Action Receipt, you can easily use the information on the receipt, which shows the form type and service center, to check the current processing times. If your case is outside of the normal processing times posted on the USCIS website, you can then either call the USCIS at (800) 375-5283 to make an status request or do an e-inquiry yourself, in order to try to get more information. In either case, you will normally receive a letter from the USCIS in about 30 days responding to your request. If your case is not resolved by either method, then you likely need to get an immigration attorney involved to try and get a decision on the case.
Read Your Appointment Letter carefully/Gather Civil Documents: make sure that you completely review the appointment letter, schedule and attend your required medical examination and gather the ORIGINAL Civil documents listed on your notice. In most cases, you are required to bring your passport which must be valid for at least six months beyond your intended entry date to the U.S. and provide ORIGINAL or certified copies of your birth and marriage certificate, divorce decrees, police certificate, military certificate (if applicable), death certificate for spouses, criminal records for arrest and convictions (if applicable), even if the charge was dismissed, expunged or sealed. It’s also good to bring updated financial documents from the financial sponsor, for instance their current tax return and W-2 and copies of their paystubs for the past several months. For marriage cases, you’ll need to provide additional evidence to prove the validity of the marriage, including as many photos of you and your spouse with family and be prepare to answer extensive questions about the history of your relationship, your spouse’s family, job, ex-spouses, children, etc.
Medical Examination: Make sure that you schedule your medical examination way in advance of your consular appointment date, in order to give enough time for the results to be ready for your interview. The appointment notice will give you complete instructions on which doctors are authorized by the Consulate to perform the required exam. If possible, take a copy of your vaccination records to your exam for the doctor to review to avoid being given duplicate vaccines and avoid drinking alcohol for several weeks prior to your exam if possible. Substances such as marijuana should be avoided for many months prior to the exam. Blood test results which are positive for drugs can result in a permanent denial of an immigrant visa.
Appointment Application & Confirmation: At the time of your appointment, make sure you print out and have your appointment letter and appointment registration confirmation with you when you go to the U.S. Consulate. Make sure and take your DS260 Confirmation Receipt and you might also be wise to review your DS260 immigrant visa application you submitted online, just to refresh your memory about the information you provided for past addresses, employment, and travel history and family relationships.
Security at the Consulate: Increasingly, U.S. Embassies maintain very strict security measures, which prohibit you from bringing certain items to with you to your appointment. Most Embassies now do not allow you to bring cell phones, tablets, computers and any other electronic devices, luggage, weapons and objects such as pen knives which can be used as a weapon.
If you have questions about the process or which documents you are required to provide for your specific case, make sure and consult a qualified immigration attorney before proceeding.
The process to sponsor a family member can often take many years and finally, once an Immigrant Visa becomes available, the National Visa Center and U.S. Consulate begin final processing, ending in the immigrant visa consular interview appointment. And even with Trump’s immigration ban, certain kinds of family cases are still being processed, including those for spouses and minor children of U.S. Citizens.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind in order to help you be prepared, and hopefully more relaxed, for your immigrant appointment: