Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides an important update from the Department of State regarding immigrant visa processing following the cancellation of Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983, also known as “the Muslim travel ban.”
In this video we will talk about the new procedures for applicants who were previously affected by these Proclamations and what the immigrant visa application process will look like going forward now that these Proclamations have been rescinded.
Keep on watching to find out more.
On his first day in office, President Biden signed the Presidential Proclamation entitled, “Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States,” which rescinded the travel restrictions of Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983 also known as “the Muslim travel ban.” As you may recall, these Proclamations blocked the entry of certain foreign nationals from predominantly Muslim countries into the United States, including Burma, Eritrea, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela, and Yemen.
Biden’s new proclamation now makes it possible for these individuals to immediately proceed with visa processing as before the ban went into effect.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides a breaking news update: the government has officially ended the public charge rule.
How did this happen? What does this mean for you?
Keep on watching to find out more.
On March 9, 2021 the government announced that effective immediately it would be rescinding the Trump administration’s public charge rule, which was first put in place by former President Donald Trump in 2019. That rule is no longer in effect due to the Biden administration’s decision to no longer oppose the rule.
The government revealed its decision by way of a final rule published in the Federal Register that removes the 2019 public charge regulations as of March 9, 2021.
The Department of Homeland Security will now return to its previous policy of following the 1999 Interim Field Guidance to determine whether a person would be likely to become a public charge on the U.S. government. As before, petitioners are still required to submit Form I-864 Affidavit of Support and demonstrate that they meet the income requirement to sponsor their relative in the United States.
For its part, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has also said that it has stopped the immediate enforcement of the rule as a result of the government’s actions.
What does this decision mean for you?
The decision to rescind the public charge rule means that the government is no longer applying the public charge rule to adjustment of status applicants, immigrant visa petitions at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad, and applications for extension or change of nonimmigrant status.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick answers a hot topic that has been frequently asked by our followers: what are the top reasons for CR/IR-1 immigrant visa denials and what can you do about it.
Want to know more? Keep on watching for more information.
What is a CR-1/IR-1 visa?
A CR-1 or IR-1 visa is an immigrant visa for a spouse of a United States Citizen who is residing abroad. The term “CR” in CR-1 stands for “conditional resident” and is issued to foreign spouses who have been married for less than 2 years. By contrast the term “IR” in IR-1 stands for “immediate relative” and is issued to foreign spouses who have been married for more than 2 years. Those who receive a CR-1 visa will eventually receive a 2-year conditional green card after entering the United States, while those who receive an IR-1 visa will receive a 10-year green card (without condition).
The first step to apply for a CR-1/IR-1 visa is for the U.S. Citizen spouse to file a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the foreign spouse. This petition initiates the immigration process to the United States. Once Form I-130 is approved by USCIS, the petition is transferred to the National Visa Center for pre-processing. At the National Visa Center stage, the applicant must complete the immigrant visa application and provide civil documentation. After sending all required documents to the National Visa Center, the NVC will forward the case to the U.S. Embassy near the foreign spouse and the applicant will wait to be scheduled for an Embassy interview. The Embassy interview is often a make it or break moment for couples who must prove that they have a “bona fide” marriage to be approved for their visa.
What are the top reasons for CR/IR-1 denials?
#1 Not meeting the income requirement for the affidavit of support
The number one reason for spousal visa denials is failing to meet the income requirement for the affidavit of support. As part of the spousal visa application process, the U.S. Citizen spouse must sign the I-864 Affidavit of Support, which is a legally enforceable contract between the U.S. Citizen and the government wherein the U.S. Citizen must sign under penalty of perjury that they have the adequate means to financial support the alien and the alien will not rely on the U.S. government for financial support.
What is the income requirement?
The minimum amount that the U.S. Citizen must make depends on his or her household size. In general, petitioners must make at least 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. However, exceptions exist for petitioners who are on active duty in the U.S. armed forces. Petitioners who do not satisfy the income requirement must apply with a joint sponsor, who must also sign a separate I-864 Affidavit of Support and provide evidence of financial ability. If the petitioner and joint sponsor do not qualify, the spousal visa application will be denied.
To prevent this situation from happening petitioners must make sure well in advance of filing the I-130 application, that they either meet the income requirement, or that they can obtain a joint sponsor who is willing and able to sign the affidavit of support and provide the necessary documentation.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick answers your frequently asked questions relating to K-1 visas, the National Visa Center, and consular visa processing during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
Want to know more? Keep on watching for more information.
Your Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I contact the National Visa Center?
A: Once your Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative has been approved, your case will be transferred to the National Visa Center for further processing. Once pre-processing has been completed, your case will be forwarded to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy near you. At the NVC stage, you will be asked to provide additional supporting documentation including the affidavit of support, Form DS-260 Immigrant Visa Electronic Application, and other important documents.
To ensure all of your supporting documentation has been received it is very important to maintain contact with the National Visa Center.
Q: Will immigration consider my priority date or approval date for interview?
A: For family-sponsored immigrants, the priority date is the date that the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, or in certain instances the Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, is properly filed with USCIS.
Depending on the type of relationship you have to the U.S. petitioner, you may need to reference your priority date to determine when an immigrant visa (or green card) will become available to you.
Immigrant visas for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are unlimited, so they are always available. Immediate relatives include:
The spouses of U.S. citizens;
The children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of U.S. citizens;
The parents of U.S. citizens at least 21 years old; and
Widows or widowers of U.S. citizens if the U.S. citizen filed a petition before they died, or if the widow(er) files a petition within two years of the citizen’s death.
The suspension applies to individuals who, as of April 23, are:
(1) outside of the United States
(2) do not have an immigrant visa
(3) do not have official travel documents other than visas and
(4) are not otherwise exempted from the Proclamation.
Who will enforce the Executive Order?
The President’s executive order will be enforced by U.S. Consulates worldwide beginning 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on April 23, 2020. Consular officials will have the discretion to determine whether an immigrant is eligible to receive a visa and whether they are exempt from the order.
Who is exempt from the Executive Order (not impacted)?
Lawful Permanent Residents of the U.S.;
Aliens who are the spouses of U.S. Citizens;
Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and any spouse and child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces;
Aliens under 21 years of age who are children of United States Citizens and prospective adoptees;
Aliens seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional;
Aliens seeking to enter the U.S. to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19;
Any spouse any unmarried child under 21 years of age of any such alien who is accompanying or following to join the alien;
Any alien applying for a visa pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
Aliens whose entry furthers important United States law enforcement objectives;
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the brand-new Form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency that must be filed with all applications for adjustment of status postmarked on or after February 24, 2020, as a result of the new public charge rule that became effective on this date.
Who Must File Form I-944?
All applicants filing for adjustment of status on or after February 24, 2020, must file Form I-944 with their application for adjustment of status.
What is on Form I-944?
This video explains Form I-944 in detail including what information appears on this new Form and how to complete the information on this Form.
Please keep in mind that this video is for informational purposes only and does not substitute the preparation or advice of an attorney. To ensure that you have completed the Form correctly you should retain the assistance of an experienced attorney.
Applicants must also bear in mind that the new public charge rule has introduced many new changes that require applicants to follow new procedures such as filing only the latest editions of Forms which are necessary to apply for adjustment of status. The latest editions of these Forms are available on the USCIS website.
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?
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.
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.
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 discuss a little-known law called LIFE Act 245(i) which allows certain undocumented immigrants to apply for permanent residence.
Want to learn more? Keep on watching.
What is 245(i)?
Section 245(i) is a provision of the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE) which allows certain persons, who entered the United States without inspection (unlawfully), or otherwise violated their status, to apply for adjustment of status in the United States, if they pay a $1,000 penalty.
To be eligible, the applicant must have an immigrant visa immediately available. Immigrant visas are immediately available for spouses of U.S. Citizens, unmarried children under 21 years of age of a U.S. Citizen, and parents of U.S. Citizens (if the U.S. Citizen is 21 years of age or older).
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we discuss a frequently asked question: can you travel with a pending I-485 Adjustment of Status application?
Generally, anytime a person has a pending application with USCIS like a visa extension or change of status petition, that person cannot depart the United States until that petition is approved.
In this video however we will focus specifically on applicants who have a pending I-485 adjustment of status application based on family or employment sponsorship.
With regard to employment-based adjustment of status applicants, this category of applicants is typically present in the United states on a valid non-immigrant visa classification such as H1B, L1, etc. and are simply waiting for their I-485 green card petition to be adjudicated.
With respect to H1B and L1 visa holders ONLY, these individuals can depart the United States on their H1B or L1 visa classification and return, despite having a pending I-485 application.