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Posts Tagged ‘adjustment of status’

Income for the USCIS comes largely from application and petition fees. If the fee is waived for certain applicants, it means higher fees for the others. There are certain individuals who cannot afford the application or petition fee. The USCIS has recognized this and developed Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, to assist the fee waiver request process.

Though the USCIS introduced Form I-912, they still continue receiving certain applicant-generated fee waiver requests (without Form I-912). The instructions that come along the Form have the principles that USCIS adopts while passing a decision on a fee waiver request, whether the request is through Form I-912 or via just an applicant’s written statement requesting a fee waiver. The instructions will guide the applicants on the process and the supporting documents that needs to be submitted. There are many avenues that are considered before coming to a final decision on fee waiver requests. The applicant’s income level or financial condition is reviewed.

Means-tested benefit is one that would have a say in the final decision for fee waivers. There are various acceptable means-tested benefits, and the kinds of acceptable evidence used to document the receipt of a means-tested benefit. This also will decide which family members will qualify for a fee waiver based upon the main applicant’s receipt of a means-tested benefit. If you are receiving a means-tested benefit and you have included strong proof along with your fee waiver request, the USCIS will generally approve your fee waiver request, and no other information is required.

At the time of filing your request, is your household income at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines? If you have included adequate proof that your household income is at or below 150 % , your fee waiver will generally be approved. Forms I-90, I-191, I-751, I-765, I-817, I-821, I-881, N-300, N-336, N-400, N-470, N-565, N-600, N-600K are general fee waivers.

Battered spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident or US Citizen, or having Temporary Protected can get Humanitarian Fee Waivers. VAWA self-petitioners or a foreign national who has or is requesting a T visa or U visa can also claim waivers under the humanitarian fee waiver. This also includes filings not otherwise eligible for a fee waiver or qualifying only for a conditional fee waiver such as Forms I-212, I-485, I-539, and I-601.

There are Conditional Fee Waivers too. You can apply for a fee waiver if you are subject to certain conditions. Apart from these, an applicant who does not have to show he/she will not become a public charge for admission or adjustment of status purposes may request a waiver for Forms I-192, I-192, I-485 and I-601. The USCIS is sole authority in deciding whether to grant a fee waiver or not and they have determined that some applications and petitions should be designated as fee exempt.

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  1. What is the diversity visa lottery ?

The annual diversity visa lottery program gives permanent residence visas to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer will randomly select from the available applications for each geographic region. Since it is done this way, all applications have an equal chance of getting selected in this DV lottery program. No country eligible for the program will receive more than seven percent of the available visas for the particular year.

2. Who is eligible for the DV lottery ?

One eligibility criteria is that the applicant should have at least a high school education or its equivalent. Countries from which large number of immigrants move to the US are not eligible. If more than 50,000 persons in the family and employment based visa categories immigrated to the US in the last five years from a single country, this country will not qualify for the current year’s DV lottery.

3. Can persons not born in a qualifying country apply ?

If you are not from a qualifying country, you can apply if your spouse if from an eligible country. But here both the applicant and the spouse have to enter the US together if selected. All the children under 21 listed in the entrant’s application can accompany their parents during the US visit. You can also qualify through the country of birth of either of your parents as long as neither of your parents was a resident of an ineligible country at the time of your birth.

4. Is every applicant limited to only entry for the DV lottery program?

Ensure that you submit only one application. Individuals will be disqualified if they submit more than one application. Whereas, a husband and wife can each submit one application if each meet the eligibility requirements for the DV lottery program.

5. Should i submit my own entry or can someone act on my behalf?

You may prepare and submit yourself or have someone submit the entry for you.

6. What about the signature on the application and photographs?

Signatures are not required on the DV lottery Form. However, recent and individual photographs of you, your spouse and all children under 21 years of age are required. Here note that you should not submit family or group photographs. If photographs do not meet the specifications, it will be automatically rejected.

7.How will the winners be selected?

All the applications received will be given separate numbers at the Kentucky Consular Center. Then a computer will randomly select from the available applications for each geographic region. Since it is done this way, all applications have an equal chance of getting selected in this DV lottery program. Selected applicants will be notified by post. This letter will have instructions for the visa application process. The Kentucky Consular Center will send appointment letters to the winners four to six weeks before the interview with the US consular officers overseas.

8. Can winners adjust their status ?

Selected individuals of the diversity visa lottery who are physically present in the United States may apply for adjustment of status to permanent resident and it has to be filed with the USCIS.

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If you are in the US in a legal status and qualify to apply for a green card based on being sponsored by an employer or family member or holding asylee or refugee status, you are required to file Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident. This form has to be filed with the USCIS.

Who can apply?

To be eligible for filing this form, you should currently be in the US and have an approved immigrant petition. To put it in simple terms, adjustment of status is the process where a foreign national applies for a lawful permanent residence (green card) while being in the US. Unless you are applying in a visa category for which visa numbers are always available, you should have a “current” Priority Date in order to qualify. Priority date means the date you filed the immigrant petition. If you are applying because you are married to a US citizen, the parent or child will also be eligible to file this form to adjust status at the same time the immigrant petition is filed.

If you were in an asylee or refugee status for one year or more, you are eligible to adjust status to a green card holder. You cannot adjust status if you are outside the US. If you are abroad, you should apply for an immigrant visa at a US consulate there. Even Cuban nationals who want to change the date their permanent residence began in the US, also have to file Form I- 485.

Form I-485 has to be filed with the appropriate supporting documents and the submission fees with the USCIS service center that has jurisdiction over your area. Persons who are 79 years of age or older need not pay the biometric fee. There is no fee if you are filing this form based on being admitted to the US as a refugee. After reviewing your application, if it is rejected, the USCIS will inform you through a letter that will have the details as to why the application was rejected.

It is important to remember that if you are not in a legal status in the US, the process to remove you will start as soon as your application is rejected. So after your application is rejected, you can have an immigration judge review the rejection of your application during removal proceedings. Under such instances, immigration officials have to justify their decision and prove that the information on your I- 485 application were false and that your application was rejected for a reason. Even after this review, if the judge decides to remove you from the country, you can further appeal this decision. You have 33 days for the appeal after the immigration judge passed the judgment to get you removed from the country. Your appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals after your appeal form and the required fee are processed.

 

 

 

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USCIS announced that it is now issuing employment and travel authorization on a single card for certain applicants filing an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, Form I-485. This new card represents a significant improvement from the current practice of issuing paper Advance Parole documents.

The card looks similar to the current Employment Authorization Document (EAD) but will include text that reads, “Serves as I-512 Advance Parole.” A card with this text will serve as both an employment authorization and Advance Parole document. The new card is also more secure and more durable than the current paper Advance Parole document.

An applicant may receive this card when he or she files an Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-765, and an Application for Travel Document, Form I-131, concurrently with or after filing Form I-485. USCIS will continue to issue separate EAD and Advance Parole documents as warranted. Employers may accept the new card as a List A document when completing the Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9.

As with the current Advance Parole document, obtaining a combined Advance Parole and employment authorization card allows an applicant for adjustment of status to travel abroad and return to the U.S. without abandoning the pending adjustment application. Upon returning to the U.S., the individual who travels with the card must present the card to request parole through the port-of-entry. The decision to parole the individual is made at the port-of-entry. Individuals who have been unlawfully present in the U.S. and subsequently depart and seek re-entry through a grant of parole may be inadmissible and ineligible to adjust their status.

Source : http://www.uscis.gov

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You can get a green card by participating in the DV lottery (Diversity Visa) program. Having a green card gives you legal residence status in the US and as a green card holder, you can enter, work and live permanently in the US.

Green card lottery program :

The USA green card lottery program is conducted every year and provides around 50,000 green cards to applicants who are selected randomly. Applicants are required to meet simple, but strict eligibility requirements. All countries are not eligible to participate. Therefore, the first eligibility criteria is that you should be from a qualifying country. The eligibility country will normally be the same as your country of birth and is not related to where you reside. Other significant eligibility criteria is that the applicant should have at least a high school education or its equivalent.

So how do you know if your country is eligible? Countries from which large number of immigrants move to the US are not eligible. In case more than 50,000 persons from your country immigrated to the US in the family and employment based visa categories in the last five years , then your country will not qualify for the current year’s USA green card lottery program. If you meet the eligibility requirements, ensure that you submit only one application. You will be disqualified if you submit more than one application. However, a husband and wife can each submit one application if each meet the eligibility requirements for the USA green card lottery program.

If you are not from a qualifying country, you can apply if your spouse is from an eligible country. But here both the applicant and the spouse have to come to the US together if selected. All the children under 21 years of age, listed in the entrant’s application can accompany their parents during the US visit. Additionally, you can also qualify through the country of birth of either of your parents as long as neither of your parents was a resident of an ineligible country at the time of your birth.

The selection process is pretty simple. All the applications received at the Kentucky Consular Center will be given separate numbers. Then a computer will randomly select from the available applications and for each geographic region. All applications submitted have an equal chance of getting selected in this DV lottery program since it is done this way. All the selected applicants will be notified by post. This notification will have instructions for the visa application process. The Kentucky Consular Center will send appointment letters to those selected four to six weeks before the interview with the US consular officers overseas. These selected applicants will have to pay all diversity and immigrant visa fees in person at the US embassy or Consulate at the time of visa application.

All those who have applied will be able to check the status of their application to know if they have succeeded in the green card lottery program. Successful applicants can apply for adjustment of status for permanent residence. Such applications have to to filed with the USCIS.

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You can become a permanent resident of the US through a job or offer of employment. In certain situations, a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor is required showing that there are not enough U.S. workers who can or able, willing, qualified and available in that particular geographic area where the immigrant who needs the green card is to be employed. Also it should show that no American workers are displaced by such new workers. In specific cases, highly skilled workers with extraordinary ability in certain professions, and investors or entrepreneurs are given permission to immigrate to the US through various immigrant categories. Whichever the category is, it is a multi stepped process involves.

Employer sponsorship :

You can become a permanent resident (green card holder) on a offer of permanent employment by a US employer. In most case, it needs an employer to get labor certification and the US employer has to file form I-140, Immigrant petition for Alien worker.

After getting approved of Labor Certification, all the domestic employees and unskilled workers have to wait for a significant period before they can apply for a Green Card because only a limited number of visas are available under this category each year. After this petition gets approved, the USCIS will send a notice of approval to the applicant and then send the approval notice to the National Visa Center. This petition will remain in the visa center till an immigration visa number becomes available.

After the applicant gets an immigrant visa number, he/she have to get permission to live and work permanently in the U.S through conditional permanent residence. When a visa number becomes available and if the applicant is in the U.S., he/she can apply to adjust your status to a lawful permanent resident by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with the USCIS.

What if the applicant is outside the US ? In such cases, when an immigrant visa number becomes available, he/she will complete the process and get a visa number at U.S. Consulate in his/her country. The American consulate or embassy will give all the information the applicant needs to complete the processing. Additionally, the applicant will be required to submit certain supporting documents and additional fees. Before the applicant gets the visa, he/she (regardless of age) must undergo a medical examination. This examination will be done by a doctor designated by the consular officer, if you are outside the U.S. If you are in the US and filing for adjustment of status, it will be designated by the USCIS. In addition to the visa fees, you should bear all the costs involved in the examination.

If there are more eligible applicants in a category than the prescribed number, the category will be considered oversubscribed. In such cases, visas will be issued in the chronological order in which the petitions were filed till the prescribed numerical limit is reached for the particular category. The applicant’s priority date is the filing date of a petition. Immigrant visas will not be issued until an applicant’s priority date is reached. In case of heavily oversubscribed categories, there will be a waiting period of several years before a priority date is reached.

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All the DV lottery applications received will be separately numbered at the Kentucky Consular Center. A computer will randomly select from the available entries for each geographic region. All the green card lottery applications have an equal chance of getting selected in this DV lottery program. Then winners will be notified by post. This letter will have instructions for the visa application process. The Kentucky Consular Center will send appointment letters to the winners four to six weeks before the interview with the US consular officers overseas. The selected applicants will have to pay all diversity and immigrant visa fees in person at the US embassy or Consulate at the time of visa application.

Though only winners will be notified, all applicants will be able to check the status of their application to know if they have succeeded in the green card free lottery program. Selected applicants can apply for adjustment of status for permanent residence. The application has to to submitted to the USCIS.

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