The marriage green card was successfully passed. Thank you very much for your help.

Marriage green card

“The marriage green card was successfully passed. Thank you very much for your help. I am also a graduate from a law school in the U.S. Considering that I am not specialized in immigration law; I decided to find a lawyer to help. In the beginning, I also consulted several lawyers. In contrast, I chose lawyer Lu. The main reason for choosing lawyer Lu is Lu is more professional in immigration. I think my case is still a bit complicated. Find a lawyer to know how to deal with it. Once again, thank you, Ms. Lu for your help, and hope that everyone can successfully pass and realize their American dream.”  -By Linda, January 18, 2020

Ms. Lu has a very good attitude towards people. You feel very close to her and very honest.

Family-based immigration

“Ms. Lu has a very good attitude towards immigration  attorney. You feel very close to her and very honest. The most important thing is that she is very professional and the charges are fair. Before, I helped my daughter to apply for immigration. I wanted to save money so I just apply for it by myself. However, I filled out the form incorrectly. I wasted more than one thousand application fee and one year, just got denied. Later, my friend introduced me to attorney Lu. My application got approved very smoothly with the help of Ms. Lu. After that, all the immigration applications of my family (myself, my parents, my daughter’s citizenship) have been approved smoothly with the help of Ms. Lu. Thank you very much, Ms. Lu”-By Lily, October 9, 2019

USCIS’s New Policy Memo on TPS

September 8, 2020

USCIS New Policy Memo on TPS
On August 31, 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a Policy Memorandum regarding TPS and authorized travel using a valid DHS-issued travel document (Advance Parole).

According to the USCIS’s new policy memo on TPS, TPS beneficiaries who travel abroad using an Advance Parole issued based on their TPS status generally will retain the same immigration status on their return that they had at the time of departure. This travel does not satisfy the “inspected and admitted or paroled” eligibility requirement for obtaining adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.

The new policy memo will only apply prospectively to TPS recipients who departed and returned to the United States on or after August 20, 2020.

Let’s take an example to illustrate the effect of this new policy memo on TPS.

Example:

Amber is a foreign national of Honduras. She entered the United States on January 1, 2019 for the first time without inspection.  On June 1, 2019, she was granted TPS for 18 months. Later, she obtained an Advance Parole based on her TPS. The Advance Parole is valid through November 30, 2020. She traveled abroad on August 21, 2020 and re-entered the United States with the Advance Parole on September 1, 2020. Amber’s husband is a U.S. citizen.

Without the new policy memo, as the spouse of a U.S. citizen, Amber is eligible to apply for marriage-based green card through adjustment of status inside the U.S. because her entry to the U.S. on September 1, 2020 was considered as “inspected and admitted or paroled”.  

Under the new policy memo, Amber is not eligible to adjust status to green card inside the United States because her entry to the U.S. on September 1, 2020 was not considered as “inspected and admitted or paroled”.  

Nevertheless, Amber’s unlawful presence in the U.S. is less than 180 days (from January 1, 2019 to May 31, 2019), therefore she should be able to obtain a green card by consular processing. However, through consular processing, she must leave the U.S. and apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate.

What is TPS?

TPS is an abbreviation of Temporary Protected Status.  The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS if conditions in the country meet statutory requirements regarding ongoing armed conflict, natural disasters (including epidemics), or other extraordinary and temporary conditions in the country that temporarily prevent its nationals from returning safely.

USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of a designated country, and eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country and are already in the United States. Individuals who are granted TPS can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD), not removable from the United States and may be granted travel authorization (Advance Parole).

Countries Currently Designated for TPS

  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • South Sudan
  • Syria
  • Yemen

Can I file a second B2 extension application during the COVID-19?

August 28, 2020

Second B2 Extension during the COVID-19

When COVID-19 hit the United States, and safer at home orders were issued by the states and local governments, the initial thinking was that everything would reopen by the Fourth of July. Of course, that did not happen.

Therefore, if you were in the United States on a travel visa, you probably submitted an application to extend your B2 nonimmigrant visa and planned to return to your home country before it ever expired. Unfortunately, Summer 2020 has come and gone with few changes to restrictions. Many schools have gone remote, and businesses and transportation services are still highly controlled.

Because it appears that the nationwide constraints will continue through the Fall of 2020, and your home country may be hesitant to allow you to come home for those same pandemic-related reasons, you might have to file a second B2 extension application. But will you be able to receive this second B2 extension from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)?

1. B2 Nonimmigrant Tourist Visa

Having B2 status means that a foreigner is allowed to be in the United States for a limited amount of time on a nonimmigrant tourist visa. Generally, such tourist entries are valid for six months, at which time the holder of the B2 should be prepared to return to their home country.

Unlike the B1 visa that is used for purposes of business, the B2 status is for the purposes of pleasure. Foreigners may use their B2 nonimmigrant visa to go on vacation in the U.S., to visit American friends and family, or to receive treatment from a U.S. medical professional.

If someone finds that they will need to remain in the United States for longer than half a year, they may need to file for a B2 extension. Currently, many individuals are unable to return to their home country when their tourist visa expires because of reasons related to the coronavirus. If this is the case, they have had to obtain a B2 extension from the USCIS.

A foreign tourist who is present in America on a nonimmigrant visa needs to file a Form I-539 to extend their B2 beyond the initial six month period. This should be done before the expiration of their I-94.

If a B2 tourist is still unable to return to their home country because of COVID-19, and their first extension is about to expire, they may need to apply for a second B2 extension.

2. Chances of Obtaining a Second B2 Extension during the COVID-19

The chances of achieving a second B2 extension from the USCIS depend on the current status of the first nonimmigrant visa extension. Moreover, when the reasons for needing a second extension of the B2 are related to COVID-19, a different standard of analysis and consideration may be applied by the USCIS.

If First B2 Extension Still Pending with the USCIS

If a foreigner was present in the United States in B2 status when the coronavirus pandemic impacted life in America, they may have filed for an extension of their nonimmigrant visa with the USCIS. If this first B2 extension application is still pending with the USCIS, they can still file for a second B2 extension before the requested extension date listed on their first application, so long as they meet other requirements of the Form I-539.

If First B2 Extension Has Been Approved by the USCIS

If someone who is present in the United States on a B2 nonimmigrant visa has been fortunate enough to have gotten their first extension approved, the visiting foreigner can file a second B2 extension. This should be done before the expiration date for their first application, as long as they meet other requirements of Form I-539. This date appears on their new I-94 which is indicated on their I-797 approval notice for their first B2 extension application.

If First B2 Extension Denied by the USCIS

Unfortunately if a visiting foreigner has already applied to the USCIS for a first B2 extension, and it was denied, they will have less of a chance of getting this nonimmigrant visa extended. Persons with a denied first B2 extension application cannot file a second B2 extension unless their I-94 is still valid when filing the second application.

3. Extending Your B2 Tourist Visa with the USCIS a Second Time

The process for obtaining a second extension of a B2 nonimmigrant visa from the USCIS is substantially the same as the first time you applied for your extended tourist visa. The process begins with completing the Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

Many B2 holders are able to file their I-539 form online, as long as they meet the following criteria:

  • Filing as an individual;
  • Without co-applicants; and
  • Will not require legal or accredited representation at any time in the request

Otherwise, if you need to obtain a second extension of your B2 tourist visa for yourself and others, or if you would prefer to have an immigration law attorney file the paperwork for you, you will need to submit the Form I-539 by mail.

A written statement should accompany the Form I-539, because you will need to justify the reason why you are asking the USCIS to extend your B2 tourist visa a second time. For example, you might state that your country is not currently allowing incoming travel from outside its borders because of COVID-19.

Moreover, you might consider attaching any articles that you find online that support your assertion that you cannot return to your home country at this time, because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, if you have airplane tickets that you will now need to change, you might supply a copy of the old tickets to the USCIS to show that you fully intend to exit the United States as soon as travel restrictions are lifted.

The important thing is to demonstrate to the USCIS that you are acting in good faith, while obeying any new regulations established because of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the filing fee, you should also provide proof of financial independence, as well as a copy of your I-94 record.

Most of all, do not worry. We will all get through this unprecedented time in society. And DYgreencard is always available to help you out in your second B2 extension or other immigration-related application.

Has the New Public Charge Rule Been Suspended?

August 26, 2020

New Public Charge Rule Suspended by Court Order
The field of immigration law is ever-changing, and qualified attorneys in the United States must keep abreast of any recent developments in the areas of visas and green cards. The climate in the United States with regard to immigration has changed greatly since the election of President Trump in 2016, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has found it necessary to change a multitude of policies in response.
In general, the rules regarding immigration in the United States are codified by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), but the verbiage in the Act is subject to interpretation. Moreover, when federal judges issue decisions based on rules set forth by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), these holdings can be challenged in a higher court. This means that the policy regarding a foreign national’s requirement to disclose whether they are likely to become a public charge can be one way this week, but the rules could be altered the next day.

Between the Fall of 2019 and the Summer of 2020, there have been multiple changes in the policies regarding whether or not a foreign national needs to include a Form I-944 with their other immigration forms. In fact, although the INA is a federal Act, currently several states are subject to different rules than the rest of the country. Because this issue is still evolving, it is important to check with an immigration law professional for updates on current DHS rules.

1. What is the New Public Charge Rule?

The executive branch of the United States and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) have recently made it their priority to ensure that new immigrants to America will benefit the country, rather than become dependent on government payments. Hence, the concept of a new public charge has become a hot button issue.

After a great deal of resistance from lawmakers and immigrant advocates, the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Ground Final Rule initially became official on February 24, 2020. Under the New Public Charge Rule, a foreign national may be denied a visa or green card if it is determined that they are more likely than not to become a public charge.

According to the public charge webpage being provided by the USCIS, the new rule is based on the principle of self-sufficiency. According to several statutes in the INA, a foreign national should be found inadmissible if they are unable to care for themselves without relying on government benefits.

The New Public Charge Rule applies to green card applicants as well as those who wish to apply for or renew their nonimmigrant visas. Under the current interpretation of the INA, beneficiaries of both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas may be subject to the rule.

Under the New Public Charge Rule, for most green card seekers who are already in the United States, they are required to complete Form I-944 when they file their Form I-485 adjustment of status application with the USCIS. For those who apply for green card through consular processing, the U.S. consulate may require them to submit DS- 5540. Both Form I-944 and DS-5540 is used to collect extensive information and evidence pertaining to green card applicants’ age, health, household size, financial resources, and education and skills. In addition, they may be required to disclose whether or not they have received government money, such as food stamps or welfare, as well as whether they are likely to need such help in the future.

However, the USCIS policies regarding the New Public Charge Rule have continued to fluctuate throughout 2020.

2. History of the Public Charge Rule

Although the idea of self-sufficiency of those who seek to live and work in the United States is not a new concept, the notion has changed and developed over three centuries.

Public Charge in the 1800’s

The concept of a public charge has been around since the early portions of American history. Since the 1800’s, there has been a congressional statute that states that foreign nationals are not admissible to the United States if they lack self-sufficiency and can only thrive by becoming public charges. 

Public Charge in the 1900’s

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) was enacted in 1952, but it has been periodically amended as the needs and aspects of American society have changed. Beginning in 1996, several federal laws stated that foreign nationals generally should be self-sufficient.

Several sections of the INA address the concept of inadmissibility based on becoming a public charge. These include INA sections 212, 213, 214 and 248. However, the meanings of the “public charge” portions of the INA has been subject to interpretation over the years.

3. Recent Suspension of the New Public Charge Rule and Form I-944

On July 29, 2020 the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) in State of New York enjoined DHS’s implementation of the New Public Charge Rule while there is a national health emergency in response to the pandemic of COVID-19. As a result, On August 4, USCIS announced it will use the 1999 public charge guidance to the adjudication of any application for I-485 adjustment of status and any application or petition for extension of nonimmigrant stay or change of nonimmigrant status on or after July 29, 2020.

Furthermore, on July 29, 2020, the USCIS issued a statement that Form I-944 would no longer be required after a court ruling determined that it was not appropriate during the unprecedented need for government assistance due to the coronavirus pandemic. The USCIS announcement reads in part that: “Applicants and petitioners whose applications or petitions are postmarked on or after July 29, 2020, should not include the Form I-944 or provide information about the receipt of public benefits on Form I-485, Form I-129, Form I-129CW, Form I-539, or Form I-539A. USCIS will issue guidance regarding the use of affected forms. In the interim, USCIS will not reject any Form I-485 on the basis of the inclusion or exclusion of Form I-944.”

So the answer to the question, “Has the new public charge rule been suspended?” was “Yes” on July 29, 2020, but that has not been the end of the matter. Soon after this announcement, a federal appellate court limited the July 29, 2020 order. As a result of the order, green card applicants who are residents of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont are not required to submit their Form I-944 to the USCIS. Other green card applicants who are not residents of the three states are not necessary to submit the Form I-944, either based on the USCIS’s statement in the page of Form I-485. Nevertheless, the USCIS will issue USCIS further guidance regarding the use of affected forms in the near future and DYgreencard will keep a close eye on it.  

USCIS has further extended 60 days for all RFEs’ deadline

August 14, 2020

People wearing mask

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced to further extend existing COVID-19 accommodations on RFEs, and other responses. Specifically, the following documents’ response deadline will be extended for 60 calendar days if the issuance date listed on the request, notice or decision is between March 1 and September 11, 2020, inclusive:

  • Requests for Evidence
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14)
  • Notices of Intent to Deny
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers
  • Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion

USCIS will consider a response to the above requests and notices received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking action. USCIS will consider a Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision before it takes any action.

In May, 2020, USCIS determined to extend 60 days response deadline for the above the documents issued between March 1 and July 1, 2020. Due to the ongoing of pandemic, USCIS further extended the existing accommodations.

USCIS has extended 60 days for all RFEs’ deadline

May 11, 2020

People wearing mask

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced on May 1, 2020 that the following documents’ response deadline will be extended for 60 calendar days if the issuance date listed on the request, notice or decision is between March 1 and July 1, 2020, inclusive:

  • Requests for Evidence
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14)
  • Notices of Intent to Deny
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers
  • Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion

USCIS will consider a response to the above requests and notices received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking action. USCIS will consider a Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision before it takes any action.