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The Latest Refugee Settlement News

The United States Resettlement Program (USRP) is a joint effort involving the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and State Department.  Its purpose is to manage refugees seeking a life in the United States.  Candidates for participation in this program are sponsored by U.S. embassies.  The President is responsible for determining the annual number of refugees to be placed in the United States.

The Declining Number of Refugees Allowed to Relocate

From 2016 to 2018 the number of refugees allowed to participate in this program were:

  • 2016 – 85,000
  • 2017 – 54,000
  • 2018 – 45,000

45,000 is the lowest number of refugees allowed to participate in this program since its inception.

The Process of Resettlement

The process of resettlement typically takes 2.5 years and typically follows this path:

Security

  • Pre-screening by the Resettlement Support Center.
  • On-site interview by the Refugee Corps.
  • Security clearance and fingerprinting.

Placement (30-90 days in the U.S.)

  • Placement allocations utilizing each of the 9 national voluntary agencies.
  • Cultural orientation and departure processing.
  • Initial reception and placement.

Transition

  • Cash and medical assistance.
  • Employment services and medical screening.
  • Beginning specialized programs to cope with transition.

Do You Need A Lawyer to Navigate This Process?

If you or your family are considering resettlement utilizing this program, it is possible to do it without the services of a lawyer.  All of the paper work and process are outlined here on the Office of Refugee Settlement website.  However, resettlement is becoming increasingly competitive and complex.  The number of refugees allowed to resettle has dropped over 50% and the number of global refugees has risen over 50%.

While the resources are available to work through immigration without a lawyer, you should understand that this could lead to costly errors and confusion.  Resettlement is complicated, competitive, and important.  If you or your family is trying to navigate legal immigration to the United States, consider contacting Elias Dsouza at Dsouza and Strachan Lawgroup Group for a free consultation.  For over 15 years, Elias has been guiding families through the complex process of legal immigration.

Green Cards Explained

If someone is looking to attain permanent residency in the U.S., a green card (officially known as a “Permanent Resident Card”) is the way to go.  There are many ways to be eligible for a green card in the United States.  Read on to learn what you need to know about green cards.

So, What is a Green Card?

A green card is a means to permanent residency for those wishing to migrate to the United States.  If you have a green card, you can:

  • Gain employment in just about any field you wish (assuming you are qualified).
  • Reside in the U.S. as long as you wish.
  • Enjoy the protection of the U.S. legal system provided you follow the law.

These rights are not afforded to people with visas (see U.S. Visas Explained for more information).  Of course, being a permanent resident of the U.S. means you must:

  • File income tax returns at the state and federal levels.
  • Support the current form of democracy and not try to change it illegally.
  • File for selective service if you are between the ages of 18 and 25.

What Expenses Are Involved in Applying for a Green Card?

Of course, the rights that come along with permanent residency in the United States do not come without a price tag.  The “Application to Register Permanent Residence” or Form I-485 must be submitted with a filing fee of $985.  More potential forms and fees include:

  • Form I-485 Supplement A or the “Adjustment of Status Form” may be filed by individuals temporarily in the U.S. if they want to gain permanent residency. Filing fee, $1000.
  • Form I-130, “Petition for Alien Relative”. If you are a permanent U.S. citizen or resident and you have a relative interested in permanent residency, file this form with a money order for $535.
  • Form I-90, “Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card”. If you lose your green card, you can get a replacement, but it is going to cost you $455.

Forms I-485 and I-90 may also require an $85 fee if any biometric information is required.  Biometrics can include:

  • Facial recognition scanning.
  • DNA testing.
  • Retinal scanning.
  • Handwriting analysis.
  • Voice prints.

If you or a family member is interested in attaining permanent residency, you may need help navigating the process.  Elias Dsouza of Dsouza and Strachan Lawgroup Group has the knowledge and experience to guide you and your family to permanent U.S. residency.

US Visas Explained

Becoming a permanent resident of the United States can be very difficult especially these days.  The wait can be short or long depending on your goals.  Some people may choose a visa over a green card if it suits them, but there are costs associated with each option.  Keep reading for more on visas and check back next week for a quick guide to green cards.

The Difference Between a Green Card and a Visa in the United States

The main difference between a green card and a visa is that a visa grants its holder the temporary right to stay in the United States.  Also, a visa expires on a specific date.  Conversely, a green card does not expire.  Other differences include:

  • Unless a person has a certain type of visa called a “work visa”, that person cannot legally work in the United States while a green card does allow it.
  • In general, a visa is more quickly attainable than a green card.
  • In general, a visa is less expensive than a green card.

Non-Immigrant Visas

Non-immigrant visas do not typically lead to citizenship in the United States. A few types of this visa are:

  • Student visasAn “F” type student visa is for people wishing to attend school (including seminary) in the United States and then leave when the visa expires. An “M” type student visa is for those that wish to attend vocational school.
  • Business and tourist visas – This type of visa is for someone who wants to temporarily be in the United States for…you guessed it, business and tourism.
  • Work visas – A person can apply for a work visa if they wish to work in the United States for a predetermined amount of time and then leave.

Immigrant Visas

Immigrant visas are intended to lead to permanent residency.  A few types of immigrant visas include:

The requirements and details of each type of visa can be overwhelming.  The process of attaining any type of visa is enormously complex.  If you are trying to determine which type of visa is appropriate for you and your family, the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer in Plantation, Florida such as Elias Dsouza of Dsouza and Strachan Lawgroup Group is excited to offer you a free consultation today.