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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this important video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected U.S. immigration law and what you should expect going forward.

Overview:

COVID-19 Firm Update

In compliance with government directives, our office remains temporarily closed for any in person meetings with clients and prospective clients. However, our firm continues to be fully functional on a remote basis.

All meetings with current and future clients will take place via phone, Zoom, Facetime, or other remote conferencing medium. At this time, we are not scheduling in-person appointments to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our focus remains the health and safety of our clients and our employees, while providing the highest quality of service.

If you are a prospective client, you may contact us by phone or schedule a video conference for a free discovery call to determine your immigration needs.

Our Message to Our Current Clients

Our Firm has been hard at work these last few weeks to avoid any disruptions in service as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, while at the same time acting responsibly to do our part to contain the spread of this virus.

To achieve business continuity, our office will be engaging an Alternate Work Schedule Program that will allow us to remain fully functional and continue our business with the use of remote working technology.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick answers a frequently asked question: does the public charge rule apply to non-immigrant visas?

Overview:

One of our subscribers asks: I am applying for a student visa at the US Embassy, does the public charge rule apply to me?

Please bear in mind that the answer to this question applies to all non-immigrant visa types including but not limited to tourist visas, fiancé visas, exchange visitor visas, etc.

In general, all applicants seeking admission to the United States are subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility under INA § 212(a)(4) unless specifically exempted by law.

As it relates specifically to individuals seeking a non-immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy abroad the public charge rule will apply.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a frequently asked question: can someone who is in the process of getting divorced overseas re-marry in the United States before that divorce is final?

Overview:

In many foreign countries the process of getting divorced is a very long and tedious process with many divorces taking many years to come to a final conclusion.

Many clients are left wondering whether they can lawfully re-marry in the United States while their divorce process is pending overseas, so that they can move on with their lives and apply for adjustment of status based on their marriage in the United States.

Unfortunately, you may not lawfully re-marry in the United States until all prior marriages have been terminated. A prior marriage is terminated when divorce proceedings come to a conclusion. A prior marriage is terminated by a government order or decree of dissolution of marriage issued by the appropriate authority in the country where your divorce proceedings took place. If you have not received a final order or decree of dissolution from such an authority, your prior marriage has not been terminated.

Filing a petition for adjustment of status while you remain married to someone else, even in a foreign country, carries with it very serious legal consequences.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the Supreme Court’s recent ruling which will allow the public charge rule to go forward and be implemented by the government.

Overview:

On January 27, 2020, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of the Trump administration allowing the government to implement the final rule “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” nationwide except for in the State of Illinois, where litigation remains pending.

Following the Court’s decision, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a news release on its website notifying the public that the agency will begin implementing the final rule on February 24, 2020 to applications and petitions postmarked (or submitted electronically) on or after February 24, 2020 (except for in the State of Illinois). For applications or petitions sent by a commercial courier (UPS/FedEx/ or DHL), the postmark date will be the date reflected on the courier receipt.

According to the press release, “The Final Rule prohibits DHS from considering an alien’s application for, certification or approval to receive, or receipt of certain non-cash public benefits before Oct. 15, 2019, when deciding whether the alien is likely at any time to become a public charge. In light of the duration of the recently-lifted nationwide injunctions and to promote clarity and fairness to the public, DHS will now treat this prohibition as applying to such public benefits received before Feb. 24, 2020.

Similarly, the Final Rule prohibits DHS from considering the receipt of public benefits by applicants for extension of stay and change of status before Oct. 15, 2019 when determining whether the public benefits condition applies, and DHS will now treat this prohibition as applying to public benefits received on or after Feb. 24, 2020.” Continue reading

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we will give you our top 10 tips on how to successfully obtain an F-1 student visa or J-1 Trainee visa.

Overview: 

There are generally two ways to apply for a U.S. Visa. If you are residing lawfully in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa classification (such as a tourist visa) you may apply for a change of status by filing Form I-539 Application to Change Nonimmigrant Status with USCIS. If you are residing abroad however you must apply for your visa at a U.S. Consulate near you.

Regardless of your application method, there are several important tips that can help you successfully obtain your F-1 or J-1 visa.

  1. Proof of Strong Ties to your home country

One of the most important aspects of the application is providing documentary evidence that your stay in the United States will only be of a temporary nature and that you will depart the United States at the end of your student visa or trainee program. To show that you intend to remain in the United States only temporarily, you must provide proof that you have obligations/ties to your home country that require your eventual return.

What types of evidence can be provided to fulfill this requirement?

There are a variety of different types of evidence that can be provided to show strong proof of ties home. The most common types of evidence include proof of residence abroad, proof of employment abroad or a future job offer that will require you to return to your home country, enrollment in an academic program to be attended in the future, military obligations abroad, property ownership abroad, business operations or business ownership abroad, evidence of familial obligations, etc.

  1. Financial Ability

All non-immigrant visa applicants must show that they have the financial ability to support their stay during the duration of their student or trainee program. This can be shown by providing your most recent bank account statements to prove that you have sufficient capital to support your stay.

Alternatively, applicants may provide proof of sponsorship. For purposes of sponsorship, the applicant must have a friend or relative who meets the income requirements sign Form I-134 Affidavit of Support. The sponsor must sign a statement that they will be financially responsible for the applicant’s expenses throughout the duration of their stay in the U.S., and the sponsor must also provide supporting financial documentation showing their ability to sponsor the applicant.

  1. Knowledge of the English Language

In order to obtain a F-1 or J-1 visa, you must demonstrate at your consular interview that you have at least a basic command of the English language to be able to effectively participate in your student visa or trainee visa program.

Please note: You will need to be able to speak for yourself at the time of your interview. You will not be allowed to bring a parent, relative, or anyone else to speak for you at your interview.

  1. Explain how your program of study will relate to your future career in your home country

At the time of your interview you must be prepared to explain to the consular officer how your chosen program of study or training relates to your future career in your home country. For example, if you have chosen to study hospitality management in the United States, you may wish to explain to the officer that you plan to work in the hospitality industry in your home country, and your US degree in hospitality management will help you be an attractive candidate for employers in your home country.

This will increase your chances of success at the time of your interview.

  1. Be clear and concise

Remember that you only have a limited amount of time to speak to the consular officer and show that you qualify for the visa. All of your answers to the officer must be clear and concise. Answer exactly what the officer is asking, nothing less nothing more.

  1. Supplementary documents

Do not bring voluminous documents to your interview. Be organized and bring only documents that are necessary for your interview.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we discuss an important topic relating to family-based immigration: how can I immigrate my parent to the United States?

How do you immigrate a parent to the United States?

You must be a United States citizen (over 21 years of age) to immigrate your parent to the United States. The process of immigrating your parent to the United States depends on where your parent is residing at the time of filing.

Adjustment of Status

The most common scenario is where your parent has entered the United States on a non-immigrant visa for a non-immigrant purpose (such as visiting the United States) and several months later a decision is made to adjust the parent’s status to permanent residence. In this scenario, the appropriate process to immigrate the parent to the United States is through a process known as adjustment of status to permanent residence.

During this process, the United States citizen child will file a petition with USCIS called Form I-130 to immigrate their parent to the United States as well as Form I-864 Affidavit of Support. The United States citizen child must sign Form I-864 Affidavit of Support to prove they have the financial ability to provide for their parent until the parent becomes a US citizen. If the United States citizen child cannot prove financial ability, a joint sponsor will be needed who can prove their financial ability. At the same time, the parent will file Form I-485 with USCIS to change their status to that of permanent residence. In addition, the parent may choose to apply for employment authorization and a travel permit by filing Forms I-765 and I-131, in order to work and travel internationally while the green card application is in process.

Once these petitions are filed with USCIS, the parent can wait in the United States until the green card process is completed. The process is considered complete once the parent is approved following the green card interview.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we bring Polish citizens an exciting new update regarding the Visa Waiver Program.

What’s happening?

The Department of Homeland Security recently announced the addition of Poland, as a country eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program.

What is the Visa Waiver Program?

The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens or nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes without having to apply for a tourist visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. The period of time that a traveler may remain in the United States under the Visa Waiver Program is 90 days or less.

How does it work?

Citizens of countries participating in the Visa Waiver program may travel to the United States without a visa by using their passports and an approved ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) form that can be completed on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website in a matter of minutes.

Poland Joins Visa Waiver Program 

Beginning November 11, 2019, Polish citizens may travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. This means that as a Polish citizen or national, you will not need to apply for a visa in order to enter the United States as a tourist or for select business purposes.

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Welcome back to Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this post, we discuss the status of the Presidential Proclamation signed by President Trump on October 4, 2019, that sought to suspend the entry of immigrants who would financially burden the United States health care system.

Firstly, let’s discuss what this Presidential Proclamation is about.

Effective November 3rd, the Presidential Proclamation required persons seeking to immigrate to the United States to provide proof, within 30 days of their entry to the United States, of approved health care coverage, or adequate financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.

Immigrant applicants who failed to provide such evidence would be considered a financial burden on the U.S. healthcare system and would be inadmissible to the United States.

More on the Proclamation here.

What’s happened?

In response to a lawsuit filed by seven U.S. Citizens and a nonprofit organization, on Sunday November 2, 2019, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon issued a temporary restraining order blocking the President’s Proclamation from going into effect as planned on November 3rd.  Judge Simon’s order applies nationwide meaning that the government cannot enforce any parts of the proclamation until the court reaches a decision on the merits of the case.

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Welcome back to Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we cover a new policy update handed down by USCIS that affects children of U.S. service members and government employees stationed abroad.

The new policy update states that certain children of U.S. government employees and U.S. armed forces members, employed or stationed outside the United States, will not be considered to be “residing in the United States” for purposes of acquiring citizenship under INA 320 beginning October 29, 2019.

In other words, some children of U.S. government workers and members of the U.S. armed forces stationed abroad will no longer be granted automatic citizenship. Instead, their parents will need to apply for their citizenship by filing Form N-600K Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 before the child’s 18th birthday.

Who does the Policy affect?

This policy applies to the following categories of children of U.S. government employees and U.S. armed forces members:

  • children of non-U.S. citizens adopted by U.S. citizen employees or service members;
  • children of non-U.S. citizen parents who become citizens after the child’s birth; and
  • children of U.S. citizens who do not meet residency requirements to transmit citizenship to their children at birth.

While these children will no longer obtain citizenship automatically, U.S. citizen parents residing outside the United States, with children who are not U.S. citizens, can still apply for their citizenship, by filing Form N-600K before the child’s 18th birthday.

Who does the Policy not affect?

The policy DOES NOT affect children who are citizens at birth or who have already acquired citizenship prior to October 29, 2019.

The Takeaway

This new policy does not take away the citizenship rights of children of U.S. service members and government employees stationed abroad, but rather makes it harder for these children to acquire citizenship by requiring parents to submit Form N-600K with supporting documentation. Previously, children who regularly resided outside the United States could acquire citizenship automatically.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses important visa bulletin updates.

F2A Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents is now current as of July 1, 2019 with the release of the July 2019 Visa Bulletin. That means that beginning July 1, 2019, spouses and minor children of green card holders can file for I-485 adjustment of status.

What does this mean for green card holders? If your spouse and children (under 21 and unmarried) are in lawful status and have already filed an I-130, they should be ready to file their I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status, starting July 1. If your spouse and children (under 21 and unmarried) are in lawful status in the US and you have not already filed an I-130, the I-130 and I-485 should be filed concurrently starting July 1. If your spouse and children (under 21 and unmarried) are overseas and they have an approved I-130, they should be ready to submit all necessary documents to the National Visa Center so an immigrant visa interview can be scheduled.

For more information about this new update please click here.

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