If you have had troubles dealing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or a U.S. Embassy abroad, my staff may be able to help. Please contact the Rockville office at (301) 424-3501.
According to the Privacy Act of 1974, in order for me to assist you with an immigration matter, written authorization is needed. Please complete the Immigration Privacy Release Form and return it to me at the following address:
51 Monroe Street, Suite 507
Rockville, MD 20850
FAX: (301) 424-5992
If you require assistance with respect to a nonimmigrant visa issue, please send the applicant’s full name, date of birth, passport number and the time, date and location of the scheduled interview to me at the address above.
NOTE: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently unveiled a redesigned USCIS website available in English and Spanish. Among other features, the new USCIS website boasts a service called My Case Status, which allows immigration customers to receive alerts regarding the status of their applications and petitions via text message and e-mail.
Please be sure to visit the new sites at www.uscis.gov and www.uscis.gov/espanol.
How can I get help expediting the processing of my immigration case?
If you believe that your case meets one of the seven available expedite criteria that have been established by USCIS, then my staff may be able to help you request expedited processing.
Where can I access multilingual information about immigration and citizenship issues?
Visit the Federal Citizenship Information Center website where you can access information in twenty-five languages.
How can I adjust legal status in the United States?
There are only 2 ways immigrants may adjust their legal status:
- Family-Based: U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents may apply for an immediate family relative such as a spouse, child under 21 years old, unmarried child over 21 years old, parent, brother, or sister. To start this process, applicants must file an I-130 petition with USCIS. For more information, please visit www.uscis.gov.
- Employment-Based: U.S. employers may file for prospective employees who are foreign-born. For more information The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website contains information related to hiring people who live outside of the U.S. Please refer to the USCIS Fact Sheet on How do I Apply for Immigrant Status Based on Employment? You may also refer to the U.S. Department of Labor website by visiting www.dol.gov.
How do I renew my green card?
If your card has not expired, you need to complete Form I-90 and take the completed form along with two pictures and the applicable filing fee to a local USCIS Application Support Center. You will need a valid photo ID to get into the building.
If your card has expired or was lost or stolen, you need to schedule an appointment called an "Info Pass" through the USCIS Web site. You may visit http://www.infopass.uscis.gov/ to schedule an appointment. You should try to schedule an appointment well in advance of when you need to use your card.
How do I let USCIS know if I have moved?
If you have an application or petition pending with Immigration, you should complete Form AR-11 and attach a copy of your receipt notice from USCIS.
I recently filed for naturalization or a green card with USCIS. How long will that take?
You may obtain information regarding processing times by visiting www.uscis.gov and click on Processing Times.
If your immigration case is outside of normal USCIS processing times and you would like my staff to inquire about the status of your case, please fill out an Immigration Privacy Release Form.
USCIS will only allow me and my staff to check the status of your application/petition if you provide your consent by filling out the privacy form.
I am waiting for an immigrant visa to become available. How will I know when a visa is available to me?
Information of visa availability can be found by visiting www.travel.state.gov and clicking on Visa Bulletin.
I need a form from USCIS, but the local office won't give me one. How do I get a USCIS form?
Forms may be downloaded from the USCIS web site. You can also request that forms be mailed to you fromthe U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, or by calling 1-800-870-FORM (3676).
I've tried calling USCIS to ask a simple question, but can't get through. How do you call USCIS?
You can also try the USCIS toll-free number for general questions:1-800-375-5283.
How do I become a U.S. citizen?
Visit the USCIS website for information about U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services -Naturalization. Also, you can download a "Guide to Naturalization". This 45-page booklet answers most questions you may have regarding citizenship. You must have Adobe Acrobat to access it.
You can now download software from the USCIS website that will allow you to complete your naturalization form on your personal computer, then print a special bar-coded application that greatly improves the accuracy and speed of the data input by USCIS staff.
If you prefer, you can also call 1-800-870-3676 and request form N-400,the Naturalization application, or download it from the U.S. Citizenship and ImmigrationServices website.
I am a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. Who do I contact to find out the status of my case?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website contains immigration-related information and links to resources geared specifically for members of the military and their families.
USCIS is working with the Department of Defense to ensure the military community has accurate and up-to-date information about immigration services and benefits.
Military Help Line
USCIS has established a toll-free military help line, 1-877-CIS-4MIL(1-877-247-4645), exclusively for members of the military and their families. USCIS customer service specialists are available to answer calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (CST), excluding federal holidays. After-hours callers will receive an email address that they can use to contact USCIS for assistance. Callers will receive assistance with immigration-related information, such as:
- Tracking their application for naturalization (Form N-400);
- Notifying USCIS of a new mailing address or duty station;
- Checking the status of an application or petition;
- Bringing a spouse, fiancé(e) or adopted child to the United States;
- Obtaining posthumous citizenship for a deceased member of the Armed Services; and
- Submitting an application for expedited processing.
Service members and their families stationed in the United States or overseas may access the help line using the toll-free number, through their base telephone operator or using the Defense Switched Network(DSN). Operators will ask members of the general public to call their main customer service line: 1-800-375-5283.
How can I adopt a child outside of the United States?
You may adopt a child from a Hague country or a Non-Hague country. The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) is an international agreement to safeguard intercountry adoptions. Concluded on May 29, 1993 in The Hague, the Netherlands, the Convention establishes international standards of practices for intercountry adoptions. The United States signed the Convention in 1994, and the Convention entered into force for the United States in April 2008.
The Hague Adoption Convention applies to all adoptions between the United States and the other counties that have joined it (Convention countries). Adopting a child from a Convention country is similar in many ways to adopting a child from a country not party to the Convention. However, there are some key differences. In particular, those seeking to adopt receive greater protections if they adopt from a Convention country. To begin this process, please visit the Intercountry Adoption, Office of Children’s Issues website at www.adoptions.state.gov You may also visit the Adoptions section on the USCIS website by visiting www.uscis.gov.
If I am a victim of domestic violence, can I adjust permanent residency in the U.S.?
Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed by Congress in 1994,the spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPR) may self-petition to obtain lawful permanent residency. Applicants must file Form I-360, with the appropriate fee and documentation.
The immigration provisions of VAWA allow certain battered immigrants to file for immigration relief without the abuser's assistance or knowledge, in order to seek safety and independence from the abuser. Victims of domestic violence should know that help is available to them through the National Domestic Violence Hotline on 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 [TDD] for information about shelters, mental health care, legal advice and other types of assistance, including information about self-petitioning for immigration status. For more information, please visit www.uscis.gov.
If I am a victim of human trafficking, can I adjust permanent residency in the U.S.?
Congress passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (VTVPA) in order to provide individuals who have been victimized in the most severe fashion with the ability to remain in the U.S.(temporarily and in some cases longer) and receive federal and state assistance; protections for certain crime victims including victims of crimes against women; and law enforcement agencies with a comprehensive law that will enable them to pursue the prosecution and conviction of traffickers.
Under this provision, applicants may qualify for a T visa (Victims of Trafficking) or the U visa (Victims of Criminal Activity). For U visa applicants, immediate family members may also qualify as a derivative. For more information, please visit www.uscis.gov.
What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of designated countries (or parts thereof). In 1990, as part of the Immigration Act of 1990 (“IMMACT”), P.L. 101-649, Congress established a procedure by which the Attorney General may provide TPS to aliens in the United States who are temporarily unable to safely return to their home country because of ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
During the period for which a country has been designated for TPS, TPS beneficiaries may remain in the United States and may obtain work authorization. However, TPS does not lead to permanent resident status. When the Secretary terminates a TPS designation, beneficiaries revert to the same immigration status they maintained before TPS (unless that status had since expired or been terminated) or to any other status they may have acquired while registered for TPS. Accordingly, if an individual had unlawful status prior to receiving TPS and did not obtain any status during the TPS designation, the individual reverts to unlawful status upon the termination of that TPS designation.
Participating Countries: El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Haiti and South Sudan. For more information, please visit www.uscis.gov.
I am afraid to return to my home country, can I claim asylum? How does asylum differ from refugee status?
Asylum is a form of protection granted to individuals in the United States who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Individuals who meet this definition of a refugee and who are already in the United States or who are seeking entry into the United States at a port of entry may qualify for a grant of asylum and be permitted to remain in the United States as long as they are not barred from either applying for or being granted asylum. Individuals who are granted asylum are eligible to apply to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident.
Unlike the U.S. Refugee Program, which provides protection to refugees by bringing them to the United States for resettlement, the U.S. Asylum Program provides protection to qualified applicants who are already in the United States or are seeking entry into the United States at a port of entry. Asylum-seekers may apply for asylum in the United States regardless of their countries of origin and regardless of their current immigration status. There are no quotas on the number of individuals who may be granted asylum each year. For more information, please visit www.uscis.gov.
Refugees are displaced by war, famine, and civil and political unrest. Others are forced to flee their countries in order to escape the risk of death and torture at the hands of persecutors. The U.S. works with other governmental, international, and private organizations to provide food, health care, and shelter to millions of refugees throughout the world. In addition, the United States considers persons for resettlement to the U.S. as refugees. Those admitted must be of special humanitarian concern and demonstrate that they were persecuted, or have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
Each year, the State Department prepares a Report to Congress on proposed refugee admissions. The U.S. President then consults with Congress and establishes the proposed ceilings for refugee admissions for the fiscal year. For the 2005 fiscal year (i.e. October 1, 2004 - September 30,2005), the total ceiling is set at 70,000 admissions and is allocated to six geographic regions: Africa (20,000 admissions), East Asia (13,000admissions), Europe and Central Asia (9,500 admissions), Latin America/Caribbean (5,000 admissions), Near East/South Asia (2,500admissions) and 20,000 reserve. For more information, please visit www.state.gov and www.uscis.gov.
For the 2011 fiscal year, the total ceiling is set at 80,000 admissions and is allocated to six geographic regions: Africa (15,000 admissions), East Asia (19,000 admissions), Europe and Central Asia (2,000 admissions), Latin America/Caribbean (5,500 admissions), Near East/South Asia (35,000 admissions) and 3,000 reserve. 2011 Fiscal Year Refugee Ceilings
If my loved one is detained my immigration, what do I do?
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement require Congressional offices to obtain a signed privacy release form from the person who is detained, to obtain detailed information on his/her whereabouts.
If a privacy release form is not signed by the detainee, our office requires the full name, date of birth, and an alien registration number to locate your loved one. For more information, please visit www.ice.gov.