01 Oct 2019 Safeguarding your petition, part 3
In a previous article I discussed some tips, strategy, and suggestions to safeguard your family-based petition. Here are more suggestions and observations:
- Notify NVC if your priority date is current but no notice was received from NVC. Usually, a few months before a person’s priority date is current, the NVC will send fee bills, forms, etc., in preparation for immigrant visa processing (if the person will be processed for their immigrant visa at the U.S. Embassy). If your priority date is already current, but you have received no notices or forms from NVC, you may want to take immediate action to find out the status of your case. Were the notices sent to your correct address? Was the case ever approved and sent to the NVC? Don’t just sit on the case and do nothing for years after the priority date becomes current. You should perhaps have an attorney assist in making inquiries, especially if the priority date is current.
- Watch out for Section 203(g) terminations. When a person’s priority date is current, the NVC sends out forms and notices to the applicant. The notices typically give the person one year to respond. If they fail to respond, they run the risk of the NVC terminating their case and shredding the file, resulting in the priority date being lost. As just mentioned, if the priority date is current and you have received no notices from NVC, it could be possible those notices were sent to a different address, and the one-year deadline would still apply. Also, either the U.S. Embassy or NVC may ask for additional documentation, and you are also given one year to respond. If you do not, the case is canceled. (A visa is like a reservation on an airline. You might have booked your flight and reserved your seat, but if they are boarding and you don’t check in, your reservation is canceled and your seat is forfeited. In the same way, if a visa is available and the NVC is calling you to “check in,” but you do not do so within one year, the case is canceled.
- Locate your records now, even if the priority date is not yet current, and save them. Although the priority date on your petition may be years away, it would still be a good idea to locate all the relevant documents, such as the petition, the approval notice, etc. and put them in a safe place. You can even scan them to PDF, so you can have a record of the documents in the cloud. I’ve encountered many situations where a person will come to my office, stating that they had moved many times, records were destroyed by floods, termites, lahar, etc., and they lost track of their documents. While it is possible in some cases to retrieve the documents from the government, it is better if you just keep track of and save your own documents.
These are only a few tips and suggestions while you are waiting for your priority date to become current. If you have issues with any of these items, you may want to seek the advice of an attorney now, rather than risk “losing” your petition.
Also, when the priority date finally becomes current you may also want to seek the assistance of an attorney in connection with either eligibility for adjustment of status or consular processing, especially in this era of Trump, where the government is getting very strict, looking at public charge issues, and whether perhaps an elderly parent may become dependent on the U.S. government, thereby justifying a visa refusal, etc.
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