Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378
  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter

  POSTING DATE: September 25,  2017
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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2017 
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 wife and I filed her immigration application for a green card a few months ago. Everything was fine, we got the receipts and she did her fingerprints but then we got a letter saying I did not meet the income requirements for the financial affidavit. I had filed and extension of my 2016 taxes and could not give them the tax return because I did not have it. We sent them a copy of the IRS extension receipt and a letter from my accountant. But instead of sending us a letter that we absolutely required the tax return and the extension was not enough, we got a denial letter. Very shocking. We called the Immigration 800# and they said we have to file the whole case all over again and we have to pay the filing fees again. My question is how do I get my filing fees back so that we can use them to refile my wife’s case again?
Answer: Unfortunately, the USCIS rarely, if ever returns Filing fees, especially when a case is denied. That’s why it is so important to make sure that you qualify for an Immigration benefit before you file the application and prepare the petition properly for the best chance of approval. When filing applications for family adjustment of status, it is very important for applicants to clearly document eligibility, for instance by making sure that the required documentation to prove financial qualification for the Affidavit of Support is included. The USCIS generally only issues one Request for Evidence (called RFE) to the applicant, detailing the documents required to be provided in order for the case to be approved. When receiving an RFE, always read the letter very carefully to determine exactly what kind of evidence or document is being requested. Some RFE's are more complex than the others (particularly those relating to Affidavits of Support) and it can be difficult to determine what the officer is actually requesting and some are simple and easy to understand. For more complicated RFE letters, you may want to retain an immigration attorney to assist you. Once you have determined what specifically the letter is requesting, be sure to provide the exact document requested. For instance, an officer may requests that you provide a tax return and you responded that you do not have one available; the case will likely be denied. The appropriate action would have been to go ahead and file your 2016 tax return and then provide a copy in your response. We can take care of re-filing your wife’s residency case and making sure that you have all the required documents required, just give me a call at 954-382-5378.
Immigration How To: 
How Do I How Do I Get a Copy of My I-94 Card?
In a surprising move, the USCIS recently made a policy change (without public announcement) on its requirements for issuing “Advance Parole” (Travel permit) approvals to Immigrants who have filed for Adjustment of Status (AOS) in the U.S. and seek to travel abroad while such applications are pending. 

Under previous rules, most AOS Applicants were not permitted to travel abroad without first receiving a Travel Permit, however certain nonimmigrant visa holders, including those on a valid H or L visa were allowed to travel prior to and during the processing of a Travel Permit. As a result of this abrupt policy change, AOS Applicants who travel abroad before or during Travel Permit processing will have their permits denied.
A recent government funding bill has reauthorized (extended) the Investor Visa Program for Green Cards (called EB-5) which was set to expire on September 30, 2017. The program will now be extended through December 8, 2017. Congress was expected to make changes to the EB-5 program this year, but problems with Trump’s agenda and Republican initiatives in Congress have gotten in the way of Congressional efforts to reform the program. 

However, it is expected that Congress will eventually make significant changes to the program later this year or early next year which may include raising the minimum investment amount from $500,000 to $1.35 million for investors seeking to invest in a Regional Center or TEA and from $1 million to $1.8 million all other investments. 
EB-5 Investor Visa Program Extended 
Without Change Until December 2017
Tips On Replacing An I-94 Card & Downloading Your Arrival/Departure Record
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use
Immigrants Should Know Their Legal Rights
Have A Safety Plan For You and Your Family!

With the constant anti-immigrant drumbeat coming out of the Trump Whitehouse, coupled with increased deportations, threats against Immigrants and cancellation of the DACA program, immigration advocates like United We DreamImmigration Impact and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center advise Immigrants to make a safety plan for themselves and their families, in case the unexpected happens. Here are their recommendations along with a few of my comments: 
An I-94 is a small slip of paper which until 2013 was issued to all international visitors and visa holders entering the U.S.. Officially called the Arrival/Departure card, the I-94 contained the date of entry into the U.S. as well as the date by which the individual must depart from the U.S.. 
Advisory: Adjustment Of Status Applicants Should Not Travel Abroad 
Without “Advance Parole” Approval
Question: Hi Caroly, its carlos. My US Citizen sister, maria and me are coming to see you next week so you can take care of her sponsoring my mom for her green card. As you remember you filed my case about 5 years ago, with my sister sponsoring me and my wife in the F4 category. We had a 3 year old daughter christina at the time, so you included her in the case, but recently my wife and I had another baby, my son alex. So we wanted to let you know that so you can keep on updating my kids information with immigration. Please advise me what information you need from us to update your case. 
Answer: Hi Carlos, congratulations on your new son! So as you know, you are in a long Immigrant Visa waiting line as the sibling of a U.S. Citizen. For Colombians and nationals of most countries it currently takes about 14+ years in the Immigrant Visa waiting line. Lots of things can happen during those years, in fact you may have more children. As a result, it best to wait until the National Visa Center begins processing your case near the time your priority date is becoming current in the future. At that time, I will provide the National Visa Center with copies of the birth certificates for all your children as well as other documents that are required in order to add your family members to your case so you can all immigrate to the U.S. at the same time together. See you next week!

For background, the EB-5 investor visa (Green Card) program allows qualifying investors to obtain Green Cards in exchange for investing a minimum of $500,000.00 in an investment regional center or in creating a new business (which must be located in one of the high unemployment areas designated within states) or $1 Million in any area in the country, as long as 10 new fulltime jobs are created. So with the window of opportunity extended until the end of the year, Investors who plan to obtain Green Cards through the program are advised to make such investments quickly before the program requirements increase. 
Therefore Immigrants with an Advance Parole application pending which has not yet been approved are advised not to travel outside the U.S. until the Travel Permit is approved and the card issued. Immigrants who were maintaining legal immigration status prior to filing for AOS can find out more about applying for “Advance Parole” (Travel permit) by calling our office at: 954-382-5378

The USCIS has announced that it has resumed 15-Day premium-processing service (an additional $1,225) for pending H1B CAP petitions under the program which began accepting applications on April 1, 2017 (for Fiscal Year 2018). 
USCIS Resumes Premium Processing For Certain 
Pending H-1B Visa Applications 
USCIS Updates DACA Webpage Following 
Program Termination 
After Trump’s Termination of the DACA program on September 5th, the USCIS has updated it website with an advisory about the October 5th deadline for filing a renewal application to extend DACA status for Dreamers whose status will expire on or before March 5, 2018. 

Those who qualify should be very careful to use the current DACA application form and file their renewal application using Fed-ex/UPS next day or USPS Express Mail so that their application is RECEIVED by the USCIS on or before October 5, 2017.
Applications postmarked before, but received by USCIS AFTER that date will be rejected. Never us Certified Mail when filing any applications with the USCIS, as it takes much longer for delivery and can result in case rejections or denials. 

USCIS DACA updates 
DACA renewal forms & filing address 
Do Not Open Your Doors— Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cannot come into your home without a warrant signed by a judge. With your door shut, ask ICE to slide the signed warrant under the door or push it up against a window. They cannot come in unless you let them.

Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent — ICE can use anything you say against you in immigration court. It’s important for you to remain silent and ask to speak to your attorney. Simply tell the immigration officer: “I am exercising my fifth amendment right and choosing to remain silent until I speak to my attorney.”

Do Not Sign Anything Before Speaking to an Attorney —  ICE and Customs Border Protection (CBP) may attempt to pressure or coerce you into signing your own deportation order. This is also known as a voluntary departure. Do not sign anything that they give you without first speaking to an attorney.

Record Your Encounter — Take note of badge numbers, the number of agents, time, type of cars they used, and exactly what happened. Reporting this information will help advocates determine whether any rights violations occurred.

Report Your Encounter — United We Dream runs a hotline for people to report activity of ICE, CBP, or any other enforcement agencies. Report the activity by calling the hotline at 1–844–363–1423.

Contact an Immigration Lawyer — Get a trustworthy immigration attorney or legal representative accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and explore all options to fight your case. If detained, remember that you might be able to pay to be released on bond— don’t lose hope. Visit our partners, IMMI, to find free or low-cost legal help near you.

Protect Your Assets— If you bought a vehicle, home, or have a business, prepare a plan for how you will maintain them if you lose your job or are put into deportation proceedings.

Empower Others to Inquire About Your Case— Prepare a Third Privacy Waiver Form with your attorney or BIA representative. This form allows a third party of your choice (congressional office, another person that is not a family member, a non-profit organization) to request any information about your detention, immigration or deportation case from an immigration enforcement agency like ICE, CBP, or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Prepare Your Documents & Store In a Safe Place— Make a folder of documents that will prove your physical presence as far back as you can. Make a copy of the front and back of your important documents such as passports, work permits, social security cards, drivers’ licenses, leasing contracts, G-28 form, Third Party Waiver, and keep the copies and originals in a safe place.

Talk to your Children and make plans for their care and safety— If you have children (under the age of 18), whether or not they are U.S. citizens, take the time to sit down with them and explain in a calm way what they should do in such circumstances, who they should contact and provide them with contact information. You might also want to have emergency guardianship papers in place. This will provide you with peace of mind knowing how your child will be cared for if you are detained or deported. Apply for, renew, and keep safe their valid passports.

Prepare a Phone Tree— In case you or a loved one is detained, you need to have one person who can connect and activate all of your support system — family, teachers, mentors, and friends who will support you and your loved ones.

Often, individuals do not understand how important this little card is until it is too late. In order to change immigration status inside the U.S. to any other immigrant or non-immigrant visa status, immigration regulations require that a copy of the I-94 be included with the application to establish eligibility. Foreign nationals must prove that they entered the U.S. legally and were inspected by an immigration officer in order to qualify to file for immigration status in the U.S.. Those who did not enter the U.S. legally are generally not entitled to obtain any new immigration status in the U.S., even when married to a U.S. citizen unless a Waiver is obtained.

If you’re I-94 card is lost, stolen or seriously damaged, you can apply to replace it by filing Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Arrival-Departure Document. The USCIS filing fee is $445 and it generally takes about 60 -120 days or more to receive the I-94 replacement card in the mail.

Under the new electronic I-94 system implemented in 2013, international visitors are no longer issued paper I-94 cards upon entry into the U.S.. Instead, individuals are provided with instructions on accessing their I-94 records online and printing the I-94 card out from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. You can visit the CBP site to print out your paper I-94 cards:

Get Your I-94 Printout -U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)