Jamaica Magazine

Immigration: Questions & Answers – New immigration updates

The month of March is filled with new immigration updates. This month I will provide a brief overview of the new immigration updates that may prove to be useful. While we have a number of immigration updates we are still hopeful that the United States Government will come to a final decision on immigration reform.

Question 1: When can I submit my application for the provisional waiver?

Answer: The deadline for immigration to start accepting the provisional waiver application is March 4, 2013. The provisional waiver process is for those individual who have an approved I-130 petition and they are subject to the three and ten year bar because they unlawfully entered the United States. The provisional waiver allows these individuals to apply for the waiver i.e., “forgiveness” while they are in the United States. Once the waiver is approved they can then return to their county to complete their immigrant visa interview with the knowledge and assurance that they will be permitted to return to  the United States with their approved permanent resident “green card” without having to remain outside the United State for 3 years or 10 years. If you need to know if you are eligible to file the provisional waiver, please contact a licensed attorney.

Question 2:  Is the Deferred Action program still available?

Answer: The Deferred Action program was designed to help individuals who entered the United States before the age of 16 years old. The requirements of the program are as follows:

A. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
B. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time; 
C. 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;
D. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
E. 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
F. 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

The number of approved applications for Deferred Action status has grown to 199,460, an increase of just over 45,000 since mid-January, according to data released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  The good news it is that despite the large number of applications, Immigration is still accepting applications. 

Question 3: I have my immigration interview scheduled in Kingston Jamaica. Now immigration has told me that I will need to go to the Dominican Republic for my interview. Is this true?

Answer:  As of March 1, 2013 Immigration has announced that their field office in Kingston, Jamaica will be permanently closed. The Immigration Field Office in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic will assume Kingston’s former jurisdiction. To learn more about this new procedure applicants can contact Immigration directly http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis or contact our office.

Disclaimer: This article is a broad overview of immigration updates. This article is provided as a public service and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on the information contained herein is taken at your own risk. The information provided in this article should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed. 

About the Writer:
Safiya Byars is the founder and senior partner of The Byars Firm, Inc She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica.  Attorney Byars shows her clients the best ways to get their cases approved the FIRST time while reducing processing times and avoiding immigration red flags that result in delays, denials, and deportation.  Her office is located at 3720 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Suite D2, Chamblee, Georgia 30341. Attorney Byars handles all immigration matters, deportation defense, family law, and criminal issues. Attorney Byars can be reached at 404-992-6506 or via email at [email protected].

About the author

Safiya Byars, Esq

Safiya Byars is the founder and senior partner of the Byars Firm. Attorney Byars serves as the Chair of the Family Immigration Continuing Learning Education and the Vice-Chair of the Immigration Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia. She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica. The Byars firm is located at 3720 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Suite D2, Chamblee, Georgia 30341. The Byars Firm handles Immigration, Family, and Estate Planning matters. We can be reached at 678-736-5600 and email: [email protected].