As of the upcoming date of August 2013, the category of spouses of lawful permanent residents will be CURRENT! What this means is that there is no longer any waiting time period for spouses of green card holders to file for their green card.
Please note that there previously was a two to four year wait that spouses of green card holders had to wait before the spouse could file for the green card. It is important to point out that the green card applications should be promptly and correctly filed in the month of August 2013, as the priority date could potentially fall backwards again as we have seen in the past.
If you are a spouse of a lawful permanent resident, please call my office and I will assist you in obtaining the green card based on your bona fide marriage to a green card holder. Again, time is of the essence, so do not delay. Also, you should Not file your green card application before August 1, 2013. The above Great News applies to applicants from all countries, including China, India, Mexico, and Philippines.
This is great news in terms of the waiting period; however this change does not affect any requirement of maintaining status, etc. Therefore, you should consult with an immigration lawyer to make sure this change applies favorably to you.
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.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has, through the Office of Immigration Statistics, issued its estimate of how many illegal immigrants are residing in the U.S. The report indicates that there are approximately 11.5 illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. during in January of 2011. The Report further estimates that more than half of these illegal immigrants entered the U.S. during the years of 1995 and 2004, and that since 2007, it is unlikely that the illegal U.S. population has significantly increased.
The Report indicates that since 2007, there is no real significant increase in the number of illegal immigrants due to the U.S. suffering from high unemployment and due to the economy in Mexico improving. The Report indicates that despite the greater levels of border enforcement, fewer apprehensions are taking place. The Report attributes the lower number of apprehensions at the U.S. border being due to lower demand for Mexican nationals to enter the U.S. for employment reasons.
The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. has not always remained the same. In 1980, the number of illegal immigrants doubled from 2 million to 4 million in the U.S. This number jumped to over 8 million by the year of 2000. The numbers indicated above reflect an approximation of illegal immigrants, and not immigrants that have authorization to remain in the U.S.
Earlier this year, USCIS announced good news that it will allow certain applicants to file their I-601 waiver here in the U.S. and to therefore receive their decision, before they depart the U.S. A Form I-601 is a waiver needed by certain applicants that must be approved before he or she can receive a green card. The Form I-601 is needed in cases where there has been unlawful presence or illegal entry into the U.S., and therefore there is an unlawful presence bar against the applicant that needs to be waived.
Previously, applicants would need to depart from the U.S. and file the I-601 waiver request with a U.S. Embassy that has jurisdiction over their case. The problem of course is that the applicant has departed the U.S. and if the waiver is denied, he or she will be denied entry back into the U.S. Further, even if the I-601 is granted, the applicant has now been separated from his U.S. citizen relative(s) for a long period of time.
The USCIS has indicated that it will allow applicants to apply for the I-601 waiver here in the U.S. rather than requiring them to file the I-601 through an interview overseas with the U.S. Embassy that has jurisdiction over the case.
The USCIS has indicated that it will publish its rule and place into effect the provisional waiver program in the “…coming months.” The provisional waiver is NOT yet available, and so USCIS has announced a news release that lets the public know to be careful and not hire immigration consultants that claim this waiver has been placed into effect.
In order for the waiver to be approved, the applicant must show through much documentation that the U.S. relative will suffer extreme and unusual hardship. This waiver is available for spouses, children, or parents of a U.S. citizen.
The Vermont Service Center, Texas Service Center and National Benefits have issued their processing time reports as of October 19, 2011. Below is a brief summary of some of the most common types of immigration applications for family based categories:
1. K-1 / K-2 / Fiance Visa – Processing time can range from cases filed with a date in March of 2011 to as short a time as 5 months, depending on where the case was filed.
2. K-3 / K-4 / Spousal Visa – Processing time can range from cases filed with a date in March of 2011 to as short a time as 5 months, depending on where the case was filed.
3. I-130’s being filed by U.S. Citizen petitioners for their family members – Usually about 5 months if filed with Texas Service Center.
These processing reports can be obtained from www.uscis.gov directly for each service center.
USCIS has just announced that TPS has been extended for Haitians until January 22, 2013. This is an 18 month extension. Haitian applicants that have not filed for TPS may do so immediately. The DEADLINE for filing a TPS application for the first time is November 15, 2011. This deadline can be extended, but as of May 19, 2011, this is the current deadline.
Haitians that currently have TPS must wait to re-file, since USCIS is planning on issuing a notice of instructions for those individuals. However, Haitians who currently have TPS status must be sure to file to extend their TPS status before August 22, 2011.
Any Haitians that enter the U.S. illegally now are not eligible for TPS. Haitian applicants that apply now for TPS need to show they continually resided in the U.S. since January 12, 2011. All individuals who want to file for TPS should file forms I-821 and I-765, as well as any required fees or fee waiver and required documentation including a copy of one’s passport, I.D. and a birth certificate with translation if available. Other documents may be required, as determined based on each person’s circumstances.
To begin, the thoughts and prayers of the member of our office go out to the people of Japan and all Japanese nationals and naturalized citizens here who have family and friends in Japan. We are sorrowful as we see the horrifying images.
USCIS has thankfully issued a news release explaining the help that they can offer Japanese nationals that are here in the U.S. The link is provided below for details straight from the USCIS website.
The USCIS News Release states that the USCIS will allow an additional 30 days for all nationals of Japan who are here in the U.S. on lawful stay that is about to expire. For exact details and procedures that must be followed, please refer to the following link:
Again, please note that it is not advised that Japanese nationals overstay their visa for fear of returning to Japan. The attached news release provides specific steps that have to be taken before USCIS can help the nationals of Japan here in the U.S.
As a final note, I am so grateful that USCIS has really helped the nationals of Haiti in the past and now USCIS has again offered quick help, this time to the nationals of Japan here in the U.S.