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USCIS Announces GIANT Filing Fee Increases

Since we all want to end any interaction with a positive outlook, I will address the bad news from last week first. The bad news is that USCIS announced that new filing fees will go in effect beginning with October 2, 2020. Why is this bad? After all, they are begging for a government bailout and need the money to keep almost 15,000 US workers employed, right? Not exactly. USCIS is funded by fees paid by Read More

4 Ways to Get a US Work Permit

Last time we wrote about ways in which you may be able to get a work permit in the United States, there were more options. The timing for his update could not be better because the immigration field changes weekly, if not daily, and so it is crucial to remain updated in any changes in the norms and regulations. First, who does NOT need a work permit? US citizens and permanent residents do not need a work Read More

Options for Green Card Holders unable to return to the United States

A lawful permanent resident unable to return to the US, may encounter one of these scenarios: If you are outside the US longer than 1 year and you obtained a re-entry permit, you can enter the US for up to two years. You can only apply for a reentry permit from within the US. If you are outside the US longer than 1 year and you did not obtain a re-entry permit before leaving the US, the actual green card Read More

Why You Should Respond ON TIME to USCIS Notices

You mailed your green card or waiver application to USCIS, you have your receipt and had your biometrics appointment. Great! Now all you have to do is wait for the Interview date, right? Not exactly… What I will discuss here applies to most types of applications: changes or extension of non-immigrant status, renewals of work permit, petitions for alien relatives, green card applications, waivers, VAWA, removal of Read More

LGBTQ Couples and Family-Based immigration: What to consider when documenting a Bona Fide Marriage

People have entered the United States through marriage for a very long time; it is perhaps one of the easier ways, at least in people’s minds, to gain entry and citizenship. However, many try to marry solely for the purpose of circumventing immigration laws, and that is fraud.  As a result, US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) have to endure a tough scrutiny from immigration officers to ensure that their Read More

The #1 Mistake that Can KILL Your Immigration Application

In September 2018, USCIS changed one of its policies and now can deny your application for making mistakes on your paperwork. Before then, if there was an issue with your application, they could reject the file and return it to you. You would then fix whatever they asked for and resubmit it.   If USCIS accepted your application instead, but upon review, it determined it was missing something (a simple “x”, wrong Read More

Public Charge Rule – Medical Conditions & Health Insurance

The US Supreme Court overturned the injunction which prevented the Public Charge Final Rule from taking effect on October 15, 2019. As such, all adjustment of status (green card) applications postmarked on or after February 24, 2020 will be subject to this new set of policies. ONE of the major areas of focus is an applicant’s health status and insurance coverage. MEDICAID RECIPIENTS Provided that the applicant is Read More

How To Get Your Naturalization Application Approved

If you have been a permanent resident for five years, you can apply for naturalization to become a US citizen. You are eligible after three years if you received your permanent residency under VAWA, or through marriage and you are still married and living with your US citizen spouse. Having a positive naturalization interview, and as a result, a positive outcome, starts at the beginning of the application process, Read More

What is VAWA & How Can It Help You?

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a way for battered and abused spouses (and in certain cases, parents and children) to get permanent residency (green card) without the help of the abusive spouse.  Despite its name, VAWA benefits both men and women. You may qualify if: You are married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident and your spouse abused you or your child; Your US citizen or lawful Read More

What To Do If ICE Shows Up

How to Handle Interactions with ICE If you are not a US citizen, you are not protected from the actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  However, regardless of your status, you do have Constitutional rights. Here are some basic ways to express them if the situation arises: What to do if ICE comes to your door Stay calm. Keep the door closed. Start recording everything with your phone! (it will Read More