For most people traveling to the United States, going through Customs and Border Protection is a routine procedure. For others, it may be a nightmare. In fact, many people are routinely sent into secondary screening inspection because they were flagged by the CBP officer. It may be for a previous criminal arrest or having a name similar to someone on the no-fly list. If you are regularly sent to secondary inspection for an issue that is easily resolvable upon review by a CBP officer, it is worth looking into the Department of Homeland Security’s Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP). Under this program, applicants can submit an inquiry regarding their case to the Department of Homeland Security. CBP will review your inquiry and investigate it with the relevant agencies. Once it has concluded its investigation, your records will be updated and you will be sent a final determination letter. For many, this will resolve issues in the future. There is no fee for this service, so please consider it if you have had problems with CBP at land borders or airports.
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E-2 visas for Mexican citizens
Prior to August 2020, a Mexican national who was approved for an E-2 investor visa was issued a 12-month multiple entry visa. Now, Mexican nationals can choose between a 12-month visa or a 48-month (4 year) visa. Given the short duration of a 12-month visa, Maximilian Law Inc. recommends all applicants to choose the 48-month visa.
Email us if you are a Mexican citizen looking to purchase or start a business and apply for an E-2 visa.
On February 24, 2020, USCIS implemented a Public Charge Rule requiring most green card applicants to undergo a subjective determination as to whether he or she will likely become a public charge in the future. Since then, anybody applying for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa at a consulate abroad, was required to provide documents providing that they would not become a public charge upon issuance of a green card.
UPDATE #2: On September 22, 2020, USCIS reinstated the Public Charge Rule for all adjustment of status applications and certain non-immigrant status applications. This means that Form I-944 must be included with any pertinent applications, though USCIS has provided a grace period to October 13, 2020 to submit applications without Form I-944. Any such applications may be subject to a Request for Evidence later on.
UPDATE #1: On July 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) instructed the Department of Homeland Security to stop enforcing or implementing the Public Charge Rule “for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.” As a result of this order, USCIS confirmed that it will not adjudicate any Public Charge applications received on or after July 29, 2020. Since this order came from the lowest federal court level (district court), it may be overturned at any time by a Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court. Maximilian Law Inc. strongly advises anybody looking to apply for adjustment of status to submit their applications as soon as possible. Email us if you are interested in applying for a marriage green card or employment green card.
UPDATE #2: On September 29, 2020, a federal district court temporarily issued a motion for preliminary injunction that would prevent USCIS from implementing the naturalization fee increase on October 2, 2020. This means that, for now, the application for naturalization will remain at $725 instead of increasing to $1,170.
UPDATE #1: On July 31, 2020, USCIS announced that the filing fee for naturalization applications will in fact increase to $1,170. The fee will take effect for applications postmarked on or after October 2, 2020. Anybody who is looking to naturalize should ensure that their applications are postmarked October 1, 2020 or earlier.
People who are thinking about applying to naturalize as a U.S. citizen may want to fast track their decision. USCIS announced a series of changes in filing fees which, if approved, would take effect in 2020. Among the fee changes, naturalization applications will seeing the highest increase from $725 to $1,170.
If you have had your green card for at least five years, you may be eligible to naturalize if you have physically resided in the U.S. for at least half (2.5 years) of the preceding 5 years. Any trips outside of the U.S. for more than 6 consecutive months may break the continuous residency requirement unless you can prove that you were domiciled in the U.S. Any trips outside the U.S. for more than 12 consecutive months will definitely break the requirement.
If you obtained your green card through marriage, you may be eligible to naturalize after you’ve been married for 3 years and have had your green card for 3 years. You must also meet the continuous residency requirement – in this case, 1.5 years in the preceding 3 years. If it has been fewer than 5 years since you got your green card and you are naturalizing based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, you will also have to provide proof that you are still married.
To qualify for naturalization, you should not have a criminal record that would make you inadmissible, and have paid your taxes every year.
Please contact our office to see if you qualify for naturalization in 2020.
USCIS Premium Processing Changing From 15 Calendar Days to 15 Business Days
Beginning October 2, 2020, USCIS will change the number of days it will have to adjudicate applications for premium processing. Right now, Premium Processing requests must be adjudicated within 15 calendar days of receipt. Starting October 2, 2020, USCIS will have 15 business days to adjudicate an application. With weekends and holidays, this effectively means that USCIS officers will get an additional 4-5 days to adjudicate applications under premium processing.
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