JIMMIGRATION: Mailbag – 1.9.2015

Welcome to the inaugural post of JIMMIGRATION – our mailbag for January 9, 2015

A second re-entry permit

Hi.  I am a permanent resident, and left 2 years ago. I did a re entry because I intent to come back to work . I am in st Louis for a few days and am applying for a new re entry permit because the old one expires in May. Do I need to send that old (still valid one) to USCIS with the applications?  Franz – St. Ann, Missouri

Hi, Franz.  As you know, USCIS allows lawful permanent residents who expect to be outside of the U.S. for up to two years to apply for a re-entry permit.  This document allows an LPR to leave the U.S. for more than 6 months at a time without putting their green card at risk. Typically, when an LPR leaves the U.S. for more than 6 months, they put themselves at risk of having their status revoked and perhaps not be allowed to return.

Reentry permits cannot be extended.  If it expires, you have to apply for a new one.  If it is about to expire, you need to tender the old one to USCIS when you apply for the second one because USCIS will not allow you to have two reentry permits at the same time.  When you come to the U.S., you need to allot enough time to apply and for your biometrics (fingerprints) to be completed.  This typically takes 3-4 weeks.

You have the right to ask USCIS to deliver your reentry permit to a U.S. embassy, consulate or DHS office overseas.

Rejection at USCIS lockbox

I submitted an immigration application at the USCIS lockbox in Chicago.  It was rejected, but I think they made a mistake.  What should I do?  John, St. Louis, Missouri

USCIS uses private contractors for the initial processing of immigration applications.  These contractors work off of flow charts and boilerplate checklists to verify the accuracy of submissions and to make sure that all required information and documents are provided. Sometimes, the contractors make mistakes and reject perfectly valid submissions.

The lockboxes maintain an email address for the processing of questions related to initial submissions.  The email address is lockboxsupport@dhs.gov. If you write to them, be sure to include the receipt number for the rejected filing (if assigned a receipt number), the type of filing, the date of filing, as well as the full name and date of birth for the petitioner and/or beneficiary. If you don’t hear back within 30 days, you can either write back to them or consult with an attorney.

Checking the status of my immigration case

Dear Jim, love your website.  Thanks for all of the free info.  I would like to check the status of my immigration case.  Can I do that online? Carl, La Jolla, California.

Thanks for the kind words, Carl.  You don’t say whether your have a case with USCIS or with the Department of Homeland Security in deportation court.  In order to check the status of a case before USCIS, you can click here and type in the receipt number.  One nice feature is that you can also sign up for email alerts on your case.

As for deportation court, you cannot currently get court dates or other information over the Internet.  DHS does maintain an antiquated 1-800 number which provides basic information for people in removal proceedings.  The entire DHS computer system was down for several weeks last fall.  But its up and running again and can be accessed at 1-800-898-7180 or 240-314-1500.  You can get the following information from those numbers:

  • Next hearing date, time and location;
  • Case processing information;
  • Immigratino judge, holding and date issued;
  • Board of Immigration Appeals info; and,
  • Filing information.