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Monthly Archives: October 2012

How Many Alien Numbers Should I have?

Generally speaking, an immigrant should only have one alien number throughout the course of their immigration process and the same alien number should be placed on that applicant’s naturalization certificate. These days, though, there have been some complaints online that applicants will receive one alien number on their employment card and then will receive a completely different alien number on their newly issued green card.

If you receive your green card and you notice that the alien number is a different one than the alien number that was previously issued to you on the employment card, you should take some action to ensure that the mistake is corrected. For instance, you can file a form I-90 and mark that there is a mistake on the green card resulting from USCIS error. In other words, check the box that says that a service error took place. You do Not need to attach a filing fee, but be sure to follow the instructions for the I-90 form.

However, some people do not want to mail in their newly issued green card. As a result, those individuals can write a letter to USCIS and request that the two alien numbers be merged into one file. Be sure to keep a copy of this letter and send it to USCIS via certified mail so that you can keep proof of mailing for your records. Please also call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 after you mail the letter, to see if any action has taken place on merging your two files. It is best to keep records of your letter to USCIS, though, as you may have no record of the details of your phone call to USCIS.

Until you have a new green card issued with the correct alien number or you have knowledge that the two alien number files have been consolidated, be sure to list all alien numbers on future applications with USCIS, including address changes, for example.

Visa Bulletin for November 2012: Lawful Permanent Resident Priority Date

The most recently issued Visa Bulletin has some good news for family category 2A, which is the category for lawful permanent residents filing for their spouses and / or children under 21 years old and unmarried. The current priority date for this category is now July 15, 2010. This means that applicants that filed their cases for their loved ones on or before July 15, 2010 have now reached their priority date.

It is important to note that just because USCIS approves the petition form, this alone does Not mean that the case is ready for processing. In order for the case to be processed and sent over to the U.S. Embassy, the petition form must first be approved AND the priority date must be current. The priority date system applies to lawful permanent residents filing for their spouse and children, but U.S. citizens filing for their spouses and children under 21 years old (and unmarried) do not have to wait for any priority date.

Hopeful case: A Mexican national who was ordered removed was allowed re-entry to US

I want to share this case with you, because I personally found it quite interesting. This is not a case that I have handled, but one that I heard about from Fox news Latino. The case involves a Mexican national who was previously ordered deported from the U.S. He has three children here in the U.S.

The Mexican national, Mr. Felipe Montes, was given legal permission to return to the U.S. so that he can physically appear for his court battle in North Carolina regarding fighting for custody of his three (3) biological children. Mr. Montes received permission to remain in the U.S. for ninety (90) days, based on Humanitarian grounds.

This case is interesting because it is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that allowed him to re-enter the U.S. This case hopefully will give hope to people in similar situations to apply for Humanitarian permission to temporarily enter the U.S. Of course, a grant of humanitarian parole is in the discretion of the Officer.

In Mr. Montes’ case, he has three U.S. citizen children with his U.S. citizen wife, and his wife remained in the U.S. while he was deported back in 2010. Unfortunately, his wife could not take care of those kids and the kids were placed in foster care where they were about to be adopted by foster families. Mr. Montes was the primary bread winner, and when he was deported, his wife would not financially support the children.

Thankfully, Mr. Montes was allowed to re-enter the U.S. so that he could fight for custody of his biological children, and according to his family law attorney, his presence was desperately needed at the hearing.

This case points to the reality that there are about 5,000 children of deported or detained immigrants currently being placed in foster homes, mainly due to the parents’ not having the appropriate immigration status to remain in the U.S.

So Which Name should I place on my Application?

As part of my practice as an immigration lawyer for eleven years now, I have seen numerous cases with applicants that have several last names or different spellings of their last names. Some of my clients have a different last name in their passport than on their birth certificate translation, etc.

To end the confusion regarding which last name spelling or variation to include in the immigration paperwork, the Vermont Service Center (VSC) has provided a brief guidance in their Stakeholders newsletter. The following information applies to the following cases only: All I-129 cases (work visas, religious visa, fiancé visa, etc.), I-539, I-765 (employment card), and I-131 (travel document). This information does Not apply to green card applications.

The Vermont Service Center has indicated that regardless of what name the applicant places on the application form, the VSC Officer will list the applicant’s name as spelled on the applicant’s passport. The only exception provided to this basic rule is that the applicant’s name will be changed to the name on the visa issued to the applicant, if this visa was issued subsequent to the passport. If there is no visa that was issued to the applicant subsequent to the passport, then the VSC will change the applicant’s name as according to the passport provided by the applicant.

From previous experience, it is generally a good idea to have the passport contain the same name as the applicant’s birth certificate and translation of the birth certificate. In this way, the confusion will be lessened as to the applicant’s identity.

In any event, be sure to list ALL variations of names used in the appropriate box for other names used. Carefully placing all previous names used in this box will ensure the USCIS Officer that the applicant is being truthful as to their identity and exact name.