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Monthly Archives: April 2012

New Filing Location for Appealing a Naturalization Denial

Until recently, if an applicant’s naturalization petition was denied, he or she would be instructed to file the appeal with the USCIS office that made the Decision. Now, however, it appears that appeals of naturalization denials need to be filed with the USCIS lockbox in Phoenix, Arizona.

The USCIS denial letter should also contain an instruction as to where to file the appeal. All applicants only have thirty days to file the appeal, and so it becomes extremely important to file the appeal with the correct USCIS office in order to avoid missing the deadline.

Are Divorce Decrees required for VAWA Cases?

Recently the above issue was addressed by the USCIS District Office in Chicago, Illinois. Specifically, the issue is whether a VAWA applicant who was approved as a self-petitioner and is now filing an adjustment of status petition is required to have obtained a divorce from the abuser, before the adjustment of status petition can be approved by USCIS. In other words, if the applicant has obtained VAWA status (under Violence Against Women Act) and filed a petition based on the abuse he or she suffered at the hands of a U.S. citizen abuser, does that applicant have to divorce the abuser to qualify for a green card?

The clear answer provided by the USCIS District Office in Chicago, Illinois is that a divorce decree is NOT required. In fact, in some VAWA cases the applicant still lives with the abuser and remains eligible for VAWA status. At the USCIS District Office in Chicago, Illinois, an Officer had requested a divorce decree, and if none could be provided, then the applicant was told that he or she needed to obtain a divroce before the adjustment of status could be approved.

The above issue was addressed at the liaison meeting, and the conclusion was that the above Officer would review the case again since a divorce decree is NOT needed before the case can be approved. Also, while the above issue was discussed for the USCIS District Office in Chicago, Illinois, the general policy indicated above should be correct for all USCIS District Offices.

Syrian Nationals can Now File for TPS

The USCIS has released a notice that Syrian nationals may now apply for TPS starting on March 29, 2012 until the deadline of September 25, 2012. The notice initially stated that the deadline is September 30, 2013, but this is incorrect. USCIS has released a new notice that clarifies that the deadline is in September of 2012. It is a good idea to file sooner than later, given the confusion over the correct deadline.

Individuals who habitually resided in Syria and are without nationality are also eligible for TPS. All applicants must present proof of residence here in the U.S. on March 29, 2012. Applicants with a criminal record may not be eligible for TPS, so individuals who have a criminal record and wish to apply for TPS should seek legal counsel before filing for TPS.

Examples of other countries eligible for TPS include El Salvador, Sudan and South Sudan, Somalia, Honduras, Nicaragua and Haiti.