Undocumented Students need DNA Tests for FAFSA
An article in the New York Times once stated a story of 4 undocumented students, leaving from Florida on the 1500 mile trek to the nation's Capital to highlight the need for Immigration Reform. The four young men plan on visiting different state offices along the way to speak directly to representatives who are not voting in favor of reform.
Their particular plight is timely because high school students are now in the process of submitting their Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) applications. Many students have been accepted to the schools of their dreams but College costs what they are today, there are few who can attend without financial assistance. Federal Financial Aid is available to U.S. Citizens or those with Resident or Permanency Cards. Undocumented students are not eligible for Federal Aid and as of this writing, New Jersey is debating on whether the very same undocumented students should be eligible for in-state aid. It was surprising to note in a few conversations this week with local school associations that the "eligibility" requirement was not clear to some.
One of the young men involved in the march from Florida to Washington, was accepted to Duke University but is not able to attend because he is not eligible for Federal Student Financial Aid. All of the young men are placing themselves at risk for deportation by this public display. How sad for them to have come so far and worked so hard - only to be set back by circumstances and events beyond his control. Had their families thought about correcting their U.S. status while these young men were still in elementary or high school, then at least one would be attending Duke University instead of marching to Washington.
Financial Aid Counselors may find it difficult to bring this subject up to certain students. In this day of "political correctness"; maybe it would be considered rude for a counselor to broach the subject with a student or his family. But I think the consequences far outweigh the possible "profiling" nature of the subject. Since it is high school guidance and financial aid counselors who come into contact with students - it should be incumbent on the counselors to let the families know that DNA tests can expedite family based visas. Since there is the usual paperwork and bureaucracy involved, starting the process while the children are either in elementary or early in high school is recommended. Local Legal Aid Societies and other not for profit agencies are all involved in assisting undocumented families become reunited and achieve permanency in the United States.
The United States needs more young people with the fortitude and courage that these young men exhibit.
The DNA Lady, owns a DNA collection facility in Metuchen, NJ. If you need a referral to one of the not for profit agencies in your area, call 732-632-8820 and we will supply names, phone numbers and addresses of someone nearby depending on your circumstances - either not for profit or of legal counsel.
FAFSA applications also require that parents' disclose full financial information, irrespective of the parent's role in the child's life. If you need a DNA test to prove/disprove Paternity or Maternity, or any other biological relationship - we're here to help, as well.
Final Rule - Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver -March 4, 2013
AGENCY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS.
Families may also set up AABB DNA parentage testing process ahead of time,
so that evidence can be submitted as soon as the USCIS process paperwork,
upon your return to country of origin.
Using your local collector in New Jersey, allows family members in USA
to have direct access to DNA process, copies and distribution
of originals to proper authorities.
SUMMARY: On April 2, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
(USCIS) published a proposed rule to amend its regulations to allow
certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are physically present
in the United States to request provisional unlawful presence waivers
prior to departing from the United States for consular processing of
their immigrant visa applications. This final rule implements the
provisional unlawful presence waiver process. It also finalizes
clarifying amendments to other provisions within our regulations. The
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) anticipates that these changes
will significantly reduce the length of time U.S. citizens are
separated from their immediate relatives who engage in consular
processing abroad. DHS also believes that this new process will reduce
the degree of interchange between the U.S. Department of State (DOS)
and USCIS and create greater efficiencies for both the U.S. Government
and most provisional unlawful presence waiver applicants.
DHS reminds the public that the filing or approval of a provisional
unlawful presence waiver application will not: Confer any legal status,
protect against the accrual of additional periods of unlawful presence,
authorize an alien to enter the United States without securing a visa
or other appropriate entry document, convey any interim benefits (e.g.,
employment authorization, parole, or advance parole), or protect an
alien from being placed in removal proceedings or removed from the
United States in accordance with current DHS policies governing
initiation of removal proceedings and the use of prosecutorial
DATES: This final rule is effective March 4, 2013.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Roselyn Brown-Frei, Office of Policy
and Strategy, Residence and Naturalization Division, U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 20
Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529-2099, Telephone (202)
272-1470 (this is not a toll free number).
Legally Issued Social Security Numbers for Non-Documented Residents
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has clarified an issue that had created a lot of controversy among immigration attorneys advising applicants for Deferred Action. Many applicants may have been using a made-up Social Security number to work. Some attorney felt that not diclosing these non-legitimate numbers would be missrepresentation. Others felt that doing so, required applicants to self-incriminate.
According to the newly issued guidance, applicants should only list a social security number, if it was legally issued to them by the Social Security Administration, when answering question 9 on Form I-765. The question should be left blank otherwise. This is the exact language of the guidance provided by USCIS:
How should I fill out question nine (9) on the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization?
When you are filing a Form I-765 as part of a Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals request, question nine (9) is asking you to list those Social Security numbers that were officially issued to you by the Social Security Administration.
Latin American Legal Defense Fund Scholarship Available
Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:49 am (PDT) . Posted by:
Do you know a graduating high school student or undergradate still in school, or an adult contemplating returning to college, who needs help paying the tuition?. Tell them about this opportunity...they could be awarded one of three $2,000 scholarships for their winter semester if they meet the qualifications. The application form and instructions are on our web site: www.laldef.org
Please urge them to apply! before the Oct. 15 deadline!
Latin American Legal Defense
and Education Fund (LALDEF)
PO Box 80
Princeton NJ 08542
Deferred Action for Non Legal Status Residents New Jersey
A very special lady, always keeps me informed and up to date on community activities in New Jersey. This month's focus, is of course, on the action for plan for Non Legal Status Residents in the United States, specifically New Jersey. Here below, an announcement regarding a free workshop in Middlesex County for families who will benefit from the Deferred Action Plan as set forth by the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS offices.
Friends and community partners:
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service finally announced the procedures to apply for Deferred Action under the new two-year policy for young immigrants who entered as children. LALDEF will hold a community workshop next Tuesday Aug 14 to make sure all this information is disseminated and any questions are answered by attorneys expert in immigration law. Questions like: Do I have the right documents to prove my qualifications? How can I submit the application? How much will the application fees be? Will I be disqualified for a past conviction? Can I apply if I have an old deportation order? Bring your documentation (see below) and get the answers,
Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012
Reformed Church of Suydam St
74 Drift Street,
New Brunswick 5-7.30 PM! Flyers can be downloaded from Laldef's Facebook page:
If you are planning to apply, bring as many of these documents as possible, to be reviewed:
A recent (in the last 5 years) original birth certificate (with an English translation) and a current passport.Two passport photos. Gather school, medical and financial records (school transcripts, vaccine cards, medical reports, bank statements, tax returns, date-stamped photos) that can prove entry in the US before age 16 presence in the U.S. for the last five years, presence in the U.S. on June 15, 2012.
If the applicant is not in school now, he/she should have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Anyone who was convicted of a minor offense should request a "final disposition letter" from the court where he/she was convicted, or get a criminal record report. For instructions on getting a criminal background check, click on this link: http://www.state.nj.us/njsp/about/serv_chrc.html#instruct
If anyone needs aabb accredited DNA tests to prove maternity, paternity, siblingship or grand parentage relationships, The DNA Lady is available for immediate tests. Results would be available in 3 business days and can be used along with other forms of identification as part of your deferred action documents.
Deferred Action for Non Legal Status Residents
While many of our local New Jersey residents await instructions on how to change their status as USA residents - here are some updates to the Department of Homeland Security's action plan:
• August 1: DHS is scheduled to announce the procedures for applying for deferred action.
• August 15: DHS is scheduled to begin accepting applications.
• Fees: There will be a deferred action application fee, but the amount hasn’t been announced by USCIS yet. A fee waiver may be available, but on a very limited basis. In addition, the costs will include fees of $380 for the employment authorization application and $85 for fingerprints.
• GED: It appears that enrollment in a GED program at the time you submit your deferred action application would meet the “be in school” requirement, but USCIS has not confirmed this.
Gather all your identifying documents, including birth, marriage, and death certificates - anything relevant to your time in the United States. School records, church records, healthcare records are useful as well to confirm your presence in the USA for the period required by the DHS. Make 2 photocopies of everything, and do not give your original paperwork to anyone. With the expected amount of requests for Deferred Action in New Jersey, paperwork is bound to be lost, misfiled or misplaced by a DHS employee. Remember all state and federal offices are working under restrictive budgets - less employees are doing more work. If you have retained your originals, you will be prepared when an Immigration Official says your file is on hold because of paperwork.
Do not pay a lawyer or anyone else offering immigration services, until the full instructions are published by the DHS. The guidelines or criteria may change. If you need a DNA test to confirm a biological relationship such as maternity, paternity, siblingship or grand parents - call your local DNA collector and inform them of your intention to file so that proper Chain of Custody paperwork and procedures are followed. DNA Tests must be performed by an AABB accredited laboratory to be accepted by an Immigration authority.
If your identifying documents are in a foreign language, have them translated to English as soon as possible. Once again, keep your originals for future reference and good luck - Welcome to the USA - where we work hard, play hard, and reward ourselves with 10 years of retirement.
Deferred Action for Non Legal Status Residents
Although President Obama has put a process in place to allow certain children or young adults to begin a citizenship process, - the actual rules and/or process will be not be in place until August 15, 2012. Please do not pay any fees to anyone until we know exactly what the process will be to participate in this deferred action program.
However, once the process is in place, you will help yourself and your family members if you have the following records readily available:
Financial Receipts - which may include car loans, credit cards
HS Transcript and/or GED Certificate
Clean up criminal record if you had any significant misdeamors - such as DWI.
Documents that indicate you have been a resident of the United States for at least 5 years, are in good standing, have attended or completed primary education, have served in the military and any unusual circumstances that your family may suffer should you be deported.
If you have a family member, who has been detained by ICE, you can locate that family member as long as you have his/her A# - log on to www.locator.ice.gov/odls/homepage.do - enter person's A#, Name and Country of Origin and the system should give you the facility that your family member is being held in by ICE.
If your family has doubts about biological relationship to someone - that is you need to prove paternity because father and mother were not married at time of birth and father did not sign specific acknowledgement of paternity - get a DNA test completed as part of your package of paperwork. The same for the mother - if the birth certificate is missing, in another language, registered later than the actual birth - get a maternity test so that there are no questions as to relatedness within a family.
Find a local community organization that understands the new rules and can help you through the process without spending alot of dollars.
CRBA + DNA + DREAM Act + Mexico
DNA Testing and the DREAM ACT
As with so many trends in the United States, most are started in the sunny state of California. So the latest, is that California Governor Brown has signed into law, the DREAM Act - Development , Relief and Education of Alien Minors - which allows for in-state tuition aid to non USA citizens students who are on the path to citizen ship. To prove a point about trends starting in California - who was the first to ban cigarette smoking in public places. A long time ago (1986) a family member returned home from living in California and posted a sign in her home "No Smoking - Lungs at Work". We were horrified by the construction type sign displayed in her ladylike home - yellow with a big black "X". But having lived in CA for sometime, our family member saw nothing odd about this notice and in fact, thought we (East Coasters) were out of touch. Turns out - even though the sign was offensive - the sentiment was logical and is today part of the entire nation's every day life. So, I plead my case - that many trends start out in CA and the rest of us just better get on board.
If that is the case, then we can see that the remainder of the States will shortly be considering the DREAM Act and its' value to the growing immigrant population. Watch for States like New York (already pushed through Regents Board), Florida, New Jersey, and others to quickly follow. Children brought into our country illegally through no fault of their own, are motivated to continue their efforts to work hard and gain a good education and become US citizens.
The question remains - Do School Administrators/Superintendents/Counselors/School Nurses/PTOs and PTAs in districts with majority of immigrant population - have any responsibility to inform students and their parents of the need for proper documentation or the PATH to citizenship, in order to obtain federal financial aid at secondary schools. Who will start the minor alien child on the path to citizenship?
Perhaps a child was born in Mexico to a father who was a USA citizen. Perhaps a mother, who had already obtained Permanent U.S.Residents, returned home to Mexico to have her child clowser to her family. All that child needs is corrected birth certificates or CRBA as outlined below. DNA Tests are an affordable and painless method of proving biological relationship to a USA citizen and are accepted by the U.S. Consulate and Embassy offices, provided an accredited laboratory performs analysis.
For a quick reference regarding Children born in Mexico to a U.S. Citizen:
Consular Report of Birth Abroad
The U.S. Consulate General Guadalajara strongly encourages all U.S. citizens who have children born in Mexico to register them as U.S. citizens as soon as possible after birth. Upon registration, the child will be issued a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (CRBA), which is an official record confirming that the child acquired U.S. citizenship at birth. A CRBA can be issued only at an American Consular Office overseas, and only before the child reaches 18 years of age.
Parents seeking to obtain a CRBA for a child must be able to demonstrate to the interviewing consular officer that:
- At least one of the parents was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child's birth;
- The child is the biological child of the U.S. citizen parent(s); (DNA Tests are the gold standard of identification but only use a reputable collector and accredited lab) and
- If only one of the parents is a U.S. citizen, the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States for the required length of time prior to the birth of the child.
If both parents are U.S. citizens, at least one of them must have resided in the United States prior to the child's birth. The period of physical presence in the United States required to transmit citizenship to a child born abroad varies, depending on the date of birth of the child and the marital status of the parents. Please see the following Citizenship Chart to determine which category applies to you and your child.
No More Wet Feet, Dry Feet or Dusty Feet for Cuban Immigrants
With the softening of political relationships between United States and Cuba, many Cuban families will be reunited sooner. Since the 1950s, Cubans have risked their lives, left their family members behind and arrived on American soil in search of a better life. As with many immigrants before them, Americans set up agencies to specifically work with these new arrivals - in fact - we eliminated much of the paperwork other ethnic groups encountered and encouraged Cubans to get to the United States shores and out of the Soviet style dictatorship that is Fidel Castro.
The majority of the Cuban immigrants set up life in Florida but many made their way further up the East Coast and settled in Union City, NJ. Union City, NJ became so dominated by the "Cuban" flavor that it became known as "Little Havana on the Hudson". Since the year 2000, there is a Cuban Day Parade celebrated in June - plans are already in the works for this years event - proceeds go to scholarships for disadvanted children, aid for worldwide natural disasters and other humane organizations. For over 45 years, Cuban Americans have participated in Union City, NJ's political, social and economic environment.
These Cuban Americans, now fully assimilated into American life have longed for the day when travel to/from their country would be more direct. President Obama, has loosened travel restrictions and allowed for Americans to send cash to family members in Cuba who are not members of the Castro Administration or Communist Party. Further, reunification with family members who for various reason did not leave Cuba will now become easier. Cuban Spouses or minor children of Legal Permanent Residents of the United States, can now proceed through immigration under regular immigrant Visa applications as of January 2011. If documents are not available to confirm the biological relationships claimed on a Family Based Visas - a simple DNA test can expedite confirmation and reunite families even sooner. The DNA Lady can arrange for DNA sample collection from the Sponsor in the United States and the Beneficiary (s) in Cuba.
Cuban-Americans form the 4th largest Hispanic population in the United States and also the largest group of Hispanics of European ancestry.
Tips on Starting the U.S. Citizenship Process
More Tips on How to Become a U.S. Citizen
Start the Process for US Citizenship Application – Form N-400
Form N-400 is the application for obtaining naturalization for US Citizenship. The Form N-400 is used by Lawful Permanent Residents, also known as green card holders or permanent resident card holders over the age of 18 who meet the eligibility requirements to apply for Citizenship.
A completed Form N400 (Citizenship Application) has to be filed along with photos and supporting documents. A green card holder who is above 18 years of age and meets other eligibility requirements can file N400 form. Becoming a U.S. citizen has many advantages including the right to vote and the ability to sponsor relatives to come to the United States. Most of the forms can be found on line and it is important that you submit the most up to date forms.
Sponsoring your relatives to join you in the United States also requires documentation, photographs and processing different paperwork. If you are already in the immigration process and are having difficulty in proving the biological relationship to your beneficiary (family member) in another country, you can have a DNA test completed by an AABB approved DNA testing facility. DNA Testing proves beyond any doubt that you are biologically related and most DNA collection facilities can coordinate the DNA testing on the U.S. Sponsor or Petitioner and the Beneficiary in the foreign country. DNA Testing is used to confirm Paternity, Maternity, Full Siblings, Half Siblings, Aunt and/our Uncle relationships.
Eligibility for Filing N400
The applicant must be age 18 or older at the time of filing N400.
Valid green card for a period of the past 5 years.
If married to U.S. Citizen you may apply after 3 years with valid green card.
One exception prevails - if an applicant has served in the United States armed forces during war, that individual may obtain US citizenship without first becoming a permanent resident if they were in the United States upon enlistment into the U.S. military.
Applicants wanting to obtain US Citizenship must have maintained continuous residence in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding the applicant's filing for citizenship with form N-400. Continuous residence is not the same thing as physically being present in the United States. An applicant must maintain status as a legal permanent resident, but does not necessarily have to be physically in the United States to accomplish this. For instance, if individual is overseas for a portion of this period, maintaining a U.S. address and paying one’s state and federal taxes may help to provide continuity of residence for this eligibility requirement. If the applicant plans to be abroad for several months, it may be wise to file Form I-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes, prior to departing the U.S. in order to preserve their continuous and physical residence status.
NOTE: It is required that physical presence is established within the U.S. for a total of at least one half of the period of required continuous residence.
The applicant must have resided at least three months at their primary residence within the state where the N400 is submitted before filing their US citizenship application.
The applicant must be able to read, write and speak ordinary English unless they are physically unable to do so due to a disability such as being blind or deaf, or suffer from a developmental disability or mental impairment. Individuals over 50 years of age on the date of filing who have lived in the U.S. for a total of at least 20 years after admission as a permanent resident and those individuals who are over 55 years of age and have been legal permanent residents for at least 15 years are also exempt from this requirement.
An applicant applying for US citizenship must have a general knowledge of the fundamentals of U.S. history and government.
The applicant must be a person of good moral character and willing to abide by the principles of the U.S. Constitution.
If you are located in Perth Amboy, NJ; Trenton, NJ; Passaic, NJ; Newark, NJ - see our list of community offices that may be available to assist you in the various steps involved in moving through the immigration process.
DNA FACOG IRS FSA FMC INCO FOB CIF CNM
When I first entered my former line of employment there were all these older men from around the country and around the world, who used terms like "fob" "cif" "inco" "FMC" (I put that is caps for a reason) - "ipi" "mlb" - reverse "ipi", bb, BAF, FAF, BSC etc., - they would throw these terms around (along with some very colorful language) so much so that I thought my vocabulary was lacking. Why had I never heard the term Bunker before - except with reference to Bunker Hill. I fondly remember one man who's desk was moved around the office because the "ladies" were offended by his afternoon language - he was my best teacher. "Lady - you can't charge me a damn CFS on my damn BB cargo". He wasn't PC but he was a damn good teacher. I very quickly learned what the hell he meant. This shipping business, a lot less conservative than law or perhaps science, was fun, fast paced and certainly exotic. I was 24ish, when I entered this fast-paced (35 days to get from New York to Yokohama) world and had alot of commercial catching up to do with my counterparts in other countries.
I grew up in a suburb of New York, a street rat from underground night clubs of New York - not really seeing the ships in the harbor, the light at the end of the tunnel or the writing on the wall. I was the grand daughter of a Traffic Manager at Puerto Rico Line somewhere in the 1940s and 1950s, you would think I would have known about a career in shipping - but in my little world you were encouraged to be a doctor, a lawyer, a CPA or a teacher, a librarian, or a banker of some sort. Although my mother travelled on ships in the Caribbean, The Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic, thanks to her father's chosen career, not once did I ever hear career advice about entering the fascinating world of shipping. What's that saying - Mother's always know best...
I like to dip my toes into the water and then dive head in, once I know it's OK. I took some time to get to understand the people (mostly older white men with limited degrees), the language - as colorful as my very first job during High School as a Civilian Aid in a Brooklyn Police Station, the various cultures (from Asia to South America and everything in between by the time I left shipping) - I still can't draw firm conclusions about any one culture - but I will tell you this - put more than 5 men in one room from 5 different companies with 5 different cultural backgrounds with 5 different goals in mind and each of them will come out a winner. Again, they would throw abbreviations around like P&G or M&M, AMF, FMC (not the government agency) (side bar - when I watch Mad Men now on Sunday nights - it reminds me of the these men in more ways than one) They knew their stuff, they could recite Fortune 500 company names and executives, expected ocean volumes, bunker prices in Malaysia, outside competition, inside competition, all day long just to try "capture" some business. I used to love that word "capture" - it sounded like an adventure when in fact it was a buying expedition. We, the "underdog SS Line" at this table, will capture this business if you the "big dog RW&B line" will let us charge this price - of course we had anti trust immunity. Some liked the "one upmanship" - actually mostly there was alot of them and I learned how to do the same - although coming from a female it wasn't "on upmanship" it was being a bitch. When the men at the table were passionate about an issue - they were hard at work establishing (that was another word thrown around alot) their line's rights to the cargo - when the women were "fighting for the rates" - it was just a cat fight. Sad to say at times it was just ignorance. I used to think too bad - I learned from the masters and here I am sitting with well, cats.
I was definitely interested in the show put on and the language used by these men to get their points across and be able to return to their offices, victorious at persuading a counterpart from another company to allow them to carry a certain piece of cargo on their ships - imagine Don Draper having to go to his rival ad man to ask if he could write his campaigns in his own style. I enjoyed the first time I telexed an IA to the administrator of our government enforced tariff filing system. I also rued that day because that meant the demise of these all day long meetings, lunches at the great restaurants in NYC and travel to other cities and countries. As the years progressed "steamship" lines as they were known, moved out of NYC and so we "had" to visit other cities so that not everyone "had" to travel to the weekly meetings. Single, no responsibilities, in an exotic foreign land or even just down in Nawlins and an expense account - what could be better - Don Draper should have it so good.
Enough about shipping and how does this relate to DNA? Well, today I enjoy a even faster paced, technologically savvy world of private and court admissible DNA Testing. I spent 25 years memorizing IPI and MLB and HRTA and FMC rules - only to have to start all over with a whole new set of "initials" and "terms" and often times a much younger audience who have no idea how their DNA got into their BM (baby mama) or if their DL (down low) daddy is actually ... you get the picture. I have my b.berry on 24/7 so that the AF (alleged father) can call me and set up his POM (Peace of Mind) DNA Test. I have my email up so that anyone with an RFE can email me and ask me the time frame, price and process to confirm his biological relationship to the person claimed on the I-797E. I am able to recite that we use only AABB, CAP, CLIA, FQS-Int'l ISO 17025, NYSDOH, ASCLD accredited facilities - so that my customers are assured of the accuracy and reliability of the DNA Tests.
That brings to mind another term I am hearing these days - that is ACA - Affordable Care Act or FSA - Flexible Spending Account - HRA - Health Reimbursement Arrangements - HSA Health Savings Accounts - Archer Medical Savings Accounts MSA. There are changes coming to your FSA's - whether you are in the SSL or DNA business. The Affordable Care Act enacted in March takes effect January 1, 2011 and will require a prescription for drugs and medications purchased with your FSA card - that means no more tax free purchases of over the counter medications, pain relivers or allergy meds. If you are a member of your employer's FSA, HRA, HSA and need a DNA test get your DNA test done before the end of the 2010 using the dollars left on your card.
If the IRS is asking for proof that your child is your child, - get a DNA test done and have the DNA Lady fax your paperwork to the IRS.
If you are thinking of having a baby, make sure your OB/GYN is FACOG. Maybe your age and health require you to find a MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist) or perhaps you are an experienced CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife) whose current client has a doubt about paternity and wants to have a DNA test done on the day of birth.
Oh, I could go on with my abbreviations - now that I have more than one industry under my belt - but with the government's handling of SSI (not SSL) I will probably have to learn a whole other set of abbreviations but thank god my DNA comes from two very bright, educated individuals who taught me that whatever happens - I can handle it.
FAQ About Immigration from US Embassy in Accra, Ghana
The U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana has provided some valuable contact information and answers to over 25 Frequently Asked Questions. To begin with, depending on where you are in your application to immigrate to the United States here are email contacts:
If your inquiry is regarding American Citizen Services, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your inquiry is regarding non-immigrant visas, please send an email to NIVAccra@state.gov. If your inquiry is regarding an adoption , please send an email to email@example.com and finally, if your inquiry is about U.S. citizenship and immigration services, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Always use your Case Number and Beneficiary's name in the subject of the email.
Before sending an email to any of the above addresses, please send an email directly to email@example.com to receive an automated response with a list of the questions easily answered. Below I have outlined just a few of the simple questions and answers.
What is the status of my case?
Look at the email address information above and send an email to the appropriate office with the beneficiary's name and case number beginning with ACC. The Embassy advises they will respond within 5 - 7 business days. It is always a solid suggestion to put a "received and read" receipt on any emails you send. While their system may not support receipts - you will still receive an email notification that the message was delivered.
How Can My Family Join Me in the United States?
If you are a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident and want to obtain Immigrant Visas for your family to join you in the United States, you must first file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Have all your original documents readily available, ie, birth certificates, marriage and death certificates, police certificates and take photocopies for your own records. Those applying for family based visas should also bring along any evidence such as family photographs marking milestone events such as birthdays, religious holidays, school events and graduations etc., correspondence between family members, phone call records, school report cards, healthcare records, etc anything that demonstrates the relationship exists between you(sponsor) and the petitioner or beneficiaries. If the relationship and/or documentation is questionable you may be asked to undergo a DNA test to confirm the biological relationship. Your local AABB accredited DNA collector can assist you in this process. Based on current experience, biological relationship confirmation via DNA testing can take up to 6 or 7 months to complete. We've collected a Sponsor in the USA in January 2010 and his beneficiaries were not collected until August 2010. So act fast and if you know your documents are questionable, old, unclear, filed in an untimely manner, not in English - volunteer for the DNA test option and put the process in motion as quickly as you can.
How Can I Schedule an Appointment for my Adoptive Child?
Our only information is that you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. One suggestion might also be to have the child undergo a DNA test in Accra, Ghana and then upon arrival to the United States, have the same child submit to another DNA Test - this avoids any possibility of children leaving the country illegally and entering other countries for human trafficking. Make sure to use the same lab to test in Accra and test in the United States. Additionally, if available, have the child's birth mother/father undergo DNA Paternity and/or Maternity testing in Accra, to insure the right people are surrending or terminating their rights to parenting. A predictive genetic test on the parents may help an adoptive child in the future with their own health initiaves.
For answers to these and many other questions related to DNA Testing and the process of immigration, please check the various websites. DNA collections are performed at the U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana by appointment only. U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana is open Monday to Thursday 7:30 am to 5pm and Friday from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm. The U.S. Embassy is closed on U.S. and Ghanaian holidays.
What do I need to Do to Prepare for my DNA appointment?
In this United States, the sponsor needs to contact an AABB accredited DNA collector or laboratory to set up the process. The sponsor's DNA, identification and Immigration Casework number will be collected in the United States. The AABB accredited facility in the United States will then contact the Embassy in Accra, Ghana to have your beneficiary come in for an appointment. The U.S. sponsor needs to provide accurate and clear phone and contact information for the beneficiary - home address etc., Your beneficiary will need to bring in his/her passport and two photos. The U.S. laboratory will provide a FEDEX waybill so that the beneficiary's sample can be returned to the US laboratory for testing. Your beneficiary is only charged a local collection fee, all charges for the DNA analysis are paid by the sponsor in the United States. Please inform your beneficiary and anyone attending a DNA collection that they may not bring with them weapons of any kind or size, sharp metal or glass objects, razor blades, liquids, bottles powdery substances, umbrellas and electronic or battery-operated equipment (including cell phones, radios, tape recorders, cameras, personal digital assistants) food, drinks or pre-mixed baby formula. There are no lockers available in which to store these items - you will not be allowed into the building.
How Do I check My Priority Date?
The Department of State publishes the list of current priority dates every month known as the Visa Bulletin. You can find the current one, as well as archived bulletins at http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html.
The Diversity Visa Season ends September 30 of each year. No further visas are issued from the previous Diversity Visa program year after this date.
Immigration Review in New Jersey
There is an entity, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, (EOIR) within the Department of Justice that under delegated authority from the Attorney General, immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals interprets and adjudicates immigration cases according to United States immigration laws.
In the current atmosphere of "eye on the illegal", suppose your client is being held or deported for minor confrontations with the law but he or she is the sole provider for a family here in the United States. Perhaps proving the biological relationship between your client and the dependent family would allow the judge some leniency on behalf of your client. When birth certficates are incomplete or not available, when marriage and death certificates are unreliable or unavailable, a prompt Chain of Custody DNA Test can provide indisputable proof to a judge that your client is biologically related to a person here in the USA. DNA Tests are routinely used to confirm paternity, maternity, grand paternity, siblings and avuncular relationships. Proof of biological relationships assist families in obtaining benefits that would otherwise go under utilized (or back to the employer) if biological relationships were not properly declared at birth.
An EOIR immigration judge conducts administrative court proceedings in immigration courts located throughout the United States. In New Jersey, the immigration Judges are:
Honorable Dorothy Harbeck
Honorable Mirlande Tadal
Both Immigration Judges conduct hearings at 625 Evans Street, Room 148 A, Elizabeth, NJ 07201. You can also contact the Court Administrator Yolanda English at 908-787-1390 for assistance.
In Newark, NJ there are quite a few more Immigration Judges available for hearings.
Honorable Annie S. Garcy
Honorable Frederic G. Leeds
Honorable Eugene Pugliese
Honorable Margaret R. Reichenberg
Honorable Alberto J. Riefkohl
Honorable Susan Roy
970 Broad Street, Room 1135, Newark, NJ 07102. The Court Administrator is Charlene McLaughlin at 973-645-3524.
These judges can determine whether foreign born individuals - who are charged by the Department of Homeland Security DHS) with violoating immigration laws should be removed or be granted relief from removal and be permitted to remain in this country. What better reason to allow a man or woman to stay in this country, if they are the provider of a family in need and if a biological relationship exists and can be proven using today's most up to date technogy - the DNA Test. Perhaps a young man or woman is the sole provider and/or family member of an elderly parent or grand parent. Non-invasive DNA Tests can confirm grand paternity and
The Board of Immigration Appeals primarily reviews appeals of decisions by the immigration judges. EOIR's Ofice of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer adjudicates immigration-related employment cases. EOIR is committed to ensuring fairness in all of the cases it adjudicates. The Executive Office is located at 5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 2600, Falls Church, VA 22041. 703-305-0289 Phone.
Accredited Immigration Representation at USCIS Appeals
If you receive a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review advising receipt of your appeal of a decision made by the USCIS you may wish to have an attorney represent you at the hearing. However, your attorney or Accredited Representative must complete and file with the Board, specific forms and in a timely manner prior to a meeting with the board.
There are any number of reason why you may be declined by the USCIS or U.S. Embassies to sponsor a relative on the basis of a family visa. The birth certificate, marriage certificates or other family identifying documents may be not have been filed in your country of origin in a timely manner. There are cases where father's names are placed on birth certficates decades after the birth of a child, and the USCIS may question this practice or doubt the validity of the document. You can expedite the proof of your relationship to a beneficiary in another country via a DNA test. DNA tests are used to prove maternity, paternity, full siblings vs. half siblings and grand paternity. Your local DNA collector can advise you on what type of test to request to insure reliable and accurate results. All DNA tests used for the purpose of immigration must be performed by an American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) accredited laboratory and original results are sent directly from the AABB accredited laboratory to the USCIS or U.S. Embassy offices. The process may take several weeks or months and in your own best interest, you should work with your local DNA collector so that in the event you need to follow up - you will be working with someone in your community - not another state or country.
Within 15 days of receipt of notice from the Board of Immigration Appeals your attorney or Accredited Representative must complete a form EOIR-27 (Notice of Entry of appearance as Attorney or Representative before the Board). If the forms are not filed in a timely manner, you will be considered as "pro se" - that is representing yourself and all noticies and the Board's decisions will be sent only to you at the most recent address of record.
Your appeal may be dismissed for a lack of jurisdiction, unless there is a clear indication that your attorney represents you, the petitioner, and you have authorized the appeal. Only the petitioner (sponsor) may appeal the denial of a visa petition or a fine (except in limited circumstances of self petition battered spouse or widow).
The board will not recognize a Form G-28 (Notice of Entry of appearance as Attorney or Representative), which is used in proceedings before USCIS, and will not recognize a Form EOIR-28 (notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative before Immigration Court), which is used only in proceedings before an Immigration Judge.
Additionally, if you change your address while your appeal is at the Board, you must file a Form EOIR-33/BIA Change of Address Form with the Board within 5 business days. A copy of your change of address must be filed with the USCIS office that controls your file.
Use of an overnight courier service strongly recommended and encouraged to ensure timely filing and receipt of documents.
DNA Tests for Sponsor/Beneficiaries in Immigration Process
United States citizens can petition for their spouses, parents, children or silbings to immigrate to the United States and permanent residents can do so for their spouses and unmarried children.
In most cases there are sufficient written records and documents to validate biological relationships claimed on immigration petitions and satisfy the requirements of the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services or the U.S. Embassy. However, in the event that more evidence of a biological relationship is needed, a voluntary DNA test may be requested. DNA Tests are typically requested for immigations and passports and sometimes for other reasons. It is important to bring all requests for DNA evidence with you to your DNA collection in the United States, so that you collector will know which agency to contact in your beneficiary's country. Your paperwork will also indicate where the original DNA results should be sent.
DNA Testing fees vary by country and by test type. For example, a U.S. citizen who is petitioning to bring his/her mother to the United States will be ask to pay for a Maternity Test as well as all shipping and postage fees from the United States and back to their beneficiary's country. On the other hand, a U.S. citizen petitioning to bring over silbings will pay for a siblingship test - based on the number of siblings involved in the test and the shipping and postage fees. All of the DNA Kits sent to Embassies, panel physicians and USCIS offices in foreign countries are done via DHL or FEDEX so that you can maintain a record of sent/received dates and include that information with your interview paperwork.
The sponsor (or person residing in the United States) will require a government issued photo identification and as mentioned above, a copy of the letter from the USCIS or Embassy asking for a DNA test. If this letter is not available, the minimum requirement will be paperwork that identifies their government issued case number. The beneficiary (or person residing outside of the United States) will be collected either at a U.S. Embassy, an approved panel physician in the foreign country and in some cases at the USCIS offices. Some countries contact the beneficiary in their country with an appointment time, while other countries contact the petitioner with the appointment time. The beneficiary will need to bring a government issued identification with them to the collection appointment.
After all samples are collected, they are sent back to the United States to an American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) accredited laboratory. Test results will generally be available within 3 - 5 business days depending on the test type (paternity, maternity, silbingship etc. ) The U.S. government requires that the final results be received directly from the testing laboratory. Once received, the USCIS typically requires one to two weeks to process once they have received the results package from the AABB accredited laboratory. The sponsor will also receive a copy of the DNA Test results by regular mail from the DNA collection facility.
Since most Embassies and USCIS offices are backed logged with requests - it is important to get the DNA process in motion as soon as you are notified that a DNA test will be required. There are countries that can close out a case as quickly as 5 weeks and then there are countries that can take up to 5 months to complete a DNA test on the beneficiaries.
DNA Testing for Family Based Visas
There are a few different steps involved with a DNA Test to expedite a Family Based Visa. The U.S. sponsor should be familiar with the scheduling process of the U .S. Embassy or US Citizens and Immigration Service (USCIS) office in their country of origin. Here is a snapshot of the process involved in using DNA tests to prove the biological relationship between sponsor and beneficiary(s).
1.) U.S. sponsor receives notice from the U.S. Embassy Consular Section or USCIS that the paperwork submitted as proof of the family relationship is not sufficient to allow entry of the beneficiary into the United States under a Family Based Visa.
2.) The U.S. sponsor is then requested to submit additional evidence of relationship and in most cases - a DNA test - or genetic test is suggested. Today, non-invasive DNA tests can prove maternity, paternity, grand paternity, siblingship and avuncular relationships.
3.) The U.S. sponsor contacts an AABB approved DNA collection facility to set up sponsor's DNA collection in the United States and put into motion the collection of the benefiiciary(s) in your country of origin.
4.) Sponsor's DNA is collected and along with identifying paperwork are submitted to an AABB accredited laboratory.
5.) The AABB accredited laboratory submits a request for DNA collection of your beneficiary along with a DNA kit to the U.S. Embassy or USCIS office in your country of origin.
It is at this point in the process, where the U.S. Sponsor begins to panic. There is no one in the United States that can control the collection process and time frame in U.S. Embassies and USCIS offices in your country of origin. Your DNA collector will know when the DNA kit and request for collection is received at the U.S. Embassy or USCIS facility in your country of origin but will not be able to confirm to you when your beneficiary(s) collection will take place. In very few countries, the U.S. Embassy or USCIS will send a letter to all participants (sponsor, beneficiary and collector) notifying them of the collection date for the beneficiary.
6.) The U.S. Embassy or USCIS in your country of origin contacts the beneficiary(s) based on the address, phone, and email information you supply to the DNA collector in the United States. It is extremely important to provide accurate and complete information at the time of the sponsor's collection as missing or wrong information will delay and/or cancel your beneficiary(s) collection in your country of origin.
7.) Your beneficiary(s) DNA and identifying paperwork will be collected in much the same manner as the sponsor was collected in the United States. Again, your beneficiary must provide proper identification at the time of their collection. There is usually a local collection fee (as low as $15 for China but as high as $50 for Haiti) for the beneficiary paid directly to the U.S. Embassy or USCIS office doing the local collection and in the local currency.
8.) Your beneficiary's DNA is submitted back to the same AABB accredited laboratory in the United States that received your DNA.
9.) The AABB accredited laboratory submits the original results directly to the U.S. Embassy or USCIS office in the United States that requested you to do the DNA test.
10.) The DNA collector receives a copy of your results and mails them to you at the U.S. address you provide at time of collection.
If you have a lawyer or an immigration counselor working with you, they can be provided with the status of your case, only with your written permission.
Depending on the country of origin, some cases process as quickly as 4 weeks while we have seen other countries (West Africa) take up to 6 months just to set up the appointment for the beneficiary. The U.S. sponsor must be mindful of dates that the USCIS or U.S. Embassy impose on their paperwork. In some cases, you may submit evidence that the genetic testing is in progress - but by all means make sure you respond to the agency in a timely manner. Failure to submit your requested documents in a timely manner can and will result in denial of your petitions.
Immigrants to the USA get DNA Tests
Immigrants to the US will often find they are required to have a DNA test in order to prove their relationship to their sponsor. It will likely be necessary to prove that they are related to the sponsor in the way that they claim.
It is very important to use a laboratory that has the knowledge and skill to handle your test. Clients are typically referred to the AABB list of accredited laboratories. Many of the laboratories on the list do not have adequate genetic loci to complete difficult immigration cases, and many do not have knowledgeable staff members that are experienced in dealing with various U.S. Embassies.
It is very beneficial to deal with a laboratory with a great deal of Immigration experience. Our laboratory has relationships with US Embassies all over the world and has handled thousands of Immigration cases. Some Embassies prefer to work with The DNA Lady and direct their Immigration clients to The DNA Lady.
It is important for a laboratory that performs relationship testing for Immigration to have a large number of powerful identity markers available. The DNA Lady not only has a large number of genetic markers available but uses one of only two or three laboratories in the country that has RFLP markers available.
When your Immigration test is completed with The DNA Lady there are no additional fees even if extensive testing is required. It is all part of the initial fee.
When you have a test for immigration purposes you must be truthful about the relationship of those involved in the test. If you are not truthful with the laboratory, then you are very likely to obtain an exclusion. That will likely interfere with the ability of the person to immigrate to the US as all results of our tests are submitted directly to either the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Customs and Immigration offices or the National Visa Center.
The relationship that matters for a genetic test is the biological relationship, not the personal relationship. It does not matter if a person was raised as your child or as your sibling. What matters for a genetic test is their biological relationship to you. If your parents raised your cousin as their child, the biological relationship between you and that person is still cousin. You may be brothers as far as you are concerned, but the genetic test will determine that you are not brothers. Please be sure that you are reporting the correct biological relationship to the immigration authorities so that you will not have an unpleasant surprise when you receive the results of your genetic test.
This can be especially hard for mothers to understand. Even if you raised the baby from the day that it was born, if you did not give birth to the baby then your genetic test will not show you as the biological mother. Your relationship to the child is mother, but biologically, you are not the mother.
The DNA Lady has the experience and technology to provide an excellent Immigration testing service. Your genetic testing case will be handled quickly and efficiently by one case manager. You can call us anytime during the process to establish status of your DNA test.
Medical Clearance Requirements for Aliens seeking Adjustment of Status
The following information is taken from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-693 Instructions
|Medical ||Est. Time ||Action |
|Condition ||for Clearance ||Required |
| || || |
|Suspected Mental Illness ||5 - 30 Days ||The applicant must provide to a civil surgeon a psychological or psychiatric |
|Mental Retardation; Insanity || ||evaluation from a specialist or medical facility for final classification & |
|Previous attack of Insanity; || ||clearance. |
|Psychopathic personality || || |
|Sexual deviation or Mental || || |
|Defect; Narcotic Drug || || |
|Addiction & Chronic Alcoholism || || |
| || || |
|Tuberculin & Skin Test Reaction ||Immediate ||The applicant is encouraged to seek further medical evaluation for |
|w/Normal or Abnormal || ||possible preventive treatment. |
|Chest X ray || || |
| || || |
|Tuberculin & Skin Test Reaction ||10 - 30 Days ||The applicant should be referred to a physician or local health dept. |
|w/Abnormal Chest X ray || ||for further evaluation. Medical clearance may not be granted until |
|Inactive Class B || ||the applicant returns to the civil surgeon with documentation of |
| || ||medical evaluation for tuberculosis. |
| || || |
|Tuberculin & Skin Test Reaction ||10 - 300 Days ||The applicant should obtain an appointment with a physical or local |
|& Abnormal Chest X ray || ||health department. If treatment for active disease is started, it must |
|Suspected Active Class A || ||be completed (usually nine (9) months) before a medical clearance may |
| || ||be granted. At the completion of treatment, the applicant must present |
| || ||to the civil surgeon documentation of completion. If treatment is not |
| || ||started, the applicant must present to the civil surgeon documentation of |
| || ||medical evaluation for tuberculosis. |
| || || |
|Hansen's Disease ||30 - 210 Days ||Obtain an evaluation from a specialist or Hansen's disease clinic. For in- |
| || ||determinate or Tuberculoid, applicant must present to the civil surgeon |
| || ||documentation of medical evaluation. If lepromotous of borderline and treament |
| || ||is started, the applicant must complete at lieast six months and present docu- |
| || ||mentation to the civil surgeon showing dequate supervision, treatment and |
| || ||clinical response before a medical clearance is granted. |
| || || |
|Venereal Diseases ||1 - 30 Days ||Obtain an appointment with a physician or local health department. An |
|Chancroid, Gonorrhea, granuloma || ||applicant with a reactive serologic test for syphilis must provide to the |
|inguinal;lymphogranuloma venereum; || ||civil surgeon document of evaluation for treatment. If an of the venereal |
|syphilis || ||diseases are infectious, the applicant must present to the civil surgeon |
| || ||documentation of completion of treatment. |
| || || |
|Immunizations Incomplete ||Immediate ||Immunizations are not required, but the applicant should be encouraged |
| || ||to go to a physician or local health department for appropriate immunizations. |
| || || |
|HIV Infection ||Immediate ||Post-test counseling is not required, but the applicant should be encouraged |
| || ||to seek appropriate post-test counseling. |
Immigration Status Terms Defined
Here are some terms and definitions used by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services to define your status as a legal resident or U.S. citizen:
Asylum status is granted to individuals who would qualify as refugees who present their applications either at the border or within the United States. This status depends on the individual's perception of the risk of returning to his or her home country.
Deportation involves the expulsion of an alien from the United States, regardless of whether the individual entered the country legally or illegally. The most common reason for deportation is criminal conviction, but other grounds may apply.
Immigration includes the entry of persons who want to become legal, permanent residents of the United States. Immigrants base their applications on family ties, employment status, and other special categories.
Naturalization and citizenship refers to the process of becoming a permanent member of the society with corresponding ties of national allegiance. Naturalization is subject to USCIS rules. Citizenship confers a higher level of rights and responsibilities on the individual.
Visas cover a wide variety of circumstances and allow nonimmigrants to enter the country on a temporary basis. Different visas give the holder different rights, so it is important to apply for the most appropriate visa form.
Changes in world events make a certain country or region of the world much more dangerous than it was in the past. U.S. immigration laws deal with these changes by granting temporary protected status (TPS) to aliens residing in the United States who are due to leave the country for unstable areas. Under the TPS provisions, the Attorney General may designate a country or region as too dangerous for individuals to return.
The area must experience at least one of three conditions prior to a grant of TPS:
- ongoing war or armed conflict posing a threat to returning aliens,
- natural environmental disasters making the area unable to handle the return of any aliens, or
- other extraordinary and temporary conditions preventing safe return.
TPS is a limited status; aliens do not gain additional rights by qualifying for a longer stay under TPS conditions. Resident aliens must apply for TPS treatment even if exclusion or deportation proceedings were underway when the Attorney General chose a TPS region. The Attorney General's decision is final and not subject to review by any court. Aliens interested in availing themselves of TPS designations should seek immediate legal assistance to avoid return to an unsafe area.
Finding the Right Immigration Attorney
Choosing an Immigration Attorney
Many times the difference between an approval and a denial in an immigration case is the effort that the attorney makes on your behalf. When choosing an immigration law firm, it is important to ask questions and look for the following qualities:
· Exclusive immigration law expertise. Does the law firm practice immigration law exclusively or does it practice other areas of law in addition to immigration law? Immigration law is an extremely complex area of the law. By limiting practice to immigration law, your immigration attorney should be able to concentrate on what it does and knows best: United States immigration law. Your attorney needs to continually update his/her knowledge of United States immigration law through publications, continuing legal education, and a network of contacts throughout the immigration community.
· Accessible immigration attorney. Will you be able to contact your lawyer easily? Does he/she speak your language? Will you be able to speak directly to your lawyer or will you have to work with a paralegal?
· Experience with complex and difficult immigration cases. Is the law firm prepared to handle the unexpected turns that many immigration cases can take? Does the law firm have relationships in place with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,(USCIS) ICE, EOIR, the National Visa Center and the Department of Labor which will aid in representing you.
· Credentials. Are the attorneys admitted to the Supreme Court of New Jersey or the State where you live? Have they passed the State Bar Exams? What are the credentials of the paralegals which whom you will be working?
· Clear Fee Schedules. Is the fee quoted for the service an all inclusive fee or will there be additional charges added as the case progresses? Does the law firm charge additional phone time fees, postage fees, communication fees, faxing or other electronic fees. Most DNA tests fees are separate and are paid directly to the DNA testing facility.
U.S. Consulate in Mumbai
Immigration from Guyana to the United States
If you reside in Guyana and require a DNA test to confirm your biological relationship to a US citizen, the below is the U.S. Embassy approved laboratory and contact information.
Eureka Medical Laboratory
263 Thomas Street
North Cummingsburg, Georgetown,
Guyana, South America
Telephone: 592 2257574
Opening Hours: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Mon-Frid. Sat 8:30 -2:00 PM.,
email address email@example.com
Expediting Immigration through DNA Tests (I-130)
DNA testing is still a relatively new technology. Individuals, organizations, agencies, and governments are finding new uses for DNA testing all the time. One of the newest uses for DNA testing revolves around Immigration - specifically family-based immigration. This article discusses the primary reasons why immigration DNA testing is needed.
U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents are permitted to petition immediate family members for entrance into the United States. There is an unlimited number of visas granted each year for family-based petitioners. There are many requirements for acquiring a family-based visa. The petitioner must fill out a form I-130 , submit an affidavit of support proving that they can support the beneficiary, and also submit proof that they are biologically related to the beneficiary. This is where Immigration DNA testing comes into play.
The petitioner submits the I-130 along with primary evidence such as a birth certificate to show a biological relationship with the beneficiary. There are a number of red flags that can come up during this process. First, the father or mother is not listed on the birth certificate. Second the birth certificate is issued more than a few months after the birth of the child. Third, no birth certificate is available. Lastly, the child could have been born out of wedlock and therefore the sponsor father in the USA needs confirmation of his paternity. In any of these situations the U.S. Embassy or the Visa Service Center is likely to issue a Request For Evidence(RFE) . The RFE requests further proof of the relationship by means of a DNA test.
DNA tests can confirm paternity, maternity, siblingship, grand parentage and even avuncular relationships. If the family visa is based upon a biological relationship between the sponsor and the beneficiary then there is a DNA test to prove it.
Immigration DNA is requested as a means of fraud prevention by the U.S. Immigration Department. INS began a voluntary DNA testing program for African refugees in 2007. They found that out of all the refugees who claimed biological relationships, only 20% could prove it with DNA testing. The rest either refused testing, or the results came back negative. This has raised some eyebrows within the Immigration Department.
Families filing I-130's can expect more precautionary Immigration DNA Testing in the coming years. DNA testing is the most definitive way of proving biological relationships. The cost is not that significant and it eliminates any doubt of fraudulent paperwork as well as expedites the process of family reunification.
DNA Collection for Guatemala Immigration
DNA testing is becoming the fastest way to complete the RFE's from USCIS, the U.S. Embassies, the National Visa Center and the Passport Office Central. However, in some countries, when the sponsor or beneficiary is required to provide more evidence of a biological relationship, they are instructed as to which Embassy approved laboratory can be used for their DNA collection. It is important, to follow their instructions carefully to eliminate any unnecessary cost and time.
If you are in Guatemala , or if you are in the United States and trying to sponsor a family member in Guatemala, read your documents clearly before setting an appointment with your local DNA collections expert . The U.S. Embassy or other government agency representing the United States may include the exact name and address of the DNA lab in Guatemala who is handling your DNA collection. All Immigration cases are cross referenced with Case Numbers relative to your country of origin, year of initiation and petitioner status.
If you do not have any clear instructions on which lab to contact in Guatemala for a DNA collection , we have listed contact details of a very reliable DNA collections facility to handle your case locally in Guatemala. Call your local DNA collections expert in the United States (New Jersey) as well so that they can coordinate the DNA collection between yourself (the sponsor) and your family member(s) (beneficiary) in Guatemala.
Dr. Patricia Zaid, QB/ Dr. Martha Balsells QB
TECNICAS BIOLOGICAS, S.A.
Edif Geminis 10, Torre Sur, of 332
Guatemala, Ciudad 01010
phone: mobile (502) 5201 5914 office: (502) 2338 2837 fax: (502) 2385 5194
Las pruebas que no se realicen en el país, las referimos directamente a laboratorios certificados de los Estados Unidos de América, enviando cualquier tipo de análisis y pruebas especiales como:
Problemas de crecimiento
Paternidad (con pases legales)
Muestras para Oncologia
Plasmas, sueros, orinas.
The DNA Lady is your local source in the United States for all DNA related questions. Feel free to communicate your questions to the DNA lady via our email option. All questions are confidential.
DNA Tests Expedite Immigration Process
DNA testing is still a relatively new technology. Individuals, organizations, agencies, and governments are finding new uses for DNA testing all the time. One of the newest uses for DNA testing revolves around Immigration - specifically family-based immigration. This article discusses the primary reasons why immigration DNA testing is needed.
U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents are permitted to petition immediate family members for entrance into the United States. There is an unlimited number of visas granted each year for family-based petitioners. There are many requirements for acquiring a family-based visa. The petitioner must fill out a form I-130 , submit an affidavit of support proving that they can support the beneficiary, and also submit proof that they are biologically related to the beneficiary. Immigration DNA testing provides the gold standard of biological identification and cuts through any further red tape.
The petitioner submits the I-130 along with primary evidence such as a birth certificate to show a biological relationship with the beneficiary. There are a number of red flags that can come up during this process. First, the father or mother is not listed on the birth certificate. Second the birth certificate is issued more than a few months after the birth of the child. Third, no birth certificate is available or in some cases, the parents were not married at the time of the child's birth. In any of these situations the U.S. Embassy or the National Visa Service Center is likely to issue a Request For Evidence(RFE) . The RFE requests further proof or a relationship by means of immigration DNA testing.
Immigration DNA is requested as a means of fraud prevention by the U.S. Immigration Department. INS began a voluntary DNA testing program for African refugees in 2007. They found that out of all the refugees who claimed biological relationships, only 20% could prove it with DNA testing. The rest either refused testing, or the results came back negative. This has raised some eyebrows within the Immigration Department however, in this world of extended families, immigration may need to accept that although the biological relationship does not exist, this sponsor wants to raise a child as his/her own and if the child has no other relatives in the country of origin, then why not allow him/her into the United States.
Families filing I-130's can expect more precautionary Immigration DNA Testing in the coming years. DNA testing is the most definitive way of proving biological relationships. The cost is not as significant as one might think and it many cases can be accomplished for less than $1000 depending on country of origin and number of family members to be tested. DNA testings eliminates any doubt of fraudulent paperwork.
Children and Immigration FAQs
Does my child qualify for automatic citizenship under the Children Citizenship Act (CCA)?
Under the CCA, your child will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship on the date that all of the following requirements are satisfied:
- At least one adoptive parent is a U.S. citizen
- The child is under 18 years of age
- There is a full and final adoption of the child
- The child is admitted to the United States as an immigrant
A child who is born in the United States, or born abroad to a U.S. citizen(s) who lived in (or came to) the United States for a period of time prior to the child's birth, is considered a U.S. citizen at birth.
A child who is:
- born to a U.S. citizen who did not live in (or come to) the United States for a period of time prior to the child's birth
- born to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent or two alien parents who naturalize after the child's birth
- adopted and is permanently residing in the United States can become a U.S. citizen by action of law on the date on which all of the following requirements have been met:
- The child was lawfully admitted for permanent residence*; and
- Either parent was a United States citizen by birth or naturalization**; and
- The child was still under 18 years of age;
- The child was not married; and
- The child was the parent's legitimate child or was legitimated by the parent before the child's 16th birthday (Stepchildren or children born out of wedlock who were not legitimated before their 16th birthday do not derive United States citizenship through their parents.)
- If adopted, the child met the requirements of section 101(b)(1)(E) or (F) and has had a full and final adoption
- The child was residing in the United States in the legal custody of the U.S. citizen parent (this includes joint custody)
- The child was residing in the United States in the physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.
If you and your child meet all of these requirements, you may obtain a U.S. passport for the child as evidence of citizenship. If the child needs further evidence of citizenship, you may submit an "Application for Certificate of Citizenship" (Form N-600) to U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship. If the child meets the requirements of Section 101(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act as an adopted child, you may submit an 'Application for Certificate of Citizenship on Behalf of an Adopted Child' (Form N-643). (Note: a child who meets these requirements before his or her 18th birthday may obtain a passport or Certificate of Citizenship at any time, even after he or she turns 18.)
NOTE: Children who immigrate in the 'IR-3' or 'IR-4' categories must have had an immigrant petition filed on their behalf before their 16th birthday; see answers to Question 25 below. All adoptions for any other type of immigration benefit, including naturalization, must be completed by the child's 16th birthday, with one exception: A child adopted while under the age of 18 years by the same parents who adopted a natural sibling who met the usual requirements.
NOTE: The 'one U.S. citizen parent' rule only applies to children who were under age 18 on or after February 27, 2001. For children claiming automatic citizenship prior to this date, the individual in certain cases would have to establish that the parent or parents who were not U.S. citizens by birth had naturalized (or that the naturalizing parent was separated or legally divorced and had legal custody of the child).
If I am a U.S. citizen, but my child does not meet the requirements, can I still apply for citizenship for my child?
A child who is regularly residing IN the United States can become a citizen of the United States only by meeting the requirements listed in the answer to Question 24 above. If a child regularly resides IN the United States and is not a lawful permanent resident, he or she cannot acquire citizenship automatically until he or she is granted lawful permanent residence. If a child who has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence fails to qualify for citizenship under the provisions of law, the child may apply for naturalization by filing an N-400 after reaching 18 years of age, provided that he or she has the required 5 years of lawful permanent residence.
U.S. citizens may apply for citizenship for their children by birth or adoption who do NOT regularly reside in the United States, if all of the following conditions are met:
- The child is under 18 years of age
- The child is not married/li>
- The child regularly resides outside the United States
- The child is temporarily present in the United States pursuant to a lawful admission and is maintaining such lawful status
- The child is in legal and physical custody of a parent who is a U.S. citizen
- The child is the U.S. citizen's legitimate child, or was legitimated before the child's 16th birthday (stepchildren or children born out of wedlock who were not legitimated before their 16th birthday are not eligible for this procedure)
- If adopted, the child meets the requirements of section 101(b)(1)(E) or (F) and had a full and final adoption; and either of the following is true:
- The citizen parent has lived at least 5 years in the United States, and at least 2 of which were after the citizen parent's 14th birthday
- If the child's citizen parent has not lived in the United States for at least 5 years, 2 of which were after that parent's 14th birthday, the citizen parent currently has a parent (the child's grandparent) who
- is also a U.S. citizen
- lived in the United States for 5 years, at least 2 of which were after the citizen grandparent's 14th birthday
- is still living at the time of the adjudication of the application and the taking of the Oath.
If the foregoing conditions are met, the citizen parent can apply for a certificate of citizenship in behalf of a legitimate or legitimated child using an "Application for Certificate of Citizenship" (Form N-600) or, in the case of an adopted child, an "Application for Certificate of Citizenship on Behalf of An Adopted Child" (Form N-643). If the citizen parent is relying on the grandparent's physical presence in the United States, the citizen parent should also submit Form N-643, Supplement A. Both the citizen parent and the child must appear at an interview with an U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) officer in the United States. The child must meet ALL of the required conditions at the time when he or she takes the Oath of Allegiance (Note: the Oath may be waived if the child is too young to understand it).
My son/daughter was born overseas. Can he/she become a U.S. citizen?
In many/most cases, a child born outside the U.S. to a U.S. citizen or citizens is a U.S. citizen by birth (and, in the opinions of most legal scholars, qualifies as a "natural born" citizen eligible to become President or Vice-President).
So the question is not whether the child can "become" a U.S. citizen, but rather how the parents can go about documenting the fact of the child's citizenship.
The law on U.S. citizenship for children born outside the U.S. depends on when the child was born, whether one or both parents are U.S. citizens, and how long each parent lived in the U.S. prior (not necessarily immediately prior) to the child's birth. A table describing U.S. law on this subject during the 20th century (for children born in wedlock) can be found on the Web site of Buffalo immigration lawyer Joe Grasmick. Check with a U.S. consulate for an exact interpretation of the rules with regard to a specific situation; however, here's a summary of the rules as they pertain to children born now or in the recent past.
For children born abroad since 14 November 1986 to a married couple consisting of two U.S. citizens, at least one of the parents must have "had a residence" in the U.S. at some time in his or her life, prior to the child's birth. Judging by what I was told in early 1994 by the U.S. consulate in Toronto when I applied to have my son (born in Canada) registered as a U.S. citizen, U.S. officials seem to define "residence" in the U.S. as being physical presence in the U.S. for a total of at least one year prior to the child's birth. However, the actual law (as enacted by Congress) does not impose this interpretation.
For children born abroad since 14 November 1986 to a married couple consisting of one U.S. citizen and one non-citizen, the American parent must have been "physically present" in the U.S. for a total of at least five years prior to the birth of the child. Further, at least two years out of this five-year period must have been after the parent reached age 14 (e.g., no good if you lived in the U.S. from birth till age five, then left the country never to return). From 24 December 1952 to 14 November 1986, the minimum requirement was ten years (five years of which had to have been after the parent's 14th birthday).
The time spent in the U.S. need not have been immediately prior to the child's birth, and it is possible to combine multiple separate periods of physical presence in the U.S. to reach the required figures. Additionally, time spent in U.S. territories or possessions can be counted -- as can time spent abroad in the U.S. military, in U.S. government employment, or as a dependent spouse or child of someone posted abroad under such circumstances.
These rules are designed to prevent the proliferation of generation after generation of "Americans" who would be citizens by descent without ever having set foot in the U.S.
Different rules apply to a child born out of wedlock outside the U.S. If the mother of an "illegitimate" child is a U.S. citizen, her foreign-born child is a U.S. citizen by birth if she had ever spent at least one year's worth of continuous literal, physical presence in the U.S. If the father is a U.S. citizen (and the mother is not), the child is a U.S. citizen only if the father's paternity is formally established and if the father has agreed to support the child. (This more stringent requirement for an American father to pass along U.S. citizenship to a foreign-born illegitimate son may be on shaky legal ground; see the discussions elsewhere in this FAQ of the court cases Miller v. Albright and U.S. v. Ahumada Aguilar.)
An American who has a child born outside the U.S. should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as possible, to request an application for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad. This form needs to be filled out by both parents and returned with payment (currently US$10 or the local equivalent, money order or cash only, personal checks or credit cards not accepted) and supporting documents including parents' birth certificates, marriage certificate, passports, and the child's own birth certificate. For the supporting documents to be returned, you must enclose sufficient local postage for registered mail (ask the consulate for the required amount), or else bring everything in person to the consulate (in which case they will prepare the certificate while you wait; expect the process to take about an hour).
Note, once again, that a child born abroad under these circumstances is a U.S. citizen by birth (in addition to possibly being a citizen of the country of birth). The "consular report of birth abroad" is not a bestowal of U.S. citizenship, but simply an acknowledgment of same.
Is a child born outside the U.S. to American parents legally eligible to become President?
Most likely yes. The U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 1, Subsection 4) says: "No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States."
The term "natural born citizen" is not used anywhere else in the Constitution, and it has never been the subject of any federal court ruling. Hence, its exact meaning could be subject to controversy.
While some have suggested that perhaps a "natural born citizen" must have been born on U.S. territory (i.e., in keeping with the definition of a citizen given in the 14th Amendment), other legal experts believe the term refers to anyone who has U.S. citizenship from the moment of his or her birth -- i.e., someone who did not have to be "naturalized" because he/she was born "natural" (i.e., born a citizen).
The first Congress enacted a citizenship law which stated that "the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens". [Act of Mar. 26, 1790, ch. 3, 1 Stat. 104.] This strongly suggests that the phrase was understood by the framers of the Constitution to refer to citizenship by birth.
At least three Presidential candidates in recent memory were born outside the U.S. proper:
- Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican candidate, was born in the Arizona Territory in 1909 (Arizona did not become the 48th state until 1912). Goldwater lost the 1964 election to Lyndon Johnson.
- George Romney, a 1968 Republican hopeful, was born in Mexico in 1907 to American parents who had moved there to escape anti-Mormon persecution in the U.S. (Contrary to a widely held popular misconception, by the way, Romney's parents were settlers in Mexico, not missionaries.) Romney's campaign fizzled following a gaffe about his having been "brainwashed" by the military establishment into supporting U.S. involvement in the Vietnam conflict.
- John McCain, an early Republican hopeful in the current (2000) campaign, was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 to American parents. McCain dropped out of the campaign in favor of the Republicans' eventual nominee, George W. Bush.
Some questions were raised at the time regarding both Goldwater and Romney's eligibility for the nation's highest office, but no formal legal challenge was mounted in either case.
We will probably never really know whether an American citizen born outside the U.S. can become President (or Vice-President) until a lawsuit involving such a candidate finds its way into the courts. This could happen, of course, if a foreign-born candidate were elected and the electoral college's choice were challenged in court; or, more likely, if such a candidate's right to federal campaign subsidies (matching funds) were questioned.
Do I have to apply to U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) for my child's citizenship?
No. If your child satisfies the requirements, he or she automatically acquires U.S. citizenship by operation of law. If you completed a full and final adoption abroad, your child automatically becomes a citizen on the day he or she is admitted to the United States as an immigrant. If you complete the adoption or have to re-adopt your child after your child has been admitted to the United States as an immigrant, your child automatically becomes a citizen on the day the full and final adoption is completed. Your child's citizenship status is no longer dependent on U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) approving a naturalization application.
Will U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) automatically provide me with documentation of my child's citizenship?
Unfortunately, U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) is not able to automatically provide adoptive parents with documentation of their child's citizenship at this time. However, U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) will work with Congress, the adoption community and other stakeholders to re-engineer the current process of issuing Certificates of Citizenship for adopted children. This re-engineering will address both the application process and costs.
What documentation can I get of my child's citizenship?
If you want documentation of your child's U.S. citizenship, you may obtain a Certificate of Citizenship from U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) and/or a U.S. passport from the Department of State. You do not need a Certificate of Citizenship issued by U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) in order to obtain a passport for your child.
Will my child be harmed if I wait for U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) to re-engineer its process to document my child's citizenship?
No. Your child's citizenship status will not be negatively affected if you wait for U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) to re-engineer its process before you document your child's citizenship. If your child satisfies the requirements for automatic acquisition of citizenship, his or her citizenship is obtained by operation of law and cannot be lost by failure to document it. You can obtain a passport from the Department of State, even if you decide to wait for U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) to re-engineer its process. As part of those efforts U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) intends to implement a streamlined process for the automatic issuance of Certificates of Citizenship.
Will the re-engineering address the affidavit of support requirement?
Yes. The U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) intends to remove the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) requirement for children adopted abroad who will receive citizenship at the time of entry as lawful permanent residents. This is the vast majority of cases. However, children born and residing outside of the United States or children who will not be adopted until after they enter the United States will still require the affidavit of support.
Is automatic citizenship provided for adopted children living outside the United States?
No. In order for a foreign-born child living outside the United States to acquire citizenship, the U.S. citizen parent must still apply for naturalization on behalf of the child. The naturalization process for such a child cannot take place overseas. The child will need to be in the United States temporarily to complete naturalization processing and take the oath of allegiance.
To be eligible, a child must meet the following requirements:
- The child has at least one U.S. citizen parent (by birth or naturalization);
- The U.S. citizen parent has been physically present in the United States for at least five years, at least two of which were after the age of 14-or the U.S. citizen parent has a citizen parent who has been physically present in the United States for at least five years, at least two of which were after the age of 14
- The child is under 18 years of age
- The child is residing outside the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent
- The child is temporarily present in the United States-having entered the United States lawfully and maintaining lawful status in the United States
- The child must meet the requirements applicable to adopted children under immigration law
If the naturalization application is approved, the child must take the same oath of allegiance administered to adult naturalization applicants. If the child is too young to understand the oath, U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) may waive the oath requirement.
Is automatic citizenship provided for those who are 18 years of age or older?
No. Individuals who are 18 years of age or older on February 27, 2001, do not qualify for citizenship under the CCA, even if they meet all other criteria. If they wish to become U.S. citizens, they must apply for naturalization and meet eligibility requirements that currently exist for adult lawful permanent residents.
Does my Child qualify for U.S. citizenship?
The following are all ways your child may qualify for U.S. citizenship under the law:
- Birth Abroad to Two U.S. Citizen Parents in Wedlock: A child born abroad to two U.S. citizen parents acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under section 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). One of the parents MUST have resided in the U.S. prior to the child's birth. No specific period of time for such prior residence is required.
- Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent in Wedlock: A child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) INA provided the citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child's birth. (For birth on or after November 14, 1986, a period of five years physical presence, two after the age of fourteen is required. For birth between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986, a period of ten years, five after the age of fourteen are required for physical presence in the U.S. to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child.
- Birth Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Father: A child born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen father may acquire U.S. citizenship under Section 301(g) INA, as made applicable by Section 309(a) INA provided:
- a blood relationship between the applicant and the father is established by clear and convincing evidence;
- the father had the nationality of the United States at the time of the applicant's birth;
- the father (unless deceased) had agreed in writing to provide financial support for the person until the applicant reaches the age of 18 years, and
- while the person is under the age of 18 years --
- applicant is legitimated under the law of their residence or domicile,
- father acknowledges paternity of the person in writing under oath
- the paternity of the applicant is established by adjudication court.
- Birth Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Mother: A child born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother may acquire U.S. citizenship under Section 301(g) INA, as made applicable by Section 309(c) INA if the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child's birth, and if the mother had previously been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year
Tips on Avoiding Immigration Scams
Who Can Answer Your Immigration Questions?
Private Attorneys: Call the American Immigration Lawyers Association at 1-800-954-0254 for a referral.Also, check for other "Accredited Representatives" at the following: www.usdoj.gov/eoir/statspub/raroster.htm
There are NO new amnesty laws
There are proposed changes in immigration law but these are only proposals and are not laws; no one can apply for lawful permanent residency under those proposals
You cannot apply for lawful permanent residency because you have been in the United States for a long time unless you have lived here continuously since January 1, 1972
If you apply for employment authorization or lawful permanent residency when you do not qualify, the Department of Homeland Security will start removal proceedings against you, which may result in your removal from the United States
A lawful permanent resident may lose this status if he/she commits a crime or if he/she is outside the United States for more than six months without advance permission from the Department of Homeland Security
Only go to an attorney or accredited representative if you have immigration questions
Lawyers must have a license to practice law - ask to see their law license
Accredited representatives have to be accredited and work for an agency recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals - ask to see their accreditation documents
Never sign an application with false information
Never sign a blank form
Ask for copies of everything you sign
Get a second opinion before filing any immigration application, especially if the advice sounds too good to be true
If You Are a Victim of Immigration Fraud, Report it to the Attorney General of the State in which you legally reside.
Finally, one of the fastest methods of moving through the immigration process is by positively identifying the biological relationship to your beneficiary(s). An AABB accredited DNA collections/testing facility can perform a simple, non-invasive DNA test to confirm paternity, maternity, grand paternity/grand maternity, full sibling vs. half sibling vs. unrelated and avuncular (aunt/uncle) biological relationships. See the DNA lady's glossary of terms for more information. DNA tests are the gold standard in human identification. Call your local DNA collections expert, to schedule a DNA test for yourself and for your beneficiary.The results of these tests are sent directly to the US Citizen and Immigration Service Center, National Visa Center, U.S. Embassy or the National Passport Office, whichever government entity you are working with to reunite with your family.
Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders) Petition for Family Members
As a permanent resident (green card holder), you may petition for certain family members to immigrate to the United States as permanent residents.
You May Petition For The Following Family Members
Spouse (husband or wife)
- Unmarried children under
- Unmarried son or daughter of any age
To obtain a green card for your family member, you must:
- File Form I-130
- Provide proof of your status to demonstrate that you are a permanent resident.
- Submit evidence of the qualifying relationship such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc. See the form instructions for specific documents required.
- Submit proof of any legal name change for you or your family member (the beneficiary).
See the instructions for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for detailed instructions.
If you or a member of your family is in the U.S. military special conditions may apply to your situation. For information and additional resources, see the "Information for Members of the Military and their Families" link to the right.
When petitioning for your relative, the following preference categories apply:
- Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. (Adult means 21 or older)
- Spouses of green card holders, unmarried children (under 21) of permanent residents
- Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents
- Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens
- Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens
A visa becomes available to a preference category according to the priority date (the date the I-130 was properly filed). For more information on priority dates, see the "Visa Availability and Priority Dates" link to the right.
What happens next?
- If your relative is already in the United States legally, he or she may apply to adjust status to become a permanent resident after a visa number becomes available using Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
- If your relative is outside the United States, your petition will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will forward your petition to the appropriate U.S. consulate when a visa becomes available and your relative will be notified about how to proceed. This process is referred to as "Consular Processing."
- Your family member's preference category will determine how long he or she will have to wait for an immigrant visa number. Once you have filed a petition, you can check its progress on "My Case Status" in the links to the right. For visa availability information, see the "Visa Bulletin" link to the right.
For more information on becoming a permanent resident, see the "Adjustment of Status" (for processing within the United States) and "Consular Processing" (for processing overseas) links to the right. For more information on green cards, see the "Green Card" link to the right. For more information on each benefit type and the steps to take to help your relative immigrate, see the links to the left.
Note: A visa petition (Form I-130) is only used to demonstrate a qualifying relationship. An approved petition DOES NOT grant any benefit except to create a place in line for visa processing. For more information on green cards, see the "Green Card" link to the right. For more information on relatives and green cards, see the link to the left.
The DNA Lady owns a DNA Testing facility in Metuchen, NJ 732-632-8820. Call for questions on how to set up DNA tests for yourself and your beneficiaries at home. DNA Testing is often part of the non-documentation form of confirming a biological relationship to someone in another country and also one of the fastest methods. Rather than searching for old birth certificates, marriage certificates a non-invasive DNA test performed at an Embassy approved facility and analyzed at an AABB accredited laboratory can help expedite the immigration process.
Beware of Non-Legal DNA Immigration Tests
You may find advertisements about DNA testing for immigration purposes all over the internet, ethnic or community newspapers and other media. However, in order for a DNA test to be accepted by a U.S. agency, ie, United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS), the National Visa Center in Vermontt, or the U.S. Embassy located in your country of origin, the DNA testing laboratory has to be accredited by American Association Blood Banks (AABB). The first question to ask your DNA collection facility is "what accreditations does their laboratory carry"? Do not pay good money for a DNA test that is not accepted as legally admissible in U.S. government offices - CHECK ACCREDITATIONS FIRST! Most US laboratories that offer DNA testing, have the ability to arrange DNA sample collection in foreign countries as well. Your family (beneficiaries) must have their DNA collected at a U.S. Embassy approved laboratory in your country of origin, who will then forward the sample to the US laboratory that carries the proper accreditations for analysis and comparison to the your sample (Sponsor). Check your community listings for a local DNA collector who can assist you through the DNA collection process and is knowledgable in working with Embassy approved foreign (non-USA) laboratories.
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NJ State Aid for College Bound NJ Students
In-State Tuition Bills- S1036/S1933 & A194/A990
The proposed In-State Tuition Bills would allow all residents (legal and non-documented) of New Jersey to qualify for in-state tuition rates at public institutions of higher education. This bill would benefit the entire State of New Jersey by allowing all students that have graduated with good grades, demonstrated good character, and attended at least three years of high school in New Jersey to pay the same tuition regardless of citizen or immigration status.
Currently, undocumented students who are residents of New Jersey are required to pay out-of-state tuition rates, which could be up to double the resident state tuition rates. For many the higher rate goes beyond their financial means impeding their ability to attend college. In addition, only U.S. citizens are entitled to Federal Student Aid for college.
This bill affects those individuals who have grown up in New Jersey, have attended and graduated from New Jersey public or non-public school system, and who are residents with New Jersey roots who are committed to becoming citizens. Very often these students came to this country because their family was fleeing political, religious or economic instability, a decision made by the parents not the student. Yet, despite the many obstacles they have faced, these students worked hard and succeeded in school.
This bill would reward them for their hard work, initiative and desire to pursue higher education to become productive members of our communities. When talented students in our communities are prevented from reaching their full potential, we all suffer. However, we are also opening the door for state and federal aid to be divided among a larger population, by allowing non-documented families access to these funds. The bills have solid arguments on both sides of the coin and should be decided shortly.
Common Mistakes on TPS Applications from Haiti
Since announcing the designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), USCIS has received thousands of applications. In reviewing these applications, we've noticed the following problems:
- Not including the appropriate filing fee. Include the appropriate fee with your application.
USCIS has created a chart to help customers know what fees they are
required to pay when they file for TPS. It is located on the "Temporary
Protected Status - Haiti" page under the "Humanitarian"
section of uscis.gov. If you cannot afford
to pay the filling fee, you may request a fee waiver. Information on fee
waivers can be found on the "Fee
Waiver Guidance" page.
- Not completing every question on the form. Complete every question on the form. If you skip or
do not answer questions on the form, processing may be delayed, or your
application may be rejected or denied.
- Not including your A-number (if you have one). If you have an alien number (A number), it is very important that you include
that number on your application.
- Not signing the application.
Please sign your application. If your application is not signed, we will
reject your application and return it.
- Using an incorrect form to apply for TPS.
Use only forms I-821 and I-765 to apply for TPS. Other forms cannot be used to apply for TPS. If you submit different forms, your case will be rejected or denied. You may
obtain these forms for free here.
You may also call our forms center at 1-800-870-3676 and have the forms
sent to you.
The problems listed above may cause a delay in the processing of your
application or may result in your application being rejected and returned
to you or denied. Please avoid these problems and follow the tips provided
to ensure proper processing of your application.
Track your position in Line for a Green Card
Found this link on LinkedIn and it is a great tool for anyone to use with internet access.
The green card tracker is designed to show your position in line for a green card. It relies on official USCIS I-485 data to automatically calculate the number of applicants who are ahead of you. If your I-485 is still pending, use this tool to figure out the total number of Adjustment of Status (green card) cases from your country, in the same employment-based category, but having an earlier priority date (PD).
To check your position in the green card queue, select your I-485 information and click "Track I-485":
Immigration vs. American Jobs
Recently, on a sales trip to small towns in New Jersey, I did my usual stop into hospitals, lawyers, laboratories, clinics and private practice medical offices. Most of the office staff and/or laboratory staff are happy to see me. My presentation about the DNA Test we offer
is short and sweet and if there is already a relationship with the facility, I'm usually carrying candy, cookies or gift cards as a small thank you for their referrals. Private consumers are confused as to where, how and when they can get a DNA test to confirm paternity
, siblingship and other biological relationships. I welcome the few minutes I can get with the office staff to repeat what we do (DNA Tests
); how we do it (privately); when we do it (at the customers convenience - no one has to miss work or school) and where we do DNA Tests
(our private offices or someplace local that the customer can travel to).
I then take a ride through the local towns and see if there are any places, where a public sign may be welcomed. You know the kind you usually see in laundromats, libraries, or at exactly eye level on telephone polls at red lights. Some small towns clearly indicate "post no bills" and so I move on. On this one day, as I drove up to what look like an acceptable post - about 10 men between the age of 15 and 50 came running up to my car - right to my door. My car was empty so I could have fit at least 4 men in the front and back seats - so I think these guys thought they hit pay dirt.
I nearly hit the curb trying to avoid them but then suddenly realized, they thought I was trying to pick them up for day labor. Honestly, at least 10 able bodied men, sitting on the roadside in the hot sun got on their feet so quickly because they thought "work" had finally come. I know of some able bodied young men, who think looking for work is sitting on computer job boards all day. I was impressed that these men were not only putting themselves in harms way (you'll understand later) but were so eager and anxious that they ran to my door.
Since the men were harmless, I decided I would talk to them about my DNA Testing
business and that I was there for work, just like they were. Usually, if you have a minute, I'll talk to you about the merits of DNA testing
. I posted my sign for DNA Testing
s outlining all the relationships we can confirm:
Siblingship (Full vs. Half vs. UnRelated)
Avuncular (aunts, uncles)
outlining all of our accreditations:
etc., etc., all the necessary accreditations for a government entity to accept the results of our DNA tests.
and finally outlining all the uses a private consumer may have for a DNA Test:
Acknowledge Paternity for a baby's Birth Certificate
Complete Request for Evidence in Immigration Cases
Confirm Maternity or Paternity for Parental Termination in Adoption Cases
Confirm Paternal Relationships via other living relatives in order for children to receive benefits
Confirm Paternity via PreNatal Paternity Tests so that the new dad can participate in preparation for a new baby.
Most of the men were disappointed that I wasn't picking them up for day labor but they were still polite and seem interested in talking to me. I applaud these men for being out there and looking for work but there was one lingering concern on my mind - none of the men understood a word I was saying - no English and even my broken Spanish wasn't working. One really young guy, maybe 15 kind of looked like he understood Paternity Tests (he probably watches reruns of Maury Povich
) and I used my broken spanish "Paternidad" - he gave a little laugh but still didn't indicate complete comprehension. One older man, said gracias as I walked away.
So the first question that comes to my mind is how does an employer explain to these men what he/she needs done and secondly, as impressed as I was with their eagerness to work, isn't there something blatantly illegal about this and where are all the able bodied young American guys looking for work? How do 10 - 15 men, who are obviously not here legally, get to sit on a pretty well known street corner, looking for work and not one public official does anything about them?
And then again, what are you going to do about them. They need money to support themselves and their families. They are here and I don't think going back to their country of origin anytime soon (not w/o a ticket from Uncle Sam) They appear to be hard working and if employers weren't picking them up for day work then these men wouldn't be there waiting. It's a double sided sword - they need the work - employers need hard workers who they can pay "off the books" cheaply. And let's face it, the age of the American born teenager going around and cutting grass, shoveling snow and doing odd jobs to pay for his first car are over.
Let your DNA guide you to a Green Card
Step by Step Guide to Family Based Immigration into the United States
Do you have a relative living in the United States?
Is your relative a U.S. citizen? (see below for Permanant Resident status)
Are you a spouse? (IR 1)
Are you an unmarried child under the age of 21 (IR 2)
Are you an adopted orphan of a U.S. citizen? (IR 3, 4)
Are you a parent of a U.S. citizen who is 21 or older? (IR 5)
If you answered yes, to any of the above questions and can prove the biological relationship then you qualify for family based immigration
and in most cases you do not have to wait for VISA numbers. The U.S. citizen files an I-130 and you enter the U.S. as a non immigrant and then file an I-485 to adjust your status and receive your green card. Other family members, also qualify for family based immigration but need to wait for VISA numbers. Here is the current order of preference:
F1 - unmarried children (and your children) of a U.S. citizen and you are 21 or older,
F3 - married children (and your spouse and children) of a U.S. citizen
F4 - brother or sister (and your children) of a U.S. citizen who is 21 or older
The gold standard in proof of a biological relationship
to a U.S. citizen is a DNA test. DNA tests today are accomplished via a non-invasive cotton swab of the inside of the mouth. In order to be accepted by a U.S. government agency, the laboratory has to have minimum accreditation of American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) and the DNA collection
has to be performed by a third, disinterested neutral party. There are DNA collection sites and over the counter DNA kits springing up all over the United States and abroad. Be careful to chose a lab that has experience with DNA tests
in your country of origin, is accredited by the necessary institutions to insure quality and accuracy and will assist you in interpreting results once received (can an 800 operator do that?) The over the counter or do it yourself kits are not an acceptable method for immigration or any other legal initiative. A local DNA collections
expert can confirm your appointment in one phone call
and arrange for the DNA collection of your family member in a foreign country. As long as everyone follows the instructions of the local DNA collections expert
, the process of identifying your family members via DNA can be accomplished in as quickly as one month. The country or origin, ie, India or China, may take a bit longer than Haiti or Santo Domingo only due to proximity and Embassy approved facilities availability. Each country varies but if a local passport is available as a means of identification, then bring the passport along with other forms of identification to the DNA collection
Note 1: If your relative in the United States is not a U.S. Citizen but is a Permanent Resident and you are a spouse or unmarried child, you qualify for 2nd Preference VISA - you still have to wait for a VISA number to enter the USA but you may qualify for a V Visa. Your relative has to file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, which is sent to the National Visa Center. The National Visa Center will send out instructions regarding interview, medical exams, security checks (DNA tests)
which you must follow in a timely manner. After which you receive your immigrant VISA, and you enter the USA as a conditional Permanent Resident on your way to a Green Card.
While there are many ways in which to enter the United States legally, ie, employment based with adjustment of status, employment based through consular processing, immigration through a diversity lotto or immigration through investment, most chose to enter the United States through family based immigration. DNA tests
are easily attainable, affordable and considered the gold standard in biological identification. Ask your local DNA collections
expert to discuss with you their accreditations and experience working with your country of origin.
Immigration and Naturalization Service = Citizens and Immigration Services
Excerpt from ImmigrationRoad.com
"Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS)
will never die, or so it appears. Why? Six years after INS - Immigration and
Naturalization Service - ceased to exist, the term "INS" is being searched 4
million times around the globe on Google, in a single month. As a comparison,
only 1 million for its successor, US Citizens and Immigration Services or USCIS
When INS was the King, it not only handled immigration services, but also
enforcement. Its Operations division managed INS regional
centers, districts, local offices, and international offices. They were
responsible for processing millions of visa, immigration and naturalization
every year. The Programs division was responsible for law enforcement,
including apprehension, detention and deportation of illegal immigrants. INS was
also in charge of patrolling the border and ports of entry.
When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
took over INS from the Department
of Justice, however, the government wanted to split its core functions. So in
March, 2003, the mighty INS came to an end. All service related activities were
moved to the newly created United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
(USCIS), while immigration law enforcement became part of Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE) and border patrol joined Customs and Border Protection
(CBP). INS employees were absorbed into the above agencies with their
The DNA Lady owns a DNA collections franchise
in New Jersey offering non-invasive DNA tests to confirm biological relationships. Any questions related to DNA whether it is for a simple Peace of Mind Paternity test to a more complicated Family Reconstruction Test, call the DNA Lady at 732-632-8820 for assistance. DNA tests are used to confirm paternity, maternity, grand paternity, and siblings (full vs. half vs. unrelated). Aunts and uncles can also be used to determine biological relationships. See the DNA lady's blog about Y Chromosomal testing and mt DNA testing. Court admissible tests offers families assistance in obtaining child support, child visitation, survivor benefits as well as providing a solid foundation for children to develop having full knowledge of both biological parents.
Approval of an Immigrant Petition
Approval of an immigrant petition does not convey any right or status. The approved petition simply establishes a basis upon which the person you filed for can apply for an immigrant or fiance(e) visa or for adjust of status.
A person is not guaranteed issuance of a visa or a grant of adjustment simply because this petition is approved. Those processes look at additional criteria.
If you receive a notice indicating approved immigration status, be sure that the same document has been forwarded to the State Immigration Visa
Processing Center so that they can contact the person you filed the petition for directly with information about visa issuance.Approval of Non-Immigrant Petition
Approval of a non-immigrant
petition means that the person for whom it was filed has been found eligible for the requested classification. If you receive a notice indicating that a U.S. Consulate has been notifed about the approval for the purpose of a visa issuance, and you are not clear on the next step in your process, please contact the appropriate U.S. Consulate
directly. The office to contact is usually listed on the reverse side of a notice.
DNA Testing for USCIS, U.S. Embassies & the National Visa Center
Here is a Step by Step guide on how to have a sponsor's DNA sample collected in the United States and the beneficiary's DNA sample collected in the country of origin in order to complete the United States Customs and Immigration (USCIS), the National Visa Center or the U.S. Embassy's process to establish a biological relationship to conclude immigration to the United States.
Many consular services - visas, travel documents, consular reports of birth abroad - require the applicant to establish a biological relationship to a petition or American citizen parent. If you are unable to establish this required relationship at the time of your interview, the consular officer may suggest DNA testing. DNA testing is a useful tool for verifying an alleged biological relationship and is most commonly used to verify a parent/child relationship in conjunction with a citizenship case or an immigrant visa application. Due to the expense, complexity and logistical delay, so be sure you are using a DNA Collections Expert
in the United States who will be available for follow up and questions during the process.
You must pay all of the costs for testing and related expenses directly to the U.S. laboratory, panel physician and express mailing services.TESTING PROCESSStep One
: Select a DNA Collections Expert
in the local area. The laboratory must be accredited by the AABB. You will be asked to provide legal proof of your identity, ie, current passport, driver's license. The DNA Collections Expert will photocopy your paperwork as well as photograph you and ask you to sign the photograph. The DNA Collections Expert will take the required DNA samples from you, pass the samples and supporting documents onto the lab who will hold your sample until your beneficiary is collected and sent to the U.S. lab.Step Two
: Select a Panel Physician or U.S. Embassy approved lab in your country. The DNA Collections Expert in the United States may offer you a list of approved labs in your country of origin. As a matter of convenience, you should chose the laboratory nearest to your relatives in the country of origin - one that they can easily phone and set up an appointment - once you are told to have your relatives make the call.Step Three:
The DNA Collections Expert in the United States will forward all relevant material and a DNA collection kit to a Panel Physician or U.S. Embassy approved lab in your country of origin with reference to your Applicant Petitioner Number, Government Case Number, EAC Number. Once you are notified that the country of origin DNA collector has received all the relevant paperwork and DNA kit, you should have your family member schedule an appointment directly with the panel physician. The panel physicians charge a local collections fee for the sample collection and administrative process. Majority of DNA samples collected today (and it is recommended due to convenience of shipping) via non-invasive Buccal Swab (scrape of some of the cells lining the inside of the cheek).
Please be sure that your family members bring the following items with them to the appointment with the Panel Physician or U.S. Embassy approved laboratory:
- Your passport and two copies of the passport. If you are an asylee or refugee family member, or applying for a consular report of birth abroad and you do not have a passport, you should bring another form of a photo identification and two copies.
- The letter provided by the consular office suggesting DNA Testing
- A-paid express mailing envelope with the address of the laboratory, which the panel physician will use to mail your sample to the laboratory. (Your DNA Collection Expert in the United States, may do this as part of their service to you)
- A person over the age of 18 who can witness that the proper procedures have been followed. This can be any person including someone you do not know, except it cannot be the panel physician or one of his employees.
Following the sample collection of the beneficiary(s) in your country of origin, the Panel Physician will return the DNA samples and supporting documents to the laboratory in the United States who collected the sponsor's sample. Step Five:
The laboratory in the United States must mail results directly to the U.S. Embassy consular section, the U.S. Customs and Immigration Office or the National Visa Center office. You can receive a copy of the results from your DNA Collections expert. Under no circumstances is any other party, including those being test, permitted to carry or transport blood or tissue samples or test results. The laboratory will include a copy of the photo identification and the supporting documents provided during the sample collection process. If the U.S. Embassy consular section, the U.S. Customs and Immigration Office or the National Visa Center offices does not receive the test results, photographs and copies of the supporting documents directly from the laboratory, we cannot proceed with your requested service.Step Six
: Once the proper U.S. authorities receives and processes your test results, you will be contacted via mail. It can take several weeks to process your results, so please do not contact the U.S. authorities until 30 days after you are notified by your DNA collections expert
in the United States that you tests results have been mailed.
Vaccination Requirements for Immigration
Recent changes to the United States immigration
law now require immigrant visa applicants to obtain certain vaccinations prior to the issuance of an immigrant visa. Panel physicians
(U.S. approved) who conduct medical examinations of immigrant visa applicants are now required to verify that immigrant visa
applicants have met the new vaccination requirement, or that it is medically inappropriate for the visa applicant to receive one or more of the listed vaccinations.
In order to assist the panel physician, and to avoid delays in the processing of an immigrant visa, all immigrant visa applicants should have their vaccination records
available for the panel physicians review at the time of the immigrant medical examination. Visa applicants, should consult with their regular health care provider to obtain a copy of their immunization record, if one is available. If you do not have a vaccination record, the panel physician will work with you to determine which vaccinations you may need to meet the requirements. Certain waivers of the vaccination requirement are available upon the recommendation of the panel physician. Only a physician can determine which of the listed vaccinations are medical ly appropriate for you, given your age, medical history and current medical conditions. Below is a list of vaccinations required to enter the United States.
Tetanus and Diptheria Toxoids
Influenza Type B (hiB)