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Can I appeal this horrible decision?

Can I appeal this horrible decision?

Question: I lost at the immigration Court level. Can I appeal?

Answer: Yes, you can appeal. You can appeal it to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Virginia.

Question: When do I appeal and what happens if I don’t appeal on time?

Answer: You must appeal to the BIA within the 30 days after the decision by the Immigration Judge. That means that the Notice of Appeal must be physically at the Board of Immigration Appeals by the deadline. If it is 5 minutes late, it will be rejected and returned. Your appeal will be over and you will likely have a deportation order and be physically deported from the United States. Clearly, it would be in your interest to make sure the Notice of Appeal is timely filed.

Question: What happens if I just found out about doing the appeal and it is due tomorrow and I can’t even have time to send it to Virginia on time?

Answer: There is actually a company in Virginia that you can send the Notice of Appeal up until 10:00 a.m the day that it is due. They will then physically go to the Board of Immigration Appeals and file the Notice of Appeal. It is not cheap, but it saves the appeal at the last minute. It is well worth the price if you are in that unfortunate situation.

Question: Do I have to do the Opening Brief when I send in the Notice of Appeal?

Answer: No. You will get a notice from the BIA as to when it is due. You will have considerable time to have it properly prepared and to develop your arguments and to make your case. Once the Opening Brief is submitted, you will then receive the reply brief from the Government. They will argue as to why the appeal should be denied and why the Government made the correct decision. Afterwards, you will have about 14 days to submit the reasons you believe the reply brief is incorrect and what points need to be made. Afterwards, the BIA will make a decision on your case.

Question: Should I have an attorney help me?

Answer: It would most definitely be in your best interest. Appeals are won and lost on the legal points that are made. They are not won by simply rehashing the facts. If you want any real chance of winning, you should not only hire an attorney, but one that specialized in Immigration Laws, has years of experience doing appeals and knows the immigration laws backwards and forwards.

The new Electronic Filing System at USCIS

The NEW Electronic Filing System

Question: I have heard that there is a new electronic filing system at USCIS. Is that true?

Answer: It is called USCIS ELIS.USCIS ELIS is a user-friendly system created to streamline the application process for immigration benefits. It allows immigration benefit seekers and their legal representatives to create an account and file benefit requests online. USCIS ELIS provides more accurate and secure customer service. It also allows USCIS to process cases in a more efficient, consistent and secure environment.

Question: Who will be able to use USCIS ELIS?

Answer: In the initial release, certain applicants can electronically file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Over time, USCIS ELIS will include more benefit types and increased functions.

Question: Why open a USCIS ELIS account?

Answer: Open an account online that you may use to interact with USCIS; Sign up to receive email notifications and text messages Manage your account preferences and contact information in real time;Manage your interactions with USCIS securely and electronically; Electronically file (e-file) benefit requests from your account;Submit evidence electronically; Use a credit card or bank account (from a U.S. institution) to submit payment; Have an attorney or accredited representative file benefit requests in USCIS ELIS on your behalf; Get detailed help and current case status; File a benefit request with step-by-step help from an online setup assistant; Access online help in the “Tips” and “Help” sections of the setup assistant; and Obtain real-time, detailed case status information.

Question: Who can currently use this ELIS?

Answer: If you are currently a B-1, B-2, F-1, M-1 or M-2 and want to extend your status; If you want to change your status to want to B-1, B-2, F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1 or M-2 ; or if you want to reinstate your status to F-1, F-2, M-1 or M-2.

Question: What about other types of applications?

Answer: Since this is a new system, USCIS is testing the waters out with these petitions only. As the system becomes more useable, more petitions will be added.

Question: What Should I Know Before Filing?

Answer: Before USCIS can grant your benefit request, you must establish your eligibility. You will be required to answer questions. USCIS will review your answers to determine if you are

eligible. If you must provide additional evidence, USCIS ELIS allows you to scan and upload evidence at the time you initially file your benefit request or in response to a Request for Evidence (RFE). If you have evidence that you believe supports your case, scan and upload it into USCIS ELIS before submitting your request. If you have trouble scanning and uploading documents and evidence after you have electronically submitted your application, you may mail the additional evidence to USCIS. However, mailing documents will add to the time it takes to process your application, so it is strongly encouraged you to scan and upload documents, if possible. If you must mail documents to USCIS, please provide the USCIS ELIS receipt number on the cover page and submit them to:

Vermont Service Center

75 Lower Weldon St.

St Albans, VT 05479

USCIS may deny a benefit request submitted with false documents, misrepresentations of facts, or other fraudulent content. Persons involved in such fraudulent activity may lose the right to file for current and/or future immigration benefits and services. They may also face severe penalties, criminal and/or civil prosecution, fines, and/or imprisonment.

However, the system does appear to finally get into the 21st century and allow and make it possible to begin filing everything electronically.

Can I become a U.S. Citizen?

Question: I would like to become a U.S. Citizen. What can I do and what are the basic requirements?

Answer: These are the basic requirements: Be 18 or older; Be a green card holder for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization; 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 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); and 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.

Question: When does my time as a Permanent Resident begin?

Answer: Your time as a Permanent Resident begins on the date you were granted permanent
resident status. This date is on your Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as an Alien
Registration Card or “Green Card”). The sample cards on this page show where you can find
important information such as the date your Permanent Residence began.

Question: If I have been convicted of a crime but my record has been
expunged, do I need to write that on my application or tell a
USCIS officer?

Answer: Yes. You should always be honest with USCIS about all:
Arrests (even if you were not charged or convicted);
Convictions (even if your record was cleared or expunged); Crimes you have committed for which you were not arrested or convicted; and any countervailing evidence, or evidence in your favor concerning the
circumstances of your arrests, and/or convictions or offenses that you would like
USCIS to consider.

Even if you have committed a minor crime, USCIS may deny your application if you
do not tell the USCIS officer about the incident. Note that unless a traffic incident was
alcohol or drug related, you do not need to submit documentation for traffic fines and
incidents that did not involve an actual arrest if the only penalty was a fine less than
$500 and/or points on your driver’s license.

However, if you have any of the above, you should definitely get the help of an immigration attorney to best protect you in this situation.

Question: Will USCIS help me, or make accommodations for me, if I have a

Answer: USCIS will make every effort to make reasonable accommodations for applicants with
disabilities who need modifications to the naturalization process in order to demonstrate
their eligibility. For example, if you use a wheelchair, we will make sure you can be
fingerprinted, interviewed, and sworn in at a location that is wheelchair accessible. If
you are hearing impaired, the officer conducting your interview will speak loudly and
slowly, or we will work with you to arrange for an American sign language interpreter.
If you require an American sign language interpreter at the oath ceremony, please
indicate that in your Form N-400 in the section where you are asked if you need
accommodation for a disability. If you use a service animal such as a guide dog, your
animal may come with you to your interview and oath ceremony.

Question: How long will it take to become naturalized?

Answer: The time it takes to be naturalized varies by location. USCIS is continuing to
modernize and improve the naturalization process and would like to decrease the
time it takes to an average of 6 months after the Form N-400 is filed.

Question: What can I do if USCIS denies my application?

Answer: If you think that USCIS was wrong to deny your naturalization application, you may
request a hearing with an immigration officer. Your denial letter will explain how to
request a hearing and will include the form you need. The form for filing an appeal is
the “Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings under Section
336 of the INA” (Form N-336). You must file the form, including the correct fee, to
USCIS within 30 days after you receive a denial letter.
If, after an appeal hearing with USCIS, you still believe you have been wrongly denied
naturalization, you may file a petition for a new review of your application in U.S.
District Court.

Question: Can I reapply for naturalization if USCIS denies my application?

Answer: In many cases, you may reapply. If you reapply, you will need to complete and resubmit
a new Form N-400 and pay the fee again. You will also need to have your fingerprints
and photographs taken again. If your application is denied, the denial letter should
indicate the date you may reapply for citizenship.
If you are denied because you failed the English or civics test, you may reapply for
naturalization as soon as you want. You should reapply whenever you believe you have
learned enough English or civics to pass both tests.

Los Angeles Immigration Attorney gets big win


I waited 15 years and now my petitioner died. Now what?

I waited 15 years and now my petitioner died. Now what?

(For a Video on this subject, please goto http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yJ_ryMCGNU&feature=g-upl)

Question: My father petitioned me 15 years ago and it was just about current, but he just died. Now, what happens and can I still come to the U.S.?

Answer: Normally, when the petitioner dies so does the petition. Thus, when you would receive a packet from the National Visa Center stating that the visa petition is ready to process, you would not be able to proceed forward. They simply do not know that the petitioner has died. However, there is what is known as a Humanitarian Reinstatement.

Question: What is a Humanitarian Reinstatement?

Answer: As I have stated, the death of a petition formerly resulted in the automatic revocation of a family member’s petition. Under the Humanitarian Reinstatement, there are procedures for permitting family members in family-based and employment-based petitions to continue with their residency applications even if the applications had not yet been approved.

Question: What is the criteria for the Humanitarian Reinstatement?

Answer: Humanitarian Reinstatement Criteria—Under prior law if there was automatic revocation of the petition due to death, USCIS/DOS could grant humanitarian reinstatement. DOS criteria in evaluating a request for humanitarian reinstatement include whether there is: (1) disruption of an established family unit; (2) hardship to USCs or LPRs; (3) a beneficiary who is elderly or in poor health; (4) a beneficiary who has had lengthy residence in the U.S.; (5) a beneficiary who has no home to go to; (6) undue delay by INS or consular officers in processing the petition and the visa; and (7) a beneficiary who has strong family ties in the U.S.

Question: I heard something about a ‘substitute sponsor’. What is this?

Answer: This is a certain other family member who basically now would submit the affidavit of support in place of the deceased petitioner. Under the Family Sponsor Immigration Act of 2002, certain relatives (spouse, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sibling, child (if at least 18 years of age), son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, brother -in-law, grandparent, grandchild, or legal guardian) may be substituted to meet the affidavit of support requirements under INA §213A(f)(5), when the petitioning relative has died.

Question: Who is asked to reinstate the I-130.

Answer: The I-130 beneficiary must ask the Attorney General to reinstate the petition and must demonstrate that she has a substitute sponsor.

Question: What if you cannot find or do not have a substitute sponsor?

Answer: If a beneficiary does not have a qualifying relative, he or she may make an estoppel argument.

If the Humanitarian Reinstatement is granted, then the same priority date will be used and the petition will go forward as if the petitioner were still alive.

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