I Am Out of Status and I Want to Submit DV Lottery Entry

I am often asked the question whether someone who is out of status can submit a DV lottery entry. I think the real question should be if someone wins will they be able to actually obtain the green card? Well that depends. If someone is out of status they are generally not able to apply for a green card through adjustment of status from within the United States. There are a few exceptions but DV lottery is not one of them. However, certain people who had petitions filed on their behalf or on their family’s behalf prior to certain dates, the latest of which was April 30, 2001, may be able to apply for the green card even if they are currently out of status. Of course there are other eligibility criteria which they must meet such as any criminal convictions, prior deportation orders, any misrepresentation or fraud in procuring a visa in the past, so it is definitely a good idea to consult an immigration counsel prior to applying for any immigration benefit. Therefore, if someone is currently out of status and they have never had a petition filed on their behalf, even if they win in the DV lottery they will most likely be unable to obtain a green card or to even apply for one. They should, then, carefully weigh the potential risks of submitting their personal information into the Department of State database when the chances of actually getting something in return are slim.

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If You Owe Child Support You May Not Get a U.S. Passport

Most people don’t realize that if you owe more than $2,500 in child support payments, you are not eligible to receive a U.S. passport.  This pertains to new passports as well as passport renewals.   Also, even if you owe less than $2,500 in overdue child support payments, there is still no guarantee that you will receive a U.S. passport because you are in arrears and Passport Services will be notified of the delinquency.  If you have outstanding child support payments, you should NOT apply for a passport until all payments are brought up to date.  You should make arrangements to pay the state where the child support is owed BEFORE you submit your application for a U.S. passport.  Any questions or problems in amount discrepancy should be directed to the state child support enforcement agency.  After you pay the delinquent amount, the state child support enforcement agency will notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that acceptable payment arrangements have been made.  Then the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will remove your name from their list of outstanding arrears when it provides the U.S. Department of State with the updated list.  Finally, once Passport Services verifies that your name has been removed from the list of outstanding arrears, Passport Services may process your application for a passport.  This may take 2-3 weeks before Passport Services is permitted to process your application for a U.S. passport in addition to the standard passport processing timeframe.

In Illinois you may contact Child Support Services under the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services at 1-800-447-4278 to make payment arrangements.  You may find more information on their website at http://www.childsupportillinois.com/.  In Illinois, state law also allows for a suspension of a driver’s license of a parent who is delinquent in payment of child support.

If you believe that you may be behind in payment of child support, it is best to contact Child Support Services prior to applying for a U.S. passport so your application is not denied or delayed if your name is found on a list of outstanding arrears.  Make sure to plan well ahead of your planned departure date, so you don’t miss your flight or a long-planned vacation!

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Deadline for Survivor Benefits of Widows/ers of U.S. Citizens

Survivor Benefits for Widows and Widowers of U.S. Citizens

Survivor Benefits Deadline of October 28, 2011 Approaches for Some Widows and Widowers of U.S. Citizens

This update concerns an approaching deadline for certain eligible widows and widowers of U.S. citizens if seeking immigration benefits on the basis of their marriage to the deceased.

Brief Background

On October 28, 2009, Congress amended the law governing immigration benefits for widows and widowers of U.S. citizens. The previous law required a widow(er) to be married to the U.S. citizen spouse for two years before being eligible to seek survivor benefits in the event of the citizen spouse’s death.

The new law eliminates this two-year requirement, allowing the surviving spouse to apply for lawful permanent residence even if married for less than two years prior to the spouse’s death and regardless of whether the spouse had ever filed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative (I-130 petition).

Deadlines for Filing:

• Widows and Widowers Without Pending Cases:
Eligible widows and widowers of U.S. citizens who died on or after October 28, 2009, but who did not have an I-130 petition pending on October 28, 2009, may file an I-360 petition within two years of the death of the U.S. citizen spouse.
If the death of the U.S. citizen spouse occurred prior to October 28, 2009, the foreign national widow(er) must file an I-360 petition prior to October 28, 2011.

• Widows and Widowers With Pending I-130 Petition:
Qualified widows and widowers of U.S. citizens whose deceased spouse previously filed an I-130 petition on their behalf now have their cases automatically converted to an I-360 petition, when USCIS is notified of the petitioner’s death.

If you were married to a U.S. citizen who recently died before you obtained permanent residence it is important that you contact a qualified lawyer before the October 28th deadline. The law firm of Agnieszka E. Debicki & Associates, LTD. welcomes your comments and questions.

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Poland Eligible for DV Lottery Starting on October 4, 2011

New instructions were recently released by the Department of State regarding Diversity Visa Lottery and citizens of Poland are once again eligible to apply. The DV lottery program allocates 50,000 green cards per year to people who are selected and who meet certain eligibility criteria. To be eligible, a person must have a high school diploma (equivalent to 12 years of education) OR 2 years of experience within the last 5 years in an occupation that requires at least 2 years of experience. A list of eligible occupations can be found on the Department of Labor’s O*Net website. This year the only acceptable method of applying for the DV lottery will be through the internet and no paper entries will be accepted. The deadline for applying runs from October 4, 2011 through November 5, 2011. When a person correctly completes an entry electronically and uploads all required photographs, the computer screen will show the name and confirmation number which should be printed and saved. Winning entries will NOT be notified in the mail or through e-mail. Instead, beginning on May 1, 2012 people will be able to enter their confirmation number on the same website to check whether they have won the DV lottery. Instructions are very specific so please consult the Department of State website for more information.

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