President Donald Trump aimed to reduce legal immigration and increase the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) authority to ensure the immigration laws are followed last year. There are some changes and updates to immigration policy which are punitive in nature, while others aid foreigners in obtaining immigration benefits such as naturalization, permanent residency, and extensions for visas.
Here are five changes which will affect legal immigrants in the United States in 2019:
- A new procedure for the issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) – When it comes to deportation, the DHS expanded the list of reasons legal immigrants can be removed from the United States back in June 2018. The updated list includes crime convictions and charges, fraudulence, abusing public benefits, and denials of immigration benefits.
- USCIS can deny immigration applications without initially warning applicants – Immigration adjudicators do not have to issue a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) or Request for Evidence (RFE) before denying applications for immigration benefits as of July 2018. These two warnings afford applicants and their lawyers more time to fix errors and/or hand over more documentation before officials rule on each case.
- Increase the validity of Form I-693 – This form generally accompanies medical and vaccination exam results necessary to meet federal health requirements to obtain immigration benefits. As of October 2018, Form I-693 can now be signed by an approved doctor up to two months prior to filing an application.
- Establish joint residence while married to become U.S. citizen – As of October 2018, if an immigrant spouse wishes to obtain U.S. citizenship, he/she must remain married to a U.S. citizen and cohabitate for at least three years before applying for naturalization. If the marriage ends before the three-year limit, he/she cannot apply for U.S. citizenship.
- The interview for green cards through marriage can be waived – In order to upgrade from conditional residency to permanent residency due to marriage with a U.S. citizen or legal resident, the couple must first be interviewed by USCIS officials to determine the validity of the marriage, which often makes them nervous. As of November 2018, if there is enough evidence proving that the marriage is authentic, immigration adjudicators may waive the interview.
If you are dealing with a pressing immigration issue which requires the legal assistance of an experienced lawyer in Phoenix, AZ, contact Kanu & Associates, P.C. and discuss your case with our Phoenix immigration attorney today.