Rights of Green Card Holders at the Border

 

Rights of Legal Permanent Residents at the US Border

All travelers, including permanent residents (green card holders) and US citizens, are subject to inspection by the Immigration Service when entering the US.

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers may question permanent residents when entering the US at a port of entry to determine if they are “returning residents,” or if they have abandoned status as a permanent resident.

Abandonment of Permanent Resident Status

If you are a permanent resident of the US, you may be questioned on the following issues when you arrive at the US border:

  1. Where do you live?
  2. What evidence do you have that you reside permanently in the US?
  3. When you left the US did you intend to return to your residence in the US at the time you left, and for the entire time you were outside the US?
  4. How long have you been outside the US?
  5. Have you committed any crimes, either in the US or outside the US, since you became a permanent resident?
  6. If you have been outside the US for a continuous period of 180 days, you are likely to be questioned more thoroughly about these issues.

Any permanent residents who are returning residents and who are found by the Immigration Service to have abandoned their permanent residence, have a right to a hearing by an immigration judge on the issue of abandonment of permanent residence.

A permanent resident remains a permanent resident unless the Immigration Service proves abandonment by clear and convincing evidence, and until a final order of removal (deportation) is issued by an immigration judge.

If the Immigration Service determines that a permanent resident has abandoned residence in the US, and the permanent resident refuses to sign an acknowledgment of abandonment (Form I-407) CBP can issue a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge.  Even permanent residents who have signed form I-407 have the right to request a hearing by an immigration judge.

Right to Counsel

The Immigration Service holds the position that there is no “right to counsel” during inspection and admission to the US.  At their discretion, the Immigration Service may allow a lawyer to accompany clients who are detained in secondary inspection or who are ordered to appear at a deferred inspection office.

If you are a permanent resident of the US, plan your trips outside the US carefully and be sure you understand the issues involved in abandoning permanent residence.

Immigration Updates: What Do We Know About the New Immigration Rules?

Immigration Updates: What Do We Know About the New Immigration Rules?

Many are confused about changes in immigration rules.  Below are  some tips that may be useful.

1.Travel Ban

The ban on entry to the US from seven designated countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) is on hold while it is under review by US courts. It is impossible to know when the courts will issue a decision on the travel ban. For now, we strongly recommend that anyone from one of the listed countries either:

– remain in the US, if they do not intend to return to their home country permanently, or

– travel to the US as soon as possible, if they have a valid visa for entry to the US

  1. Anyone seeking entry to the US will be inspected at the border.  Below is a link to an article that describes what to expect when you are stopped or searched at the US border.  We recommend that if you do not want something searched at the border, such as laptop or a phone, that you do not bring it with you to the border.

Guide to Your rights at the Border

http://tinyurl.com/zorodtg

  1. If you are in the US as an undocumented immigrant (sometimes called illegal), we provide links to information on risk of an immigration arrest and what to expect if you are stopped by immigration agents. These are links to information prepared by the Immigration Defense Project.

 Know Your rights – Risk of Arrest

http://tinyurl.com/gos7o2z

 

Immigration Arrests in the Community – What to Expect if Immigration Agenst come to Your Home

http://tinyurl.com/hu9oecd

Temporary Protected Status Extended (TPS) for Somalia

  Temporary Protected Status Extended (TPS) for Somalia

The Immigration Service has extended TPS for nationals of Somalia from March 18, 2017 to September 17, 2018. If you are in the US and are a national of Somalia you may be able to register or re-register for TPS.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) allows nationals from countries that have been designated by the US as dangerous, to stay temporarily in the US until it is safe to return to their home country.  For TPS purposes “dangerous”  refers to a natural disaster such as an earthquake, or a civil war. You must be IN the US to register, or re-register, for TPS. 

For more information on TPS see What is TPS?

Re-Registration

If you are from Somalia, and now have TPS, you may now apply to re-register for TPS.

  • The re-registration period runs from January 17, 2017 to March 20, 2017.
  • This extension allows an application for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

To re-register you must file:

  1. Form I-821 (Application for Temporary Protected Status)
  • Those who are re-registering do not need to pay the Form I-821 filing Fee
  1. Form I-765 (Application for employment Authorization)
  • You must file this form, even if you do not want permission to work in the US.
  1. Filing fee for form I-765 ONLY if you want an Employment Authorization document.
  2. Biometric (fingerprinting) Fee if you are age 14 or older

First Application for TPS

Some Somalians, who are in the US and do not now have TPS, may be able to apply late for TPS.  For information on late, initial filing go to

Late Filing

For information on filing, re-registering for TPS, or filling an application for TPS see USCIS Information on TPS

BE CAREFUL – Make sure that you qualify to apply for TPS or re-registration before you apply. 

  • If you apply for TPS, or re-registration, and you are not eligible, you may face deportation (removal) charges in immigration court.

Who is not eligible for TPS?

  1. Anyone convicted in the US of any felony or two more misdemeanors.
  1. Anyone who is not admissible to the US based on criminal or security grounds.
  1. Anyone who is not able to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements to qualify for TPS.
  1. Anyone who has not met the initial or late initial TPS registration requirements.
  1. Anyone granted TPS who failed to re-register for TPS without good cause.

How long can I stay in the US?

question

How long can I stay in the US?

If you are not a US citizen, or green card holder, when you  are inspected at the US border, you will be admitted for specific amount of time (a period of lawful admission) .  It is important to pay attention to this admission period.  If you stay longer than permitted by your last entry to the US, you may be overstaying your entry.  If you overstay, you could be deported. If you overstay for 6 months or more, you could be barred from returning to the US for three years once you leave the US.  This bar increase to 10 years, if you overstay for 12 months or more.

How Do I Know How Long I can Stay in the US?

If you enter the US by Air or Sea:

  • All travelers by air or sea receive an electronic Arrival-Departure Card, Form I-94. In the past, this was a white card that the border officer stapled into your passport.
  • Now Form I-94 is issued electronically. This means that you no longer receive a piece of paper that tells you how long you are permitted to stay. You must go online to print a copy of your I-94.
  • To get a copy of your Form-I-94, go to  https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home
  • Below is a sample of an electronic Form I-94.

Electronic i-94

  • In addition to an electronic Form I-94, the border officer will place an entry stamp in your passport. This stamp includes the date you entered the US and the date when you must leave the US.

If you enter the US by Land:

  • You will receive a paper Form I-94. This form includes your admission period.
  • Below is a sample of a paper form I-94.

sample_i94

  • You will also receive an entry stamp in your passport that includes the date you entered the US and the date when you must leave the US.
  • Below is a sample entry stamp.

Entry Stamp US

  • Canadians do not usually receive a paper Form I-94 at a land port of entry. Even if the border officer does not issue a paper Form I-94, Canadians are admitted to the US for a specific period. If you are from Canada, you should also go online to print your Form I-94, so that you will know the date when you must leave the US. https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home

What is the difference between Form I-94 and a visa?

  • Unless you are from a Visa-Waiver country, you must get a visa from a US embassy or consulate to travel to the US. The time on the visa, the validity period, is not a period of admission. The validity period on your visa, gives you the time in which you can apply for entry at a US border. For example, if your visa is valid for five years, you can come to the US border at any time during those five years to ask to be admitted. The officer who inspects you at the border will provide you with an admission period. This admission period depends on the reason for your visit to the US. The admission period may be shorter than the time on your visa.
  • Below is a sample visa stamp.

Visa stamp

  • Remember to use the admission period on your Form I-94, not the validity period on your visa, to determine how long you may stay in the US.
  • If your visa expires during your admission period in the US, you will need to apply for another visa the next time you leave the US.

Can I apply for a longer admission period while I am in the US?

In some cases, foreign nationals may apply to extend their stay in the US, or to change to another category of admission.  For example, some students who have completed their time in student status may be able to apply for an employment-based visa.

If you would like our help in determining what choices you might have to extend your stay in the US, or change your immigration status, contact our office for a consultation at http://www.syracuseimmigration.com/daly/contact-us/

Temporary Protected Status Extended (TPS) for Yemen

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Temporary Protected Status Extended (TPS) for Yemen

The Immigration Service has extended TPS for nationals of Yemen from March 4, 2017 to September 3, 2018. If you are in the US and are a national of Yemen you may be able to register or re-register for TPS.

 

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) allows nationals from countries that have been designated by the US as dangerous, to stay temporarily in the US until it is safe to return to their home country.

Re-Registration

If you are from Yemen, and now have TPS, you may now apply to re-register for TPS.

  • The re-registration period runs from January 4, 2017 to March 6, 2017.
  • This extension allows an application for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

To re-register you must file:

  1. Form I-821 (Application for Temporary Protected Status)
  • Those who are re-registering do not need to pay the Form I-821 filing Fee
  1. Form I-765 (Application for employment Authorization)
  • You must file this form, even if you do not want permission to work in the US.
  1. Filing fee for form I-765 ONLY if you want an Employment Authorization document.
  2. Biometric (fingerprinting) Fee if you are age 14 or older

First Application for TPS

To be eligible to apply you must:

  1. Continuously reside in the US since January 4, 2017, and
  2. Have been continuously physically present in the US since March 4, 2017.

For more information on TPS see What is TPS?

For information on filing, re-registering for TPS, or filling an application for TPS see USCIS Information on TPS

BE CAREFUL – Make sure that you qualify to apply for TPS or re-registration before you apply. 

  • If you apply for TPS, or re-registration, and you are not eligible, you may face charges in immigration court.

Who is not eligible for TPS?

  1. Anyone convicted in the US of any felony or two more misdemeanors.
  1. Anyone who is not admissible to the US based on criminal or security grounds.
  1. Anyone who is not able to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements above.
  1. Anyone who has not met the initial or late initial TPS registration requirements.
  1. Anyone granted TPS who failed to re-register for TPS without good cause.

 

 

New Naturalization Form Required Beginning 12/22/2016

 

immigration-application

New Naturalization Form Required Beginning 12/22/2016

USCIS as issued a new form to apply for naturalization (US citizenship). Beginning December 22, 2016 USCIS will only accept the 9/29/2016 edition of this form.  If you file a form dated earlier that 9/29/2016 your application will be rejected.  The date for the form is on the right at the bottom of Form N-400.

For tips on applying for naturalization click on Naturalization Tips.

 

 stock-photo-certificate-of-us-citizenship-fingerprint-card-declaration-of-intention-and-passenger-manifest-409680556

 

 

 

Tips for Naturalization (US Citizenship) Applications

 

  1. You must be eligible to apply for naturalization. 

If you are not eligible, not only will your application be denied, depending on your circumstances, you might lose your permanent residence (green card) status. For information on who is eligible to apply for naturalization visit Who is Eligible for Naturalization.

 

  1. English Language requirement

You must be able to read, write and speak basic English.

 

  1. Exemption for the English Language Test

50/20 Rule

  • If you are 50 years old, and have lived in the US as a green card holder for at least 20 years, you may not have to take the English test. You must still take the civics test, but you may take it in your native language.

55/15 Rule

  • If you are 55 years old, and have lived in the US as a green card holder for at least 15 years, you may not have to take the English test. You must still take the civics test, but you may take it in your native language.

 

  1. Medical Exception to the English Language and/or Civics (US History & Government) Test

If you have one of the following conditions, you may be eligible for an exemption of the English language, and or, civics test requirements:

  • Physical Disability
  • Developmental Disability
  • Mental Impairment

For these conditions, you must prove that the condition has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months.  You need evidence from your doctor to explain how your disability or impairment prevents you from learning English. For an exemption from the civics test, you must prove that the disability or impairment prevents you from learning the information needed to pass the test.

 

  1. Children

Be sure to list ALL your children, even children who do not live in the US, or who do not live with you. If did not list all your children on forms you have already filed with the Immigration Service (USCIS), you will need to explain why you did not list them on an earlier form.

 

  1. Child Support

If you have children under 21, who do not live with you, provide evidence that you provide financial support for each child.  Also, provide evidence, such as copies a child support or government order, and show how you have followed the order. This could include documents such as:

  • Cancelled checks or money order receipts;
  • Government documents showing child support payments
  • Evidence that your wages have been garnished
  • Notarized letter from the person who cares for your children

 

  1. Trips Outside the US for 6 Months or Longer

If you have been outside the US for 6 months or longer after becoming a green card holder, you should provide evidence that you continued to intend to live in the US during the entire time you were outside the US, such as;

  • You continued to have employment in the US
  • Your close relatives remained in the US
  • You maintained a residence in the US

 

  1. Selective Service
  • If you are a man between the ages of 18 and 26, you must provide proof that you registered with the Selective Service.
  • If you are age 26 or older and required to register with the Selective Service, but did not register, you must explain why you did not register. You will also need a status information letter from the Selective Service. For more information on Selective Service registration click on sss.gov.

 

  1. Arrests/Convictions – Anywhere in the world, for any reason
  • If no charges were filed, you must provide proof that your case was ended by the court.
  • If charges were filed, you must provide evidence of what happened with the charges.
  • If you have had any arrests or conviction vacated, set aside, sealed, expunged or in any way removed from your record, you need to provide a statement from the court that there is no record of your arrest or conviction.

Please Note:

  • You must provide the above evidence even if a judge, government officer or lawyer told you that you no longer have a record, or that you do not have to disclose the arrest/conviction.
  • You must provide evidence of traffic violations if:
    • The incident involved alcohol or drugs; or
    • The incident led to an arrest; or
    • The incident seriously injured another person

 

  1. Forms and Filing Fees Can Change
  • Be sure to use the most up-to-date version of the Application for Naturalization (Form N-400).
  • Be sure to pay the correct filing fee. Visit the Immigration Service website to make sure you use the correct form and pay the correct filing fee.

http://www.syracuseimmigration.com/daly/1638-2/

No Immigration Status? Make a Plan

plan-ahead

No Immigration Status? Make a Plan

There is no way to know what actions the new administration will take concerning immigration after January 20, 2017. It is possible that many undocumented immigrants will be arrested and placed in immigration detention centers. If that happens to you, it will be important for you and your family to have back-up plans in place.

 

If you are undocumented (without immigration status in the US) you may want to take some of the following steps to protect yourself and your family in case you arrested by Immigration.

  1. If you are eligible to apply for any immigration status in the US, you should apply as soon as possible. For example, if you are married to a US citizen, and you entered the US with a visa, you may apply for a green card in the US. If this applies to you, and you file before you are arrested, you may be able to be released from immigration custody.
  1. Make sure someone you trust has your personal information, so that they can find out where you are being held and/or communicate with you if you are deported. This information includes;
  • Accurate spelling of your name, including your middle name and any other names used
  • Birthday
  • Social Security number (if any)
  • Address and other contact information outside the US, including the names of relatives or friends who may receive mail on your behalf
  • Other contact information for you such as an e-mail address, or the phone number of relatives or friends in the US
  • Copies of any notices you may have received from USCIS or the Immigration Court
    • These papers will contain your A number, if you have one. This will make it easier for your relatives to locate you. Not everyone has an A number.
  1. If you have children in the US, you will need to have a plan in place for their care.
  • Custody or Guardianship Plans
  • Designate someone to care for your children in an emergency
  • Consult a family law attorney about custody or guardianship in case you are detained
  • If no parent or relative is available to take custody or guardianship of your children, it is important to make sure that whoever cares for your children has the legal power to make decisions for them concerning medical care and education. The documents below may be important:
  • Power of attorney for health care and education for your children
  • Power of attorney for finances for your children
  1. Make a will, or update your will, so that your husband, wife or children will have a legal claim to your assets.
  1. Designate/Update beneficiaries on pension or retirement accounts and life insurance policies
  1. Beware of immigration scams. During a time of uncertainty, it is even more important to be on the lookout for immigration scams. Those who are at risk of getting arrested and deported are more likely to be targeted by scam artists who try to sell their phony services to those who have no options for staying in the US. They do this by:
  • Filing applications that include false information. It is very important that all the information included on an immigration application be truthful and accurate. If you file a form that includes false information, or for a benefit for which you are not eligible, it may make it impossible for you to file immigration applications later.
  • Providing fake documents, such as a fake green card, or a fake driver’s license. If you give false documents to an immigration officer, you may never be able to return to the US, even if you become eligible to apply for immigration status in the future.
  1. In most cases, if you entered the US without inspection at the border (you did not answer questions from an inspector) or you overstayed your period of admission (stamped in your passport) you will not be able to file an immigration application in the US. In some cases, you may be able to file an immigration application from your home country.
  1. To help you look at your immigration choices, or plan for future immigration to the US, we strongly recommend that you consult with an experienced immigration lawyer. If you want to schedule an appointment for a consultation with a lawyer from our office, click on contact us.

Remember:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it is probably not true.
  • Immigration officers do not call people on the phone asking for money.
  • You cannot “buy” a valid green card or social security card.
  • You must be eligible to apply for a green card, usually because you have a close relative or an employer who may file an application for you.
  • Do not be tricked by rumors and bad information.
  • Protect yourself and your children by planning for the future.

Tips for the LGBT Community on Immigration Matters post-2016 Elections

 

lgbt-image

Tips for the LGBT Community on Immigration Matters post-2016 Elections

Prepared from information provided by the LGBT Committee of the MN/Dakotas chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Marriage equality is the law of the land. The Supreme Court is unlikely to reconsider the Windsor and Ogbergefell decisions that grant the right to marry to same-sex couples. At least not right away, although this may change in the future.  The following tips provide suggestions that may help you prepare for future changes in the law.

Please note:  These tips are not intended as legal advice.  They provide general information, but do not substitute for legal advice from an experienced immigration lawyer who is familiar with the facts of your case. To be sure that you are eligible to file an immigration application, we strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment for a consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer before you file.

  1. Consider legal marriage as something that is distinct from wedding planning. This means, if you are planning to marry, you may want to consider getting legally married as soon as possible in a civil marriage ceremony. You may chose to hold religious ceremonies, or other celebrations later.  If marriage equality goes away, it will most likely begin with denying the right to those who are not yet married.
  1. If you are not married, or if marriage protections are taken away from same-sex couples, consider the following non-marriage protections:
  •  Power of attorney for finances
  •  Power of attorney for health care
  •  Designation of beneficiaries on insurance, 401(k) and other policies
  •  Update your will to ensure your spouse has a legal claim to your assets
  1. If you are a same-sex couple with children, consider co-parent adoptions to ensure joint parental rights.
  1. If you are a married bi-national same sex couple, consider what your immigration options are in the country of the non-US citizen or non-US permanent resident spouse.
  1. Most petitions and applications for immigration benefits are decided under the law in place at the time of filing.  You may want to consider filing any of the following as soon as you possibly can. Make sure that you are eligible before you apply:
  • I-130 petitions based on marriage to a US citizen or Green Card holder.
  • Applications to extend your status, especially if your status is based on your
  • Marriage (including, but not limited to, F-2, J-2, H-4, L-2, etc.)
  • Adjustment of status (Green Card) applications based on your marriage
  1. If you have a Green Card and you are married to a US citizen, consider filing for naturalization as soon as you are eligible. You must be a green card holder for at least three years if you are married to the US citizen who sponsored you for your Green Card. Make sure that you are eligible for naturalization before you apply.
  1. If you filed for immigration benefits under DACA, this program is likely to end. DACA benefits do not provide protection other than a temporary stay of removal and temporary permission to work in the US.
  1. Be aware of “notarios” and other non-lawyer immigration service providers. Many are well-intentioned, but others are not. If you apply for something that you are not eligible for, or you file an application that contains inaccurate, or false information, your application may be denied.  Even worse, you may not be able to file immigration applications in the future.

Please contact us at office@syracuseimmigration.com  or 315-333-2424, if you would like to schedule an appointment for an immigration consultation with an attorney in our office. You may also contact us at http://www.syracuseimmigration.com/daly/contact-us/

 

Naturalization Interviews in Syracuse NY

stock-photo-multi-ethnic-people-standing-in-front-of-american-flag-220922113

Naturalization Interviews in Syracuse NY

Naturalization interviews are now held  at the USCIS  Satellite Office office in Syracuse NY for applicants in the following counties: Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Jefferson, Lewis, Onondaga, Oswego, Schuyler and Tompkins. Some naturalization applicants may still need to go to Buffalo NY for their interview. Green Card applicants must still travel to Buffalo for an interview.

 

Be sure to bring the following to your naturalization interview.

  1. Original interview appointment letter
  2. Government issued ID such as a passport, valid driver’s license, Green Card
  3. Application documents
    • copies of all forms filed
    • filing receipts
    • copies of all documents you filed with your application

Reminder:  The filing fee for an application for naturalization (including fingerprinting fee) will increase from $680  to $725 on December 23, 2016.  If you would like help from the attorney’s in our office to determine whether you are eligible to apply for naturalization, please contact us at syracusesimmigration.com