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U.S. Work Visa News and Articles - ACS Law Offices, Inc.

Yes, it is possible for your Green Card to expire before your request to become a naturalized U.S. citizen has received final approval. That’s not what you may want to hear, but it an unfortunate situation that has become more and more common.

It just doesn’t seem right. But, neither does the increasing number of people who accidentally drop their cell phones in a toilet.

Surprisingly the two problems share enough similarities that they are worthy of at least a cursory comparison.

  • Both situations happen accidentally.
  • Both situations create a lot of anxiety.
  • Neither situation is “the end of the world,” although they may feel like it.
  • Only one of the situations can be completely avoided. (Don’t take your cell phone into a bathroom!)

USCIS instructions for Green Card holders

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) instructions direct Green Card holders who wish to apply for U.S. Citizenship to do so “90 calendar days before you complete your permanent residence requirement.”

The problem isn’t you. It is the system. Ninety days may no longer be an adequate length of time to process your application for citizenship – even if you have been careful to follow instructions completely.

U.S. citizenship application backlog

For whatever reasons, the system has been unable to keep pace with the number of applications received.

  • In fiscal year 2010, some 710,544 applications for citizenship were received.
  • In fiscal year 2017, that number rose to 986,790. That’s an increase of 38.8%
  • In fiscal year 2010, some 676,054 applications were processed, leaving a backlog of 291,833 yet to be completed
  • In fiscal year 2017, that number rose to 799,483 an increase, but an increase of only 18.3% less than half the increase in applications.
  • As a result, there have been increasing backlogs at the end of every fiscal year since 2010 with the exception of 2013 and 2015.
  • The backlog alone at the end of Q2 2018 now stands at 753,325, 258% more than the backlog of 291,833 in fiscal 2010.

The bottom line is that, even though the USCIS has expanded several of its offices to help improve the process flow, the department currently cannot keep pace.

We cannot predict what the future will hold. However, if you are concerned that your Green Card may expire before your application for citizenship is approved, we may be able to help to eliminate your anxiety and even help move your application along more expeditiously.

Our ACS Immigration Attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience and expertise. We are available to review your personal situation, advise you on the best and right way to resolve your status, and guide you throughout the entire process to make your future in America secure.

Published in Immigration

Understanding the processing times for the EB-5 Investment Immigration Visa program can be confusing to even the most astute individuals. Before the entire process can be correctly understood, one must first understand the beginning of the process. That is, the time it takes to process the I-526 Form.

I-526 Form

The I-526 is the Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. It is a 13-page form with an additional 13 pages of instructions and is specifically for use by prospective EB-5 Investors. The date of receipt of the I-526 by the USCIS is also called the priority date.

This date is important because it determines the petitioner’s place in the processing queue, not only for approval of the I-526 but also for the approval and issuance of an actual visa. All processing times are calculated from the receipt date. In other words, an applicant’s priority status regardless of where he or she is in the process is always determined by the date of the receipt of the I-526.

If Investor A files his I-526 on 01 July 2018, and Investor B files her petition on 01 August 2018, Investor A will always be in line for an EB-5 visa in front of Investor B – even if the USCIS completes the processing of her I-526 first.

EB-5 Processing Time in 2018

The processing times published by the USCIS are an average of times from all USCIS offices. The times are based on the workload of cases that are pending. The average varies from time to time. Actual times may vary significantly.

The number of pending I-526 petitions at the close of the First Quarter of Fiscal 2018 was 24,627. The USCIS processed (approved and denied) a total of 3,044 petitions during that same period. If we were to assume that the service processes I-526 petitions at a steady rate, mathematically, a petition filed today would take eight quarters (24,627 / 3,044) – or 24 months to be approved.

The USCIS is now maintaining updates on their website in which they post current processing times based on their data, insights, and assumptions. Interestingly, their website projects I-526 processing times at 23.1 months, verifying our mathematical projection.

The current expected processing time is almost exactly twice the time processing took in 2014 when it took 11.6 months. However, in the First Quarter of Fiscal 2014, the USCIS had only 13,526 I-526 petitions awaiting approval, slightly more than half the number that has now been accumulated.

Having said that, we reiterate that these are averages – not actual processing times. Any number of variables can affect individual cases. Although some take close to 24 months, others, including some filed in 2017, have already been approved in 14 months or less.

The important takeaway for our readers is that the entire process begins at and is measured from the date of receipt of the I-526 at the USCIS. No one can say for certain how long any individual petition may take for approval. The most important step in the entire EB-5 visa approval process may be the very first.

The fastest way to obtain an EB-5 visa is to get your petition filed. Of course, it is important to be sure that your petition is complete and accurate. That is why we strongly recommend consulting with a highly-experienced Immigration Attorney even before filing the I-526. The more accurate and complete a petition is, the fewer questions will be raised and the easier it should flow through the approval process.

Our Immigration Attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience and expertise. We are available to review your situation and advise you on the best and right way to handle your specific situation and secure the best outcome for you and your family.

Published in EB-5 program
Wednesday, 20 June 2018 14:42

The Dilemma of Detaining Alien Children

There is an uproar across the United States over the fallout from the government’s Zero Tolerance policy on illegal immigration. The particular concern currently is the separation of children from accompanying adults who have been caught crossing the border illegally.

We are witnessing a classic example of the dilemma of any human government attempting to a) protect the welfare and security of its own citizens, while b) appearing to lack compassion on innocent victims of the rules and regulations enacted to protect the citizens. This dilemma always exists relative to any nations’ immigration policies. Since September 11, 2001, and the so-called ‘War on Terror,” the problem has been exacerbated as the State Department, the Justice Department, and the Department of Homeland Security have attempted to enforced existing legislation.

The conflict between compassion and protection is like an army fighting against itself in the fog. Everyone’s intentions are good but otherwise innocent people can become victims of the inability to keep legislation fair and compassionate or to keep compassion controlled.

Laws are made to protect the innocent from the guilty. While the system may work well most of the time, it is unreasonable to expect it to work the way it was intended to work all of the time. Some person or some small group of people may suffer unintended consequences of the system working on a broad scale.

Currently, compassion hearts ache for children of accompanying adults who attempt to enter the United States illegally. The U.S. is not opposed to immigrants or immigration. However, there is a process that must be followed to immigrate legally. Crossing a border other than at an official U.S. Border Station is illegal. Persons attempting to cross the border illegally are subject to potential prosecution. When they are arrested, they are separated from their children – which would happen if they were arrested for robbing a bank. The children are relocated to special facilities operated by the

Department of Health and Human Services while efforts are made to place the children in the home of a relative, foster care, or another suitable place.

Is this hard on the children? Of course, it is. Again, it is no different than what the government would do for the children of otherwise criminal parents. The alleged parents are breaking the law. The overarching factor in the case of the criminal act or illegal border entry is that it is not one or two children, it is hundreds, and even thousands of them.

On the other hand, there are innocents like Kate Steinle, who have become victims of those whom the government failed to detain and to ensure they did not return illegally again.

We agree that the matter is one that can cause a great deal of angst, even for those not directly involved who are simply trying to deal with it on the basis of principle, whether that principle is protection or compassion.

If you or anyone you know is planning to come to the United States, please contact an Immigration Attorney to understand the legal process and receive guidance on how to enter legally. We encourage our readers to avoid the dangers on both sides of the border by seeking legal counsel before coming to the border. Doing so will also ensure that your family stays together.

Our Immigration Attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience and expertise. We are available to review your situation and advise you on the best and right way to handle your specific situation and secure the best outcome for you and your family.

Published in Immigration
Thursday, 14 June 2018 09:35

Immigrating? Tell the Truth

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on June 8, 2018, that it is expanding its efforts to find, denaturalize, and deport “a few thousand cases” of immigrants who fraudulently obtained their Green Cards and, in some cases, applied for and became naturalized.

Immigrating? Tell the Truth

As the federal government continues its crackdown on illegal immigration, L. Francis Cissna, the Director of the USCIS, explained that the department would be adding several dozen attorneys and officers who will be focused on one particular group of illegal immigrants of which the general public is largely unaware.

Those people are a select group Green Card holders and naturalized citizens who used a specific, fraudulent act to outwit the government. It is the same technique that some continue to use to gain employment fraudulently.

This group is comprised of people who, having been ordered for deportation, reapplied successfully by using fake identities. Poultry processors in the Midwest have experienced this same tactic for job applicants who have been turned away. They return days or weeks later with a new identity. If they are discovered, they are not hired. Or, if hired then discovered, they are terminated. When it comes to those who have used this practice to immigrate, they can expect to be charged with felony fraud and imprisoned prior to deportation.

The USCIS has been aware of this activity for years, but this will be the first time they will have an entire department focused on finding the miscreants. It will take about six months to get the Los Angeles office up and running. Nonetheless, the agency already has a process in place “to get to the bottom of all these bad cases and start denaturalizing people who should not have been naturalized in the first place.”

Why are we sharing this information?

  1. Immigrants who have legally obtained their Green Cards or have become naturalized should not be concerned. The government has a relatively good idea who the perpetrators are. Director Cissna said, “The people who are going to be targeted by this - they know full well who they are because they were ordered removal under a different identity and they intentionally lied about it when they applied for citizenship later on.”
  2. Some undocumented immigrants in the U.S. may be tempted to secure legal immigration using fraudulent activities. We urge these people to contact us to help gain immigrant status legally. We may be able to assist you with gaining asylum so that you can obtain legal status and peace of mind.

Our Immigration Attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience and expertise. We are available to review your situation and advise you on the best and right way to resolve your tenuous status.

Published in Immigration
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