Green Cards for Widows 

This guide is intended for widowed immigrants who are seeking an immigration benefit through their deceased spouse.
Generally

To immigrate as the widow(er) of a citizen, you must prove the following:

1. you were legally married to the citizen,

2. you entered the marriage in good faith, and not solely to obtain an immigration benefit.

Widow(er) with a Pending Immigrant Petition
If you were married to a U.S. citizen who had filed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative for you before he or she died, you do not need to file anything. The Form I-130 will be automatically converted to a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. Further, you must not have have been divorced or legally separated from the U.S. citizen at the time of death. Your eligibility to immigrate as a widow(er) ends if you have remarried.

Widow(er) without a Pending Immigrant Petition

If you were married to U.S. citizen before the citizen’s death, but had no I-130 petition filed on your behalf, you can self-petition as an “immediate relative” on Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. To qualify, you must not have been divorced or legally separated from the U.S. citizen at the time of death. You must file within 2 years of the citizen’s death.

I751 Joint Filing Waiver 

This guide is intended for immigrants with conditional residency who are looking to remove the conditions of their residency.

Generally

An individual’s permanent residence status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than 2 years old on the day you were given permanent residence.

Eligibility

Generally, you may apply to remove your conditions on permanent residence if you:

Are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 2 years. You may include your children in your application if they received their conditional-resident status either at the same time or within 90 days as you did;

Are a child and, for a valid reason, cannot be included in your parents’ application;

Are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith;

Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment; or

Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse.

Filing Form I751

Your status is conditional, because you must prove that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States. To remove these conditions you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. You and your spouse must apply together to remove the conditions on your residence by filing Form I-751. You should apply during the 90 days before your second anniversary as a conditional resident. The expiration date on your green card is also the date of your second anniversary as a conditional resident. If you do not apply to remove the conditions in time, you could lose your conditional resident status.

Joint Filing Waiver 

If you are unable to apply with your spouse to remove the conditions on your residence, you may request a waiver of the joint filing requirement.

You may request a waiver of the joint petitioning requirements in the following instances:

Your deportation or removal would result in extreme hardship

You entered into your marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but the marriage ended by annulment or divorce, and you were not at fault in failing to file a timely petition

You entered into your marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but during the marriage you or your child were battered by, or subjected to extreme cruelty committed by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, and you were not at fault in failing to file a joint petition.

Contact with USCIS – Some Tips

The following are guidelines associated with corresponding with United States Citizenship & Immigration Services in relation to an applicant’s immigration petition. Call USCIS customer service (1-800-375-5283) for further assistance.
Notify USCIS for any changes

You should notify USCIS for any changes in your pending case for the following reasons:

You have moved and want to update your address.

You filed a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, as a permanent resident, and then became a U.S. citizen

You have a pending Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and you need to change the names of persons you included on the petition or the consulates or ports of entry where the individuals will apply for their visa or entry

You need to reschedule a scheduled interview.

Notify USCIS for any errors

You should notify USCIS for any errors in your pending case for the following reasons:

You found an error in the information on the last notice sent to you;

You found an error on a document issued to you. This will require an application to replace the document.

Notify USCIS for any case processing questions

You mailed your application or petition more than 30 days ago to a Service Center, and have not yet received a receipt in the mail;

You did not receive further notices and you have a receipt number but “My Case Status” states that USCIS sent you a notice more than 14 days ago;

You submitted original documents with your case and you want to request documents be returned to you while your case is pending.

An Overview of TPS

The following guide is intended for applicants for Temporary Protected Status from a designated country.
Generally

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary status that the U.S. government grants to persons already in the United States that are from countries determined unsafe for return if: There is ongoing armed conflict within the country; or A natural or environmental disaster has led to a substantial but temporary disruption of living conditions; or Other extraordinary and temporary conditions prevent persons from returning to the country in safety.

Time Period

When the United States designates a country for TPS status, it will also designate a time period in which persons from that country must register for TPS benefits and as well as a termination date.

Eligibility

To establish your eligibility for TPS, you must: provide proof of your identity; provide proof that you are a national of a TPS-designated country; provide proof that you have been continuously living in the United States since the date of TPS-designation; register within the designated registration period; and not be subject to certain security and criminal grounds that make you inadmissible.

The Benefits of Applying for Naturalization 

This guide is for eligible green card holders that are considering applying for citizenship.Eligibility of U.S. Citizenship

Permanent residents may apply for citizenship upon being a permanent resident for 5 years, or upon being a permanent resident for 3 years if they have been married to a U.S. citizen spouse for at least 3 years.
Requirements of U.S. Citizenship

The following requirements must be met for individuals holding a green card for at least 5 years:

Be 18 or older

Be a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the Form N-400

Have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing the application

Have continuous residence in the United States as a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of the filing the the application

Be physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the application

Reside continuously within the United States from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of naturalization

Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).

Be a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law

Benefits of U.S. Citizenship

Voting: Only U.S. citizens can vote in Federal elections. Most States also restrict the right to vote to U.S. citizens.

Petitioning for Family: Citizens generally get priority when petitioning to bring family members permanently to this country.

Traveling with a U.S. passport: A U.S. passport allows you to get assistance from the U.S. government when outside the United States.

Working as a Federal employee: Most jobs with government agencies require U.S. citizenship.

Becoming an elected official: Many elected offices in this country require U.S. citizenship.

Responsibilities of U.S. Citizenship

To become a U.S. citizen you must take the Oath of Allegiance, which includes the following promises:

Give up all prior allegiance to any other nation or sovereignty;

Swear allegiance to the United States;

Support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States; and

Serve the country when required.

Completing Forms – Some Tips 

The U.S. immigration system can be overwhelming to navigate and understand due to the sheer complexity of the field. To assist with this, Agarwal Law Offices has compiled a list of important tips to keep in mind when completing immigration forms.Read the Instructions

Every USCIS form has a corresponding instruction manual. Be sure to read this entire manual before beginning the application process as it will give you a general overview of what to expect.

Use the Correct Form

Depending on the benefit you are attempting to acquire, it is most important to use the appropriate form and all supplemental forms. Be sure that these are the most updated versions of the forms as USCIS releases new forms often.

Complete All Sections

Do not leave any part of the application blank. If the answer doesn’t apply to you, simply indicate N/A or “Not Applicable.” This will ensure that USCIS does not return your application for failure to complete the application properly.

Do Not Forget to Sign

It appears like an obvious item, but too often people forget to sign their forms where indicated. Be sure to use black ink and sign and date all forms where requested.

Send the Appropriate Fee

Check the appropriate fees as these often change. Further, if applicable to your case, ensure that the base fee and any biometric fee are properly added. Make sure the check is written out to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

Make a Copy

Do not send your application without a copy for your records — whether by scan or physical copy. This will ensure that you are aware of what you submitted when it comes time for review and interview of your case.

Contact USCIS or Schedule an Infopass Appointment

If you have any questions, USCIS customer service is available to assist or you can schedule an Infopass appointment at your local USCIS service center to speak with an officer in person.

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

USCIS I9 Procedure

USCIS issued the following press release regarding the procedure for obtaining Form I-9:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has learned that employers have received scam emails requesting Form I-9 information that appear to come from USCIS. USCIS officials will never request Form I-9 download, completion, upload or inspection via email, nor are Forms I-9 submitted to USCIS in any circumstance. Employers must have a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for every person on their payroll who is required to complete Form I-9. All of these forms must be retained for a certain period of time. Visit I-9 Central to learn more about retention, storage and inspections for Form I-9.

Change of Status Assistance 

Generally, you may apply to change to a new nonimmigrant status or extend your current status if you lawfully traveled to the United States on a temporary visa and were lawfully admitted, your temporary visa status remains valid, and you have not committed any crimes that make you ineligible to change your status.Application Process

File Form I539, Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status with all accompanying filing fees and evidence. The form is specifically intended for the following applicants: Certain nonimmigrants to extend their stay or change to another nonimmigrant status; CNMI residents applying for an initial grant of status; F and M nonimmigrants to apply for reinstatement; and, Persons seeking V nonimmigrant status or an extension of stay as a V nonimmigrant.

Filing Deadline

your application for an extension of stay about 45 – 60 days before your authorized stay expires. If filing a late change/extension of stay, the following must be proven: Your delay in filing was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control; The length of the delay was reasonable; You have not done anything else to violate your status such as working without authorization; You intend to remain in the United States temporarily (there are some exceptions to this rule); and You are not in removal proceedings

Categories Not Eligible for Change of Status
to change your nonimmigrant status if you were admitted to the United States in the following categories: Visa Waiver Program (VWP), Crew member (D nonimmigrant), In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV), Certain spouses of U.S. citizens or dependent children (K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrant), Fiance of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiance (K-1 or K-2 nonimmigrant), or Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S nonimmigrant)

Pending Decision

Until you receive approval from USCIS, do not assume your request for a change in nonimmigrant status has been approved, and do not change your activity in the United States.

How to Obtain Immigration Forms 

The following guide is intended for immigrants seeking to obtain immigration forms from USCIS for purposes of applying for an immigration benefit.USCIS Webpage

The USCIS webpage, found at https://www.uscis.gov/forms. USCIS are always free and can be downloaded on USCIS site. They can be completed using the latest version of Adobe Reader.) Don’t pay anyone for copies of our forms.

Order by Mail

You can order forms by mail, or by calling 1-800-870-3676, USCIS Customer Service Number. You should request the form number for each form you need, and the quantity of each form; Your complete name Your complete mailing address including apartment or unit number Your city, state and ZIP code You can expect to receive the forms within five to 10 days after your call. Forms requested by phone will only be sent to addresses within the United States and its territories.

Form Filing Tips

Don’t forget to sign your forms, as doing so will result in the rejection your application. Also be sure to submit the required evidence for each application. When filing, if you would like to receive E-Notification, you may file Form G-1145 to receive an email and/or text notification that your application has been accepted.

New Security Procedures for Refugees

USCIS has issued the following press release regarding improved security procedures for refugees entering the United States:

President Donald J. Trump announced the implementation of improved security procedures for refugees entering the United States. These new measures are part of the administration’s effort to raise national security standards for all persons traveling to the United States, and they are designed to intensify screening in order to keep nefarious and fraudulent actors from exploiting the refugee process to enter the United States.  The measures come at the end of a 120-day “pause” on refugee resettlement, while the United States government conducted a thorough review of the existing program…

In accordance with section 6(a) of Executive Order 13780, the United States government, including the Departments of State (State) and Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), conducted a review of the United States Refugee Admissions Program application and adjudication process. The goal of this review was to determine what additional procedures should be used to ensure that individuals seeking admission as refugees do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.

As a result of this review, the United States government is implementing program enhancements to raise the bar for vetting and screening procedures, including but not limited to:  increased data collection to more thoroughly investigate applicants, better information sharing between agencies to identify threat actors, and new training procedures to strengthen screener ability to detect fraud and deception.

These measures are an additional layer of security for the American people and are based in part on evaluated intelligence and identified gaps in screening and vetting operations. Following the implementation of these improved measures, the administration will recommence refugee resettlement processing.

While DHS, State, and ODNI have jointly determined that the new measures are adequate to resume refugee admissions, they have also concluded that additional in-depth review is needed with respect to refugees from 11 countries previously identified as posing a higher risk to the United States. Consequently, admissions for applicants from those 11 high-risk countries will move forward on a case-by-case basis during an additional 90-day review period, consistent with our national security interests. As DHS, State and DNI complete individual country reviews, they may resume a standard admissions process for applicants from those countries.

The United States government will continue to work closely with law enforcement and the intelligence community, and these enhancements will be evaluated on an ongoing basis to determine whether any further measures are needed to safeguard our homeland.