Can’t Travel, Visa Expires, What Do I Do Now?

A lot of people stuck abroad have experienced panicking moments in the past two weeks when flights are cancelled and borders are closed due to the #COVID-19 shutdown. In March, 2020, the U.S. Department of State announced that immigrant (IV) and nonimmigrant visa (NIV) appointments at ALL Consulates are suspended due to coronavirus. Many countries are also restricting exiting and entering in order to control spread of the pandemic.
So what does this mean when my visa expires? 
These travel restrictions have made family unity and returning to work difficult, if not impossible. Employers are now in the dark with no specific return date for their valued employees and facing uncertainties as to their future needs. Since many visas have a maximum period allowed pursuant to regulation, consular officers do not have the authority to extend visa validity. However, the consular may be able to re-print a visa once travel becomes possible.
Consulates are able to re-issue a new visa provided that all supporting documents, such as police certificates, medical examinations, etc., have not expired. If the supporting documents have expired,  the applicant will be required to obtain new copies prior to the re-issuance of the new visa. Applicants will have to contact the consulate for the re-issuance and different consulate has different procedures. 
For people who are stuck in the U.S. either on valid visas or during grace period, but are not able to leave the U.S. to return to their home countries, options are also limited. Many have applied to extend or change their status using the Form I-539, but this also comes with a hefty fee. Others are banking on the fact that a brief overstay won’t be too problematic if it is limited to 180 days.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has filed a complaint against USCIS calling for the immediate suspension of immigration benefit deadlines and the maintenance of status for nonimmigrants in the U.S. in light of the pandemic, urging USCIS to extend its filing deadlines so that lawfully present foreign nationals in the United States can maintain status during the pandemic.
While we wait for the outcome of this lawsuit, we urge everyone to stay tuned and take care of yourselves. 

COVID 19 – Unemployment Benefits for Immigrant Workers

immigrant’s eligibility for unemployment benefits and consequences on green cards

Question: Do I, as an immigrant, qualify for unemployment benefits if the coronavirus (COVID-19) causes me losing my job?

Answer: Yes, however, immigrant workers must satisfy the same requirements for #unemployment. You must be unemployed due to no fault of your own, and you must have earned enough wages or worked enough hours in your “base period” to qualify. If you are currently employed or if you quit, then you are not eligible for unemployment benefits.  If your employer offers sick leave to address COVID-19 in lieu of layoffs, you cannot quit on your own volition to get unemployment benefits. If an employer shuts down operations temporarily and no work is available, you are eligible for unemployment.

Question: If I cannot go to work because I quarantined myself, can I get unemployment?

Answer: MaybeIf your employer allows you to work remotely and you choose not to accept that work, you are not qualify. If the employer requires you to stay home but did not offer work from home, then you might be eligible for benefits.

Question: How much is unemployment?

Answer: Depends on your state law and the reason why you cannot go to work. In addition, Pandemic Federal Unemployment Compensation  allows an additional  $600 on top of weekly unemployment benefits for up to four (4) months, not to exceed July 31, 2020.

Question: Does unemployment benefits hurt my green card #adjustment of status application in the future?

Answer: USCIS does not consider “unemployment” in the public charge inadmissibility determination because they are considered earned benefits through the person’s employment. Unemployment is a type of insurance that employers pay into. This isn’t taxpayer money, so it does not affect your green card.

Question: If I am undocumented, do I get #unemployment benefits?

Answer: If you are undocumented, chances are you do not have valid employment authorization or valid SSN, then you are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

Question: I applied for work authorization extension and have not yet received my new work card, can I get unemployment benefits?

Answer: If you have proof that you have applied for an extension, you might allowed to receive benefits. 

File unemployment with the Missouri Department of Labor here.

File unemployment with the Kansas Department of Labor here.

美国签证申请人须提交社交媒体网站平台的用户信息

U.S. visa applicants required to provide social media information

2019年5月31日,美国国务院更新了移民和非移民签证申请表的申请信息,包括社交媒体网站平台的用户信息。此更新仅适用于新的签证申请。

美国政府宣称收集这些额外的信息将将便于国土安全局审查申请人并确认他们的身份。社交媒体“用户信息”是个人在社交媒体网站平台上使用的任何名称,包括但不限于Facebook,Twitter和Instagram。如果申请人在过去五年中使用了签证申请中列出的任何社交媒体平台,签证上将需要相关的社交媒体“用户信息”。领事官员将用签证面谈和签证申请表格上面采集的社交媒体信息来确定申请人是否合格。

申请人必须提供列出的社交媒体网站平台上使用的所有的用户信息。如果签证申请人没有社交媒体帐户怎么办?签证申请人将需要回答与社交媒体相关的问题。 该表格允许申请人回答“无”。从未使用社交媒体的签证申请人不会因未能提供社交媒体而被拒绝。 申请人应尽可能完整和诚实地完成申请,以避免任何延迟处理。 如果未能在签证申请或签证面谈中提供准确和真实的答复,可能会导致拒绝签证。

本部门更新仅适用于签证申请人,而不适用于免签证的个人。领事官员将不会要求用户密码。领事官员不能根据申请人的种族,宗教,种族,国籍,政治观点,性别或性取向拒绝签证。 以下是所有社交媒体网站平台的清单

  • Ask.FM
  • Douban 豆瓣
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Myspace 我的空间
  • Pinterest
  • QZone(QQ) QQ空间
  • REDDIT
  • SINA WEIBO 新浪微博
  • TENCENT WEIBO 腾讯微博
  • TUMBLR
  • TWITTER 推特
  • TWOO
  • VINE
  • VKONTAKTE(VK)
  • YOUKU 优酷
  • YOUTUBE

USCIS Announced New Online Tool Calculates Fees

USCIS has launched a new Online Fee Calculator to assist applicants calculating the correct fee amount when filing their forms with USCIS.

USCIS’ Online Fee Calculator will determine the exact filing and biometric fees an individual needs to include with their forms and will have the most up-to-date fee information. When using the Online Fee Calculator, applicants select a form, or combination of forms, and answer a series of questions. The tool then calculates the correct fee amount that the filer must submit.

USCIS accepts payment via check, money order, or credit card with Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.

If you need assistance with immigration, feel free to contact us at 913-717-7112 for a free consultation.

USCIS关于拒绝申请书的最新政策

美国公民及移民服务局7月份2018年发布了一项新的拒绝政策,规定移民审判员可以不发出RFE或NOID,而直接拒绝某些请愿或请求。如果移民审判员认定这些申请表格缺乏初始证据或者是没有提供足够证据证明受益人具备请愿资格可以直接拒绝申请 。这项新的政策的有效实施日期是9月11号2018年。

值得注意的是,本政策中实施的政策取消了2013的政策。 本政策旨在阻止用作“占位符”请愿并鼓励申请人,请愿人和请求者勤勉地收集和提交所需证据。 美国公民及移民服务局声称这项政策并非旨在惩罚申报人因无辜的错误或对证据要求的误解。

这项政策将不会影响大部分真实真诚的申请书。 比方说,婚姻绿卡的最基本条件是有效婚姻, 如果申请人缺乏有效婚姻证明但是仍然提交了移民绿卡申请的话,将有被拒的可能性。 这项新的政策可能会导致很多无意过失的申请遭到拒绝。如果申请人自己准备申请材料,无心之中遗落了基本条件的证明,可能会导致申请费用被扣申请被拒。但是如果基本申请条件都以满足,移民局还是会继续发送FRE或者给予解释的机会。

详细政策看这里:18071377

I-765工卡处理时间长达五个月

亲属绿卡的工卡以及所有“其他”申请类别的工卡都超过五个月以上

加利福尼亚州,内布拉斯加州,德克萨斯州和佛蒙特州服务中心的最新处理时间报告(表示2017年10月31日的处理时间)显示大于五个月的工卡申请的处理时间。 除了基于待决庇护的工卡申请,所有其他类型的工卡现在都非常的慢。

亲属绿卡的工卡以及所有“其他”申请类别的工卡都超过五个月以上。每个服务中心表示正在处理截至2017年8月1日的案件。

这样平均超过150天的处理时间是很有问题的。由于这些漫长的处理时间,许多人报告他们已经失去了工作或者有可能失业。要求“加速处理”的请求如果已经提交给了NCSC,通常不会给予裁决。

美国公民及移民服务局的理由是它们收到了太多的I-765工卡申请。无论是更新还是第一次申请的工卡,移民局都是统一处理,先来先得。

移民执法力度加强 – 移民局将在联邦, 州, 和地方法院实行逮捕

美国移民和海关执法将在各地法院内实行逮捕。移民执法说一般情况下不会去学校,托儿所,医院,礼拜场所,葬礼,婚礼集会,和公共示威的地方拿人。

美国移民和海关执法 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) 2018年1月10号公布其最新政策 – 将在各地法院内进行移民执法。参考原文 18013140

移民执法行动针对具体目标,包括:

  • 具有刑事定罪的人;
  • 黑帮成员;
  • 对国家安全或公共安全造成威胁的人;
  • 有递解令在身在身但未离境的人;以及
  • 在被递解移除后,没有经过允许而重返美国的人

执法官员声称自己不会歧视法院内的外国人,并且会尽量不去离婚法庭以及民事法庭。如果在法院拿人的同时遇到其他陪同目标人物出庭的家人或朋友,这类人不会受到移民执法的干扰。移民执法说一般情况下不会去学校,托儿所,医院,礼拜场所,葬礼,婚礼集会,和公共示威的地方拿人。

移民执法官员在奥巴马政府的时候就有在法院拿人,但是在川普的领导下,目前的逮捕率猛增了40%,而且其打击人群打击人群也更加广泛。有些法官放话不允许执法官员入内 – “法院不应该是移民局执法的诱饵。我们必须保护我们州法院司法系统的完整性,并保护使用它的人。” 有些人觉得这样的政策会造成负面影响,使得很多的外国人害怕碰到移民执法官员不从而敢走法院渠道来维护自己的权利。