US Immigration News – VisaJourney
US Immigration News and Commentary

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!

Online USCIS Customer Service Tools Unavailable Nov. 23-24

November 22nd, 2013

index USCIS will conduct system maintenance from 6:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday, November 23 through 6:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday, November 24. If you need to use these services this weekend then plan to use them in advance of this time frame.

During this time, the following online tools will be unavailable:

  • Check My Case Status
  • e-Request
  • e-Filing
  • Check Processing Times
  • Change of Address Online
  • Civil Surgeon Locator
  • [ source ]

    USCIS Reminds Filipino Nationals Impacted by Typhoon Haiyan of Available Immigration Relief Measures

    November 18th, 2013

    hurricane

    USCIS understands that a natural disaster can affect an individual’s ability to establish or maintain lawful immigration status in the United States. Therefore, Filipino nationals impacted by Typhoon Haiyan may be eligible to benefit from the following immigration relief measures:

  • Change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even when the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
  • Extension of certain grants of parole made by USCIS;
  • Extension of certain grants of advance parole, and expedited processing of advance parole requests;
  • Expedited adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
  • Expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs);
  • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate; and
  • Assistance to LPRs stranded overseas without immigration or travel documents, such as Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards). USCIS and the Department of State will coordinate on these matters when the LPR is stranded in a place that has no local USCIS office.
  • For more information on USCIS humanitarian programs, visit www.uscis.gov or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.

    [ source ]

    USCIS I-129F Teleconference Q&A Nov 21st

    November 11th, 2013

    indexU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to participate in a teleconference on Thursday, November 21, 2013 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Eastern) to discuss Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e).

    During this engagement, USCIS officials from the Texas Service Center will provide an overview of Form I-129F, discuss filing requirements and be available to answer your questions.

    To Register for this session please visit the registration page to confirm your participation. Be sure to provide your full name and organization by following the steps below:

    - Enter your email address and select “Submit”
    - Select “Subscriber Preferences”
    - Select the “Event Registration” tab
    - Complete the questions and select “submit”

    Once your registration is processed, you will receive a confirmation email with additional details.

    If you have any questions regarding the registration process, or if you have not received a confirmation email within two business days, please email USCIS at Public.Engagement@uscis.dhs.gov.

    [ source ]

    Diversity Visa Program (DV-2015) Registration Ends in One Week — Nov 2nd

    October 26th, 2013

    familyAs a reminder the US Diversity Visa Program (DV-2015) registration period ends on Saturday, November 2, 2013, at 12:00 noon (EDT) (GMT-4). For more information, please review the US Dept of State Press Release and the DV-2015 Instructions. Entrants for DV-2015 are advised to submit their entries early in the registration period as heavy demand may result in website delays. There is no charge for submitting an entry in the DV Program. The Department of State strongly encourages entrants to complete and submit their own entries, without a “Visa Consultant,” “Visa Agent,” or other facilitator who offers to help.

    Workload Transfer from National Benefits Center to Service Centers

    October 21st, 2013

    indexUSCIS recently began transferring some casework from the National Benefits Center to the Nebraska, Texas and California Service Centers to balance overall operational workload. The affected casework includes the following form:

    I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, filed by U.S. citizens for their eligible immediate relative (spouse, child, or parent).

    Effect on Customers

    If your case was transferred, USCIS will send you a notice listing the transfer date and where your case will be processed. Your original receipt number will not change and this will not further delay the processing of your case.

    How to Track the Status of Your Case

    We have recently updated the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov with processing times for Form I-130 cases filed by U.S. citizens for their eligible immediate relatives. Please check the processing times for your petition before inquiring about your case. Please also note that, if your case is transferred to another USCIS office, you should refer to the processing times for the office that has received your case.

    You can check the status of your case at www.uscis.gov by entering your receipt number in the “Check Status” field. Additionally, you can sign up to receive automatic case status updates by email as your case is processed. If you have not received a decision on your case within the published processing time, you may submit an inquiry using e-Request or contact the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283. For TDD hearing impaired assistance, please call 1-800-767-1833. When making any case status inquiries, you should reference your original receipt number and indicate that your case was transferred to a new location.

    If you have filed a Form I-130 and you receive a request for evidence or any other type of communication from USCIS, please read the notice carefully to ensure that you respond to the same service center that sent you the notice.

    If you move while your case is pending, you can change your address on the USCIS website or contact the NCSC so that USCIS can notify you of any further action on your case. It is important that you notify USCIS of any change of address as soon as possible after moving. — USCIS.gov

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    NBC Processing Times for I-130 Petitions:

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