Category Archives: Family Immigration

IMMIGRATION PROTECTIONS FOR CRIME AND ABUSE VICTIMS

By Coleman Jackson, Attorney & Counselor
June 23, 2020

IMMIGRATION PROTECTIONS FOR CRIME AND ABUSE VICTIMS

Under U.S. law an immigrant who is the victim of crime and abuse could be eligible to become a lawful permanent resident (get a green card) if they or themselves or child or parent are a victim of a crime or extreme cruelty under certain circumstances.  The particulars of the circumstances are the determinants as to whether the immigrant victim should pursue green card status through:

  1. the United States federal law (Title IV, Sections 40001-40703 l Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act, as amended | VAWA Status
  2.  the Immigration & Nationalization Act Section 101(a)(15)(U) visas or
  3.  the Immigration & Nationalization Act Section 1101(a)(15)(T) visas.

CRIME AND ABUSE VICTIMS

In a civilized society, unchecked violence against anyone cannot be tolerated for it violates the social compact between peoples.  Injustice is violence; its abuse and it goes against truth and all notions of decency and order. Injustice cannot be tolerated for without justice peace is impossible to achieve.

Immigrants like all peoples have fundamental human rights given to them by their creator.  For a long time now, United States federal law has set forth protections for immigrants in (1) VAWA status, (2) U visa and (3) T visa.  Some of the most significant comparisons and differences between VAWA status, U Visa and T Visa are as follows:

Differences and Comparisons Between Three Types of Protections for Immigrant Crime and Abuse Victims

 

  VAWA STATUS U VISA T VISA
WHO Applies to Immigrant spouses, children, parents abused by their U.S. Citizen spouses, parents or children or Green Card Holders Applies to Immigrant crime victims Applies to Immigrant human trafficking victims
WHAT Battered spouses, children and parents who have endured substantial physical, emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident. Victims of abduction, abusive sexual contact, hostage, blackmail, domestic violence, extortion, murder, incest, involuntary servitude, rape, prostitution, sexual assault, stalking, trafficking, witness tampering, perjury and other specifically listed crimes perpetrated inside the United States by any perpetrator. Victims who tricked, deceived, hoodwinked, coerced, recruited, transported, harbored, housed in the U.S. for the purpose of violence& abuse, sexual exploitation, pornography, forced labor, debt slavery, involuntary servitude, or like evil acts.
WHEN AND WHERE MUST THE ABUSE OR CRIME OCCUR During a bona fide marriage or within specified familial relationships with U.S. citizen or LPR While immigrant victim is In the United States and is victim of specified crimes by any perpetrator. While victim is inside or outside of the United States and is a victim of a crime by any person bringing or receiving the trafficking victim in U.S.
       
HOW TO APPLY FOR THE IMMIGRATION BENEFIT File I-360 Application with USCIS if inside the U.S. File I-918 Application with USCIS if inside the U.S. File I-914 Application with USCIS if inside the U.S.
       
DO THE IMMIGRANT NEED TO HELP LAW ENFORCEMENT Does not have to help law enforcement and does not need law enforcement Application Certifications Must help law enforcement and must get law enforcement to help complete Application Certifications Does not have to help law enforcement and does not need law enforcement Application Certifications

 

IMMIGRATION PROTECTIONS FOR CRIME AND ABUSE VICTIMS

These are some highlights of the differences and comparisons of these three options available for immigrants; who unfortunately, find themselves abused or otherwise victimized.  They simply need to know that they don’t have to suffer injustice in any form in silence and all alone.  There are laws designed to protect immigrant abuse and crime victims.  And there are many social agencies available for abuse victims throughout the nation.  Don’t let anyone ever take away your humanity.  You have been created with hope and dignity and a purpose.

 

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers on American Farms During Covid-19 National Emergency

By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney & Certified Public Accountant
May 14, 2020

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers

The H-2A nonimmigrant visa classification has been around for a very long time.  See Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 101(a)(15)(ii)(a), 8 U.S.C. 1101.  The H-2A foreign agricultural workers visa; known as H-2A is more in the public eye right now due to the media’s focus on the rise of Covid-19 cases in meat packing plants, on farms and in rural America potentially resulting in food supply chain disruptions.  The concern of the coronavirus’ disruption of the food supply is very real and it is of grave concern to the well being of farmers’ bringing their goods to market and to their fellow citizens ability to feed their families.  In a nutshell, the foreign agricultural workers program known as the H-2A Visa permits agricultural employers to fill shortages in the available work force by following certain procedures to lawfully bring foreigners to the United States temporarily to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work.  The Department of Homeland Security defers to the U.S. Department of Labor with respect to defining what work falls into the categories of temporary and seasonal agricultural work.  Historically, the Department of Labor has defined “agricultural labor” as such duties as hauling and delivery on the farm, harvesting, cultivating and planting seed.  Foreign workers on H-2A Visas has historically also worked as sheep herders, goat tenders, cattle raisers, poultry farmers and in other occupations typically in rural areas of America where various kinds of animals are raised for market.  The point is that agricultural workers are not limited to farms performing task around a farm; foreign workers on H-2A Visas work on plantations, ranches, nurseries, meat packing plants, greenhouses, orchards, and as truck drivers and delivery drivers on these or other similar locations.  The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) has defined the term temporary agricultural work as no more than 12 months or employment of a seasonal nature tied to a certain time of the year, event or pattern.

 

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers

There was-and-still-is a very regimented step-by-step process that  agricultural employers must follow to bring foreign farm laborers to work on their farms, ranches, meat packing plants or similar locations; which begins with a petition filed with their state workforce commission; then they go to the DOL for labor certification that there is a lack of available domestic workers to perform the intended project; once the employer receives the DOL Labor Certification they file a request with the Department of Homeland Security; and upon approval, the foreign worker petitions the Consulate’s Office in their country to obtain the H2-A Visa to come to America and work on a specific  temporary or seasonally project for less than 12 months.  The H-2A visa is valid for 3 years.

 

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers

This process has been relaxed and modified somewhat. Covid-19 has created the necessity to impose travel restrictions, stay at home orders and caused lots-and-lots of tremendous pain, loss and suffering throughout the country.  In response to anticipated disruptions and uncertainties in the U.S. food supply and the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 epidemic in rural America; the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published temporary amended regulations regarding temporary and seasonal agricultural workers and their U.S. employers in the H-2A nonimmigrant agricultural workers classification.  These final regulations are published in 85 FR 21739 and is effective from April 20, 2020 through August 18, 2020.The following are the major amendments to the normal process that historically were used by domestic farmers to bring foreign nonimmigrant workers to work temporarily on their farms, ranches, meat packing plants and other similar locations under the H-2A Agricultural Workers program:

  • The H-2A regulations were temporarily amended to permit all H-2A employers to allow nonimmigrants who currently hold a valid H-2A visa status to start working upon the receipt of the employer’s new H-2A petition, but not earlier than the start date of employment listed on their H-2A petition.
  • The H-2A regulations were temporarily amended to permit all H-2A workers to immediately work for any new H-2A employer, but not earlier than the start date of employment listed on the H-2A petition filed during the Covid-19 National Emergency.
  • The H-2A regulations were temporarily amended to create a temporary exception to 8 CFR 24.2 to allow nonimmigrants to extend their H-2A period of stay beyond the three-year limitations without first requiring that the immigrant leave the United States and remain outside of the United States for an uninterrupted period of three months. It is important that an H-2A petition for an extension of stay with a new employer must have been filed with USCIS on or after March 1, 2020 and remain pending as of April 20, 2020.
  • H-4 nonimmigrants who are the spouses and children of an H-2A agricultural worker visa holders are beneficiaries of these same amendments noted in one through three above. H-4 visa holders’ admission and limitations of stay are dependent on the validity of the H-2A visa holders’ status and they must be otherwise admissible.

Moreover, as a practical matter, certain in-person interview requirements at the Consulate Offices have been eased during this Covid-19 National Emergency to facilitate foreign workers traveling into the United States.  H-2A workers fall under the ‘essential worker’ category of critical worker and probably are exempt from the stay-at-home, travel restrictions and other measures imposed by local, state and federal governmental agencies during this Covid-19 National Emergency.

 

Foreign Agricultural H-2A Visa Workers

Foreign agricultural workers on H-2A visas are subject to the United States federal tax laws but they are exempt from withholding of U.S. federal income taxes, social security taxes and Medicare taxes on compensation paid to them for services performed in connection to their H-2A agricultural worker visa status.  If they receive more than $600 in compensation, the foreign nonimmigrant worker must receive a Form W-2 from their employer which exempts social security and Medicare taxes.  Typically, the worker files Form 1040-NR and the employer must report the wages of its agricultural nonimmigrant workers on Form 943, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees and file all other appropriate tax returns with local, state and federal taxing authorities.   Most of the modified filing, payment and reporting deadlines announced by the U.S. Treasury and Internal Revenue Service during this Covid-19 National Emergency applies to H-2A agricultural workers and their employers.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432

WORKPLACE ENFORCEMENT OF EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY RULES IS A POTENTIAL TIME BOMB

By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney
March 5, 2018

WORKPLACE ENFORCEMENT OF EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY RULES

Any individual who is not a citizen or national or lawful permanent resident or specifically authorized to work in the United States cannot be lawfully hired as an employee by any individual, company or agency.  Any employer who intentionally hires anyone not authorized to work in the United States violates Public Law 99-603 (Act of 11/6/1986).  This law was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Ronald Reagan in order to control and deter unlawful entries into the United States.  This law, commonly referred to as amnesty provided for legalization of undocumented immigrants who had been continuously unlawfully residing and working in the United States since 1982, legalization of certain agricultural workers, sanctions for employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers, and increased borders enforcement.

This blog’s focus is on the provision of Public Law 99-603 that prohibits and penalizes any U.S. individual, organization or agency that intentionally hires or recruits to hire workers who are not authorized to work in the United States.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-9 is required to be used by all employers regardless of whether they are classified as large, medium, small employers to document their continuous compliance with their obligations under Public Law 99-603. Form I-9 is a three page document.  Employers and Employees are required to complete their respective sections of Form I-9.  Form I-9 comes with a 15 page detailed set of instructions to employers and employees that must be complied with from the very initial stage of hiring any worker by an American person or business.  Since November 27, 2011, American employers must complete Form I-9 to document verification of the identity and employment authorization of each and every new employee.  The rule applies to all employees regardless whether the employee is a United States Citizen, National, and Lawful Permanent Resident or otherwise lawfully authorized to work in the United States.  The employee must complete their section of Form I-9 within one day of starting to work, and the employer must complete their section of Form I-9 within three days of the employees hire date. The employer cannot simply take the employees word for it.  The employee must provide unexpired documentation from the categories listed on page three of Form I-9.  Again, the employer cannot tell the employee what documentation to present.  The employer or their agent must personally examine the actual document (original) presented by the employee.  The employer must make a copy of the documents presented and maintain them in their files.  Moreover, the employer has a continuing obligation under Public Law 99-603 to update their I-9 files when there is expiration date on an employees work authorization card.  The requirements we have discussed in this paragraph can be thought of as the I-9 documentation requirements.  Form I-9 is not filed with the U.S. government.  Every employer must maintain an I-9 file on each employee and make it available for inspection and examination in the event of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement visit.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) performs I-9 audits without advance notice.  ICE workplace audits have been on the rise in recent years.  ICE raids affecting some of the larger employers have been widely reported on by the U.S. press.  But just because an employer is not a large company does not mean that they are exempt from ICE I-9 Immigration and Nationalization Act (INA) enforcement actions.  All U.S. employers are subject to an ICE raid regardless of whether they hire immigrants or not since Public Law 99-603 requires all employers to document the identity and authorization to work of all workers, including U.S. citizens, Nationals, Permanent Residents, and others.  All employees mean all employees and all employers mean all employers regardless whether the employer is hiring a new hire, a rehire, temporary or permanent worker.  All U.S. employers potentially face workplace enforcement of employment eligibility ICE raids at anytime.  Workplace enforcement raids are like a time bomb.

Form I-9 Filing

Repeat, federal immigration law applies to all U.S. employers.  Who is an employer for purposes of workplace enforcement of employment eligibility rules?  I will address it from the perspective as to who is an employee under the Act.  An employee for Form I-9 purposes means any person who performs labor or services in the United States for an employer in return for wages or other compensation or payment.  It could be remuneration in the form of payment-in-kind.  Employee for Form I-9 purposes does not include independent contractors, subcontractors, volunteers or certain casual domestic workers.  By looking at it from the vantage point of who is an employee, employers should be able to determine whether they are likely to be considered an employer for Form I-9 purposes.

The Form I-9 must be maintained in a File by the employer

Are there any penalties for U.S. employers who violate the law?  Yes, absolutely since all U.S. employers are subject to the workplace enforcement of employment eligibility rules!  Besides the potential for public shame associated with cheating by hiring undocumented workers to gain an unfair advantage over competitors, the U.S. government can impose civil fines and even criminal prosecution in  more heinous cases.  The Form I-9 must be completed accurately.    The Form I-9 must be maintained in a File by the employer.  The Form I-9 must be made available for inspection anytime ICE asks to review them.  When ICE finds that an employer has knowingly hired or knowingly continued to hire an unauthorized worker, or failed to comply with Form I-9 employee identification and work eligibility requirements, ICE or a Department of Homeland Security Administrative Law Judge will issue the employer a Notice of Intent to Fine (NIF).  The employer has 30 days from receipt of the NIF to request a hearing on the merits.  If the employer fails to respond to the NIF, it becomes final in 30 days.  At the I-9 hearing, employers are able to raise good faith defenses (that is the employer made reasonable efforts to comply with the paperwork requirements of section 274A (b) of the INA.)  If the employer looses at the hearing or fail to request a hearing or failed to attend the hearing, civil penalties will likely be imposed considering the size of the employer, lawful status of the employees involved, the seriousness of the infractions including prior I-9 violations, and the good faith efforts of the employer to comply with its obligations under the INA.  Furthermore, employers who knowingly employ unauthorized workers or fail to comply with section 274A (b) of the INA could also face criminal prosecution.  Employers convicted in federal court of having engaged in a pattern or practice of knowingly hiring unauthorized workers, or continuing to hire them after November 6, 1986 are likely to face fines and up to a maximum of six months in federal prison.  Moreover, employees who use fraudulent documentation to gain U.S. employment can be subjected to civil fines and criminal prosecution resulting in up to 5 years in federal prison.  The penalties that we have been discussing are under the Immigration and Nationalization Act (INA).  But employees and employers who knowingly violate the INA could be subjected to other federal statutes that impose much harsher civil fines and criminal punishment.  The Internal Revenue Code, U.S. Code 26; for example, imposes very severe civil fines and criminal penalties for taxpayers who violate U.S. federal tax statutes associated with misclassification of workers as independent contractors when in fact they are employees.  Worker misclassification errors can place employers in serious legal jeopardy.

employment eligibility verification

The burden of proving compliance with employment eligibility verification requirements is on U.S. employers.  Suggested steps to get ready for an I-9 raid:

  1. Make a current list of all of your employees (current, new hires, rehires, terminated);
  2. Review Form I-9 files on everyone on the list (don’t forget that all employers must have an I-9 file for all employees, including U.S. citizens, Nationals, Lawful Permanent Residents and anyone else working as an employee);
  3. Check the I-9 files for the validity of the documentation (make sure nothing has expired because identity and work eligibility documentation must be current; these documents cannot be expired);
  4. Check off each employee as they are successfully vetted on the employer employee list as they are cleared;
  5. Follow-up on any discrepancies. Contact the worker for updated or corrected information and timely resolve the issue;
  6. Document the company’s Form I-9 procedures and periodical compliance with those procedures. Don’t’ forget to check for government changes in the requirements as part of the company’s due diligence process.  Document due diligence and good faith efforts to comply with I-9 requirements—this all should be maintained in your I-9 Due Diligence Files;
  7. Follow-up and follow up some more on I-9  discrepancies and release any worker that cannot be vetted to work lawfully in the United States;
  8. Assign I-9 duties to competent individuals within the company or advisors competent in the law, taxes and immigration workplace matters. Exercise due diligence:  gather pertinent information; understand the company’s I-9 obligations and cooperate with authorities in workplace enforcement of employment eligibility issues.

These are merely some suggestions designed to cut down on the fear and confusion that is often associated with ICE workplace enforcement.  Due diligence can be a stress buster; while failing to prepare for a workplace enforcement of employment eligibility rules  can be as serious blow to wealth as a heart attack can be to health.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432

U.S.A. IMMIGRATION OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

By Coleman Jackson, Attorney & Counselor at Law
July 12, 2017

U.S.A. IMMIGRATION OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

There are three ways immigrants who become victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and some other specific crimes may apply for legal immigration status for themselves and their child(ren).

  1. Self-petition for legal status under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
  2. Cancellation of removal under VAWA
  3. U-Visa (nonimmigrant crime victim’s visa)

A victim’s application is confidential and no one, including an abuser, crime perpetrator or family member, will be told that you applied.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432

The Substantial Presence Test

May 08, 2017
By Coleman Jackson, Attorney, CPA

An Immigrant is Considered a Resident of the U.S. for Federal Tax Purposes When They Meet this Test

The Substantial Presence Test

Except for certain exempt individuals, such as teachers, trainees, students, professional athletes and certain foreign government individuals, immigrants physically in the United States who meet the substantial presence test as depicted in the diagram below are considered an U.S. Resident for federal tax purposes.

(a) (b) (c) (d)
Year Number of Days Immigrant Physically Present in United States  During Period Multiplier Substantial Present Days (Multiply (b) times (c))
Current Year   1.00  
First Prior Year   .333  
Second Prior Year   .167  
Total  Days Immigrant Present in U.S. (add column (d)  

tax status of immigrants

It is critical to determine the tax status of immigrants because immigrants who are Green Card Holders and those who meet the substantial presence test are taxed just like United States Citizens.  United States Citizens are taxed on their world wide income no matter where the income is earned.  Generally speaking, immigrants meet the substantial presence test when all of the following statements are true:

  1. The immigrant was physically present in the United States for at least 31 days during the current calendar year; and
  2. The immigrant was physically present in the United States for 183 days during the three year period for which residency is being determined.

In the event that both of these conditions are met and none of the exemptions apply, the immigrant is treated as a Resident of the United States for tax purposes.  But as is typical in American law, there are exceptions even if an immigrant meets the substantial presence test.  The ‘closer connection to a foreign country exception’ is just such an exception.    Also what constitutes a day in the United States can be affected by whether the immigrant is a regular commuter from Mexico or Canada, or whether the immigrant is in transit between two foreign points outside of the U.S., or simply whether the immigrant is in the U.S. in one of the ‘exempt person statuses’ that we mentioned at the top of this blog.  Even the medical condition of the immigrant could impact whether time in the United States is counted toward the term ‘day’ in the United States for the substantial presence test.  Any time in the United States due to a medical condition that arose while the immigrant was in the U.S. is not counted in the substantial presence test calculus.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432

Asylum, Domestic Violence Victims and Credibility Hearings

By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney
December 15, 2016

Asylum, Domestic Violence Victims and Credibility Hearings

Any foreign person who is physically present in the United States of America or who arrives here or is brought here regardless of their legal status may apply for asylum complying with the requirements set forth in 8 U.S.C.A.  §1158, Immigration and Nationality Act §208.

The foreign person seeking asylum bears the responsibility to establish that they are a refugee, within the meaning of U.S. Immigration Law.  Credible evidence will need to be presented that shows that the foreign person is a refugee within the meaning of the Immigration and Nationality Act under one or more of the following categories:

  1. RACE;
  2. RELIGION;
  3. NATIONALITY;
  4. MEMBERSHIP IN A PARTICULAR SOCIAL GROUP;  or
  5. POLITICAL OPINION

Asylum seekers must allege and demonstrate that at least one of the listed categories is the central reason for the past, or perceived future persecution in their homeland.  One of these five categories must be central to the asylum seekers’ past persecution or credible fear of persecution upon returning home.

In this blog post, we will limit our discussion of asylum to the asylum seekers membership in a particular social group.  In modern times in U.S. asylum law, victims of domestic violence have had success filing for asylum under the membership in a particular social group category.  This category has been used to apply for asylum based on gender-based persecution, such as, forced marriages, child marriages, female genital cutting, rape, domestic violence and sexual crimes against the victim.

If a foreigner enters the United States and claims persecution as a member of a particular social group, U.S. Department of Homeland Security examining officers at the border must conduct a credibility screening.  The standard used at the credibility screening is very low.  At this credibility screening the examining officer is not to make eligibility determinations or weigh the evidence or decide the credibility of the asylum seeker’s claims or statements.  The examining officer must decide whether to refer the asylum seeker for a credibility determination hearing or send them back to their homeland.  If the examining officer finds that the asylum seeker’s claim is not credible, they must expedite the removal of the foreigner’s return to their home country.  If the examining officer decides that the claim is credible, they must refer the case for a full asylum credibility hearing; the referring officer must give the asylum seeker Form M-444 and explain the purpose of the credibility determination hearing.  The asylum seeker may have legal representation at the credibility determination hearing.  In the credibility determination hearing, the demeanor, candor, and responsiveness of the asylum applicant (and witnesses, if any) are all relevant.  The basic logic and plausibility of the applicant’s or witness’s story are relevant to making the credibility determination.  Consistency in the applicant’s, witnesses’ oral and written accounts is extremely important factors in a credibility determination.  U.S. Department of State country condition reports are also used in asylum credibility determination hearings.

Even if the asylum seeker has a credible fear of persecution based on membership in a particular social group, their asylum application can still be impeded and denied pursuant to any of the factors listed in INA  §208(2)(A) and INA §208(2)(B).

In the event the asylum officer grants the asylum seekers application based on their membership in a particular group, the foreigner enjoys the following immigration benefits:

  1. They cannot be removed or returned to their home country (country of nationality);
  2. They may be authorized to work or engage in employment in the United States;
  3. They may be allowed to travel abroad with the prior consent of the U.S. Attorney General; and
  4. One year after the grant of asylum, the foreigner can apply for Lawful Permanent Residence status (Green Card).

Filing asylum is serious business and is complex.  Foreigner’s who are contemplating filing for asylum in the United States should consult legal counsel before they file because filing a frivolous asylum application will prevent the foreigner from receiving any immigration benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act.  That means the foreigner would be prohibited from even visiting the U.S. for any reason.  This bar is permanent under the INA.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432

Check Your ITIN because it could be Expired or Expiring Soon

By: Coleman Jackson, Attorney, CPA
November 21, 2016

Check Your ITIN because it could be Expired or Expiring Soon

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, otherwise known as (ITIN) allows taxpayers to meet their tax filing obligations who cannot obtain a Social Security Number.  An ITIN is typically used by nonresident foreigners , undocumented resident foreigners, dependents and spouses of U.S. Citizens and resident foreigners who cannot get a social security number, and nonresident students, professors or researchers filing a U.S. federal tax return or claiming an exception, and anyone else who has a tax reporting obligation but cannot obtain a social security number.  The ITIN, like a social security number, is a nine digit code.  The ITIN begins with the number 9 and has fourth and fifth digits ranging from 50-65, 70-88, 90-92, and 94-99.   These are the middle digits of the ITIN.   The ITIN does not grant the holder any legal rights to reside in the United States.  The ITIN does not grant the holder any right to work in the United States.  The ITIN is issued by the United States Treasury (IRS).  The ITIN is only used for tax reporting purposes.

ITIN holders beware!  Section 203 of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act), which became law on December 18, 2015 made critical changes to U.S. Tax Law, 26 U.S.C. Section 6109 as it relates to the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Program.  Because of these PATH Act changes, every ITIN holder must check their ITIN to determine whether it is expired or expiring soon.  The PATH Act made major changes in the ITIN Program which requires holders of ITINs to renew their ITIN.

Holders of unused ITINs must renew them or they will expire.  Any ITIN not used on a federal tax return for the last three (3) years.  Count back from the current year to the previous three tax reporting periods.  If it has been three years since the ITIN was used; it expires on January 1, 2017.  That means that if you hold an ITIN that was not used in 2015, 2014 or 2013; your ITIN is no longer valid and cannot be used when you file your 2016 federal tax return; unless, you timely renew it.  The IRS began accepting ITIN renewal applications on October 1, 2016 for taxpayers affected by the PATH Act.

ITINs issued before 2013 began expiring in 2016 on a rolling basis.  The mandatory renewal period for these ITINs is on what the IRS is calling a rolling basis.  The key numbers that triggers the expiration and mandatory renewal schedule as to when the pre-2013 ITIN renewal period began are the middle two digits of the ITIN.  For example, beginning October 1, 2016, ITIN holders with middle digits of 78 and 79 began renewing their ITIN. Every ITIN holder must examine their ITIN and the ITIN of family members (household members) to determine when their ITIN expires or expired based on the IRS rolling renewal schedule.

Holders of expired ITINs could have difficulty complying with U.S. tax laws.  They could be prohibited from claiming exemptions and dependents and so forth with expired ITINs.  Moreover, failure to timely file required federal tax returns carry serious consequences under U.S. tax laws, such as, civil negligence penalties, fraud penalties and potential criminal prosecution.  There could also be serious consequences under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for failure to comply with U.S. federal tax laws (Internal Revenue Code).  Federal tax law abuse violates the terms of immigrant visas under the INA in certain circumstances.   ITIN holders must check their ITIN because the ITIN could be expired or expiring soon.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432

U.S. Immigration Petition Prices Set to Increase this December

October 27, 2016
By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney

U.S. Immigration Petition Prices Set to Increase this December 2016

Have everybody heard?  It is official.  United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fees are set to increase effective December 23, 2016.  Applications and immigration petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016, must include the new fees or be rejected by USCIS.  Some examples of the fee increase effect on some of the more popular applications and petitions are as follows:

Form Number

Form Title

Fee-Effective 12-23-2016

Current Fee

I-90

Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card

$455

$365

I-102

Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document

455

330

I-129/129CW

Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker

460

325

I-129F

Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)

535

340

I-130

Petition for Alien Relative

535

420

I-131 /I-131A

Application for Travel Document

575

360

I-140

Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

700

580

I-212

Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal

903

585

I-360

Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant

435

405

I-485

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

1,140

985

I-485

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years)

750

635

I-526

Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur

3,675

1,500

I-539

Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

370

290

I-600/600A

Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative /Application for Advance Petition Processing of Orphan Petition

775

720

I-800/800A

Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative /Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country

775

720

I-601

Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability

930

585

I-601A

Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

630

585

I-690

Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility

715

200

I-694

Notice of Appeal of Decision

890

755

I-698

Application to Adjust Status From Temporary to Permanent Resident (Under Section 245A of the INA)

1,670

1,020

I-751

Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence

595

505

I-765

Application for Employment Authorization

410

380

I-824

Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition

465

405

I-829

Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions

3,750

3,750

I-924

Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program

17,795

6,230

I-924A

Annual Certification of Regional Center

3,035

0

I-929

Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant

230

215

N-336

Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings

640

595

N-400

Application for Naturalization

640

595

N-470

Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes

355

330

N-565

Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document

555

345

N-600/N-600K

Application for Certification of Citizenship/Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under INA Section 322

1,170

600/550

USCIS Immigrant Fee

220

165

Biometric Fee

85

85

The table of fees above does not list the names or filling fees for all immigrant petitions and applications.  Filing fee increases take effect on or after December 23, 2016.  New submissions must be submitted to the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) with the payment associated fees attached.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.