Articles Posted in Change of Address

4525157355_47ec162df5_z

Before filing your green card application, it is important for you to carefully consider several important factors that may limit your ability to obtain employment in the United States and restrict your international travel. If you will be filing your green card application in the near future, you need to be prepared to remain in the United States for a period of at least 90 days, from the date of filing of your green card application. Applicants must also be aware that they will not receive authorization to work in the United States until this 90-day period has passed. Limited exceptions exist which may allow an applicant to expedite the adjudication process of the employment and travel authorization applications which we will discuss below.

Why the 90-day restriction period?

As part of the green card application, the applicant may file the I-765 Application for Employment Authorization and the I-131 Application for Travel Document at no additional cost. The I-765 and I-131 applications result in the issuance of a one-year temporary employment and international travel authorization card (EAD), while the green card application is being adjudicated by USCIS. It takes on average 90 days for the EAD card to be issued, from the date of filing of the green card application. This ultimately means that once you apply for permanent residence, you will not be able to seek employment or travel outside of the country until the EAD card is issued to you within 90 days. Once the green card application has been filed with USCIS, the applicant is restricted from any international travel. If the applicant travels without authorization, USCIS will consider the applicant’s green card application ‘abandoned.’ An applicant may only travel internationally if they have received a re-entry permit issued by USCIS known as an ‘advance parole’ document. The ‘advance parole’ notice will appear on the front of the EAD card itself signifying that the applicant is authorized to travel internationally using the card.  The ability to re-enter the United States after returning from temporary foreign travel is ‘discretionary.’ This means that even if you have been issued an EAD card that allows you to travel, it will ultimately be up to the customs official to admit you into the United States.

Consider the alternatives

Before applying for your green card you should carefully consider whether these travel and employment restrictions will have a significant impact on your lifestyle. If the travel restrictions are concerning to you, it may be a more beneficial option for you to apply for an immigrant visa from a U.S. Consulate abroad. There are no travel restrictions for applicants who apply for immigration benefits from abroad. Likewise, if you are concerned that you will not receive employment authorization immediately, it may be worth considering applying for a dual intent work visa first to cover any gaps in employment. There are limited work visa categories that allow for dual intent, or the intent to have a temporary visa status at the same time as having the intent to remain permanently in the United States. If this is the case, you should consult with an attorney to discuss your options.

Continue reading

2543596002_1900c6f214_z

Did you know that if you fail to provide USCIS written notice of a change of address, within 10 days of moving to your new address, you may be convicted of a misdemeanor crime?  If you currently have a case pending with USCIS, and you fail to provide written notice of a change of address to USCIS, within 10 days of moving, you could face a fine of up to $200, imprisonment up to 30 days, or both if convicted. If you are an alien (non U.S. Citizen) you could also face removal from the United States for non-compliance (INA Section 266(b)).

It is extremely important for applicants to notify USCIS immediately upon moving to a new address. Filing a change of address with USCIS is easy and it’s free. Applicants may change their address online by visiting the USCIS website and completing Form AR-11 online. In order to file a change of address online, you must know the Receipt Number (appearing on the Notice of Action) associated with your application, if your application is currently pending with USCIS. A Receipt Number is also known as the case number, identifying the petition submitted. The Receipt Number typically begins with three letters and is followed by ten digits.

The first three letters of the Receipt Number indicate the USCIS service center which is processing the petition, as follows:
– EAC – Vermont Service Center;
– WAC – California Service Center;
– LIN – Nebraska Service Center; and
– SRC – Texas Service Center

If you have filed more than one petition with USCIS (as in cases of adjustment of status for spouses of U.S. Citizens) you must provide the receipt number of each petition you have filed, when submitting the change of address online. If you do not have your receipt notice or have lost it, you should contact USCIS National Customer Service Center by telephone for assistance:

Our number is: 1 (800) 375-5283
Our TTY number is: 1 (800) 767-1833

If you are outside the United States and have filed an application or petition with a USCIS Service Center, you can call 212-620-3418 to check the status of your case.

Continue reading

8168034654_b59a79c5ba_bConditional Permanent Residence

If you have received a two-year conditional permanent resident card, based on your marriage to a United States citizen, you are required to remove the conditions on your green card before the expiration date, by filing the Form I-751 Application for Removal of Conditions jointly with your spouse. Many clients often ask, “how do I know if I am a conditional permanent resident?” You will know if you are a conditional permanent resident if your green card contains the abbreviations ‘CR’ under the immigrant ‘category.’ Foreign spouses of US Citizens will be able to locate the abbreviation ‘CR 6’ on their green cards. If this abbreviation applies to you, you must file the I-751 removal of conditions application jointly with your spouse, within the 90-day window immediately before your conditional green card expires. For example, if your two-year green card expires on August 7, 2016, the earliest day to file your removal of conditions application would be May 9, 2016 up to the date of expiration. If you are no longer married to the US Citizen spouse through which you gained conditional permanent residence, you may seek a waiver of the joint filing requirement and file the application alone.

Proper and Timely Filing of the I-751 Removal of Conditions Application

USCIS must receive your properly completed removal of conditions application along with the filing fee, during this 90-day window, otherwise your application will be rejected if you do not have a legitimate reason for filing your application outside the deadline. If you are unsure of the time period in which you must file your I-751 application, you should consult with a licensed immigration attorney early on in the process. If you have decided to file the I-751 application on your own, without the assistance of an attorney, you must read the I-751 Form Instructions VERY CAREFULLY and contact the USCIS National Customer Service Line with questions.

Why do I need to file the removal of conditions application?

USCIS grants two-year conditional green cards to foreign spouses of U.S. Citizens, if the foreign spouse has been married to the US Citizen spouse for less than two years (on the date that they are granted permanent residence). Foreign spouses who have been married to their US Citizen spouse for more than two years (on the date they are granted permanent residence), receive permanent ten-year green cards. Permanent residents, as opposed to conditional permanent residents, do not need to file the I-751 removal of conditions application, because they already have been granted the ten-year green card.

Clients typically ask us; why must I file the removal of conditions application if I have already gone through the rigorous green card process with my spouse?

USCIS requires you to jump yet another hurdle in order to ensure that you have entered your marriage in good faith, and not to gain an immigration benefit. The I-751 therefore, is a fraud prevention mechanism for newly married couples, requiring them to prove that they did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States. As part of the removal of conditions application process, the couple must provide documented evidence showing that they have been living together from the date of marriage to the present (joint lease agreement), that the couple has commingled their finances during their marriage (joint income tax returns, joint bank accounts, joint insurances, joint loans, etc.), that the couple shares joint responsibility of assets and liabilities within the household (joint utility bills, joint insurance policies, joint financial responsibilities), and that the couple spends time together on a regular basis (photographs of the couple from date of marriage to present, phone records, e-mails, text-messages, social media correspondence, hotel/flight reservations, evidence of joint trips taken together, affidavits from friends and family members, etc.)

Continue reading

The American Immigration Lawyers Association will be hosting a free workshop on September 19, 2015 at various sites around the country.  The workshop will be providing assistance to lawful permanent residents who are eligible for naturalization. Each year, at sites across the country, AILA attorneys and other stakeholders provide assistance to lawful permanent residents eligible for naturalization.  Last year, AILA and its partner “ya es hora ¡Ciudadanía!” held more than 50 naturalization clinics in 22 states and the District of Columbia serving thousands of immigrants who aspired to become citizens. We will provide more updates to our community as they become available. For more information about the event please contact AILA’s Pro Bono department probono@aila.org.

Please click here for:

Continue reading

5502616867_1430fcb653_z

In order to alleviate the workload received by the Vermont Service Center, USCIS recently announced that some cases normally processed at the Vermont Service Center will be transferred to the California Service Center. Cases that may be affected include I-130 petitions for alien relatives and I-751 petitions to remove the conditions on permanent residence.

For cases that are transferred to the CSC, USCIS will issue applicants a receipt notice confirming the transfer of their application. The transfer notice will include the date of transfer and the new location where the application will be processed. The receipt number identifying your application will remain unchanged. There may be a slight delay in the processing time for cases that are transferred to a new location.

CIS has clarified that the filing location for I-130 and I-751 applications will remain the same and applicants should continue to follow the form instructions before filing their applications with CIS.

Applicants can check the status of their applications by navigating to the CIS website and entering their receipt number in the Case Status Online system. Applicants are also encouraged to continue to check the processing times published on the CIS website for the California Service Center or by calling the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. If your application is outside of the normal processing time you should submit an e-Request inquiry on the CIS website or by calling the NCSC. When submitting the e-Request by telephone you must have your receipt number on hand and notify the customer service representative that your application has been transferred to a new location.

Continue reading

5645164344_1d072fab2f_z

In this blog we are answering 5 of your frequently asked questions in detail. Please remember that every case and every story is different and unique. You should not compare your situation to anyone else’s. We hope that our answers will provide you with further guidance while you embark on your immigration journey. For any further questions call our office for a free legal consultation. We thank you for your continued trust in our law office.

Q: I would like to understand if my case has any possibility of success. I am a Mexican citizen, my mother is a US Citizen. Years back she began the immigration process for me, but lost a notification due to a change of address. The whole process stopped. We both talked and would like to reinstate the process, can you please assist?

A: Thank you for your question. Did you save a copy of the case file that was mailed to CIS? It is important for an attorney to first evaluate your application to make sure you sent all necessary documentation along with your application. You will also need to provide copies of your receipt notices with your corresponding receipt numbers. It may be that you may have received a request for additional evidence. If you failed to change your address with CIS or if you failed to respond to CIS within the required timeframe you will need to reinstate your application. Our office has experience reinstating applications with CIS however the process can be time consuming. In some cases it is better to re-file to save time. If you have criminal history, have been deported, or detained these factors will have a profound impact on the success of your application. To determine the best strategy for you please contact our office.

Continue reading

9069182796_e8643422b5_z (2)
Want to track the status of a pending case? Moving to a new address? Want to report a problem with your case? No problem!

Our loyal fans and followers, who communicate with us through our various social networking sites and web page, often ask our law office how they can track or check the status of their pending case, how they can change their address with USCIS while their case is pending, and how they can report a problem with their case. These are all very important questions. It is imperative that all applicants who have pending cases with USCIS regularly check the status of their case both online and by calling USCIS. There are several ways to communicate with USCIS. You can check the status of your pending case online, submit a service request online, schedule an Infopass online, and submit a change of address online.  For time sensitive issues, applicants should check the status of their pending case or report a problem with their pending case by calling USCIS directly by phone. In this post we will walk you through the steps of how to communicate with USCIS via all of these methods.

How to check the status of a case online: