** Contributions to this Column are made by Attorney Caroly Pedersen, Esq. of the American Immigration Law Center – Call 954-382-5378
IMMIGRATION NEWS & UPDATES
Studying For Your Naturalization Test? There’s A New App For That!
The USCIS announces a new mobile app available to study for your naturalization test “on the run”. Called “USCIS: Civics Test Study Tools.” The new app is now available on the iTunes and Google Play app stores and is available in both English and Spanish. In addition to helping prepare you for the civics test during your naturalization interview, the app has a review of past tests and a game to challenge your civics knowledge. You can access the new app, by visiting our website at: www.Immigratetoday.com and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter link.
Understanding How To Obtain Copies of Some Immigration Documents Under The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a Federal law which in part allows individuals to obtain copies of documentation contained in government files, including those related to Immigration matters. Under current technological advances, FOIA requests made to the USCIS can be made by email. However, it is important to understand that not all documents are available under FOIA, including requests to obtain duplicate approval notices or original documents submitted to the USCIS. Typically, documents which can be obtained are copies of Immigration case filings, including supporting documents. This is particularly important when an immigrant has lost a copy of a vital document such as an I-94 which was previously submitted to the USCIS as part of an Immigration application. To make an Email FOIA request to the USCIS Download and complete form G-639 Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Request
Then scan and email to the Department of Homeland Security at:
You can get a link to the Foia resources pages to file a Freedom of Information request by visiting our website at: www.Immigratetoday.com and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter link.
THIS WEEK’S IMMIGRATION QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Question: I have been married to my husband since February 2014. I have received my two years green card which will be expired in August 2017. How soon will I be able to apply for my American citizenship.
Answer: Since you obtained your conditional residency through marriage, you must apply for your Removal of Condition 90 days before expiration of your Green Card, so within the next several months. Once your permanent Residency is approved and you have been a U.S. Resident for 2 years and 9 months, as long as your husband has been a U.S. Citizen for at least 3 years and your husband are living together as a real married couple and have extensive documentation to prove your continuing marital relationship, you can apply for Early Naturalization in May of 2018.
Question: I got my Green Card in the U.S. in 2005 through my marriage to my U.S. Citizen wife but I never applied for citizenship. We had marriage issues and broke up in 2010 and I moved back to Colombia. I could not maintain going back and forth to the U.S., so I gave up my Green Card in exchange for an American tourist visa in 2011. We have a 12 year old daughter, so I come back and forth every year to see her. I’ve recently lost my job in Colombia and was thinking about moving back to America to be near my daughter. I’d like to know how to go about getting my old Green Card back or getting a new one through my daughter. Thanks.
Answer: Its important to know that once a U.S. Resident formally “relinquishes” (gives back) a Green Card at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, the officer usually requires that State Department form I-407 be signed, abandoning all rights to Residency. When this is done, all U.S. Residency status is lost and any desire to obtain Residency again requires a whole new application process. However, in order to qualify for U.S. Residency again, the immigrant must still have a legal basis for eligibility, for instance, being married to a U.S. Citizen, or being sponsored by a U.S. Citizen child, parent or sibling, since there is no way to apply solely on the basis of requesting the old Green Card status again.
In your case, since you are no longer married to a U.S. Citizen, you would need to have some other eligibility in order to apply for U.S. Residency again. You daughter can sponsor you once she turns age 21, but not before. You might want to consider some other type of visa to allow you to live and work in the U.S. like an E-2 investor visa. To qualify, you would need to make an investment in a new or existing business in the U.S. of approx $80K+. E-2 visas for Colombians can be issued for up to 5 years renewable. Let me know if you would like more information.
Question: I got my residency recently through marriage to my American wife. I have my dad still in Venezuela and the situation is really bad. I know that I can’t file to sponsor my dad to immigrate here until I get my American citizenship. But I am wondering if its possible for my American wife to do it? Is that possible?
Answer: Immigration regulations only allow U.S. Citizen children age 21 or older to file for their parents. A parent can be a biological parent by birth, or step-parent, as long as the step-parent relationship was established by the marriage of the step-parent the child’s biological parent before the child turned age 18. There is no category for “in-laws”, so unfortunately, your wife, even though she is a U.S. Citizen, cannot sponsor your father for his Residency