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USCIS Updates April 2020

In this video immigration attorney, Andres Mejer, answers 3 of the most popular questions he gets from his clients and audience. What is going on with USCIS during this corona virus? Should I renew my green card or apply to become a US Citizen? and Can my US Citizen child sponsor me to get a green card?

Transcript (Transcripción):

Andres Mejer  My name is Andrés Mejer. Thank you for joining us once again on the English version of Para Ser Legal to be legal today. I got great episode for you. Three things. One, how is USCIS adapting to the times of coronavirus? Second, should you renew your green card or file for citizenship? Can’t tell you how many times I get this question. And 3 can a U.S. citizen child file for your Green Card valid?

Andres Mejer So how is USCIS adapting in the time of the coronaviruses? Most USCIS services have been stopped at least until May 3rd 2020.

Andres Mejer Today is April 6. That’s a whole month now. We may get more notices in the future. Initially it was stopped for nearly two weeks, then it was extended for another two weeks.

Andres Mejer So what does that mean for you? There are no in-person interviews for Green Card ICE citizenship, asylum or fingerprinting compli shut down last week or two weeks ago. Scuse me.

Andres Mejer I talked about, hey, if you have a date for any of those Green Card citizenship, asylum or fingerprinting. While the office is closed, you will be rescheduled.

Andres Mejer I also suggested don’t wait to be rescheduled. Make a request for a to be rescheduled. The notice that you have tells you how to do that and keep a copy for your records. Immigration is well is a mess right now. Don’t assume that they’re going to catch it and do the right thing now. Second thing is to do it. They finally decided that they don’t actually need you to come in to renew your work authorization. If you’ve previously filed for work authorization, they’ve previously fingerprinted.

Andres Mejer They took your biometric. They have that digital. So what are they going to do? You filed that. We knew they are going to run the digital file and we knew your work authorization. Unless, of course, you know, you committed some crime or something else. So, guys, we’ve been doing this forever. There is no reason to call you in to renew your fingerprint thing.

Andres Mejer It’s all digital. We just want to charge you data five bucks. So now they’re going to charge you data for us, but they’re not going to require you to waste a day job to Elizabeth or Newark to get it renewed.

Andres Mejer Finally now, if you’re number three, if you’re here on a visa and you can’t travel back to your country, USCIS said that they will live Broulee approved request to extend your visa. But make sure you file time. We don’t wait until your visa has expired to request additional fact. Look, if you’re sick with a chronic virus and your hospital doors and you don’t file timely, you’re not going to have a problem as long as you file within a reasonable time. Once you get better, if you’re fine, if you like me, you’re working from home.

Andres Mejer You’re not you’re not sick, even though you may have sick family members. You’re not sick. And you simply let time pass and say, I’m not going to worry about it. Well, they may not give you the time. In that case, be diligent.

Andres Mejer Number four, if you have filed for an immigration benefit and you get a request for evidence, a notice of intent and not, that’s what they’re saying. Hey, you know what? Request revenue generally means that the final report but a Joni’s we think you might get your case approved, but you’re missing some information on this issue. Notice of intent. No, I just say, listen, buddy, you’re screwed. We’ll get a denial. But here’s the reason why we to deny you. So if you have something, to address it. Show me now. So if that’s do during this time, you’re going to get more time to respond.

Andres Mejer Just explained how the virus is preventing you from responding timely. Do what you can and explain why you can’t provide certain things. Well, I need a disposition, of course, but the court is closed. That’s a pretty darn good reason. I’d love to get a few. I made the request U.S the letter, but now they’re closed and I don’t know when they’re going to reopen. Give me more time. That’s a fantastic reason. But respond and explain it. Don’t just let time pass and say, you know, I’ll get to it eventually. No.

Andres Mejer Be diligent. So second subject you’re a Green Card is going to expire in the next six months. Now you need to decide.

Andres Mejer Should you renew your Green Card or should you file receivership on March 30th, 2020? Last week I discussed in detail the requirements for citizenship. You can see the legal up for purposes of this video. I will assume that you qualify for citizenship. Otherwise the choice is obvious if you don’t qualify as a citizen. You can only renew period. End of story. The only caveat is if you have a conditional Green Card. In that case you will need to remove the conditions on the Green Card before acquiring you a citizen. That could be invested as it can be five.

Andres Mejer Or the more common family based petition of marriage based petition where you were married less than two years when you applied and received your Green Card.

Andres Mejer So take a look at your Green Card. If it’s only good for two years, you have a conditional Green Card. If it’s for 10 years, congratulations. You have the permanent one. If that’s about to expire, you should file for citizenship unless you don’t qualify. So in the example that we’re talking about, you qualify for citizenship.

Andres Mejer You listen to the video, you went through all six requirements and you’re like, yes, I got them. You do qualify. Now, the question is, should you file rescission or should you renew?

Andres Mejer So. Reason number one. Immigration charges you almost the same amount for both crises. Hey, we know your Green Card costs them five hundred forty dollars. We’re going to fingerprint you for like I said before, you could charge me to five dollars to do that. They have it digitally there. And I actually have to admit when they get to make come in anyway, you can spend your time. There is no interview. They just do a background check if everything checks out. Hope you get your Green Card in the mail and you get to repeat the process every 10 years.

Andres Mejer So naturalization, it’s seven point twenty five dollars. You will be fingerprinted. Same process you’re always think of.

Andres Mejer You will have an interview and hopefully you’ll have a swearing in ceremony where you become a U.S. citizen. It’s a much more detailed analysis of that immigration does, actually. I will probably say that $722 is not enough for what they do. But when you compare it to five of forty three U.S Green Card, you don’t do crap. $584 could do quite a bit of work for seven or twenty five hundred. A no difference in my opinion. That’s a good reason to file for the full things. You don’t never improve yet. Now if you’re a Green Card, it’s close to expiring or has expired after you file for your citizenship.

Andres Mejer You can request an extension of the Green Card for one for 12 months to 18 months. USCIS will give it to you automatically while your petition is spending. You don’t need to renew the Green Card in order to file for citizenship. That is just wrong information. I’ve heard attorneys give it. I’ve seen it online. It’s ridiculous.

Andres Mejer The only time you’re going to file to renew the Green Card first is if you don’t have the card and you don’t have a copy. If you’ve got nothing, you need a card or a copy of the card in order to get your citizenship.

Andres Mejer Sorry. That’s just the reality. If you lost it, you got no choice. If you have it. The only reason to do it is if you’re going to is if you think you don’t qualify for.

Andres Mejer But if you think you know, cause if you don’t file, you’ll fix it first. I know it’s obvious, but that crap I see online from other channels sometimes really surprises is just wrong information. So. Reason number 2 5 percent shift because they will automatically renew your Green Card if you ask it. I know people don’t get it now, but once you are a U.S. citizen, you no longer need to worry about deportation. Yes, folks, in case you didn’t know it. If you’re a Green Card older, you can still get deported.

Andres Mejer You could still be not admitted. The United States just leave the U.S. for 180 days and see what happens when you try to go back there. They’re going to have a unpleasant. You’re going to have an unpleasant conversation. I jumped the gun. If. It isn’t. You can leave the U.S. for as long as you like without worry of losing your citizenship. Another reason you can file for more family members. And it’s a whole lot faster if you’re a U.S. citizen. Green Card As a U.S. citizen, you can apply for a fiancee and for your siblings.

Andres Mejer Siblings takes forever, but at least you have an option as a green card holder. You can’t apply for for a fiancee and you can’t apply for your siblings. So what you would need to do is marry your wife. It’ll take a couple of years, but it is what it is. Filing for U.S. citizenship. You can have your fiance say in the United States in four to six months. Under normal times. Then get married and be together rather than wait for the next two or three or four years, depending on what country. So you can apply for savings and your immediate relatives don’t have to wait for a visa.

Andres Mejer Remember, family-based petition to go back into this a little bit has to to, you know, for fans of our program. Sound familiar? family-based petition has two basic components. There can be others, but the basis is one document the relationship to change of status.

Andres Mejer If you’re a green card holder, once the and once you document the relation and that’s been approved, you’re your relative is going to have to wait for a visa to become available. How long? Well, it depends on how you define for. It depends on where they were born. If they’re a citizen of Mexico, Philippines, India or China, they’re going to be waiting a lot longer than if they’re from the UK or from Canada. Now, if you’re a green card holder and you have children who are Green Card, also green Green Card holders and live with you and they’re under 18 when you file and you become a U.S. citizen.

Andres Mejer So do they. It’s automatic. You still have to file for certificate of citizenship for them or you can apply for their passports, but they get it.

Andres Mejer Once you get a beautiful day. Remember, they have to be living with you. They have to be Green Card old just like you. And they need to be under 18 when you get it. They get it.

Andres Mejer Once you’re a U.S. citizen, you get the full benefits from the U.S. government, like Social Security and medical insurance. You can. And more importantly, today, you can vote. Listen, I don’t care what your political affiliation is, but it’s never more important than it is to day. Look what’s going on in the world. The government, you know, the countries are shut down. Speaking of now, you should file now before it becomes harder and more expensive.

Andres Mejer USCIS has already told us they’re making the civics test harder. We’re going to read English. Spanish. I’m sorry. You got to read it. Read and write and speak in English. And also, they’re gonna increase the filing fees in some cases almost double. So don’t wait until it’s harder and more expensive. File today. It’s easier. You might think the only reason not to file for citizenship is if you don’t qualify.

Andres Mejer Otherwise, it’s a really simple decision. It’s only one hundred eighty dollars more. Don’t wait. Get it done. You should have gotten it years ago. Don’t wait. Do it now.

Andres Mejer Because if you are Green Card is about to expire. That means you’ve had it for. You could have found at least five or seven years ago. You could have done it for years. Don’t delay any for. Last subject of today. Can your U.S. citizen child file for your Green Card? Bear with me, folks. This is some complicated stuff. Every console try to have every interview that I do. I have three fundamental questions that I go through with every console.

Andres Mejer One. Do you, the immigrant, have a path to legal status? That is, by the way, where most integration turns. Well, for most attorneys, stop. The only interest the other path pay me. I’ll figure it out if something happens. If this if I figure out that you’re you’re not qualified, I’ll tell you later and I’ll keep your money. That is most often what happens to a lot of people have been pissed off at immigration attorneys.

Andres Mejer So three questions. Number one is the other path. Number two, is there something in your past that disqualifies you? And there’s a variety of them.

Andres Mejer We’re going to talk about some of them today. Three is can we fix whatever that problem you have so that you can find? You need one, two and three. That’s what we focus on, on Michalos. If I view the problem in the past and I can’t fix it, I don’t want your money. I don’t want to start the process because the only person that benefits will be the attorney, not you. Yeah. In the context of what we’re talking about, U.S. citizen child, can can they file future better questions? Should they file?

Andres Mejer So, number one, they need to be over 21 years old. And number two, they have to be a U.S. citizen. If your child’s Green Card older, he must first become a U.S. citizen to file for you. See the video below about the requirements for how to get citizenship.

Andres Mejer If you have both child, though, 21 and is a U.S. citizen. Well, now we know your path to Green Card. That’s question number one, solid. Now let’s focus on number two. Is there something in your past that can prevent you from becoming a Green Card old today?

Andres Mejer Any mistake you make will result in you being placed into removal proceedings. That’s a zero sum game. You have to be absolutely sure you qualify. Otherwise, don’t file anything. I freely talk about family based petitions and its two basic components. First is documented.

Andres Mejer Relationship here, we’ve already agreed your son qualifies. He is your son to use over 20. What? He’s a U.S. citizen. That’s easy. Second part is that when you change Saturdays, we go from four national to Green Card older. Now that’s going to happen in the US or outside of the US. If you entered legally into the US, what does that mean? You inspected and admitted or paroled? That’s what legal entry if you did that, for example, came in as a tourist. You can adjust in the United States.

Andres Mejer You will have an interview at a local field office. I discussed that in detail. You could take a look at our September 9th video of last year where I go into detail. What does the Green Card interview look like now? But what happens if you didn’t enter Lipan again in the context of what we’re talking about? You have a path. If you entered legally and you have no other disqualifiers, then there’s nothing that disqualifies you. You can file. End of conversation. Go through the process now. But what happens if you didn’t enter legally?

Andres Mejer Now you have a problem because although you have a path to legal status, you have something that disqualifies you because you can need to travel outside states in order to change your status. You can’t do it from within the US. So for most people in this scenario, travel outside states means you can’t come back for three or ten years. You aren’t even eligible or even admissible unless you apply and receive a waiver. So again, here’s where it becomes interesting, number one. D you you qualify. Yes. You have a path. Your Photoshop can follow you. Number two is just something that can disqualify.

Andres Mejer Yes, you entered legally. When you leave, you’re ineligible to return for 10 years. Can you fix it? There’s a waiver. Three. All right. Let’s take a look at that waiver. Now, what are the requirements for the waiver?

Andres Mejer You’re going to need a qualified relative and you’re gonna need to show that that relative is gonna suffer extreme hardship. That’s the standard. Who’s the relative? It’s not your son. He doesn’t count. It has to be you, the immigrant, your parents or your spouse, your child. Does it qualify? So imagine my mother filed for me years ago, but unfortunately she passed away. She can’t be my qualified relative because she’s awake. So my son is going to file for me.

Andres Mejer But if my son files for me in, I need a waiver. I if I don’t have a parent to spouse, I don’t qualify for the waiver. If I don’t qualify for the waiver, that means step number 3 is no. So one, can I do I do I have a path? Yes. To. Is this sudden disqualifies me? Yes, there is. OK. Can I fix it? No, I can’t. What does that mean?

Andres Mejer Do nothing because otherwise you’re just going to put yourself in removal or outside the United States and without the ability to come back.

Andres Mejer So waiver is one way to fix it. It’s not the only one. Let me give you two other examples. So, again. Question number one, you’ve had. Yes. Your son follows you, too. Are you disqualified? Yes, you were. You entered illegally. Can you fix it? Well, actually, there’s three ways.

Andres Mejer One is a waiver, which is called a provisional lawful presence waiver. Another one is the Life Act or 245i. But someone needed to have filed for you before April 30th, 2001. If no one ever filed for you now, you don’t qualify for that life. Now, if you have a son and daughter that’s over 21, a U.S. citizen and was born here. Congratulations. That means you were here before 2001. It’s possible that someone did file for you because you were here when you could have found your life.

Andres Mejer Now, another option is what if your child or family member is in the military? That’s called parole in place. If you want more information about parole in place. Take a look at her Aug. 26, 2019 video. That’s right. Talk about that process in detail.

Andres Mejer Those videos are going to be the show notes below for today. You just need to know that if you have a close family member was in the military or was honorably discharged, that will waive the lack of legal entry. So either the unlooked presence waiver of the Life Act 245i or military member in the military froward place either one of those three.

Andres Mejer You can fix the disqualification and then you can fire. Yes. Yeah. Complicated, that was. You see all the factors that we had to discuss here. It’s super important that you talk to a qualified immigration attorney. If before filing for anything in here, we’re only talking about one thing that disqualifies you. And that is Lappe. You know, illegal entry. Let me give you some others.

Andres Mejer You were here in the U.S. for more than 180 days without permission. You left and then you came back without permission. Out. Got a permanent bar for 10 years.

Andres Mejer You were caught at the border and sent back. Hey. Were you deported back? Were you given voluntary departure? Well, if you’re from Mexico, you might have just been sent back. Maybe we got a check. If you’re from Ecuador and you said you were Mexican and sent you to Mexico. You lied. That’s fraud. That’s a separate issue that can cause you a problem. Under certain circumstances. Now, if you weren’t caught at the border and sent back, maybe you were just released and not deported. We’ve got to check. If you were in removal proceedings or you were, that could affect you if you were arrested for a significant offense.

Andres Mejer It does it have to be a felony. Immigration is federal. Most crimes happen in the state under state law. So immigration has a different criteria for what it considers important than the state in which you were charged and or convicted.

Andres Mejer Now, what happens if you filed the petition in the past and were denied? Why was it tonight the basis for that denial can affect you today or, you know, the public charge? That’s new. Let’s say you have a serious medical condition. Even if it’s in remission, it may affect you in the future. You don’t want to find out that one of these seven right things can disqualify you when you’re outside the United States. So the said the question is, can your son, who’s a U.S. citizen, follow you? The question is, should he?

Andres Mejer And that is, is it based on analysis of your past and whether anything there can be fixed? And remember, before you filed anything, do you have a path to something that disqualifies you three? Can you fix it? You need one, two or three, four. You do nothing.

Andres Mejer Thank you for paying attention for our weekly show. But a said about it to be legal. My name is Andrés Mejer. Please subscribe to our video and share it with others. We’re here every week giving you information in detail. We don’t do the superficial stuff. Other attorneys do. We give you mean potatoes. We give you what you need to know.