On August 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule governing the public charge grounds of inadmissibility, found at section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Unless litigation halts implementation of the rule, it will go into effect after 60 days, on October 15, 2019. Here is a summary provided by the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA).Continue reading “New DHS Public Charge Rule”
A member of the U.S. Congress may be willing to inquire with a Federal immigration agency, such as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS), if you are having problems with your case.Continue reading “Asking a Member of Congress for Help with Your Immigration Case”
USCIS admits that processing times for I-130s for immediate relatives are skyrocketing. Here’s what their historic data shows:
|FY 2015||FY 2016||FY 2017||FY 2018||FY 2019 (up to Mar. 31)|
|6.1 mo.||6 mo.||7.7 mo.||9.7 mo.||10.3 mo.|
On May 31, 2019, the U.S. State Department updated its immigrant and nonimmigrant visa application forms to request social media usernames from most immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants worldwide.Continue reading “New Social Media Question on Visa Application Forms”
If you were born in Mainland China and are applying for a U.S. green card, you will need to submit a China birth certificate. That’s true regardless of whether you are filing a Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, with USCIS or are applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad.Continue reading “What Type of China Birth Certificate Is Required for U.S. Immigration?”
Welcome to the Affidavit of Support Help Center. If you feel that you need some help with the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, you are not alone. Technical errors with the Form I-864 are among the most common reasons for denial of permanent residence applications.
This article gives an overview of the requirements and procedures for foreign-related marriages in China. Local requirements and procedures may vary, so contact local authorities to confirm. Continue reading “Getting Married in China: a Guide for U.S. Citizens”
Over the weekend, the Trump administration took steps to radically transform a little-known provision of immigration law that could have an outsized impact on legal immigration. In proposed regulations posted on Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicated that it would redefine the legal term “public charge” to block green cards for low-income immigrants who receive non-cash public benefits such as Medicaid or food stamps. Continue reading “The Proposed Changes to Public Charge: What You Need to Know”
On September 22, 2018, the Trump administration announced the upcoming publication of a proposed rule that if implemented as written, would prevent immigrants from securing lawful permanent residence and remaining with their families in the United States, simply because at any time in the past, they received some type of basic health care support, nutrition assistance, or other vital services. Continue reading “Trump’s Proposed “Public Charge” Rule Intensifies War on Legal Immigrants”
Here’s a question I’m often asked:
Continue reading “Can I Visit the U.S. While Waiting for My Immigrant Visa?”
I am married to a U.S. citizen. He has started the process for me to get a green card by filing a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Once it’s approved by USCIS, I will apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. Embassy in my home country. Can I visit America while I’m waiting to immigrate? I currently have a valid B1/B2 (visitor for business or pleasure) visa.
There are backlogs in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing of applications and petitions. This leaves businesses and families to wonder what the processing times are. In March 2018, the agency began a pilot program to calculate processing times for some cases in a new way. Continue reading “How USCIS Calculates Processing Times for Petitions and Applications”
I’ve been asked several times today about how the spouse of a U.S. citizen expat can apply for a B1/B2 (visitor for business or pleasure) visa. The question typically goes something like this:
I am a U.S. citizen. I have lived in China for 5 years. My wife has been denied a U.S. tourist visa twice, once before and once after we married. We rent an apartment here, she has her own business, and I am employed as an engineer for Ford. We don’t want to apply for a green card because we plan to continue to live in China for the foreseeable future. We just want to visit the U.S. For the first visa application, I wanted to introduce my then fiancée to my parents. (My father has since passed away). For the second visa application, I wanted to bring my wife to Boston to attend my brother’s wedding. Is there anything you can do to help?
Today, the Supreme Court upheld the third, reengineered version of President Trump’s travel ban by a vote of 5 to 4. Anastasia Tonello, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) issued the following statement: Continue reading “Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban 3.0”
Facing a proposed law that slashes family-based immigration, Americans are scrambling to law firms to petition for visas for loved ones abroad to come here. NPR reports that President Trump wants Congress to limit the number of family members who Americans can sponsor to join them in the United States. The proposal has caused panic in some communities. Continue reading “Americans Scrambling to Submit Immigrant Petitions for Relatives”
A U.S. citizen planning to file a visa petition for a foreign fiancée or spouse who is outside the U.S. may have various strategies to choose from. The most common options are the K-1 fiancée visa, the K-3 visa, and the CR1/IR1 immigrant visa. This article analyzes the factors to be considered in choosing among such strategies. (The article does not discuss less commonly used strategies for foreign fiancées and spouses, such as applying for an H-1B or L-1 work visa). Continue reading “Choosing the Best Visa Strategy for a Fiancée or Spouse: K-1, K-3, or CR1/IR1 Immigrant Visa?”
This Guide is about the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Such a petition is the first step for a U.S. citizen to sponsor a husband or wife for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, colloquially known as “green card” status. Continue reading “Guide to Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on Behalf of a Spouse”
USCIS has issued a final rule increasing filing fees for most immigration applications and petitions. The new fees go into effect December 23, 2016. USCIS explains that fees are increasing “for the first time in six years, by a weighted average of 21 percent.” Continue reading “USCIS Filing Fees Increase”
A wealthy real estate agent must pay to support his immigrant ex-wife per his Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, even though she is now living with and being supported by her adult son. That’s the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Erler v. Erler, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10361 (9th Cir. June 8, 2016). Continue reading “Erler v. Erler: Enforcement of Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, Obligations”
Since our firm’s offices are in China, we are often asked by lawyers in the U.S. to work as local counsel for U.S. visa applications at the U.S. Consulates in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Shenyang. We make it our business to know each consulate’s policies, practices, and procedures. Here are the basic tips we give most frequently to stateside lawyers: Continue reading “Special Considerations for Visa Processing at U.S. Consular Posts in China”