Immigration Questions: (954) 382-5378

  POSTING DATE: September 9,  2019
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Immigration News & Updates eNewsletter ©  2011  - 2019 
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
Helpful Immigration Tips You Can Use...

  Immigration News & Updates              eNewsletter
Question:  I have a question about filing for my fiancée in Jamaica. I just became a naturalized American citizen and we have been dating for about 2 years. She does not have an American visa so its me that goes to visit her every few months. We are ready to take the next step to get married, so we want to know how long the process is going to take for her to get her green card so she can immigrate to America? What are the procedures?
Answer: Since your fiancée does not have a U.S. Visa, you can go to Jamaica and get married, then we will file the spousal petition for her. When a spouse is going through the immigration process abroad, it is called “Consular Processing”. The entire process takes about 12 – 14 months once the case is filed. As part of this process, the case is properly prepared and filed with the USCIS inside the U.S., which takes about 8-10 months for approval. Once approved, the USCIS transfers the case to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Washington to prepare your wife’s case for the U.S. Consulate in Kingston, Jamaica. The Financial Affidavit and other documents must be provided to the NVC at this point and once the case is complete, the NVC transfers the case to the U.S. Consulate to schedule your wife’s interview. She will be required to have an immigration medical exam, then personally appear for the interview with certain required original documents, including documents which prove your marital relationship so that the Consular officer is convinced that the marriage is real. As long as the interview goes well, she will be issued the Immigrant Visa and once she enters the U.S., her green card will be ordered. She should receive her Green Card within about 30-60 days.

Since you and your wife will have been married for less than two years by the time of her consular interview, she will only receive a two year conditional residency, which must be extended before expiration. Once she has been a resident (conditional or otherwise) for at least two years and nine months, we can file for her Early Naturalization.
USCIS Plans To Terminate Policy Of Approving Asylum 
Work Permits Within 30 Days
Immigration How To:
How Do I  Renew My Daughter’s Green Card For Free?
Little-Known Immigration Rule Requires
 Green Card Renewal On Child’s 14th Birthday
Immigration regulations can be obscure, seem mysterious and are often complicated. So it’s nice to come across a rule which is actually beneficial and saves you money! Under a little-known law, once a U.S. Resident child turns age 14, a Green Card renewal must be filed within 30 days. This special requirement exists because children under age 14 are exempt from the fingerprinting, so once a child reaches age 14, he or she must provide biometrics (fingerprints) as part of the renewal process. However in practice, most parents do not follow the rule to renew their children’s Green Cards and no penalty is applied by the USCIS for failure to do so. 
The USCIS released an announcement last week to terminate its existing policy of approving asylum work permits within 30 days of application. Under current policy, once an asylum application has been pending for 150 days, the applicant can apply for work authorization (called an EAD), which is processed within 30 days of the application. Under the new policy, the USCIS will now process asylum work permits within 90 or so days. 

Read the USCIS announcement
With only a few weeks remaining to file immigration petitions for family before the new public charge rule takes effect on October 15th, many immigration experts are aghast at the administration’s new requirement that immigrants themselves must prove financial eligibility to immigrate. 
Understanding the Benefits Of Naturalization 

​These days it’s getting more and more common to hear about U.S. Residents who have lived in the U.S. for nearly all their lives being deported because of some stupid criminal incident that happened when they were younger. Under previous administrations, Residents (green card holders) who broke the law had a chance to make amends and still stay in the U.S. through cancellation of removal or other means.
Question: I have a question about getting an extension of my green card. I have been a resident for almost 10 years and my card is expiring soon. The problem is that I was convicted with theft shoplifting in fla in 2010. My lawyer said was a misdemeanor and it wouldn’t be a problem for my immigration status because it was something like petit theft, but I am not sure if that is the exact term he used. Because of pres trumps new laws I’m afraid to apply for my green card renewal and I was thinking of trying to get the case expunged so it won’t cause a problem with my immigration case. If I can qualify, then I want to renew the card then get my citizenship right away so I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Thanks
Answer: Under Immigration Regulations, generally, as long as the charge was for "petty theft", which is a misdemeanor in Florida and you have only one conviction, then it should likely not have a negative effect on Green Card renewal or Citizenship (since the conviction was more than 5 years ago). There is a special “petty theft” exception in immigration law. However, any time a foreign national is convicted of a crime, due to potential immigration consequences, it is always a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney to be safe. It is also important to know that when an individual is convicted of a crime, even if the case was later expunged, the criminal conviction must still be listed on all immigration applications, since having a criminal record expunged does not apply to immigration. The USCIS requires that applicants provide certified arrest reports and court dispositions when applying for immigration benefits. Having a case expunged makes it much more difficult to obtain. Many immigration cases are denied each year, simply because an individual had his or her immigration case expunged, thinking that it would not have to be reported to Immigration, only to find out later that the conviction must be revealed and documented. So in your case, we can most likely file for your Green Card renewal and then Naturalization without any problem.
What Information Is Required From Immigrants For The Declaration of Self Sufficiency Under The New Public Charge Rule Beginning October 15th?
And while numerous lawsuits have been filed against the Trump administration to stop implementation of the rule, thus far there has been no federal court order which would put the rule on hold. Therefore, families should seriously consider filing for relatives before the deadline, in case the federal courts do not provide protection against the new requirements. Among other things, the new Public Charge rule requires that immigrants complete Form I-944 Declaration of Self Sufficiency to provide evidence of their income and assets in order to prove eligibility for residency in the U.S.. The extensive form requires personal, family, health, assets and income information, including credit history, and many more details. In addition to the public benefits questions to determine whether an immigrant has received prohibited assistance, other financial questions include:

Personal & Household Assets, Resources, and Financial Status: There are multiple sections which request information including income, assets, resources and financial status.

Household Income Information: Requires details of the immigrant’s entire household income, including taxes filed, explanation of failure to file taxes, sources of income including those from illegal activities and receipt of any additional income like child support. All financial figures must include documentation. Having a large amount of income over the poverty guidelines will be a positive factor and a low income, a negative factor. If an Immigrant is retired, he or she will be required to provide proof of retirement income. Lack of retirement income will be a negative factor.

Household Assets Information: Requires a detailed accounting of all your personal and household assets, including checking/savings account balances, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposits (CDs), Annuities, Retirement accounts, educational accounts, Real Estate holdings & House Value (along with an official value appraisal from a licensed property appraiser, automobiles and other vehicles. Having a significant amount of assets will be a positive factor.

Household Liabilities Information: Requires a detailed listing of debts (liabilities) owed by the immigrant and household individuals, including: Mortgages, Education loans, Credit Cards related debt, Car Loans, Tax Debts and Personal Loans. Owing a large amount of debt would be a negative factor.

Credit Score Report & Explanation of Bad Credit: Requires immigrants to submit a recent credit score document from any one of the three US credit reporting agencies ( Experian, Equifax or TransUnion) and if an immigrant does not have a credit file, he or she must submit evidence from credit agency to that effect. Those with a negative credit history or low credit scores are required to submit an explanation regarding the circumstances which lead to the poor credit score. Having a low or no credit score would be a negative factor.

Bankruptcy Details: Immigrants who have ever filed for bankruptcy will be required to submit information about the filings. Having a previous bankruptcy would be a negative factor.

Health Insurance, Premium Tax Credits Under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare): Immigrants are required to submit details of health insurance. Those who have insurance will need to submit details of the policy, annual deductible or premium, termination date and indicate whether they received any premium tax credits or Advanced Premium Tax Credits under Affordable Care Act and submit documentation to prove it. Those who receive premium tax credits and those who do not have health insurance could be penalized since that would be a negative factor.

Education and Skills:  Requires immigrants to list all education and skills and provide copies of transcripts and degree certificates or a letter from the university or school indicating that the documents are not available. Immigrants with foreign degrees will be required to submit an evaluation from a U.S. credentials evaluation company to show what the U.S. equivalent of the degree is. Evidence of graduation from higher education will be a positive factor.

Occupational Skills, Licenses: Immigrants will also be required to provide proof of any certifications or professional licenses held. Evidence of possession of specific skills or licenses will be a positive factor.

English and Other Language Skills: Immigrants will be required to provide certifications or documentation of courses taken in English and other languages in addition to English. Evidence of proficiency in English will be a positive factor.

Read the draft form I-944 Declaration of Self Sufficiency Required Under The New Public Charge Rule 
Question: Hi Attorney, I am writing to your email asking if you can help me apply for my green card through my dad who is a permanent resident or through my grandmother who is currently a citizen. I have a visa for 10 years to enter and I’ve never overstayed here, I always obey the law. I am 25 year old, single and I don’t have kids. Right now I am in florida visiting. If they file my papers, will I be able to stay here and work?
Answer: We can apply for your immigrant visa through your Resident father, but the waiting line for adult, single sons and daughters of U.S. Residents (Green Card holders) in the F2B Immigration category currently takes about 6 years. So you won’t be allowed to stay and live and work in the U.S. while you are waiting. If you do overstay your visa, you will become ineligible to obtain a green card in the U.S.. You can look for other options to stay in the U.S. legally, like applying for an F-1 visa for school, but I advise you to apply for it at the U.S. Consulate abroad. Under immigration regulations, your grandmother cannot sponsor you directly. Please let me know if you have any questions.
But under Trump immigration policies, more Residents than ever are being deported, including those with old criminal convictions who had previously received cancellation of removal issued by a federal immigration judge. So increasingly, even those with Green Cards no longer feel safe. That is why it is so important for Residents who qualify to take advantage of the ultimate safeguard to living the American dream – Naturalization. Becoming a U.S. Citizen with all its benefits and protections is the best way to safeguard your life and liberty in the U.S.. U.S. Citizens cannot be deported for any reason, unless they lied on their Naturalization application. For many, the only reason for delay is the high cost of the USCIS filing fee of $725. But the benefits far outweigh the sacrifice of cutting back on other expenses to save the necessary fees. Give it as a gift to yourself or to others!

Here’s a few of the main benefits of becoming a U.S. Citizen:

No risk of Deportation from the U.S.. Even though Residents have legal status in the U.S., they can still be deported in certain circumstances. Even one serious criminal incident by a Resident who has never done anything wrong in the past, however unintentional, can result in removal from the U.S.. U.S. citizens who are convicted of any crime, no matter how serious, cannot be deported. Remember, no one ever thinks they will be convicted of a crime, until they are.

Benefits of a U.S. Passport. Residents may still need to obtain a visa to visit many countries around the world. However, U.S. citizens can travel to a majority of foreign countries without the need for a visa and receive easier entry through foreign borders as well. Another benefit for parents with minor children under age 18 is the ability of your children to automatically naturalize and become U.S. Citizens at the same time and you.

Ability to vote, obtain federal jobs, government benefits and even run for Public Office. Only U.S. Citizens are allowed to vote and even Naturalized U.S. citizens can run for most elected public offices (except the presidency). Similarly, certain federal jobs require U.S. Citizenship and certain benefits are only available to U.S. Citizens.

Ability to sponsor more Family Members. Becoming a U.S. Citizen allows you to sponsor your parents, married children and siblings. Similarly, immigration waiting lines are eliminated for spouses and minor children.

Ability to take long trips outside the U.S. Residents must be very careful about the amount of time they spend abroad and are often fearful of staying outside the U.S. for too long a time. Those who remain outside the U.S. for 180 to 364 days can be challenged by immigration officials about whether or not they reside in the U.S.. Those who remain outside for 365 days or more risk losing their Green Card. U.S. Citizens, however, can remain outside the U.S. indefinitely and still retain all the benefits of citizenship. 

With all these benefits, it simply does not make sense to delay filing for Naturalization. Family members looking for a great Birthday, Anniversary or Christmas Gift should consider paying the $725 USCIS filing fee for a loved one to apply for Naturalization! That’s a gift that keeps giving and lasts for a lifetime, how many other gifts can you say that about?

Immigration regulations can be obscure, seem mysterious and are often complicated. So it’s nice to come across a rule which is actually beneficial and saves you money! Under a little-known law, once a U.S. Resident child turns age 14, a Green Card renewal must be filed within 30 days. This special requirement exists because children under age 14 are exempt from the fingerprinting, so once a child reaches age 14, he or she must provide biometrics (fingerprints) as part of the renewal process. However in practice, most parents do not follow the rule to renew their children’s Green Cards and no penalty is applied by the USCIS for failure to do so. 

But what if there were a benefit to filing a renewal on your child’s 14th birthday? Well there is ….to a lucky few! The USCIS actually waives the application fee for Green Card renewal applications filed for children within 30 days of their 14th birthday, as long as the child’s Green Card will expire after the child turns age 16. Strange, but true. The catch is that there is only a very short 30 day period in which the renewal can be filed without paying the USCIS filing fee and those exact requirements must be met. For instance, if a child is turning age 14, but their Green Card expires when the child is 15, the filing fee would not be waived. Similarly, if the child has turned age 14 and you filed after 30 days, the fee is not waived. In all cases the biometrics fee of $85 must still be paid, but you will still be saving $455 for the regular renewal fee. Good to know! 

To obtain the paper form, click on the following link and scroll down to Filing Options, then choose form I-90, Download the I-90 form

Tips On Getting Proof Of Residency Once Your Green Card Has Expired
When a U.S. Resident’s green card is expiring or the green card is lost or stolen, an application must be made to either extend or replace the card. This is done online through the USCIS website or by mail. But how does a Resident have proof of residency once the card has expired or has been lost or stolen? The USCIS provides residency extension stickers and stamps to residents who have filed to renew or replace their green card. The residency extension sticker or stamp (called an I-551) is exactly the same as a green card and can be used to legally work, travel and obtain a driver’s license or renewal, until the new green card is received in the mail. And since it can take 6-8+ months for the USCIS to produce the new card, nearly every resident needs to obtain proof of residency, especially in this time of “Trump”. 
In order to obtain proof of residency, file the I-90 online or by mail and using the receipt, call the USCIS (800) 375-5283 to request an appointment at the local USCIS field office. Be sure to take the I-90 receipt and expired green card if you have it or your passport. 
To obtain the paper form, click on the following link and scroll down to Filing Options, then choose form I-90, Download the I-90 form