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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  Sponsor My Adult Kids And How Does The Process Work?
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: Hi, I am here on a student visa but working on the work permit that I got after I graduated. Its going to expire in November. The information from the international student department says I am supposed to leave the U.S. after it expires. I have a question about me and my girlfriend. She got her green card through her parents. We have been dating for two years and are very serious and want to get married. We are a little confused and have lots of concerns about the residency process. I read where you said there was a special program where residents can sponsor a spouse and they can stay in the U.S., is that true? Does that include someone like me who has already graduated and working on a permit? If we do it now, how long will it take for me to get my work permit through the marriage case? How long would it take you to get my green card? Thanks.
Drastic reductions in immigration application fee revenues caused in part by Trumps war on immigration, resulted in an announcement by the USCIS in June that it planned to layoff some 70% of its workforce due to funding shortfalls. 

The planned August 2020 layoffs were averted, however, but the agency has announced that “Drastic cuts will impact agency operations for the foreseeable future”. 
USCIS Warns of Significant Immigration Processing
 Slowdown For The Foreseeable Future

                  LAW CENTERS

Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
 POSTING DATE: September 21, 2020
Answer: Yes, since July 1st, the immigration category for spouses of U.S. Residents (Green Card holders) called F2A is “current”, meaning that there are visas immediately available to those who qualify. Technically, it means that as long as the spouse of a U.S. Resident is in the U.S. in legal immigration status, for a limited time, he or she is eligible to file for Residency and stay in the U.S. in order to adjust status to Residency here. Since you are in legal immigration status, having graduated college and working on your Optional Practical Training Work Permit until November, you would qualify. As would any student who is currently in school and any worker who is working through a legal work visa like an H, L, P or E for example. Once your residency is filed, under current long processing times, it can take 6 months to obtain a work and travel permit and another six or so months for Residency. Remember that USCIS filing fees are significantly increasing in October, so you might want to consider getting married asap and filing for your residency in September before the deadline.
Understanding The Benefits of the Fiancée Visa For Parents 
With Minor Children 18 or Older

Under the “Immediate Relative” law, the minor child of a foreign spouse qualifies as a “Step-child” which can be sponsored by the U.S. Citizen, as long as the marriage to the child’s parent took place before the child turned age 18. Yet one day over age 18 and the child loses the ability to obtain Residency from the Stepparent. 
Get Your Work And Travel Permit For Free 
By Filing For Residency Before October!
As most are aware, USCIS filing fees are nearly doubling in October 2020 for some types of immigration cases, including those for residency. And if you need even more incentive to file your residency application before the end of September deadline, here’s a good way to think of it: File for residency now for $1,760 and you get your work and travel permits free! File after September and you have to pay an extra $1,140! Eww that hurts! There is no better deal than USCIS has been giving for the past several years by including the work and travel permit in the filing fee, but sadly, its ending and its up to you to take advantage of it before its gone. 
Adult children of U.S. Citizens are in immigration categories which usually take many years to wait for an Immigrant Visa in order to immigrate to the U.S.. The process can be frustrating and not easily understood, so a run-down of the how the Immigrant Visa process generally goes as follows:

1) Your Parent files a Family petition with the USCIS 

2) I-130 Receipt issued by the USCIS
In a desperate effort to remain in operations, the USCIS has been forced to slash costs and reduced its operations. USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow said in the statement that the required cost reductions to keep the agency running “… will increase backlogs and wait times across the board”. In a statement posted on the USCIS website, the agency warns “Aggressive spending reduction measures will impact all agency operations, including naturalizations”.

This is a clear warning that the delayed processing of the past will seem quick compared to the severe backlogs and long processing delays anticipated in the future. As a result, immigration applications should be filed as early as possible to account for longer than normal processing times, especially those for naturalization, family members, green cards and work permit renewals. 
USCIS Announcement of expected delays in processing
Federal Court Allows Trump To Cancel TPS Status for Thousands Of Immigrants
A federal appeals court has just ruled that the Trump administration can proceed to terminate TPS status for some 300,000 to 400,000 immigrants, who may be forced to leave the U.S. in January 2021. 

For background, Temporary Protected Status program, or TPS, allows immigrants to legally remain inside the U.S., when conditions in their home countries make it too dangerous to return, like natural disasters or wars. 
And for decades, many nationals of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti, Sudan and others have remained in the U.S. under this protected status, as conditions in their home countries have continued. 

But soon after taking office in 2017, Trump terminated TPS for many countries and the administration gave a timeline for nationals of those countries to leave the U.S.. As a result, multiple lawsuits were filed to prevent the government from terminating TPS, claiming that Trump’s move to terminate TPS was based racial and anti-immigrant bias demonstrated by his anti-immigrant rhetoric, including his claims that Haitians with TPS status “all have AIDS”, that Mexican and Central American immigrants are criminals and snakes and that we should not allow anyone in the U.S. from “shithole countries.”. The lawsuits resulted in a temporary stop to terminating the program as the litigation worked its way through the courts. Unfortunately, this recent decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may result in the termination of TPS status for nationals of many countries. The decision does not affect an injunction issued by a federal court in New York which temporarily protects Haitians. The decision has been appealed to the full federal appeals court and may even then go to the Supreme Court for an ultimate decision, stay tuned…

Question: I am Venezuelan and my mom who got her residency through my eldest sister back in 2005 and citizenship in 2010 filed to sponsor me and my husband in 2011. I know we have a waiting line ahead of us and have a few more years to go. We have been living here in Venezuela and everything is getting worse and worse, very unstable and dangerous. We are thinking to go to florida with our tourist visas and apply for asylum, but I am not sure how that will affect the immigration papers my mom filed for us. So we want to ask you if that is possible that we can do that, then once the time comes we can still get green cards through my mom?
Answer: The F3 is the Family Immigration category for adult married children of U.S. Citizens. This category generally has a waiting line of about 12 years. Right now, there are Immigrant Visas available for petitions filed in June of 2008. Since your mom filed the family petition for you and your family in 2011, you have another three years or so to wait for a visa to be available. The date your mom filed the family petition for you in 2011 is called the “Priority Date”. You can keep updated on the movement of dates in your family Immigration category by visiting the Visa Bulletin website and looking at the Family F3 category to see what current priority dates are “current”, meaning those which currently have Immigrant Visa available.

Family members who have been sponsored in Immigration categories which have Immigrant Visa waiting lines are not eligible to stay in the U.S. and wait for their Priority Date to become current. The only way to legally stay in the U.S. is by obtaining another legal visa status such as a student or work visa. Family members in these categories who do stay in the U.S. past their authorized stay become INELIGIBLE to immigrate to the U.S. under most circumstances. 

Therefore, unless you are able to obtain a student, work or other visa which allows you to stay legally in the U.S., you should not remain in the U.S. past the authorized stay of your tourist visa which is usually 6 months for B1/B2 visas. You are getting so close now to immigrating that it would not be wise to try anything risky which might affect your ability to immigrate when the time comes. 

Read the Visa Bulletin website
Guide To Understanding Family Visa waiting times

Question: My aunt filed for my mom and our whole family got our green cards in 2015 and came to live in the US. I was only 17 at the time and had to leave my girlfriend in Jamaica. It’s been really difficult for us and we decided that since I graduated college and have a good job, me and my girlfriend are planning to get married and I want to file her papers. My question is, which is the fastest way to bring her here? I filed for my American citizenship back in June but I know it takes a long time to get. My girlfriend has a visitor visa, so we want to know if that would help in our situation? The question is whether she is allowed to visit here and then we get married? If we get married here and apply for her papers I know it`ll take longer since I`m not a citizen, but will she get any kind of work card or something while we are waiting? 
Answer: The immigration category (called F2A) for spouses and minor children of U.S. Residents has been “current” for more than a year and remains current as of September 2020. This means that any spouse or minor child of a U.S. Resident who is inside the U.S. currently in legal immigration status, whether through a tourist visa, student visa, etc, is eligible to file for residency and remain in the U.S. legally during the entire immigration process to obtain a green card. As part of the residency process, the request for a work permit is filed and employment authorization is received within about six months. So, in your case, if your girlfriend is in the U.S., you can get married here and file for her residency and she will be able to live and work here legally while waiting for her green card. If you get married in Jamaica then file a spousal petition for her, it will take about a year or more for her to be able to immigrate through the U.S. consulate and join you here in the U.S.. Let me know if you want us to handle her residency case so that it is filed and processed properly so the process goes smoothly.
So what happens if a couple is planning to get married but has not yet done so before a child turns age 18? And what if the couple has not even met until the child is over 18? Tragically, in some cases, children are not able to immigrate along with their parent and must often wait in a long immigration visa lines for years once their parent obtains a Green Card, to join them in the U.S.. Yet in many instances, the K-1 Fiancé Visa is a perfect solution for U.S. Citizen sponsorship and can be the key to enabling stepchildren to immigrate to the U.S. along with their parent, when they would otherwise be unable to do so.

Most people know that the K-1 Visa Fiancé Visa is used by U.S. Citizens to bring a foreign fiancé to the U.S. in order to get married within 90 days and file for Residency to get a Green Card. But many don’t know about the hidden benefits of the law, which allows minor children of the foreign Fiancé to qualify for Residency, when they would not otherwise be eligible to under regular Family immigration rule for “Immediate Relatives” (Spouses, Minor Children and Parents). Under the K-1 Visa, minor children of the Fiancé, under age 21 are eligible to be issued a K-2 Visa, which allows them to accompany their parent to the U.S. and obtain a Green Card along with the parent, up until they reach age 21. In this case, there is no requirement that their parent and stepparent marry before the child reaches age 18!

Years ago, the K-1 Visa was great because it would expedite the process to bring a fiancée to the U.S. in only a few months, so that the couple would not have to be separated for long periods of time. However, these days, the K-1 process takes almost as long as a spousal Immigrant Visa, 8 +months or so, making it less attractive. As such, the usual advice to U.S. Citizens these days is simply to get married to the foreign fiancée in their home country, then file the spousal petition and once approved, the foreign spouse will become a Resident upon entering the U.S.. 

However, in cases where the foreign Fiancé has one or more children over age 18, but under age 21, the K-1 (Fiancé) and K-2 (dependent) visas are a wonderful solution to overcome the problems caused under normal Immigration regulations in establishing the requisite Stepparent/Stepchild relationship before the child turns age 18. In this case, as long as the K-2 child enters the U.S. before age 21, he or she continues to qualify for a Green Card. This visa is only available to Fiancés and their minor children under age 21 of a U.S. Citizen (not Resident Green Card holder) and is only for those who are outside the U.S. and have not overstayed previously in the U.S..

 Find out if this could be the solution for your children! Get Free Information about the benefits 
of the K Fiancé Visa, by calling our office at (954) 382-5378.

3) USCIS processing time currently takes about 2-10 years or so depending upon the family relationship.

4) USCIS issues I-130 Approval Notice to your Parent

5) USCIS transfers the case to the National Visa Center to put the case in the queue waiting for an Immigrant Visa to be available (according to determinations made by the State Dept) as reflected in the monthly Visa Bulletin

6) National Visa Center (NVC) sends letter to U.S. Citizen Parent indicating that the case is pending visa availability

7) Nothing happens for many years while waiting for Immigrant Visa availability.

Adult, Single children of U.S. Citizens called 1st Preference have to wait approximately 6 years. Adult, Married children of U.S. Citizens (and their spouse & minor children) called 3rd Preference have to wait approximately 12 years or more. Adult, single children of U.S. Residents wait about 5 years and siblings of U.S. Citizens wait about 14 years.

8) Finally, after many years, when an Immigrant Visa becomes available, the NVC notifies the U.S. Citizen parent that Fee bills must be paid in order to prepare the case for Consular Processing 

9) Once Visa and Affidavit of support fee bills are paid, consular forms and original documents must be submitted to the NVC along with the Affidavit of Support and financial documentation

10) Once all required documents are submitted, and the NVC file is complete, it sends the file to the U.S. Consulate to schedule the Immigrant Visa interview

11) The U.S. Consulate notifies the Immigrant of the Immigrant Visa appointment and provides instructions on having the required medical examination done.

12) The Immigrant (and his or her family) attend the Immigrant Visa appointment at the U.S. Consulate and if all goes well, the case is approved and the Immigrant receives a package in the mail which must be presented to the U.S. Immigration officials at the airport upon entering the U.S. . Prior to entry, Immigrant visa fees must be paid online and the receipt presented to prove payment.

13) The Immigrant and family receive their Green Cards at the address in the U.S. provided within about 30 days and then the Social Security card from the Social Security Administration.