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Travelling or Moving During an Adjustment of Status

The process of applying for a U.S. Green Card within the United States is known as an Adjustment of Status.  To start, you must complete Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and submit the required supporting documentation along with the application fee.  Then you must wait several months for USCIS to review your documentation to make a decision.  If you plan to move or travel while your case is pending make sure to alert USCIS.

What happens if you don’t notify USCIS?

You should not move before notifying United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.  Be sure to let USCIS know 10 days before your departure, know the address where you will be living.  Failure to let USCIS know of address is a misdemeanor.  If a person is convicted, the applicant (or the parent or legal guardian of an immigrant child who is under 14 years of age, who is required to provide notice) will be penalized with 30 days of incarceration and fined $200.  The foreigner may then be subjected to a forcible deportation from the U.S.

Travel Law

Not providing USCIS with a notice could result in USCIS sending important updates concerning your case to the wrong address and you missing any future interview.  The applicant has no excuse or cannot say that he or she never got an interview notice.  You cannot depend on the individuals living at your old address to mail you any USCIS notification to your new address, that is not how this process works.  It is the responsibility of the client to follow through with USCIS.

Updating USCIS is Simple

It is advisable to fill out Form AR-11 online on the USCIS website and follow instructions accurately.  If you need help, talk to an immigration attorney.  If you submitted Form I-765, Form I-131 and Form I-485 enter the information required along with the receipt number.  Any other questions you have ask your legal representative.

Travelling During an Adjustment of Status

Sometimes unforeseen circumstances may arise and may demand that you travel overseas.  Regardless of your purpose for travelling abroad you must still provide USCIS with documentation of your travel.  Leaving the country without official authorization may cost you a hefty price.  Though you may be able to travel, do so carefully.  According to U.S. Immigration Laws, packing up and going abroad without letting USCIS know, means you are abandoning your adjustment of status application and you will have to start the process all over.  You will need to pay the application fee again as well.

If you entered the U.S. with a K-3 Fiance Visa, you can enter and leave the U.S. as needed without any complications.  It is advisable, however, that you apply for an Advance Parole, to protect yourself. Your options are to separately file for advance parole or at the same time you are submitting your adjustment of status.  Note that, though an advance parole may be the route to go it is not always guaranteed unless your evidence supports your claim that you need to travel abroad.  Do not leave the country if in doubt and in this case seek legal advice.

If In Doubt Ask an Attorney

Whether you are moving to another location or traveling out of country, always talk to an immigration lawyer.   Thousands of immigrants have ensnared their future for not informing USCIS about their travelling or moving.   If you are in this situation call The Gambacorta Law Office in Arizona at 281 674 7658 or Illinois at 847 786 2599.

Six Things to Understand About the DACA Termination Announcement

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) provides relief to a specific category of foreigners to temporarily live and work in the United States.  In 2012, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security publicly announced that it would not deport a particular age group of young people who were illegally in the country.  Five years later, the immigrant community received the heartbreaking news from the Trump administration that the DACA program would be terminated.

DACA Concerns

Thousands upon thousands of families are against the idea of seeing their loved ones leave hoping for a resolution that would keep them united.  Since the public declaration was made the immigrants protected by DACA have been stricken with fear and uncertainty as to whether they will be able to achieve their American dream or even have a bright future in the U.S.  The entire nation has gone into an uproar against the pending decision to end DACA.

While the United States has been in a protest along with immigrant communities both in the country and abroad, here are six things we need to understand about the DACA program:

  1. A DACA is only valid before expiry date. DACA and employment authorization documents are only good before expiration date.  Check your I-795 Approval Notice and the bottom of your EAD card to ensure your authorization has not expired and that you are still protected.
  2. First time applicants should not submit applications. As hard as it may be to understand, the United States and Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) will not be accepting new DACA forms from first time applicants.  That was established since September 5, 2017.
  3. DACA holders have one more opportunity to renew. There is a specific time-frame given to beneficiaries before renewal can be done.  According to the Department of Homeland Security it is recommended that those who obtained a work permit that expires on March 8, 2018, to submit their two-year renewal application on or before October 5, 2017.  Any applications thereafter will not be accepted.
  4. Permission to travel overseas with an advance parole has ended. Unfortunately, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will no longer issue advance parole to DACA holders.  Procedures for pending advance parole submissions will not be completed.
  5. Others are standing in solidarity with the immigrant community. In 2012, others along with the immigrant community stood up and advocated for the protection of foreign children who illegally entered the U.S.  Many U.S. citizen employers, business owners, friends and family members expressed that they will continue to stand in solidarity with the foreigners and families of those under DACA and even the hopeful youth that are in the U.S without documents who are striving to make something of themselves.
  6. A Criminal History Can Get You Deported. It is advised to not file as a first time or attempt to renew your DACA if you have a criminal record.  A criminal past or a history of being a threat to public and national safety can put you in the spotlight for immediate removal proceedings by the U.S. government.  Seek the assistance of an immigration attorney if you have a criminal conviction of some type and fear returning to your home country because of some serious circumstances.

Contact Your Local Attorney

If you are still unsure about your future call your nearest immigration attorney.  A lawyer can help you understand how the DACA program works and what steps to take in obtaining legal status in the U.S.

Call The Gambacorta Law Office at 847 786 2599 for an appointment today at any of the current locations in Arizona, Illinois, Hawaii and Texas.

Counting the Cost of an Adjustment of Status

Applying for an Adjustment of Status within the United States of America can be an expensive and lengthy process.  Before adjusting your immigration status consider your eligibility because being physically in the country to start with the procedure does not entitle anyone to being eligible.  If in doubt talk to your nearest immigration attorney for guidance.  An immigration lawyer will navigate you through your available options.  Bear in mind that with this application comes various expenses such as: attorney, application and other associated fees.

Adjustment of Status Application is Costly

When pursuing an adjustment of status, another person either a close family member or employer needs to petition on behalf of the applicant in order to file a petition so as to prove to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that you qualify for a change of status.  Note that when petition is submitted, if the petitioner does not pay the fees, the applicant must be able to pay those fees and any others.Counting the Cost of an Adjustment of Status

Regarding Fees for an adjustment of status you can visit the USCIS website or ask your attorney.  The prices range for each classification depending on age and even if your are a child filing with a parent or parents.  Everyone above the age of 14 but below the age of 79, applying, must pay USCIS $85 for a biometrics appointment.  For a recent update regarding fees for an adjustment of status ask your attorney and visit the USCIS webpage.

Certain applicants can submit an application for a fee waiver if they are unable to pay.  In most cases, this is rare, but it is applicable for anyone seeking to apply for a change of immigration status.  Talk to your legal representative for more information.

Regardless of the cost of an adjustment of status it is best to file all three forms.  The USCIS fee for Form I-485 covers your application for an employment authorization document (EAD) Form I-765, and advance parole when submitting your Form I-131, Petition for Alien Relative within the United States.  If uncertain ask attorney.

Lawyer Fees

Before proceeding with an adjustment of status, retain an immigration attorney to assist you with weighing out your options for eligibility and the cost for your case.   Your lawyer can help you with a budget plan as well as the analysis and assembly of your supporting documentation.  Remember that the services of an immigration attorney are not free.  Be prepared to pay between $3000 and $5000 in addition to the application fees and government fees.  Depending on how complicated your case may be you might end up paying more.  In most cases attorneys give their clients an estimate in advance or a flat fee that can fit their budget plan and may require a deposit at the beginning and another at the end of your process.  Many factors influence how much you must pay attorney:

  • The number of persons applying together (more people applying the higher the fee, however each additional individual after the primary applicant may be given a discount)
  • Whether you ask attorney for assistance to fill out applications (a separate fee will be included)
  • If your case has any specific difficulties (e.g. criminal record that may require additional analysis and preparation to clear it up)
  • An additional application of a waiver of inadmissibility (this may demand more time spent on case and an increase in an hourly rate.
  • Phone calls, mailing, and photocopies, may oblige attorney to charge another fee
  • Attorney’s availability for USCIS interview will cost you more
  • If you receive a request for evidence from USCIS because a decision cannot be made on your eligibility for adjustment, you must pay another fee separately for the RFE.
  • An appeal for a denial from USCIS will demand an individual fee.

Other Fees to Consider

  • Application Fees
  • Medical Exam
  • Biometrics Appointment
  • Transportation 

Every Immigration Case will Cost You

When applying for an adjustment of status consider all the details that need to be covered financially.  Ask your attorney every possible question when it comes to his or her services and the entire total you must pay for your case.

The Gambacorta Law Office is here to help with your adjustment of status as well as working out a plan to fit your budget.  Call us today at 847 786 2599 for an appointment at any of our offices in Arizona, Illinois, Texas and Hawaii.