Safe Haven Blog

What’s Your Family’s Immigration Story?

Family Immigration

Though each family’s immigration story shares the veins of love, making a better life, hoping for the future, and wanting to be together, every family’s story is unique.  No family shares the exact same circumstances, challenges, and goals.  Therefore, each immigration plan must be customized to match the family.  No immigration plan is a one-size-fits-all; […]

The Diversity Visa Lottery is Open

The Diversity Visa Lottery is now open.  Online registration for the DV 2015 Program began on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and will conclude on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4). What is the Diversity Visa Lottery? The U.S. Department of State […]

How Will the Government Shutdown Affect Immigration?

government shutdown

Because Congress was unable to resolve the budgetary deadlock, the U.S. federal government has been “shutdown.”  Certain agencies will cease operations, and immigration cases may be delayed. We will be contacting each of our clients directly over the next few days to let you know how the shutdown will impact your case. Until then, here is […]

How Much Does it Cost?

immigration lawyer fees

If you want a quick answer to how much it will cost to reunite your family, get a Green card, invest in a U.S.-based business, or meet another immigration goal, that’s normal.  I understand.  Perhaps asking how much “it” will cost isn’t the right question.  Or, at least, it’s not the right first question. The […]

We’ve Created More Time For You

Our clients have told us that it can be stressful to take time off work or hire a babysitter to meet with an attorney.  Many of our international clients are scattered throughout the globe, in a myriad of different time zones.  It’s normal to need to communicate during non-traditional business hours. A 9 to 5 […]

New Form I-129F Fiance Visa Petition

USCIS has released a new Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance.  The new form features data fields for passport or travel document information captured by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a port of entry. CBP is in the process of automating Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Records, and USCIS will use this information along […]

Dallas Field Office Reschedules All Interviews for July 15-16

The Dallas Field Office has rescheduled all July 15 and July 16 interviews as follows: Monday July 15th interviews have been cancelled and rescheduled for Tuesday August 6th at the originally scheduled time. All interviews after 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday July 16th  have been cancelled and rescheduled for Friday August 9th at the originally scheduled time.

Five Differences Between TPS and Asylum

differences between TPS and asylum

One of the most confusing aspects of U.S. immigration law for new immigrants is distinguishing between temporary protected status (TPS) and asylum. Both of these benefits have strict filing deadlines, and missing them can cause your case to be rejected, even if you are otherwise eligible. The following five differences between TPS and asylum will […]

Happy Fourth of July

Some 237 years ago, immigrants sought a better life for themselves by declaring independence from King George and England. At that moment, the United States of America was born. Since that time, millions of immigrants from around the globe have come to the U.S. to live, work, and raise their families. Most of us trace […]

How to Choose an Immigration Attorney

We are proud (and very excited) to announce the publication of our first Immigration Insiders Ebook.  We are offering this book completely free of charge. The Insider’s Guide to Immigration Attorneys is 9 pages of insider information, detailing the step-by-step process for finding and selecting the immigration attorney who is the best fit for you. […]

Syria Re-Designated for Temporary Protected Status

  On June 17, the Department of Homeland Security announced that Syria has been re-designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).  This action will certainly save many lives as the violent conflict in Syria rages on.   Syria was originally designated for TPS on March 29, 2012.  This meant Syrian refugees arriving in the U.S. after […]

How to Prepare for (and Get the Most Out of) Your First Meeting With an Immigration Attorney

How to Choose an Immigration Attorney

You shopped around for an immigration attorney and now it’s time to prepare for your first meeting.  What should you expect?  What should you do to prepare?  To get the most value from your first meeting, you should take the following five steps: 1.  Schedule an Appointment Although some firms may allow walk-in appointments, most […]

Diversity Visa Lottery Results Now Available

The results of the fiscal year 2104 Diversity Visa Lottery are now available at https://www.dvlottery.state.gov.   The DV lottery provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants.”  Visas are made available to individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.  Winners are selected by a random, computer-generated drawing held […]

USCIS Case Status Reports Unavailable

Don’t panic if you check your case status at www.uscis.gov on Sunday and USCIS is unable to find your case.  USCIS case status reports will be unavailable on April 28, 2013, due to system maintenance.  The following case services may be affected: Check My Case Status Sign-Up for Case Status Check Processing Times Change of […]

State Department 2012 Human Rights Report Released

On April 19, 2013, the Department of State released the 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practice.  Each year, the Department of State develops, edits, and submits to Congress a 5,000-page report on human rights conditions in over 190 countries.  Some highlights from the 2012 Human Rights Report include: Coverage of conditions in the new country […]

You Are Not Alone

As evidenced by national and local headlines, immigration law and its constant evolution can be overwhelming and confusing.  If you want to understand what’s actual law and what’s not, you are not alone.  This newsletter, Immigration Insiders, is the place you can come to be guaranteed a brief, yet accurate, summary of current immigration law.  We […]

Senate Judiciary Hearing on Immigration Reform Scheduled

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a hearing on Senate bill S.744, “The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.”  The hearing will be held on Monday, April 22, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. (EST) in Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building.  A webcast will be available.

When Will Immigration Reform Start?

When will immigration reform pass?

Each day I’m asked, “When Will Immigration Reform Start?”  The answer is more complex than you may expect.   When legislation is introduced in the House or Senate, there are six major steps that must take place before a bill becomes a law. 1.  Legislation is Introduced A bill must be introduced by a member […]

Automated I-94 Program Begins April 30, 2013

The Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is set to rollout the new automated I-94 program beginning on April 30, 2013.  Foreign visitors arriving by land or sea will no longer be issued paper Form I-94s.  Instead, the CBP will gather visitors’ arrival and departure information automatically from their electronic travel records. Travelers will be able […]

Some USCIS Offices Remain Closed from Storm Damage

USCIS has posted a list of offices that remain closed due to storm damage from Hurricane Sandy.  All appointments will be rescheduled to the next available appointment date; you do not need to do anything to request a rescheduled date. Offices Remaining Closed on Thursday, November 1, 2012 New Jersey Newark Asylum Office 1200 Wall Street […]

Temporary Protected Status Extended for Haitians

The U.S. Department of Homeland security has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti for an additional 18 months.  The extension of TPS for Haiti will begin Jan. 23, 2013, and end July 22, 2014. Secretary Napolitano first designated Haiti for TPS on Jan. 21, 2010, after major earthquakes devastated the country. Current Haitian TPS beneficiaries, […]

We’ve Moved!

We are proud to announce we have completed our move to our new offices at 6136 Frisco Square Blvd, Suite 400, Frisco, Texas 75034.

Court Blocks New H-2B Visa Regulations

In February, the Department of Labor issued  final regulations changing the rules for employers who use the H-2B visa program to sponsor temporary workers.   The new rules were to go in effect on April 27, 2012.  On Thursday, a Federal judge issued a temporary order blocking the new H-2B rules. In Thursday’s ruling, US District Court Judge Margaret […]

H-1B Cap Count FY2013

The USCIS California Service Center has reported that 22,323 cap-subject H-1B visa petitions have been received as of April 4, 2012.   Approximately 25% of those cases are for workers with U.S. advanced degrees. This means the number of filings received in the first days of the FY2013 filing season are more than double the number […]

Syria TPS (Temporary Protected Status) Registration is Open

We applaud the Obama administration’s decision to designate Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).  This will doubtless save many lives as the violent conflict in Syria rages on.  Details and procedures for applying for Temporary Protected Status have been published in the Federal Register.  It is estimated that over 3,000 Syrians in the U.S. are […]

Syria To Be Designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Schedule Consultation

On March 23, 2012, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced  that DHS will be designating Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrians currently present in the United States.   This week the Department will publish a notice in the Federal Register that will provide further guidance about TPS eligibility requirements and registration procedures.  No Syrians should […]

Passport Day 2012

Saturday, March 20, 2012 is Passport Day. On Passport Day you can apply for your U.S. passport at a Regional Passport Agency without an appointment. You will be able to apply for standard processing (4-6 weeks) or pay an additional $60 for expedited processing (2-3 weeks, door-to-door). Passport Day in the USA events are being […]

U.S. Embassy in Syria Closed

Due to the recent surge of violence in Syria, the United States has closed the Embassy in Damascus.  All American Embassy personnel have departed the country.  The State Department has directed U.S. citizen petitioners who are resident in Syria to email USCIS.Amman@dhs.gov if they wish to make an appointment to file I-130 petitions in Amman for their Syrian […]

H-1B Filing Season Approaches

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers.  On November 23, 2011, USCIS received a sufficient number of H-1B temporary worker petitions to reach the cap of 65,000 for fiscal year 2012.  USCIS rejected […]

Diversity Visa Scam Alert

Due to the increase in Diversity Visa scams, the U.S. State Department has issued a new Diversity Visa Scam alert.  The State Department as also changed the way it communicates with those selected in the lottery.  While DV-2012 and DV-2013 applicants may receive an email from the U.S. government reminding them to check their status […]

USCIS Case Status Unavailable Dec. 2nd – Dec. 5

Due to planned maintenance, several USCIS online systems will be unavailable from Friday, December 2nd at 7pm (EST) until Monday, December 5th at 9am (EST), including: During this time, the following on-line tools will be unavailable: Check My Case Status Sign-Up for Case Status Check Processing Times Change of Address Online Civil Surgeon Locator e-Request […]

U.S. Embassy in Sana’a Resumes Visa Services

The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, has begun rescheduling visa interviews for immediate relatives of United States citizens.  If your visa interview appointment was cancelled, you will be notified when the appointment is rescheduled. The Embassy is also beginning to review cases that have been in administrative processing.  Non-immigrant visa services remain suspended. Immigrant visa […]

Can I Travel to the U.S. While Pregnant?

I am often asked about the risks of applying for a visitor visa or entering the U.S. while pregnant.  Although there are no regulations which specifically prohibit pregnant foreign nationals from entering the United States, the admitting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer has the discretion to admit or deny entry.  This makes travelling […]

New Obama Policy is NOT Amnesty

On August 18 the Obama administration stated it will halt deportation proceedings on a case-by-case basis against illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria, such as attending school, having family in the military or having primary responsible for other family members’ care.   This new policy is NOT an amnesty program.  The Obama Administration made very clear […]

Visa Bulletin for September 2011

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS 1.  This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers duringSeptember. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.  Allocations were made, to the extent possible, in […]

Immigration Reform Revived in Senate

Fox News Latino reports Democrats in the Senate have revived the comprehensive reform proposal that was unsuccessful last year: Sens. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Patrick Leahy of Vermont held a Capitol Hill press conference to present a measure similar to one that was defeated in 2007. Menendez, the bill’s author, said he was […]

Immigration Roundup – June 19

This week in Immigration Law news: ICE to Focus on Removal of Criminals – Senior immigration officials announced steps they said would focus the program more closely on deporting immigrants convicted of serious crimes instead of students, veterans and active duty members of the U.S. military.  This is a much-needed change in current policy. Canada […]

Dallas Immigration Lawyer: Texas Immigration Bill Approved by Senate

Today Texas became the most recent state to pass anti-immigration legislation.  The Texas Senate passed a bill that gives police officers broader powers to ask people they detain about their citizenship status.   According to the AP, many worry the legislation will allow police to target Hispanic residents: “This bill is open season on Latinos,” said […]

Immigration Roundup – 15 April 2011

This week in immigration: Georgia Passes Arizona-Style Immigration Law – On Thursday the Georgia legislature passed a strict measure that would empower police to check the immigration status of “criminal” suspects and force many businesses to do the same with potential employees.   Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to either sign the bill or let it time […]

Immigration Relief for Foreign Nationals Impacted by Civil Unrest or Disasters

USCIS has posted information on immigration relief for foreign nationals impacted by civil unrest or natural disasters in their home countries.  Temporary relief measures include: A change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States; Expedited adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students […]

Passport Day Cancelled

The State Department has announced Passport Day has been cancelled due to the budget crisis.  Passport Day 2011 had been scheduled for Saturday.

Green Card Lottery Scams Targeting Refugees

A few weeks ago, I first warned readers about the increase in green card lottery scams.  Today one of my Iraqi Refugee Resettlement Project clients in Jordan received one of the scam emails purporting to be from the U.S. Department of State.  Some excerpts from the email: Congratulations ! You are among those randomly selected […]

Passport Renewal for Egyptian Students

A current passport is required for students to apply for student visas including the F, M and J visas.  Due to the political situation in Egypt, passport processing systems have been disrupted.  The Egyptian Embassy in Washington, D.C., provided guidance to Egyptians to assist them apply to USCIS and inform them of new processing periods […]

Dallas Immigration Lawyer: April 9 is Passport Day

On Saturday, April 9th, appointments are not required to visit the Texas passport agencies, and customers may apply for routine processing of their passport application. Customers may also request expedited service for an additional $60.  Customers can choose from the following locations: Dallas Passport Agency Earle Cabell Federal Building 1100 Commerce St, Suite 1120 Dallas, TX […]

Immigration Roundup – 1 April 2011

This has been a busy news week for immigration.  Some highlights: House Subcommitee Hearing on H-1B Visas –  Titled, “H-1B Visas: Designing a Program to Meet the Needs of the U.S. Economy and U.S. Workers”, the hearing did not discuss any particular legislative proposal. U.S Citizen Child Mistakenly Deported –  Emily Samantha Ruiz, a 4-year-old […]

H-1B Visa Filing Season Opens Today

Today the USCIS started accepting H-1B visa applications for workers who will start their jobs on October 1, 2011.  The H1B is a nonimmigrant visa for foreign workers in “specialty occupations,” such as accountants, computer professionals, physicians,  market research analysts, financial analysts, teachers, architects, etc.  There is an 85,000 numerical cap on the number of H-1B […]

ICE Updates List of SEVP Approved Schools

On  March 29, 2011, ICE updated its list of Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) approved schools.   For foreign students who wish to study in the United States, the first step is is being accepted for enrollment in an established school which is SEVP certified.   Once you have been accepted by a SEVP approved […]

Report: 1 out of 4 Scientists, Engineers in US is Foreign Born

According to a new report from the TechAmerica Foundation, one out of every four engineers and scientists in the U.S. is foreign born. TechAmerica issued its report the same day the main organization called on Congress to reform the visa program for technology industry workers as part of any immigration reform effort. “Today’s immigration system is hindering […]

Work Permits for Japanese Students

Japanese students with  F-1 student visas may be eligible for work permits based upon financial hardship according to USCIS.  F-1 academic students may request off-campus employment authorization based on severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond their control, such as changes in the financial condition of their source of support. If your family can […]

Immigration Benefits for Japanese Nationals Impacted by Recent Disaster

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a reminder regarding immigration benefits for Japanese nationals impacted by the recent natural disaster.  Some temporary relief measures that may be available include: The grant of an application for change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even when the request […]