Warning: If you are not a US citizen, do not register to vote!

You must be a US citizen to be able to vote in a US election.  If you are not a US citizen, do not register to vote in a US election, or in any way claim to be a US citizen.  If you claim to be a US citizen and you are not a US citizen, this may be a permanent bar to eligibility for almost and immigration benefit.  If you have been a permanent resident for five years ( three years if you are married to a US citizen) you may be eligible to apply for US citizenship.  To learn more about the requirements to apply for US citizenship see Apply for US Citizenship.

STEM OPT Deadline

STEM OPT Deadline

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If you are now on a 17-month OPT (optional Practical Training) extension, you may apply to extend your OPT period for an extra 7 months.  You must file form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) by August 8, 2016. This form must be signed and submitted with the correct fee. For more information on the 7-month extension see 7 Month Extension  The current filing fee for form I-765 is $385.  You should check the filing fee before sending your application because filing fees may  change.

The rules for STEM extension application changed in 2016.  The change allows those who qualify, to apply for a 24-month OPT extension.  Students who are currently on a 17-month STEM extension may apply for an additional 7 months, but must meet the August 8, 2016 deadline.  For more information on the 24-month OPT extension see STEM OPT.

Record Departure from US


How to record Departure from the US

It may be important to prove the date(s) of your departure from the US.  For example, you may need to show that you have not overstayed your admission period to the US, or you may want to document the time you have spent out of the US for purposes of recapturing time in H-1B status.

 When you enter the US by air or sea, DHS records your entry and departure electronically. DHS no longer issues paper I-94 at air or sea ports of entry.  You may visit the following website to print a copy of your electronic I-94.  Print copy of I-94

If you left the US by commercial airline or cruise ship, the Department of Homeland Security may independently verify your departure.  It is therefore not necessary for you to take any further action to record your departure.  It would be a good idea however, for you to keep your outbound boarding pass.  This may help you the next time you re-enter the US.

If you enter the US by land, DHS will issue a paper I-94. You should turn this in at the border upon your departure so that your exit from the US is recorded properly.

If you left the US without registering your departure by turning in your I-94 card, you should take steps to make sure that your departure has been recorded by the Department of Homeland Security.

If you left the US by land, private ship or private plane, you may take the following steps to prove that you left the US:

  1. Send your I-94 Departure record, along with any paper documents that prove you left the US to:

Coleman Data Solutions

Box 7965

Akron, OH 44306

Attn: NIDPS (I-94)


(If using U.S. Postal Service)

Coleman Data Solutions

3043 Sanitarium Road, Suite 2

Akron, OH  44312

Attn: NIDPS (I-94)

(If using FedEx or UPS

  1. Documents that will help you prove departure from the US.
  • Original boarding passes you used to depart another county, if you flew home from there,
  • Photocopies of entry or departure stamps in your passport showing entry to another country after you left the US, include a copy of the biographical page from your passport
  • Photocopies of other evidence showing that you left the US, such as:
  • Dated paychecks of vouchers showing that you worked in another country after you left the US.
  • Dated bank records, showing transactions showing transactions indicating that you were in another country after you left the US
  • School records showing attendance at a school outside the US, and
  • Dated credit card receipts, showing your name, for purchases made after you left the US
  1. You may include a letter to explain how the records you provided prove that you left the US.

Keep a copy of everything you send to the Department of Homeland Security.  Bring the copy with you the next time you come to the US. For more information on Form I-94 visit the following website I-94 Facts .

Supreme Court Decision: Deferred Action for Parents



News Flash: The US Supreme Court announced a decision today  on the deferred action for parents (DAPA) program.  The court reached a deadlock on this issue.  The court will leave in place the lower court decision that blocks the deferred action program for undocumented (sometimes called illegal) parents of US citizen and permanent resident children. For more information on the court decision see  DAPA Court Decision.

The earlier, two-year Deferred Action program for undocumented children who entered the US before their 16th birthday and who have lived in the US since June 15, 2007, is still available for those who qualify.  For more information on this program see Two-Year Deferred Action.

Filing Fee Increases


The clock is ticking . . . 

The Immigration Service recently proposed raising the filing fees for many immigration applications.

We expect filing fees to increase in the Fall of 2016.

The biggest proposed filing fee increases are for the following applications.

  1. Naturalization (Form N-400)
  • Increase from $595 to $640
  1. Proof of US Citizenship (Forms N-600 and N-600K)
  • Increase from $600 to $1170
  1. Relative Petitions (Forms I-130 and I-485)
  • Increase from $1490 to $1760
  1. Replacement of Green Cards (Form I-90)
  • Increase from $365 to $455
  1. Nonimmigrant Workers, such as H-1B and R-1 applications (Form I-129)
  • Increase from $325 to $460


Partial Fee Waiver for Naturalization Applications

Those with incomes at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines may use form I-942 to request a reduced filing fee. Click here for information on the Federal Poverty Guidelines 



If you eligible to file any of the above applications, it would be wise to file before the filing fees increase.  Contact us  at office@syracuseimmigration.com if you would like our help in filing these applications.

Diversity Lottery Tip


The Diversity Lottery Program provides up to 50,000 immigrant visas (green cards) every year for those from counties with low rates of immigration to the US. Lottery winners are drawn from all entries of those who qualify to apply. For more information on the Diversity Lottery, including a list of countries whose natives are eligible to apply for the lottery, visit http://tinyurl.com/zep3f6c.


Filing an application for the diversity Lottery may have an impact on your ability to enter the US on a nonimmigrant, or temporary, visa such as a student visa or a visitor’s visa.

  • When you apply for the diversity lottery, you are providing evidence of your intent to enter the US and remain in the US permanently.
  • When you apply for a temporary visa you need to show that you intend to enter the US temporarily, and that you plan to return to your resident in your home country.
  • These two intentions may conflict with each other. A diversity lottery application is only one piece of evidence of your intent to live permanently in the US. This may be overcome with strong evidence that you plan to return to your home country.


Think carefully about your intention at the time you apply for a temporary visa.  Also think about what evidence you have available to prove that you intend to return to your home country at the end of the admission period for your temporary visa. 


We have moved !



We have moved our office to a new location.

Our new address:

       Moon Law Office LLC

120 E. Washington Street, Suite 415

 Syracuse NY 13202

Our phone number and e-mail addresses will remain the same.  We look forward to working with you from our new location.


Visa Waiver Program Changes



Visimgresa Waiver Program Changes: Recent legislation limits who may be eligible to enter the US without a visa on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).  Begining in 2016, citizens of the following countries willl no longer be eligible to enter the US using the Visa Waiver Program:  Iran, Iraq, Syraia and Sudan. Citizens of these countries will now be required to apply for a visa to enter the US.

The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of many countries to enter the US for up to 90 days for business or tourism.  VWP designated countries also allow US citizens to enter their countries on the same terms. For more informtion on the VWP, click on  the Visa Waiver Program.

Passport Update



Passport Pages:  Beginning January 1, 2016, the US Department of State will no longer add  visa pages to US passports.  After that date passport holders who need more pages for entry  or exit stamps will need to apply for a new passport.  The State Department made this change to enhance passport security. Requests for additional passport pages will only be accepted until December 31, 2015.  For information on how and where to apply for a passpot visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly

Diane Chappell-Daly Answers Immigration Questions



Immigration Questions? Almost everyone who has worked on filling out an immigration application has questions about the form and what happens after the form is filed. See my answers to recent immigration questions here.