The Diversity Lottery: Now Open

Registration for the Diversity Visa Lottery is open on October 18, 2017, and closes on November 22, 2017.   If you are interested in applying, you should apply early to ensure your case is included in the lottery. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) consists of 50,000 immigrant visas available annually.   The selected cases are drawn at random from among entries to individuals who are from countries with low immigration rates to the United States.  The lottery is open to individuals residing in and outside of the United States.  If selected in the lottery, the green card case must be completed by September of the next fiscal year.   There is no fee for submission in the lottery and it must be submitted online.  Late entries are not accepted and multiple entries will disqualify an applicant. Each DV green card applicant must also meet the education/work experience requirement by having either: 1) A high school education or equivalent; or 2) two years of...
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Green Cards: New Interview Requirement

As of October 1, 2017, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start expanding the in-person interview requirement for employment based green card cases and refugee/asylee relative petitions for beneficiaries who are in the United States.   USCIS is moving forward with this change as part of the Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” “This change reflects the Administration’s commitment to upholding and strengthening the integrity of our nation’s immigration system,” said Acting USCIS Director James W. McCament. “USCIS and our federal partners are working collaboratively to develop more robust screening and vetting procedures for individuals seeking immigration benefits to reside in the United States.” This will most likely result in a longer wait time for all green card cases which require an interview.   As in the past, USCIS is implementing new requirements without ensuring there is adequate staff to handle the new procedures. Previously, most employment based green card cases were approved based on...
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Scams in the Immigration Sector

When visiting immigration sites, it is important to note that all government sites end with .gov.   There are other sites on the web which purposefully mimic the government sites and can be confusing.  The copycat sites will sell forms or try to obtain personal information from individuals.   The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) provides forms for free at uscis.gov.   The USCIS will also not request payment over the phone.  If you are contacted and asked to make a payment over the phone, the call is a scam.   Technology today allows scammers to use Caller ID Spoofing where the call may seem to originate from an official number like the USCIS (Immigration) or FBI.   Do not make payments to individuals contacting you via phone. This information is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.  If you would like legal advice regarding your specific immigration case, please contact D. Benjamin at contact@dbenjaminlegal.com or contact us here....
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Naturalization: Process to become a U.S. citizen

An individual is eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship once they have been a green card holder, also referred to as permanent resident, for five years.  The only exception is if the individual obtained the green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen, then they are eligible to apply after three years. In order to qualify, one must have spent more time in the U.S., then outside of the U.S. in the last 5 years.  The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) requires a list of all travel outside of the U.S. including dates of travel.   Once you obtain your green card, if you are planning to apply for U.S. citizenship it is a good idea to keep a list of your international travel dates. The naturalization process consists of fingerprinting, also referred to as biometrics and an in-person interview.  At the time of the interview, the applicant will need pass an English and Civics test.   The USCIS provides study guides online...
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National Interest Waiver Green Card

The National Interest Waiver green card process is a self-petition, which means that an individual may apply for this category based on their own achievements, without a sponsoring employer.   Typically, the employee obtains expert letters from the employer, but the petition is submitted to the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) by the individual.  The applicant would also obtain expert letters from others in the industry to attest to their exceptional ability. An individual qualifies for this category based on their exceptional ability and whose employment would greatly benefit the United States.  In these cases, the Labor Certification process whereby the employer tests the labor market may be waived. Requirement 1 - You must show that you plan on working in the United States in an area of substantial intrinsic merit. Requirement 2: You must show that the proposed impact of your work is national in scope. Requirement 3: You must show waiving the labor certification requirement would benefit the national interests of the...
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