What is Deferred Action?

June 24, 2012 § 1 Comment

Deferred Action is effort by government not to continue deportation those you qualify certain criteria. Even thou this isn’t permanent solution.

Criteria include:

  1. Entered US before 16th birthday of the applicants.
  2. Continuous residence for least five years.
  3. Physical presence during the announcement was made (DREAM Act) i.e., June 15th 2012.
  4. Applicant should be at school or graduated from college and obtain GED (General Education Development).
  5. Applicants not convicted any felony offense.
  6. Age not above 30.

Deferred action will not grant the applicant a green card, immigration status or citizenship. However, deferred action offers two significant benefits:

(a) It relieves the individual from the fear and uncertainty of being caught and someday placed in removal proceedings, while it relieves those who are presently in removal proceedings from being removed;

(b) It provides economic freedom to those who qualify through the issuance of EADs that would enable them to work legally.

USCIS and ICE will begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days of the announcement on June 15. The hotline numbers to call for this process are 1-800-375-5283 (USCIS) and 1-888-351-4024 (ICE).


USCIS Initiatives

January 5, 2012 § 2 Comments

On January 1, 2012, USCIS brought about a change in the filing locations for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Petitioners are now required to mail their I-130 Forms to either the Chicago Lockbox or the Phoenix Lockbox, depending on where they currently reside in the US. This move is aimed at balancing workloads between the two USCIS offices and to provide more effective processing of Form I-130.

The change is only for stand alone I-130 applications. Note that there is no change in filing locations when submitting Form I-130 and Form I-485 together. If you are filing both these forms together , you can mail them to the Chicago Lockbox facility. If you are abroad and there is no USCIS office there, you can also continue to file at the Chicago Lockbox facility. However, if you in a foreign country where there is a USCIS office, you can send your I-130 form either to the Chicago Lockbox or at the international USCIS office where you currently live. Ensure that you are filing at the correct location. Sending your form to the incorrect address will unnecessarily delay the process. You can call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to know the correct filing location.

In addition to the update stated above, USCIS is magnifying the filing process for certain forms related to naturalization and citizenship (N-Forms). Starting Oct. 30, 2011, applicants will be filing the N Forms at a secure Lockbox facility instead of the local USCIS offices. This would streamline the way forms are processed, speeding up the collection and deposit of fees and also improve the consistency of the USCIS intake process.

Beginning Oct. 30, 2011, applicants have to submit these forms directly to the appropriate Lockbox beginning. Though forms received between Oct. 30 and Dec. 2, 2011, will be forwarded to the USCIS Lockbox facility, forms received after Dec. 2, 2011 will be returned to the applicants with further instructions on how to re-file at the USCIS Lockbox facility. Forms N-336, N-600 and N-600K will be handled by the Phoenix Lockbox facility. Form N-300 will be taken care by the Dallas Lockbox facility.

Make sure you read the form instructions carefully before filing your form so that you are filing the correct form type at the correct location. Applicants submitting the wrong form type will not get a fee refund. They will be required to re-apply using the correct form and pay a new fee.

USCIS and InfoPass

September 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the official government agency that is in charge of the immigration process of foreign nationals who come to the US temporarily or wish to permanently settle in the US. It is vested with the authority of granting or denying immigration benefits to such foreign nationals.

The USCIS was established on March 1, 2003 as one branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Before the USCIS was established, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was the authority that had control over matters related with immigration, including administrative and investigative functions.

InfoPass :

If you have any issues related to immigration and need clarification from a trained USCIS Immigration Officer, you can do so through InfoPass, a free service. Through InfoPass, you can schedule an appointment with a USCIS Immigration Officer instead of requesting it in person at your local USCIS office.

You can make an appointment directly through the internet (from your laptop at home, or the computer at your local public library) and scheduling an appointment is free. Just click on “Make An Appointment” and you will be required to give your mailing address and ZIP code. Enter all personal details asked and select a date and time for your appointment. The appointment notice will then appear on your computer screen. The notice will have the time, date and location of your appointment. Please remember to print this notice and bring along with you during the InfoPass appointment.

While coming to the InfoPass appointment, you have to bring a printout of the InfoPass appointment notice confirmation, any government-issued identification, Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record Also bring with you immigration forms, receipt notices, approval/denial letters, translations and original documents that are related to your inquiry.

You can cancel or reschedule InfoPass appointments by using the identification numbers that you will find at the bottom of your printed out appointment confirmation notice. There is no penalty for rescheduling/canceling an appointment.

For general information, you can just call the NCSC at 1-800-375-5283, to have your question answered than scheduling an InfoPass appointment.

USCIS Facilities for Applicants With Disabilities

July 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offer applicants with disabilities the same access to its programs, activities and facilities as it does for other normal applicants. The USCIS provides different accommodations and it depends on the individual’s disability.

Through various measures, the USICS allows applicants with disabilities to successfully participate in the immigration process. If you are not able to use your hands, USCIS will allow you to take the test orally rather than in writing. They also will provide a sign language interpreter for an appointment or a USCIS-sponsored event if you are hearing-impaired. Apart from these, USCIS makes things easier and will you at your home or a hospital if you are not able to travel to a designated location for an interview.

If you need an accommodation due to a disability OR if the disability prevents you from going to the USCIS office as scheduled, just call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283 (TDD: 1-800-767-1833). But if you are a naturalization applicant who wants an exception from the English and/or civics testing requirements, do not call the NCSC. If you are claiming such exception, file Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions. This form is strictly for applicants filing for American citizenship who want to get an exception to the English and civics test because of physical or developmental disability or mental impairment.

You can request an accommodation for any interaction with USCIS that includes an ASC appointment, Info Pass appointment, interview appointment or naturalization ceremony. You can also request an accommodation to attend a USCIS public event such as town hall meeting. To do this, just call the NCSC at any time. If you are seeking an accommodation for an appointment related to your application/petition, call after you receive your appointment notice.

You have the option to mention in the application that you need an accommodation. Even then you are required to call the NCSC. You will have to call the NCSC to request an accommodation for each and every obligation, which means that if you need an accommodation for your biometrics appointment you should call the NCSC and then call again if you need an accommodation for your interview.




Initiative to Combat Immigration Services Scams

June 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

The US government started a multi-agency, nationwide initiative to combat immigration services scams. The Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are in the forefront in this initiative. This initiative aims at immigration scams involving the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL), which happens when legal advice and/or representation regarding US immigration matters is given by an individual who is not an attorney or accredited representative.

This initiative is based on three pillars—enforcement, education and continued collaboration—formed to prevent UPIL scams and prosecute those who are responsible and also to educate immigrants about these scams and how to avoid them; and inform immigrants about the legal immigration process and where to find legitimate legal advice. The Department of Justice is investigating and prosecuting many cases against so-called “notarios.” Last year, DOJ has worked with investigators at the FBI, ICE, and USCIS, and with state and local partners, to secure convictions—with sentences up to eight years in prison and forfeiture and restitution of over $1.8 million. This is apart from the many actions at the state and local levels that have been filed against individuals and businesses engaged in immigration services scams.

In a recent case in West Palm Beach, Fla., ICE Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested an individual on May 26 who had posed as an attorney and processed more than 3,000 fraudulent immigration applications.

Meanwhile, FTC has created a new Immigration Services code in the Consumer Sentinel Network, its online consumer complaint database, thus making it easier for consumers to alert law enforcement about these scams. Sentinel is a secure online database that has more than 6 million consumer fraud complaints. Sentinel will act as an investigative tool for USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security officers, and will support communication between organizations on immigration services scam-related cases.

USCIS’s efforts will be primarily aimed at providing immigrants with the information they need to make informed choices when seeking legal advice and representation on immigration matters. USCIS has also unveiled a new brochure, a poster, public service announcements for use on radio and in print publications, billboard and transit ads, and a new Web resource center that includes a video.

To bolster this effort, DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and FTC will produce and distribute educational materials for different populations that may be affected by immigration services scams. Driven by a continuing dialogue with DOJ, the City Bar of New York, the New York State Bar Association, the New York Office of the Attorney General, the Katzmann Study Group, and nongovernmental organizations, a legal training program will be launched this summer in New York City to expand the pool of lawyers who can assist in immigration matters.

USCIS Proposes Significant Enhancements to EB-5 Visa Processing to Help America Win the Future

May 20, 2011 § 1 Comment

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today proposed significant enhancements to the administration of the USCIS Immigrant Investor Program, commonly referred to as the EB-5 Program—transforming the intake and review process for immigrant investors as part of the Obama administration’s continued commitment to improve the legal immigration system and meet economic and national security needs for the 21st century.

The Eb-5 programmakes 10,000 visas available annually to immigrant investors who invest in commercial enterprises that create at least 10 U.S. jobs. EB-5 investors may petition independently or as part of a USCIS-designated regional center.

“Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to attract investors and entrepreneurs from around the globe to create jobs in America,” said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. “We are dedicated to enhancing this program to ensure that it achieves that goal to the fullest extent possible.”

USCIS is proposing three fundamental changes to the way it processes EB-5 Regional Center filings. First, USCIS proposes to accelerate its processing of applications for job-creating projects that are fully developed and ready to be implemented. USCIS will also give these EB-5 applicants and petitioners the option to request premium processing service, which guarantees processing within 15 calendar days for an additional fee.

Second, USCIS proposes the creation of new specialized intake teams with expertise in economic analysis and the EB-5 Program requirements. EB-5 Regional Center applicants will be able to communicate directly with the specialized intake teams via e-mail to streamline the resolution of issues and quickly address questions or needs related to their applications.

Third, USCIS proposes to convene an expert Decision Board to render decisions regarding EB-5 Regional Center applications. The Decision Board will be composed of an economist and adjudicators and will be supported by legal counsel.

This proposal will be online until June 17, 2011, for public comment—providing stakeholders an opportunity to offer feedback on the proposed changes to the administration of the EB-5 Program

Disclosing Crime Details During The Naturalization Process

April 29, 2011 § 1 Comment

Form N-400, the citizenship application asks for information about the applicants criminal record. It is mandatory for applicants to report their entire criminal record to the USCIS. The application might be rejected should any applicant fail to do so. Applicants who are not sure if they are eligible for naturalization because of their criminal record should ensure they consult an immigration attorney who can properly advise

Conviction of murder or any other aggravated felony may make one permanently ineligible to file  the application for citizenship immaterial of how long ago the crime was committed. There are few other types of crimes that would result in temporary bars to citizenship. The details of the conviction are very important in making this determination. Quite common one is a DUI incident and that also have to be reported and it also depends in part on how long ago the offense was committed, whether the applicant has ever committed any other crimes, and whether there are any other factors which may lead USCIS to conclude an absence of “good moral character.”

Applicants should always be honest with USCIS about all arrests (even if they were not charged or convicted), convictions (even if their record was cleared or expunged), crimes they committed for which they were not arrested or convicted; and any countervailing evidence, or evidence in their favor concerning the circumstances of the arrests, and/or convictions or offenses that the applicant would want the USCIS to consider.

Even if it was a minor crime, you have to bring it to the notice of the USCIS official, else it may result in the denial of your case. Unless a traffic incident was alcohol or drug related, applicants need not submit documentation for traffic fines and incidents that did not involve an actual arrest if the only penalty was a fine less than $500 and/or points found on the applicant’s driver’s license.

Per immigration laws, applicants should make sure to enter the complete details of any incident that is branded a crime(including the verdict). The USCIS will always do a background check for all applicants with the FBI. So in the best interest of the applicant, it is strongly advised to put down the details transparently. Being transparent in all disclosures will make the naturalization process easier. Simple traffic violations are mostly not considered as crime, but there are some exceptions. To know more about them, one can get in touch with nearest USCIS office or the contact the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.

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