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May an unmarried son or daughter of a lawful permanent resident keep their F2B classification after their sponsoring parent naturalizes?

The immigration laws treat the adult, unmarried children of citizens differently than the adult, unmarried children of lawful permanent residents. Adult, unmarried children of U.S. citizens are placed in category F1 for family based visas (not to be confused with F1 student visas, a totally unrelated area of the law).  Adult, unmarried children of lawful permanent residents are placed in category F2B.

Whenever an immigrant visa application is filed, a priority date is assigned.  Think of a priority date as a line number.

Adult, unmarried children of lawful permanent residents v. adult, unmarried children of citizens

Sometimes, the priority date for adult, unmarried children of U.S. citizens (F1) is behind the priority date for adult, unmarried children of lawful permanent residents (F2B).  For instance, in the January 2015 Visa Bulletin, the State Department reported the processing of visa applications for the adult, unmarried children of LPRs (for all countries other than Mexico and the Philippines) with a priority date of April 1, 2008.  But the agency was processing visa applications for the adult, unmarried children of U.S. citizens bearing a priority date of July 8, 2007.  This means that the adult, unmarried children of LPRs are getting their visas about 9 months earlier than the adult, unmarried children of U.S. citizens.

The reason for this discrepancy is the cap on the number of available visas for each type of category.  The line is longer for adult, unmarried children of U.S. citizens than it is for adult, unmarried children of lawful permanent residents.

What happens if the sponsor naturalizes?

Our office is frequently contacted by sponsors of immigrant visas for their adult, unmarried children.  These people are considering becoming U.S. citizens but worry what would happen to their child’s place in the visa line.  They worry that moving their son or daughter from F2B to F1 family based visa category will slow down their child’s case.  Naturalization of the sponsoring parent automatically converts the F2B application to an F1 classification.

Luckily, the law allows a 2B son or daughter to opt out of transfering to the F1 preference category.  This is achieved by filing a formal request with the USCIS office having jurisdiction over the case.  The adult, unmarried child will be allowed to retain the original 2B priority date, assuming that the I-130 was properly filed.  Section 204(k)2) of the INA specifically allows for the alien beneficiary to opt-out of the automatic conversion to F1 classification.  This allows the beneficary to retain their original priority date.

USCIS has issued a memo which addresses this issue.

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Do children automatically become citizen when their parent naturalizes?

Children do become citizens automatically if the following is also true:

1. Your child is under 18 years old, unmarried;
2. Your child has entered the U.S. and has lawful permanent resident status (“a green card”);
3. Your child is residing in your legal and physical custody.

One key point is that if the parent that has become a citizen is the father, the child must have been born in wedlock or paternity of the child established before the child’s 18th birthday.

These have been the requirements since February 27, 2001. They apply to natural born and adopted children.They do not apply to step-children unless the child is legally adopted by the U.S. citizen. In order for your child to obtain proof of their citizenship status, it is necessary to obtain a Certificate of Naturalization.

**Please note that these requirements are different than the rules that apply to children who are born abroad and acquire citizenship at birth because they have a U.S. citizen parent.

Should I believe everything that I read on the internet about spouse visa interviews?

If you haven’t already been looking around the internet to find out information regarding spouse visa interviews, it is my strong recommendation that you not do that.  There is a huge amount of misinformation floating around cyberspace regarding green card interviews and you will do yourself no good by visiting chat boards dedicated to discussing this important topic.

This is true for several reasons.

First, many, many immigration cases are extremely straightforward and approvable.  The stories of these cases rarely make their way onto the internet, except for our website.  This results in a skewed number of stories regarding how a spouse visa interview went.

Second, you have no idea if the stories are true or false.  For all you know, the horror story that you just found on the internet regarding an interview that went poorly is entirely false.  Do you have any way of checking?

Third, every case is different.  This means that different USCIS officers ask different questions and handle each case differently.  You cannot assume that because a certain question was asked a certain way in one case means that the same question will be asked of you.

Each immigration office handles these interviews differently – what may be true in Portland, Oregon, may not be true in Atlanta, Georgia or St. Louis, Missouri.  Even within the same office, different officers handle their interviews differently.

But the main reason that you should not waste your time reading about other peoples’ cases is that it will only stress you out, make you anxious and cause you headaches from all of the worry.  Whatever may or may not have happened in another case has little to no bearing on your case.

So give yourself a break.  If you have a question, ask your immigration lawyer.  Don’t ask the uneducated masses on the internet.  Trust me on this one.

In 1996 congress passed a law and president bill clinton signed it which imposed harsh penalties on immigrants who had accrued unlawful presence the law went into effect in april of 1997 unlawful

Newly married couples sometimes have difficulty in proving the validity of their marriage.  After all, how much evidence can you actually have when you are just getting started on your life together.

This is especially true if one spouse is in the U.S. and the other spouse is overseas.  Here are some tips on how you can strengthen your case when you and your spouse live far apart:

1.  Document the communications.  If you use phone cards, keep them.  If you use Skype, keep track of chats.  You can keep a log of time spent talking each day.  Letters, cards and hard copies of correspondence are helpful.  We may also submit sample emails over a period of time to demonstrate the ongoing nature of the relationship.

2.  Document all time spent in each others presence.  If you are going overseas to be with your wife or husband, keep copies of everything related to the travel.  This includes airfare receipts, hotel receipts, visa stamps, ticket stubs and any other evidence showing that you did things together.

3.  Document the relationship with photos.  Be sure to take lots of pictures while the two of you are together.  One or two photos will not cut it.  With many people having access to digital cameras, this should be relatively easy.  Photos of you and your spouse in various locations and with different people are also persuasive evidence of the validity of the marriage.  Engagement and wedding photos are certainly helpful, but everyday photos are also good at establishing the validity of the marriage.

4.  Letters or affidavits from people familiar with the wedding and the relationship.  Many times, we supplement our spouse visa applications with affidavits or letters from family members or friends who have personal knowledge of the wedding and the marriage.  These are very helpful.

These are just some of the things that you can do to boost your chance of success at USCIS before your case is decided and sent to the National Visa Center.

Give us a call (314-961-8200) or visit our website (https://hackinglawpractice.com) if you have questions.

I-485 Processing Time 2022 at the NBC: Why does USCIS take so long to process my spouse visa application?

In most spouse visa cases, several months go by between the initial filing/biometrics appointment and the actual interview on your way to achieving a lawful permanent resident status. Some have it at 7.5 months or so to finally become a Green Card holder. People often wonder why that is.

In this post, you’ll learn:

  • the different stages of spouse visa application
  • tips to ensure a speedy and successful application

The American Immigration Lawyers Association issued a flyer explaining the issues that they are experiencing. In 2014, for instance, it took about five months for an average case to process. However, in 2020, the MSC processing time had increased significantly up to 9-12 months. Such delays can have a huge impact on families being separated, and business, and may even jeopardize lives. 

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3 Stages of Spouse Visa Application

Let me explain what’s happening to your application:

1. Initial Processing

Before getting to know the I-485 processing time 2022 at the National Benefits Center, we will go through what happens during the initial processing.

First, your package is received by contractors working for USCIS, with the service request date and receipt notice. They accept and review the paperwork for an initial determination as to whether the required forms and supporting documents have been filed, such as Form I 485, employment authorization or employment authorization documents, and more.

These contractors work with a checklist to help them review each document carefully. The submitted filing fees are converted to ACH (automated clearing house) and deducted directly from the bank.

The applications are then forwarded to the National Benefits Center in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

2. National Benefits Center (NBC)

To understand the National Benefits Center processing times 2022 better, let us know what the NBC is.

The NBC was created by the government agency USCIS in 2001. The USCIS has five service centers: the Nebraska Service Center, the California Service Center, the Texas Service Center, the Potomac Service Center, and the Vermont Service Center.

  • Nebraska Service Center
  • California Service Center
  • Texas Service Center
  • Potomac Service Center
  • Vermont Service Center

You can view the USCIS website for more information. NBC’s mission is to process applications that are to be sent to a local service center for interviews.

Each application (work authorization, travel document, spouse visa, and green card application) is assigned a case number. The NBC was originally called the Missouri Service Center, so the first three letters of the case number are always MSC. The non-citizen spouse also receives an alien identification number (A#).

The NBC conducts a more thorough review of the application. If information or evidence is missing, the NBC sends out a request for evidence (which we discussed in an earlier email). These are among the citizenship and immigration services that NBC provides.

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 3. FBI Name Check

The third piece of the puzzle before an interview is scheduled is the FBI name (or background) check. After biometrics are conducted, the fingerprints are sent to the FBI to check local and national criminal databases.

The check is very thorough. Serious traffic, misdemeanor, and felony arrests and convictions are identified. This is important because all arrests and convictions will be discussed during the interview.

We generally obtain the same records BEFORE filing so that we are adequately prepared for whatever may arise. It also demonstrates why it is important that you tell us everything regarding any interaction that you have ever had with the law.

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These are the three stages that must take place before you and your spouse attend the green card interview or perhaps when completing the immigrant petition.

3 Tips to Speed Up Your Case

The spouse visa application process may take a long time. But there are ways to help speed up the processing time.

Free Passport and Polaroid Pictures Stock Photo

1. Submit an error-free application

The spouse visa application process can be complex, and there’s a lot that you need to get right. If doing it on your own, make sure every detail you provide is correct and everything has been researched before pressing forward – mistakes cost time or money.

When you’re asked to provide supporting documents, submit everything available even if the required number of paperwork is met. A little extra effort will help ensure that all of your bases are covered so there won’t be any surprises down the line.

We all know the frustration of submitting an application only to receive a Request for Evidence (RFE). It’s not always easy when you’re trying your best, but receiving this kind of letter can mean that there are some things in your documentation that need more proof or clarification from the USCIS. Trial checks will help get rid of these issues before moving forward with the process.

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2. File for an expedited request

You can speed up the immigration case by applying for an expedited request. However, some criteria must be met in order to qualify for this type of renewal or admission into the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).

To make a request for an expedited process, you must have the following documentation that proves your eligibility:

A severe financial or monetary loss to an individual or company

provided that the petition for urgency is not the result of the applicant’s failure to:

  • A timely request for the benefit
  • Timely response to the requests for supporting evidence

A non-profit organization or entity

as recognized by the IRS or Internal Revenue Service, whose request is to promote the social and cultural interests of the United States

Urgent humanitarian reasons or emergencies 

Though USCIS doesn’t have an official definition of what an urgent case is, your expedited request can get approved when you can prove emergencies or critical humanitarian situations through substantive evidence. These include a dire financial situation and critical illness.

USCIS error 

If you believe that USCIS made a mistake while processing your application, then it’s more likely to approve an expedited request. However, you must provide clear documentation showing how this happened so they can fix their error quickly and get back on track with the rest of the applicants in line waiting patiently behind them. Critical mistakes might include using the wrong entry date or incorrect dates that shortened the validity of your status. 

The USCIS grants permission to file a request for expedited processing on an individual basis and they have sole discretion in deciding whether or not your case will be approved. Someone rarely has their request approved, and filing can only be done once you receive a receipt notice from the normal processing time filing.

There are several reasons why expedited requests may be denied. These include:

  • You filed the request outside the standard processing window.
  • Failure to submit any compelling documentation or evidence to support your request.
  • Your case is qualified for premium processing.

Make an expedited request for your case by calling the USCIS contact center. After the automated option to hear about its status, select “expedite.” Once an agent calls you, make sure to provide all of your information and explain the reasons for your request.

An expedited service request number will be given to you so you can track your case. You will receive an email within 1-2 weeks asking for evidence or documentation of your situation. And after a week, you should receive a decision email from USCIS.

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3. Hire an immigration lawyer

Applicants who attempt to file their adjustment of status application to save money are likely going about it the wrong way. Filing fees can be expensive, and the immigration process isn’t always straightforward. A good immigration lawyer will understand all of your options, so there aren’t any surprises when you get down from putting together paperwork with specific guidelines attached upon approval (or rejection).

Hiring a reputable immigration attorney or law firm is the best way to ensure your case gets handled quickly and efficiently. You don’t want any errors in paperwork, incomplete documents, or incorrect filings that could lead to unnecessary delays; hiring someone like us will help speed up the process.

If you have any questions, please give us a ring at (314) 325-7978.

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