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Diversity Visa Lottery 2016

Each year, the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State.  Persons from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States may apply for a “lottery” to obtain a green card.  For fiscal year 2016, 50,000 diversity visas (DVs) will be available.  There is no cost to register for the DV program.  Detailed instructions are available here: 2016 DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAM. The 2016 Entries for the DV-2016 DV program must be submitted electronically at dvlottery.state.gov between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Wednesday, October 1, 2014, and noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5), Monday, November 3, 2014.  Do not wait until the last week of the registration period to enter, as heavy demand may result in website delays.  No late entries or paper entries will be accepted.  The law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period.  The Department of State uses sophisticated technology to detect multiple entries. Individuals with more than one entry will be disqualified.


Same-Sex Marriage as Basis for Immigration to the United States

Following the June 2013 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) is unconstitutional, immigration petitions and visa applications filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse or fiancé are being processed and reviewed in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse or fiancé.

This means that eligibility to sponsor your spouse or fiancé for a green card or even a derivative, nonimmigrant visa, will be determined according to applicable immigration law and will not be denied as a result of a marriage between two people of the same-sex.

Under the U.S. immigration laws, eligibility for a wide range of benefits depends on the meanings of the terms “marriage” or “spouse.”  Examples include (but are not limited to) an alien who seeks to qualify as a spouse accompanying or following to join a family-sponsored immigrant, an employment-based immigrant, certain subcategories of nonimmigrants, or an alien who has been granted refugee status or asylum.  In all of these cases, a same-sex marriage will be treated exactly the same as an opposite-sex marriage. 

Our office is pleased to have filed many petitions to secure immigration benefits for same-sex couples.
 


Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers

Beginning March 4, 2013, some of those persons needing a “waiver” for unlawful presence in the United States may qualify to submit their applications for consideration prior to leaving the United States.  This benefit is only currently available to eligible immigrant visa applicants who are spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens (immediate relatives).

Under current law, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are not eligible to adjust status in the United States must travel abroad and obtain an immigrant visa.  As part of this process, individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence while in the United States must obtain a waiver as part of the immigrant visa application process, forgiving their unlawful presence in the United States, before they can return to the United States and rejoin their U.S. citizen family members.  Through the new provisional waiver process, eligible individuals can apply for and await a decision on their waiver applications prior to leaving the United States to minimize the amount of time they are separated from their U.S. citizen family members. 

Additional information is available from USCIS here: Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers

Our office is pleased to be processing such applications for a provisional waiver of unlawful presence.


Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers

Beginning March 4, 2013, some of those persons needing a “waiver” for unlawful presence in the United States may qualify to submit their applications for consideration prior to leaving the United States.  This benefit is only currently available to eligible immigrant visa applicants who are spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens (immediate relatives).

Under current law, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are not eligible to adjust status in the United States must travel abroad and obtain an immigrant visa.  As part of this process, individuals who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence while in the United States must obtain a waiver as part of the immigrant visa application process, forgiving their unlawful presence in the United States, before they can return to the United States and rejoin their U.S. citizen family members.  Through the new provisional waiver process, eligible individuals can apply for and await a decision on their waiver applications prior to leaving the United States to minimize the amount of time they are separated from their U.S. citizen family members. 

Additional information is available from USCIS here: Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers

Our office is pleased to be processing such applications for a provisional waiver of unlawful presence.
 


Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Beginning August 15, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) began considering applications for deferred action for childhood arrivals (“DACA”).  Certain individuals who came to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines may undertake this process to request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization.  Deferred action is a discretionary determination by USCIS to defer removal (deportation) of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion.  Deferred action does not provide an individual with lawful status.

You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.


Additional information is available from USCIS here: Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Our office is pleased to have filed many petitions to secure DACA status for qualifying individuals.