Naturalization Interview Pointers 

This post outlines helpful tips in preparing and attending a naturalization interview.
1. Attend Biometric Appointment

Go to your local USCIS field office at the specified date and time for your background check. Await follow-up notice of interview date.

2. Receive Interview Notice

Be sure to note the date and time of your naturalization interview. At this point, begin preparing for the Civics portion of the exam.

3. Study USCIS Materials

As part of the naturalization interview, you will be required to test proficiently in English & Civics. The English test has three components: reading, writing, and speaking. There are 100 civics questions, of which you will be asked up to 10 questions and you must answer correctly six of the 10 questions to pass the civics test.

4. Gather all required documents

You should bring the following documents with you to your interview – 1) green card, 2) passport, 3) interview notice, 4) reentry permits, 5) state-issued identification. You can also electively bring a copy of your application, previous leases or deeds to show continued residence, and tax returns to show compliance with filing your taxes.

5. Attend the Interview

Go to your local office at the specified date and time at least 30 minutes before your scheduled interview. At your naturalization interview, you will be required to answer questions about your application and background. You will also take an English and civics test unless you qualify for an exemption or waiver.

6. Decision
If your application is approved for citizenship, you will either be given notice of an oath ceremony for a later date or be given the opportunity on the same day. If a request for more evidence is issued, you will need to submit the documentation requested by the specified date. Finally, if you are given another opportunity to take a portion of your testing, attend the follow-up interview at the designated time and date after having prepared thoroughly.

Visa Bulletin June 2017

The Visa Bulletin provides updated priority date information for family-based and employment-based green cards. 
Immigrants to the US are classified into two categories – those requiring placement on a waiting list and those not through their relationship to a US immediate relative. Further, there are numerical quotas on the green cards that require a priority date. If the number of applicants in a year is over the available visa numbers, those applicants are placed on a waiting list and are given a priority date, which estimates when an applicant would get a visa based on the number of previous applicants on the waiting list.

Below are preference category information and visa allocations.

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First: Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.      

Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to “*Other Workers”

Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth: Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.

Below is the link for the Visa Bulletin for June 2017. 

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2017/visa-bulletin-for-june-2017.html

For more information, contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

USCIS Updated Forms Reminder 

On Dec. 23, 2016, new fees took effect and USCIS published updated versions of our forms. After Feb. 21, 2017, USCIS will no longer accept previous editions of these forms. See their complete list of the new fees at uscis.gov/forms/our-fees and make sure you are including the correct amount. You must include the new fee or USCIS will reject and return your filing.
The updated forms are currently available at uscis.gov/forms. Additionally, you can request paper copies through USCIS forms request line (800-870-3676) and forms by mail service.

Immigration Waivers Generally

Agarwal Law Offices specializes in waivers of inadmissibility to the United States. A person who is not inadmissible or unable to adjust his/her status may obtain lawful admission by filing an application for waiver of the grounds of inadmissibility.
Grounds of inadmissibility include:

Failure to possess required documentation such as green cards, US passports or visas
Health-related grounds such as communicable diseases,and behavioral disorders

Certain criminal grounds such as crimes involving “moral turpitude,” controlled substances, prostitution and other serious offenses

Immigration fraud or misrepresentation

Membership in a totalitarian party

Alien smuggling

Unlawful presence in the US

Inadmissibility based on prior removal or unlawful presence after prior immigration violations

Unlawful presence after a prior immigration violation

Likelihood to become a public charge – in jail, on welfare

For more infofmation, contact ALO at 978-905-9992. 

DHS Entry/Exit Report FY 2016

U. S. Department of Homeland Security has released the Fiscal Year 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report. The report provides data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the United States who entered legally as nonimmigrant visitors and were expected to depart in FY16.

To read the full report, refer to DHS webpage here: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/05/22/dhs-releases-fiscal-year-2016-entryexit-overstay-report

The report specifies that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processed 50,437,278 in-scope nonimmigrant admissions at U.S. air and sea POEs who were expected to depart in FY16—of which 739,478 overstayed their admission, resulting in a total overstay rate of 1.47 percent. Of the more than 739,000 overstays, DHS determined 628,799 were suspected “in-country” overstays, resulting in a suspected in-country overstay rate of 1.25 percent. An individual who is a suspected in-country overstay has no recorded departure, while an out-of-country overstay has a recorded departure that occurred after their lawful admission period expired.

Criminal Vacatures for Immigration Purposes

An overview of the criminal consequences of certain crimes and the options for vacatures for immigration purposes.

Generally
Certain crimes, such as Aggravated Felonies (as defined by Section 101(a)(43)(A)-(U)) or Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (defined on a case by case basis, but are generally acts that are inherently vile and evil) disqualify an individual from applying for specific forms of relief or waivers. For that reason, the only way such an individual may remain in the country or obtain his/her citizenship is through post-conviction relief/vacating the non-waivable conviction.

Aggravated Felonies

Per INA Section 101(a)(43)(A) – (U) 

Murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor; 
Illicit trafficking in a controlled substance 

Illicit trafficking in firearms or destructive devices 

An offense relating to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specific unlawful activity if the amount of the funds exceeded $10,000; 

A crime of violence for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year; 

A theft or burglary offense for which the term of imprisonment [is] at least one year; 

An offense relating to the demand for or receipt of ransom or child pornography; 

An offense relating to racketeer influenced corrupt organizations; 

An offense relating to the owning, controlling, managing, or supervising of a prostitution business; 

An offense relating to gathering or transmitting national defense information; 

An offense that involves fraud or deceit in which the loss to the victim or victims exceeds $10,000; 

An offense relating to alien smuggling; 

An offense committed by an alien who was previously deported on the basis of a conviction for another aggravated felony; 

An offense which either is falsely making, forging, counterfeiting, mutilating, or altering a instrument;

Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)

As mentioned, CIMTs involve crimes that inherently immoral and contrary to community values. Examples include: 

Arson 

Blackmail 

Burglary 

Embezzlement 

Forgery 

Fraud 

Larceny 

Robbery

Vacatures

In Massachusetts, judges may vacate prior convictions upon a showing that “justice may not have been done” in the prior proceedings. This includes convictions arising either from trials or guilty pleas.

Immigration Interview Tips

For any immigration interview, the following tips should be helpful.

Be on Time

For any scheduled interview plan to arrive at the interview site at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time. This will allow ample time to check-in, go to the restroom, and get to the waiting room.

Be Professionally Dressed

The interviewing officer looks to your entire file for purposes of determining whether you are eligible for the immigrant benefit you are seeking. Dressing well adds to the overall appearance you are presenting so it is best to dress professionally.

Be Calm

Remember that this interview is procedural and is required for most immigrant petitions. Remaining calm will allow for the most clarity when answering the officer’s questions.

Answer only the Question Asked 

Do not deviated from the question asked into an irrelevant topic. The officer will not appreciate it and it could also open up inconsistencies or doubt about another issue. Only answer what is asked of you.

Be Consistent

Remember what you have been asked and what you indicated on your immigrant petition and answer your questions accordingly.

Be Honest

The best policy in an immigration interview is to be as honest and transparent as you can be. The officer will likely already know your history so there is no need to cover up or misrepresent yourself. Be truthful with every question.

TPS Haiti Extension

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted an extension of the Temporary Protected Status designation for Haiti. This extension is effective July 23, 2017 through January 22, 2018:

After careful review of the current conditions in Haiti and conversations with the Haitian government, I have decided to extend the designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status for a limited period of six-months,” said Secretary Kelly. “Haiti has made progress across several fronts since the devastating earthquake in 2010, and I’m proud of the role the United States has played during this time in helping our Haitian friends. The Haitian economy continues to recover and grow, and 96 percent of people displaced by the earthquake and living in internally displaced person camps have left those camps. Even more encouraging is that over 98 percent of these camps have closed. Also indicative of Haiti’s success in recovering from the earthquake seven years ago is the Haitian government’s stated plans to rebuild the Haitian President’s residence at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, and the withdrawal of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.”

Visa Bulletin May 2017

The Visa Bulletin provides updated priority date information for family-based and employment-based green cards. 
Immigrants to the US are classified into two categories – those requiring placement on a waiting list and those not through their relationship to a US immediate relative. Further, there are numerical quotas on the green cards that require a priority date. If the number of applicants in a year is over the available visa numbers, those applicants are placed on a waiting list and are given a priority date, which estimates when an applicant would get a visa based on the number of previous applicants on the waiting list.

Below are preference category information and visa allocations.

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First: Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.      

Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to “*Other Workers”

Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth: Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.

Below is the link for the Visa Bulletin for May 2017. 

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2017/visa-bulletin-for-may-2017.html

For more information, contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

TPS Guinea, Liberia, & Sierra Leone – May 21 Termination

USCIS press release re: Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone termination effective May 21, 2017:

Although TPS benefits will no longer be in effect starting May 21, 2017, TPS beneficiaries will continue to hold any other immigration status that they have maintained or acquired while registered for TPS. Individuals with no other lawful immigration status on May 21, 2017, will no longer be protected from removal or eligible for employment authorization based on TPS.

TPS-related Employment Authorization Documents issued under the Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone designations are only valid through May 20, 2017, and will not be renewed or extended.

After reviewing country conditions and consulting with the appropriate U.S. government agencies, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson determined that conditions in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone no longer support their designations for TPS. The widespread transmission of Ebola virus in the three countries that led to the designations has ended.