|Immigration news and Q&A|
|Written by Caroly Pedersen, Esq.|
|Friday, 20 April 2012 10:35|
New USCIS notices have "junk mail" look
The USCIS recently changed the look and feel of its official Immigration Receipt Notices, called Form I-797C, Notice of Action. Printed on plain white paper without the "torch" background, these new forms do not look like official government documents. Remember then to pay close attention to the mail and not mistakenly throw away the new forms. They will have the statement, "This Notice Does Not Grant Any Immigration Status or Benefit" at the top of the page. The USCIS sends out these letters as receipts and appointment notices (for Biometrics Appointments and Residency Interviews), as well as notices for case rejection, transfer and motion reopening.
H-1B Visas going fast
H-1B Visa applications are being filed at a record pace this year, doubling last year's rate. The USCIS estimates that as of the first week in April 2012, approximately 25,600 H-1B cases have been filed. At this rate, Visas may be exhaused by June 2012. Petitioners are advised to file as early as possible to avoid having applications rejected once all the H-1B Visas are gone.
You can find out more about H-1B Work and other Employment Visas by visiting our website at www.ImmigrateToday.com and clicking on the Employment link
THIS WEEK'S IMMIGRATION QUESTIONS
Question: My wife and I have a question about her residency case. I am a naturalized U.S. citizen, so once we got married I filed her immigration papers while she was still living outside the U.S. This past December, she came to the U.S. to visit me using her tourist visa. We decided to have her stay and do her immigration here in the U.S. We sent in her work authorization application, but it got sent back and we recently sent it back in again. Then last week we received a package from the National Visa Center saying that I have to pay some fees in order for her immigration case to proceed at the consulate. We are really confused and worried now because we don't want her to have to leave! I called immigration but I keep getting different answers. We are so confused at this point. We never received a work permit for her or anything else after I filed the I-130 application. Can you please help us?
Answer: What you are experiencing is common. Family immigration issues can be very confusing, particularly because the USCIS does not provide clear, easy to follow instructions. It is important to understand that when a U.S. citizen sponsors an "Immediate Relative" (spouse, minor child or parent) living inside the U.S., the process for obtaining U.S. residency is "Adjustment of Status." To initiate the process, a family petition is filed, along with the Immediate Relative's application to adjust status to permanent residency, a request for Employment Authorization and, if qualified, a travel permit. If filed properly, the employment authorization is issued in about 60 days and the residency interview takes place within three months or so, very quickly!
When your immediate relative is outside the U.S. and has no U.S. visa to enter the U.S. however, the process used to obtain U.S. residency is called "Consular Processing." In order to initiate the process, a family petition is filed with the USCIS and the immigrant visa process is handled by the National Visa Center and the U.S. Consulate abroad. When done properly, the process takes between eight to 12 months. Once the immediate relative receives the immigrant visa after the U.S. consular interview, he or she receives U.S. residency upon entering the U.S.
If an immediate relative is inside the U.S. (entered legally) and wishes to adjust status inside the U.S., the National Visa Center and U.S. Consulate abroad are not involved in the process. If fee statements are received for consular processing fees, they should not be paid, since they are not applicable to the adjustment of status process inside the U.S. If the fees are paid by mistake (as is often the case), they are lost and will not be refunded.
In your case, the Consular fees should not be paid. Instead, to get your wife's immigration case back on the proper immigration track, we would file her adjustment of status case along with her request for Employment Authorization in a package together with the marital documentation required by the USCIS. Your wife can then receive her work permit and ultimately her residency interview in a few short months. For more information about obtaining U.S. residency inside the U.S. or outside through consular processing, call at: 954-382-5378.
** Contributions to this column are made by Attorney Caroly Pedersen, Esq. of the American Immigration Law Center. Call 954-382-5378.
|Last Updated on Friday, 10 August 2012 11:54|