How to Register a Change of Address for Foreign Nationals

With limited exception non-US Citizens including lawful permanent residents (green card holders) must notify the Department of Homeland Security of their change of address within 10 days of moving. This requirement has been more enforced since September 11, 2001. The failure to register a change of address is punishable by a fine, imprisonment or removal from the United States.

USCIS Change of Address

With limited exception non-US Citizens including lawful permanent residents (green card holders) must let the Department of Homeland Security know of their change of address within 10 days of moving. This need has been more enforced since September 11, 2001. The failure to register a change of address is punishable by a fine, imprisonment or removal from the United States.

Change of Address

 

 AR-11/AR-11SR

  • The AR-11 form is a general change of address form that changes your address within the master database of USCIS an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. You can change your address manually using a printed Form AR-11 or you can do it online using the electronic AR-11. However completing this legal requirements and submitting the necessary AR-11 forms does not update an address on any applications or petitions pending before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Individuals affected by special registration must complete AR-11SR, Alien’s Change of Address Card. Form AR-11 SR can only be mailed and cannot be filed online.

 Application or petition pending before USCIS

If there is an application or petition pending for you before the USCIS, in addition to filing form AR-11, you must let the USCIS know of your change of address according to the instructions contained on the Notice of Action form. You should give them a copy of your receipt notice, your USCIS A#, your old address and your new address.

Appeal Pending before an Immigration Judge (IJ)

In addition to filling Form AR-11 with USCIS, if you have a case pending with before an Immigration Court, you must let the Immigration Court know within 5 working days of your move by completing Form EOIR 33/IJ for the court in your particular state. Form EOIR-33/IJ is available on the Department of Justice website. Giving notice to the court Form EOIR-33/IJ is not the same as giving notice to the Department of Homeland Security, DHS. The foreign nation with a pending case before an immigration court should also give separate notice to the DHS using form AR-11. 

Appeal Pending before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)

If you there is an appeal pending for you with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), in addition to filing Form AR-11 with USCIS, you must let  the BIA know within 5 working days of your move by completing Form EOIR 33/BIA. You cannot let the BIA know of a change of address electronically. Form EOIR 33/BIA is available on the Department of Justice website. Giving notice to the BIA on Form EOIR-33/BIA is not the same as giving notice to the Department of Homeland Security, DHS. The foreign nation with a pending case before the BIA should also give separate notice to the DHS using form AR-11.

 If you have any questions about change of address or a failure to register change of address (an immigration violation) please consult an immigration attorney of your choice.

 

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Immigration Navigator RSS feed now available!

Thanks to those subscribers who were kind enough to let us know about the problem, the RSS feed for Immigration Navigator is now fixed!

To keep up-to-date with immigration and visa issues, visitors are invited to subscribe to the RSS feed. Please also remember our contact page for US immigration and visa questions.

Thanks to those subscribers who were kind enough to let us know about the problem, the RSS feed for Immigration Navigator is now fixed!

To keep up-to-date with immigration and visa issues, visitors are invited to subscribe to the RSS feed. Please also remember our contact page for US immigration and visa questions.

Continue to tell us how we are doing.

With Thanks,

Gary D. Goodin, Esq.

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What if I can’t make it to a scheduled USCIS interview?

With limited exceptions, failure to appear for a scheduled interview can result in the denial of the related application or petition for abandonment. An unintended failure to appear for an interview may result when the notice of scheduled interview is sent to the wrong address because of USCIS processing errors for a timely filed change of address form AR-11. It can also result by an alien’s failure to file a timely change of address while an application or petition is pending.

An applicant, a petitioner, a sponsor, a beneficiary, or other individual residing in the United States at the time of filing an application or petition may be required to appear for an interview. With limited exceptions, failure to appear for a scheduled interview can result in the denial of the related application or petition for abandonment.

An unintended failure to appear for an interview may result when the notice of scheduled interview is sent to the wrong address because of USCIS processing errors for a timely filed change of address form AR-11. It can also result by an alien’s failure to file a timely change of address while an application or petition is pending.

An immigration interview is conducted because it is required by statute, regulations, agency policy or because there is a question of material fact that the adjudicator cannot resolve without an interview. Any interview may be required to determine the applicant’s or beneficiary’s credibility. Interviews are not scheduled if not required or if a material fact can be determined by other means. They are intended to be investigative and non- adversarial (as opposed to, say, a court proceeding involving two attorneys, each representing a particular side before a judge).

A scheduled interview (or fingerprinting) can be rescheduled if prior to the date and time of the interview an applicant or petitioner requests a rescheduled interview and show good cause. The applicant or petitioner should follow the instructions on the interview notice. The request may be made by mail, fax or telephone (in emergencies). The applicant or petitioner or his representative must show why he is unable to appear at the scheduled date and time because of circumstances beyond his control. The adjudicator will use her discretion to determine whether good cause exists for rescheduling the interview (or fingerprinting). If the adjudicator determines that good cause exists, the adjudicator will reschedule the interview and mail a new interview notice. The adjudicator is also required to reschedule an interview if a logged change of address notification is confirmed for the interviewees so that the interviewees may not have obtained notice of the interview.

 

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US Citizenship for a child with a green card

For a permanent resident child to acquire automatic US Citizenship the law requires that:

1. at least one parent must be a US citizen;

2. the child must be under 18 years old; and

3. the child must reside in the US in the legal and physical custody of a US Citizen Parent (the child must be still living with a US Citizen Parent).

All three citizenship requirements must be met at the same time.

I am a US Citizen. My 16-year-old son came to the US 2 years ago on a green card. He lives with his mother who has a green card. Is my son a US Citizen?

 

US Citizenship for a child with a green card – The Requirements

For a permanent resident child to acquire automatic US Citizenship the law requires that:

1.            at least one parent must be a US citizen;

2.           the child must be under 18 years old; and

3.            the child must live in the US in the legal and physical custody of a US Citizen Parent (the child must be still living with a US Citizen Parent).

All three citizenship requirements must be met at the same time. Pursuant to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (effective Feb. 27, 2001) at the moment all these requirements are fulfilled the child is deemed a United States citizen.

Child must live with US Citizen Parent

Your son is not a US citizen at this time because he does not live with you. If you were to have legal custody of your son and can show a court order granting you custody of your son or if you can show factually that you son lives with you, (e.g. your address is contained on his school records, he is claimed as a dependent on your IRS tax returns and receives mail at your home), then all three  citizenship requirements would be met and your son is a US citizen.  Additionally if his mother becomes a US Citizen before he reaches 18 and he is still living with her, he could acquire automatic US citizenship then.

Get Certificate of Citizenship to prove US Citizenship

If your son acquires automatic US Citizenship you should file an up-to date copy of Form N-600 ( available at www.uscis.gov) and include the application fee and supporting documents to get his Certificate of Citizenship. His certificate of Citizenship will then be used to document his US Citizenship and to apply for a US Passport.

Naturalization Process as a practical alternative

If your son does not qualify for automatic US Citizenship before he turns 18 he will have to satisfy the requirements for United States Citizenship through the Naturalization process using Form N-400 ( also available at www.uscis.gov). The requirements for naturalization are:

  1. permanent resident in the US for at least 5 years (continuous residence);
  2. physical presence in the US (he has not been outside the US for more than a specified time);
  3. good moral character ( he has conducted himself in a legal and acceptable way);
  4. an understanding of English and US history and Government;
  5. an understanding of and support for the principles of the US Constitution; and
  6. residence for a specific amount of time in the state or USCIS district where he will file.

US Immigration Attorney Gary Goodin.

Copyright © 2011 Immigration Navigator

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U Visas, Application Information (Part 2 of 2)

U non-immigrant status is designed to assist US investigators and prosecutors of certain criminal activity such as domestic violence, trafficking in persons and sexual exploitation while assisting the alien victims of these qualifying crimes.

To obtain a U Visa an applicant must show that: a. She has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity, b. She possesses information about that criminal activity, c. She has been, is being, or is likely to be helpful to Federal, State, or local investigators or prosecutors, d. The criminal activity violated the laws of the United States or occurred in the United States or in U.S. territories (including Indian reservations).

Purpose of U Visa

A U Visa is designed to assist US investigators and prosecutors of certain criminal activity such as domestic violence, trafficking in persons and sexual exploitation while assisting the alien victims of these qualifying crimes. Through this Visa Aida, a 23-year-old who was brought to the United States from Kyrgyzstan to work as a sex worker may be able to acquire a non-immigrant status that will allow her to live and work freely in the United States and adjust to permanent residence later. The maximum number of aliens who may be issued U Visas each year is set by Congress at 10,000 persons.

U Visa eligibility requirements

To obtain a U Visa an applicant, in this case Aida must show that:

1.      She has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity;

2.     She possesses information about that criminal activity;

3.      She has been, is being, or is likely to be helpful to Federal, State, or local investigators or prosecutors

4.      The criminal activity violated the laws of the United States or occurred in the United States or in U.S. territories (including Indian reservations).

By being forced to work as a commercial sex worker Aida has been a victim of a qualifying crime. She has information because she has experienced how this commercial sex trade operation works and is likely to be of help to investigators and prosecutors here in the US in seeking to charge and convict the operators who have violated the laws of the United States.

U Visa Certification

 To qualify for a U visa, Aida must complete USCIS Form I-918 and provide supporting paperwork. Aida must also obtain a completed certification of helpfulness from a Certifying Offi­cial from a Certifying Agency (USCIS Form I-918, Supplement B) verifying that she has been helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime perpetrated against her.

How do I find a Certifying Official?

The first step in finding a certifying official begins with finding a certifying agency.

1.      Certifying Agency

A Certifying Agency is a Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency, prosecutor, judge, or other authority, that is responsible for the investigation or prosecution of a qualifying crime or criminal activity. This definition includes agencies that have criminal investigative authority in their own area of expertise. It includes, but is not limited to, child protective services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Department of Labor.

2.      Certifying Official

A Certifying official is:

1)       The head of the certifying agency, or

2)       Any person in a supervisory role who has been specifically designated by the head of the certifying agency to issue U nonimmigrant status certifications on behalf of that agency; or

3)       A Federal, State or local judge

Procedure

1.      File a completed Form I-918 making sure to check that she wants an Employment Authorization Document

2.      File Form I-918 Supplement B (completed by Certifying Official) together with supporting documents and in the same mailing as I-918.

3.      Submit any trial transcripts, court documents, police reports, orders of protection and, affidavits of other witness such as medical personnel

4.      Include a detailed personal statement setting out the substantial physical or mental suffering arising from qualifying crime (the forced commercial and sexual exploitation she suffered).

5.      File Form I-912 Request for Waiver of application fees if she is indigent

 Later after receiving a notice of action on her petition Aida may later follow-up her initial petition by filing Form I-918 Supplement A to petition for derivative U Visa status for her alien spouse, child and other qualifying family members.

If you have questions about U Visas, consult an immigration attorney who can advise you based on your unique facts.

Attorney Gary D. Goodin, for Immigration Navigator

Copyright © 2011, the Immigration Navigator

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One important document that Marriage visa and K visa holders must read

One of the most shocking things to happen to potential immigrants to the United States is for them to suffer abuse or domestic violence at the hand of their US Citizen or Permanent Resident Spouse. Many people come to the United States for a better life but wind up living a nightmare of silent abuse and domestic violence.

One of the most shocking things to happen to potential immigrants to the United States is for them to suffer abuse or domestic violence at the hand of their US Citizen or Permanent Resident spouse. Many people come to the United States for a better life but wind up living a nightmare of silent abuse and domestic violence because they “do not understand the system” and lack legal representation.

One immigrant victim of spousal abuse was so embarrassed she could not mention her abuse to family and friends until things took a dramatic turn for the worst. Her U.S. Citizen spouse, who would not speak to her for weeks at a time, became violent and threatened to kill her.

The most important thing that immigrants who are victim of domestic violence need to know is that they do not have to live with an abusive spouse to remain legally in the United States. They should consult an immigration attorney as soon as possible. For those who cannot afford an attorney, free or law cost legal counsel is available

The immigration law protect victims of domestic abuse. The burden however is on the victim to prove the abuse (mental or physical) using documents such as medical records, testimony by social workers, the affidavits from persons with personal knowledge of the abuse and police reports. 

The USCIS recently issued a pamphlet titled “Information on the Legal Rights Available to Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence in the United States and Facts about Immigrating on a Marriage-Based Visa.” The brochure is designed to tell holders of marriage visas and k visas about their legal rights in the United States and where they can get help. It also informs them about US immigration options that are available without the sponsorship of an abusive spouse.

Oftentimes trying to leave an abuser may provoke a violent reaction. For this reason it, is normally highly recommended that abuse victims consult an immigration attorney and a domestic violence counselor. The two will collaborate to devise a plan to make sure the applicant is not harmed or killed by her abuser. The immigration attorney will also help by gathering supporting evidence for a self-petition, interviewing the abuse victim and helping with preparation of the applicant’s declaration.

Read the USCIS brochure here. 

 

 

 

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Never mail a single document to USCIS unless you do this

The documents that must be filed with USCIS in an adjustment of status, removal of condition or other green card case are time-sensitive. Your case may be denied if the right document is filed late.

The documents that must be filed with USCIS in an adjustment of status, removal of condition or other green card case are time-sensitive. Your case may be denied if the right document is filed late.

Even when the right documents are filed in a timely manner they could become mishandled and lost in the US Immigration bureaucracy – yes accidents do happen at the worst times.

Leave nothing to chance. Obtain proof of delivery and date for your green card filings by using one of the following mailing methods.

1. USPS Certified Mail with Return Receipt Requested (ask a USPS employee for help if you need it)

2. USPS Express Mail Overnight Guarantee

3. FedEx or UPS

But before you pop the package in the mail to USCIS remember to make photocopies of all documents for your own immigration file.

Attorney Gary D. Goodin, for Immigration Navigator

Copyright © 2011, The Immigration Navigator

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How to obtain a B1 B2 Visa

The B1 B2 Visa is a non-immigrant or visitor visa to enter the US for a limited time for business (b1 visa) and pleasure (b-2 visa) . Applicants for this visa must complete visa application Form DS-160 online, pay the visa application processing fee and schedule an interview appointment.

The B1 B2 Visa Requirements

The requirements that the US Consular official will assess in determining your eligibility for a B1 B2 visa are:

1. You must live in a foreign country which you do not intend to abandon.
2. You must intend to enter the US for a limited time, and
3. You must also show that your sole purpose in visiting the US is for lawful business or pleasure.

The B1 B2 Visa is a non-immigrant or visitor visa to enter the US for a limited time for business (b1 visa) and pleasure (b-2 visa) . Applicants for this visa must complete visa application Form DS-160 online, pay the visa application processing fee and schedule an interview appointment.

The B1 B2 Visa Requirements

The requirements that the US Consular official will assess in determining your eligibility for a B1 B2 visa are:

1.       You must live in a foreign country which you do not intend to abandon.

This means residence in any foreign country. If you are an Indian national but live in Canada as a landed immigrant that is fine provided you can show that you do not intend to abandon residence in Canada.

To show that you do not intend to abandon residency in a foreign country you may use supporting documents that show;

a.       permanent employment (or on-going education for students),

b.      business and financial ties ( e.g. title to land and ownership of a local business),

c.       close family ties (e.g. marriage certificate, copies of your children’s birth certificates, school records showing that the children live with you), and,

d.      your involvement in social and cultural activities in the foreign country where you live.

The fact that you would leave dependent children, spouse or family behind in coming to the United States is not enough by itself to show a strong reason to return. Previous good use of a U.S. visa is important evidence of an intention to return to your residence outside the United States.

2.       You must intend to enter the US for a limited time

To show your intention to enter the US for a limited time, you must have a very specific purpose for your trip (e.g. medical treatment, a trip to Disney World, buying equipment for a business, a business conference etc.) and a realistic plan.

The purpose of your trip must match length of your stay in the United States and you should show that you have the money to carry out the purpose of your trip (pay slips, bank statements).

3.       You must also show that your sole purpose in visiting the US is for lawful business or pleasure.

While the B1 B2 visa allows a visitor to make business deals related to employment and business in a foreign country, it does not allow employment in the United States for U.S. employers.

The US Consular officer will deny your B1 B2 application if you fail to show any of these US visa requirements. Security checks and alerts may also result in denial or delay of a U.S. tourist visa or denial of admission into the United States at a port of entry.

The B1 B2 Visa does not guarantee admission

Visa issuance alone does not guarantee admission into the United States.  Customs and Border Patrol agents will inspect the B1 B2 visa holder and decide whether to admit him upon his arrival at a port of entry. The longest time the visa holder must stay in the United States depends on the date stamped on the I-94 Arrival Departure record received upon admission. An immigration officer may grant admission to any B-1 visitor for business or B-2 visitor for pleasure for not more than one year and grant extensions of temporary stay in increments of not more than six months each.

The Visa Waiver program

Nationals of countries that take part in the Visa Waiver Program, VWP do not need a b1b2 visa to enter the United States for business and pleasure. They may enter the United States for up to 90 days for business or tourism without any extension of stay or change of non-immigrant status.

International visitors to the United States from visa waiver countries must get travel approval through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Visit the ESTA web page on the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection website for more information. 

Currently, there are 36 Visa Waiver countries, as shown below:

Andorra Hungary New Zealand
Australia Iceland Norway
Austria Ireland Portugal
Belgium Italy San Marino
Brunei Japan Singapore
Czech Republic Latvia Slovakia
Denmark Liechtenstein Slovenia
Estonia Lithuania South Korea
Finland Luxembourg Spain
France Malta Sweden
Germany Monaco Switzerland
Greece the Netherlands United Kingdom

Applicants for a b1 b2 visa should visit the US Embassy or Consulate website where they will apply for more country-specific instructions and b1 b2 visa requirements.

Attorney Gary D. Goodin, for Immigration Navigator

Copyright © 2011, The Immigration Navigator

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The Green Card Marriage Interview – green card fraud

After a US Citizen petitions for a non-immigrant spouse to get a US green card, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will often schedule a green card interview for the couple at a local service office. The subject of this green card interview is to decide whether the marriage is a good faith, or bona fide marriage.

What is a Good Faith Marriage?

A good faith marriage is legally valid according to the jurisdiction where the couple exchanged vows. Additionally, it cannot violate the laws of the United States (e.g. a polygamous marriage will not confer an immigration benefit) and was not entered into solely to get a US green card. The issue in the interview is whether a good faith marriage exists and not whether the marriage is practical (whether it will last a long time).

What is a Sham Marriage?

After a US Citizen petitions for a non-immigrant spouse to get a US green card, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will often schedule a green card interview for the couple at a local service office. The subject of this green card interview is to decide whether the marriage is a good faith, or bona fide marriage.

What is a Good Faith Marriage?

A good faith marriage is legally valid according to the jurisdiction where the couple exchanged vows. Additionally, it cannot violate the laws of the United States (e.g. a polygamous marriage will not confer an immigration benefit) and was not entered into solely to get a US green card. The issue in the interview is whether a good faith marriage exists and not whether the marriage is practical (whether it will last a long time).

What is a Sham Marriage?

A marriage without any intent, or “good faith,” to live together as husband and wife but was merely a scheme to get around the immigration laws is a sham marriage. The USCIS does not recognize a sham marriage  and the non-immigrant will get no immigration benefit from such a marriage.

Factors that raise suspicion of a Sham Marriage during a green card interview.

The factors that raise suspicion of green card fraud and may lead to in-depth questioning, a field examination or an investigation include:

1.         Large disparity of age;

2.         Inability of petitioner and beneficiary to speak each other’s language;

3.         Vast difference in cultural and ethnic background (times however are changing);

4.         Family and/or friends unaware of the marriage;

5.         Marriage arranged by a third-party;

6.         Marriage contracted immediately after the beneficiary’s apprehension or receipt of notification to leave the United States;

7.         Marriage entered into immediately following entry into the US

8.         Discrepancies in statements on questions for which a husband and wife should have common knowledge;

9.         The couple has not lived together as husband and wife since marriage;

10.      The beneficiary (alien) is a friend of the petitioner’s family;

11.       The US Citizen petitioner has filed earlier petitions for aliens, especially prior alien spouses.

The Good News

While any of these factors merely raises suspicion of green card fraud, this does not mean that a sham marriage will be found. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services may not conduct in-depth questioning, a field examination or an investigation.  The couple, however is responsible for proving good faith intent with supporting documents during the green card application and during the interview (more on this in a later post).

Again the green card marriage interview questions are not about whether your marriage is perfect. The sole purpose of this green card interview is for an adjudicator to decide if the marriage is legally valid and not entered into solely for obtaining a US green card. Though living and working in the US is highly desirable to many you should not enter a marriage for the sole purpose obtaining a green card.

If you have questions about adjustment of status and the green card process, consult an immigration attorney who can advise you based on your unique facts.

Immigration Attorney Gary Goodin

Copyright © 2011, The Immigration Navigator

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