US Immigration News – VisaJourney
US Immigration News and Commentary

Obama to announce executive action on immigration protecting up to 5 million

November 20th, 2014

obamaFrustrated that inaction on Capitol Hill has let America’s immigration crisis fester, President Barack Obama is set to announce significant steps to address the issue of undocumented immigrants on his own.

In a speech Thursday night, Obama will lay out his planned executive actions to offer relief from the threat of deportation to millions of people currently in the country illegally.

“What I am going to be laying out is the things that I can do with my lawful authority as president, to make the system work better,” Obama said in a Facebook video Wednesday to preview the speech.

The most controversial aspect of the president’s planned action is likely to allow as many as five million undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S., including the undocumented parents of children born here.

It would also protect more so-called “DREAMers” — young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children — but not their parents. In addition, farm workers will not receive specific protection from deportation, which has disappointed immigration activists.

The executive order is also expected to extend the stay of foreign graduates of U.S. colleges with high-tech skills.

…continued at nbcnews.com

Obama Plan May Allow Millions of Immigrants to Stay and Work in U.S.

November 14th, 2014

ImmigrationWASHINGTON — President Obama will ignore angry protests from Republicans and announce as soon as next week a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that will protect up to five million unauthorized immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan.

Asserting his authority as president to enforce the nation’s laws with discretion, Mr. Obama intends to order changes that will significantly refocus the activities of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents. One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away.

That part of Mr. Obama’s plan alone could affect as many as 3.3 million people who have been living in the United States illegally for at least five years, according to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration research organization in Washington. But the White House is also considering a stricter policy that would limit the benefits to people who have lived in the country for at least 10 years, or about 2.5 million people.

…continue reading at NY Times

USCIS Biometric Appointment Notices Issued in Error

October 6th, 2014

USCIS

If you have already attended an ASC biometric appointment, and received a second appointment notice for the same application type, please call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY for hearing impaired: 1-800-767-1833) to confirm that you do not need to return to the ASC to have biometrics collected again.

If you have not yet attended your ASC appointment and received more than one ASC appointment notice, you should attend just one appointment and take both ASC notices to that appointment.

[USCIS Reference]

US Visa Fees to Increase – Sept 2014

September 2nd, 2014

money-03Nonimmigrant and immigrant visa application fees for certain visa categories will change on September 12, 2014. All visa applicants must pay the fee amounts in effect on the day they pay, with the exception of Immigrant Visa application processing fees paid domestically to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will be effective as of the date of billing.

Fees that will decrease are not refundable. If you paid a visa fee before September 12, 2014 and that fee decreased, we cannot give you a refund.

Fees that will increase (nonimmigrant fees only): Visa fees paid will be accepted 90 days after the new fees go into effect, as follows:

- If you paid your visa fee before September 12, 2014, and your visa interview is on or before December 11, 2014, you do not have to pay the difference between the new and old fee amounts.

- If you paid your visa fee before September 12, 2014, and your visa interview is on or after December 12, 2014, you will be required to pay the difference between the old and new fee amounts – no exceptions.

The US Department of State has a complete list of new/modified fees >> Sept 2014 New US Visa Fees

USCIS Customers Can Select Delivery Service to Receive Documents

August 12th, 2014

mailbox
To ensure your overnight delivery requests are not delayed, please remember to:

  • Include a prepaid air bill when you submit your application, petition, or response to a request for evidence. The best way to avoid delivery errors is to provide a prepaid shipping label obtained directly from the delivery service. This will avoid the need to write in an account number. Enter your name in both the “to” and “from” fields on the air bill.
  • Never list USCIS as the sender and do not mark “bill to sender.”
  • Pay all delivery costs in advance and include the prepaid air bill with your submission.
  • If the delivery costs are not paid in full, USCIS will send the documents to you by regular U.S. mail. For additional information on using a delivery or courier service, please visit USCIS.

    The other side of deportation: An American struggles to prepare for life without husband

    May 27th, 2014

    LAWRENCE, KAN. — Each ordinary moment now seemed worthy of preservation, so Madina Salaty, 45, turned on her cellphone camera and hit record. “Four days left,” she said, her voice and the video both shaky as her husband leashed the dog and headed toward their front door. He walked past the framed picture of their wedding in 2011, past the University of Kansas flag on their porch, past the perennials they had planted together in the garden. He led the dog onto the wide sidewalks and manicured lawns of downtown Lawrence, where the lampposts were painted red, white and blue.

    “We are going on a walk,” Salaty said, narrating the video, focusing the camera on her husband, Zunu Zunaid, 37. He turned back to her and smiled.

    “Hi, baby,” he said.

    “Hi, baby,” she said.

    It is the latter of those separations that has increasingly become the focus of attempts to overhaul the country’s immigration policies, since more than 100,000 American citizens lose a spouse or parent to deportation each year. President Obama has asked the Department of Homeland Security to review the “humanity” of its deportation procedures. At a time when nearly one-fourth of undocumented immigrants have children or spouses who are citizens, the government now faces a choice between two priorities: Deport undocumented immigrants who have broken the law? Or protect the citizens those immigrants so often provide for?

    …continued at Washington Post.com

    U.S. adds Chile to Visa Waiver Program, dropping $160 entry fee

    March 2nd, 2014

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    That means Chilean citizens who qualify will not need to pay a $160 entry fee.

    The move is expected to greatly facilitate business and leisure travel between Chile and the United States.

    It could also mean that U.S. citizens entering Chile will not need to pay, though that remains unclear.

    I just returned from Chile and this is my experience.

    When I visited Chile in 2006, I paid $100 U.S. cash to enter at Santiago airport. After I got a new passport, I needed to pay $140 (by credit card) to enter in 2012.

    This year, my entry fee was valid for the life of the passport, so I did not need to pay a $160 fee. Chile calls this a “reciprocity fee,” charging U.S. citizens the same rate to enter Chile that the U.S. government charges Chileans to enter the United States.

    Chile has not announced whether it will drop the fee it charges U.S. passport holders to enter, in response to the U.S. change on May 1.

    [ read complete story at Oregon Live ]

    Program Benefiting Some Immigrants Extends Visa Wait for Others

    February 19th, 2014

    family apartMany thousands of Americans seeking green cards for foreign spouses or other immediate relatives have been separated from them for a year or more because of swelling bureaucratic delays at a federal immigration agency in recent months.

    The long waits came when the agency, Citizenship and Immigration Services, shifted attention and resources to a program President Obama started in 2012 to give deportation deferrals to young undocumented immigrants, according to administration officials and official data.

    The trouble that American citizens have faced gaining permanent resident visas for their families raises questions about the agency’s priorities and its readiness to handle what could become a far bigger task. After Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio said on Thursday that the House was not likely to act on an immigration overhaul this year, immigrant advocates are turning up their pressure on Mr. Obama to expand the deferral program to include many more of the 11.7 million immigrants in the country illegally.

    Andrew Bachert is one citizen caught in the slowdown. After he moved back to this country in August for work, he thought he and his wife, who is Australian, would be settled by now in a new home in New York State, shoveling snow and adjusting to the winter chill. Instead his wife, Debra Bachert, is stranded, along with the couple’s two teenagers and two dogs, in a hastily rented house in Adelaide, where the temperature rose in January to 115 degrees.

    read the full article at NYTimes.com

    St Luke’s Medical Exam Experience for K1 Visa Applicant

    February 10th, 2014

    St Luke'sReposted with the permission of a VisaJourney Member who recently had their medical exam at St Luke’s.

    VJ Member Joyce writes,

    Hi readers! I am taking a short break from my beauty blogging to help other US immigrants like me by sharing my medical exam experience at St. Luke’s Medical Center Ermita. All US immigrants / K1 visa applicants are required to undergo a medical exam. St Luke’s Medical Center Extension Clinic at Ermita is the ONLY health care facility accredited to give the medical exam for US immigrants.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Happy Thanksgiving to All!

    November 27th, 2013

    thanksgivingThis Thursday, millions of families will celebrate Thanksgiving with roasted turkey, buttery mashed potatoes, and (with only a slight amount of guilt) another piece of pumpkin pie. From our family at VisaJourney, we wish you the happiest of holidays with your family — both at home and abroad. For those that have family overseas waiting to arrive in the US, we hope your cases are processed quickly and next year you will share this holiday at home together!

    Thank you again from our family to yours, and best wishes this holiday season!