Archive for the Announcements Category.

2018 DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT VISA (DV) PROGRAM

On September 16, 2016, the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Department of State, published a public notice outlining the registration process for the 2018 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV).  50,000 diversity immigrant visas will be available to applicants who are selected by randomized computer drawing, and meet the eligibility requirements.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • You must be a native of a qualifying country, in other words, you must have been born in an eligible country. However, even if you were not born in an eligible country, you may still be eligible provided your spouse was born in an eligible country, or you are able to claim the country of birth of one of your parents.  Natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam; and
  • You must meet the education/work experience requirement: you must have at least a high school education or its equivalent, or two years of work experience within the past two five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience.

NOTE: You should not register for the DV program unless you meet both of the eligibility requirements.

Entry Period

Applicants are required to submit their entries electronically at dvlottery.state.gov between noon (EDT), Tuesday, October 4, 2016, and noon (EDT), Monday, November 7, 2016.  Only one entry per person is allowed, and individuals with more than one entry will be disqualified.  There is no cost to register for the DV program.

For further information, please visit our Immigration Topic – “Diversity Visa Lottery” at http://antone.com/articles/diversity.php.

If you would like help in determining whether you qualify for the DV program, assistance in registering for the DV program, and obtaining an immigrant visa, please contact our office.

 

Posted in Announcements, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on 2018 DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT VISA (DV) PROGRAM

President Obama’s Announcement of Executive Actions on November 20, 2014

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of executive actions.  These initiatives include:

  • Expanding the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to young people who came to this country before turning 16 years old and have been present since January 1, 2010, and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years
  • Allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been present in the country since January 1, 2010, to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, in a new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents* program, provided they pass required background checks
  • Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
  • Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs
  • Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and providing an option for naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee

It is important to note that none of these initiatives have been implemented at this time, and it will likely be a few months before the first of them are implemented.  You should be wary of any individual who promises immediate action.

Posted in Announcements | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on President Obama’s Announcement of Executive Actions on November 20, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional, Bi-national Same-Sex Couples Can Now Receive Immigration Benefits

The decision on June 26, 2013, issued by the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor, holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, will benefit same-sex married couples in which one spouse is not either a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident. The Defensive of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a federal law that limits the recognition of marriage to only opposite-sex couples.  Now that Section 3 of DOMA has been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal government cannot exclude same-sex couples from federal laws and programs, which include immigration laws.

As of June 26, 2013, following United States v. Windsor, U.S. federal immigration law allows a United States Citizen or Permanent Resident to legally sponsor his or her non-citizen spouse for Permanent Resident Status on the basis of marriage. Permanent Residence allows non-citizens to live and work in the United States indefinitely. Thus, the foreign national in a same-sex marriage can now obtain a “Green Card” as long as his or her marriage was legal where it took place. In the U.S., same-sex marriage is legal in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a statement immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision. In this statement, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of DHS, applauds the Court for ruling DOMA unconstitutional, calling DOMA “discriminatory” towards same-sex couples; “Working with our federal partners, including the Department of Justice, we will implement today’s decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws.”

As this development is brand new, we anticipate questions yet to be answered. However, under current law, we are able to assist any bi-national same-sex married couple in pursuing and obtaining Lawful Permanent Residence for the foreign national spouse. We will be happy to take such cases and look forward to representing same-sex married couples in the future. In fact, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has already granted Permanent Residence in a bi-national same-sex marriage case.

Please call our office to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys who will be able to explain in more detail what your options may be and how our law office can assist you in the process.

For more information on the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, read the Court’s opinion released June 26th, 2013: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-307_6j37.pdf.

Read the full statement by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, released June 26th, 2013: http://www.dhs.gov/news/2013/06/26/statement-secretary-homeland-security-janet-napolitano-supreme-court-ruling-defense

Note: Foreign nationals seeking lawful status in the U.S. are subject to all immigration laws, and even with a lawfully recognized marriage, may be inadmissible or otherwise unable to obtain Permanent Residence in the U.S. on other grounds, such as certain criminal convictions or immigration violations. This is true of anyone seeking immigration benefits from the U.S. Government.

Posted in Announcements, Bills & Laws, Permanent Residence, Recent Posts, Web Links | Comments Off on U.S. Supreme Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional, Bi-national Same-Sex Couples Can Now Receive Immigration Benefits