Increased USCIS filing fees as of December 23, 2016

Well unfortunately, the USCIS has increased their filing fees.

IMMIGRATION BENEFIT                                                                             New Fee    Old Fee

G–1041 Genealogy Index Search Request 65 20
G–1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Microfilm) 65 20
G–1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Textual Record) 65 35
I–90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card 455 365
I–102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document 445 330
I–129/129CW Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker 460 325
I–129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) 535 340
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative 535 420
I-131/I-131A Application for Travel Document 575 360
I–140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker 700 580
I-191 Application for Relief Under Former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 930 585
I-192 Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant 585/9301 585
I-193 Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa 585 585
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal 930 585
I–290B Notice of Appeal or Motion 675 630
I–360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant 435 405
I–485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status 1,140 985
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years) 750 635
I–526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur 3,675 1,500
I–539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status 370 290
I–600/600A Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative/Application for Advance Petition Processing of Orphan Petition 775 720
I-601 Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability 930 585
I–601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver 630 585
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (Under Section 212(e) of the INA, as Amended) 930 585
I–687 Application for Status as a Temporary Resident under Section 245A
of the Immigration and Nationality Act
1,130 1,130
I–690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility 715 200
I–694 Notice of Appeal of Decision 890 755
I–698 Application to Adjust Status From Temporary to Permanent Resident
(Under Section 245A of the INA)
1,670 1,020
I–751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence 595 505
I–765 Application for Employment Authorization 410 380
I-800/800A Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative/Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country 775 720
I–800A Supp. 3 Request for Action on Approved Form I–800A 385 360
I–817 Application for Family Unity Benefits 600 435
I–824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition 465 405
I–829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions 3,750 3,750
I–910 Application for Civil Surgeon Designation 785 615
I–924 Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant
Investor Program
17,795 6,230
I–924A Annual Certification of Regional Center 3,035 0
I–929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U–1 Nonimmigrant 230 215
N–300 Application to File Declaration of Intention 270 250
N–336 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings 700 650
N–400 Application for Naturalization2 640 595
N–470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes 355 330
N–565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document 555 345
N–600/N–600K Application for Certificate of Citizenship 1,170 600/5503
USCIS Immigrant Fee 220 165
Biometric Services Fee 85 85

How to re-enter the USA if you have lost your Greencard while abroad (or I-551 Stamp has expired)

Should you require to travel back to the US and you don’t have your valid greencard you may be eligible to apply for a Boarding Foil. Please find information regarding the boarding foil below:

If your green card has been lost, stolen, expired or you never received your Alien Registration Receipt Card (“green card”), you may be able to obtain a boarding foil. This document is like a U.S. visa and is valid for 1 entry for 1 month, this will authorize a transportation line to carry you to the United States without penalty.

To issue a boarding foil, a U.S. Consular Officer must be satisfied that you hold legal permanent resident status in the United States. A personal interview is required.

You will need to present the following at your interview:

• Evidence of your identity (passport, photo ID)
• Your airplane tickets (the one showing your departure date from the U.S.)
• Evidence of your U.S. legal resident status (e.g. passport showing admission to the United States as an immigrant)
• Evidence that you were in the United States within the last 12 months
• Copy of your report to the police of the card’s loss/theft or detailed explanation as to why you do not have your card
• 1 recent passport-style photograph

Please be advised that the US Consulate Abroad may need several days in order to confirm your LPR status depending on the information you are able to present. Processing time will depend on the circumstances of your case and the amount of information and evidence you provide.

If you believe you meet the criteria for being issued a boarding foil, you need to e-mail support-australia@ustraveldocs.com to request an appointment date to lodge your application and don’t forget to advise them of the date that you hope to depart for the United States in your request.

https://plus.google.com/103318744997171038975/posts/3XX6DnTxqyt

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ylt5mFFQ-M

A great tool for Australians seeking US Citizenship

Besides the “Civics Test”, the next biggest hurdle I hear from potential US Citizenship Applicants is the travel history requirement.  Well, for Australians, I have discovered a great tool to assist in keeping track of your travel.  Check out:  https://www.border.gov.au/Forms/Documents/1359.pdf

It will give you a report of all your previous travel and you can use that information for your N-400 petition.

What is gaining permanent residence through Registration?

I recently had a client that qualified for Permanent Residency though a little used process called Registration.  If you are looking at form I-485 (https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-485.pdf), in Part 2., it would require you to check box number “G.”.  “I have continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 1972″.  I decided to write this blog as very few people (including our interviewing USCIS officer) knew very little about the practical application of this process.

For my client, she had been moved to the USA as a newborn infant (interestingly using a Baptismal Certificate) from abroad in the 1950’s, and only recently discovered she was not a US Citizen.  Although she potentially qualified for permanent residency through her spouse or adult children, due to some other issues, we decided it would be cheaper and less of a headache to proceed with Residency as the grounds to Adjust Status.

So here is what you need to know:

You must prove the entry to the U.S. prior to 1972.  If you are from Canada, a statement from the applicant explaining the entry is sufficient.  All other countries require further proof (flight itinerary, replacement I-94 etc).  Once you have proven entry prior to 1972, you then need to prove that the applicant has remained in the USA all of that time with as many documents as you can find.  For this case, I used Social Security statements, birth certificates of children, marriage certificates, statements from friends, utility bills, home mortgages, tax returns and school report cards from the 1970’s.  Thankfully this client kept a lot of documents so it made my job relatively straight forward.

So..  If you have been in the USA since prior to 1972, you entered lawfully and have remained in the USA during the entire time, this process could be very helpful for you.  You save on the typical I-130 or I-140 filing fee, the visa is immediately available and its a relatively painless process.  As there is so little information on this process, I would recommend you hiring an attorney familiar with this process.

As a side note: For those groups interested in Immigration Reform, I am surprised they have not lobbied to move the Registration Date up (from 1972 to 1992), allowing a path for Lawful Residence and potentially citizenship for a much wider group of people.

 

Vaccination & Medical Examination Requirements

Per United States’ immigration law, all incoming immigrants are required to have updated vaccinations as well as a medical examination. One of the last steps in the immigration process is an interview with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office closest to you. A copy of the medical examination, Form I-693, which will include a list of all previously obtained and administered vaccinations, should be taken with you to the USCIS interview.

Required vaccinations are listed below:

  • Mumps
  • Measles
  • Rubella
  • Polio
  • Tetanus and Diphtheria Toxoids
  • Pertussis
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B
  • Hepatitis B
  • Any other vaccine-preventable diseases recommended by the Advisory Committee for Immunization

If you are applying for an Adjustment of Status (AOS) within the United States, currently the time lapse between filing your petition and having an interview with USCIS is around 3-4 months. If you are outside of the U.S. and applying for Consular processing (I-130 IV) the time lapse between filing your petition and the interview will vary country to country and is determined by the following:

  • The demand for and supply of immigrant visas.
  • The per-country visa limitations.
  • The number of visas allocated for your preference category.

Our office can give you an estimate of the number of months you’re looking at based on the country you’re in and time of filing. (https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplayInit.do) Use this timeline to determine when you should go see an approved civil surgeon for the examination. You can always submit Form I-693 with your petition, however, if there are any unforeseen delays, and your case extends beyond one year, you will have to obtain another one. Form I-693 will expire after one year. Because of this, our office recommends having the medical examination done as close to your interview date as possible.

Medical evaluations should be obtained from a civil surgeon in the United States or, if you’re outside of the U.S., by an approved panel physician designated by the U.S. Department of State. Vaccinations can be obtained from the same civil surgeon that you receive the medical examination from or you may receive them from your primary healthcare provider. You should bear in mind, though, that only approved civil surgeon’s can sign off on Form I-693, meaning that you would then need to return to the approved civil surgeon for signature after all vaccinations have been administered.

Approved civil surgeons can be found by following the link below:

https://my.uscis.gov/findadoctor

There are many variables when it comes to what types of vaccinations you will need. If you decline a vaccination for an unapproved reason, it is likely that your petition may be denied. Please consult one of the approved civil surgeons or the links below if you have any concerns or questions regarding your circumstances.

Links to additional information regarding vaccinations and the medical evaluation are listed below.

http://www.cdc.gov/immigrantrefugeehealth/exams/ti/civil/technical-instructions-civil-surgeons.html

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/

https://www.uscis.gov/news/questions-and-answers/vaccination-requirements

SCOTUS To Rule On Obama’s Immigration Initiatives

Today the Supreme Court of the United States said they will rule on the constitutionality of immigration initiatives proposed by Obama back in 2015. News sources say this ruling could affect around 5 million undocumented immigrants potentially granting them lawful status and access to employment authorization.

Programs of note under the ruling include Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which is a similar program to the already implemented DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), and DACA itself. The initiative would grant expansion to the DACA program, allowing for status holders to stay for three years instead of the current two. It would also expand the eligibility requirements of the program to include more undocumented immigrants. 

SCOTUS will present their decision this summer.

For further reading on the history of these initiatives and the implications of SCOTUS’ ruling, follow the links below.

http://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction

https://www.ice.gov/daca

http://www.dhs.gov/immigration-action

http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4562013/pres-obama-asks-supreme-court-rule-immigration

 

When can you become a Citizen?

Every year before a Presidential Election, I get calls from clients asking when & how they can become citizens.  Assuming that you do not have a parent who is a US Citizen, the following applies with regards to “when” you can file.

1) If you gained permanent residency (your Greencard) through marriage to a US Citizen (filed an I-130), you can file for your Citizenship by filing an N-400. Technically you can file after you have been a permanent resident for 2 years and 9 months since you receive Permanent Resident status (Remember, in almost all marriage based petitions, you are required to remove the conditions, and this must be approved prior receiving Citizenship).

2) If you gained Permanent Residency any other way, you can file after being a permanent resident for five (5) years.

A side note: If you’ve had any criminal issues, or have previously claimed to be a US Citizen, it is very important that you discuss this with a competent Immigration Lawyer BEFORE filing.