IRCC Confirms Rules at the Border Surrounding DUIs

On December 18, 2018, Canada introduced much tougher penalties for individuals with convictions of DWI, DUI or DWAI. The new bill, titled the Impaired Driving Act, has made impaired driving a serious criminal offense in Canada, whereas it was previously only considered a criminal offense. To learn more about this, click here.  However, since the change, there have been rumors of officers treating these charges differently at the border. Now, almost two months after the change to the criminal law regarding DUIs in Canada, IRCC has finally confirmed that officers have been instructed of the following: a) impaired driving offenses (including foreign) committed on or after December 18, 2018 would be considered serious criminality; and b) offenses committed prior to this date would continue to be treated as criminality (providing they were not convicted in Canada and sentenced to more than six months). Please note that as always, if an individual has more than one DUI or DWAI offense, this will be treated as serious criminality.  This is in line with relevant case law in Canada and provides much needed clarity to our clients.  Berardi Immigration Law is now offering DWI and DUI permits into Canada! If you have a DUI or […]
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In an Effort to Promote Efficiency, USCIS Makes More Forms Available for Online Filing

In its continuing efforts to promote more efficiency in its processes, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that applicants now have the ability to file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship and Form N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 online.  L. Francis Cissna, director of USCIS, noted that traditional paper filing of petitions often creates a burden on those seeking an immigration benefit and those who are adjudicating petitions. He also noted that “this addition to our online capabilities is yet another positive advancement toward a more efficient and convenient filing experience for everyone involved.” In addition to Forms N-600 and N-600K, USCIS allows for electronic filing of Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card; Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a decision in Naturalization Proceedings; Form N-400, Application for Naturalization; and Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document.  Applicants can file Form N-600 for themselves or their minor children if they were born abroad and are claiming U.S. citizenship at birth through their parents or automatically became a U.S. citizen after birth, but before they turned 18 years old. Applicants are eligible to file Form N-600K if they regularly […]
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Government Shutdown’s Continued Impact on Immigration

The government shutdown that began in December 2018 has become the longest U.S. government shutdown in history and is having some major impacts on immigration processing. Customs and Border Protection officers are considered essential staff due to the important role they play in national security at the U.S. border and ports of entry. This ultimately means that processing at ports of entry is occurring as usual. TNs and L-1 visas continue to be processed at ports of entry despite the shutdown, as officers are still adjudicating them. It is important to remember that while CBP officers are still working, they are not being compensated for their work at the present. Fortunately, they will be reimbursed once the shutdown ends, but it is still important to keep in mind when crossing the border and interacting with officers.  Unfortunately, other immigration-related areas are being impacted; specifically, the Admissibility Review Office. The Admissibility Review Office (ARO) is a subset of CBP that processes waiver applications. This office is not considered essential for government shutdown purposes and is not active until a federal budget is passed. This means that, at present, no Applications for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant for Canadians at the […]
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New USCIS Tool Makes Calculating Fees Easier

Completing forms for U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (USCIS) is difficult enough, but navigating USCIS’s various webpages to make sure you submit the appropriate fees adds another step to this already complicated process. To help streamline the application process and make sure the appropriate fees are submitted, USCIS recently created an online tool that correctly calculates fees in an attempt to avoid incorrect payments and delays in processing. Now, you can find filing fee information in one, centralized location.  The new fee calculator tool requires users to submit answers to various questions, which are then used to calculate the proper amount the applicant is required to pay. This includes entering your form, age, and application type, to name a few questions. Fees sometimes fluctuate, making it difficult to keep up with the most current fee amount. This tool contains accurate and up-to-date information. This is critical, since incorrect fee payment can be grounds for rejection by USCIS. This could force applicants to spend more time and money resubmitting an application.  USCIS designed this tool to be convenient and secure for users. The Online Fee Calculator can be used on all browsers on both desktop and mobile devices. Additionally, the tool […]
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Featured Client of the Month: Reza Kamran

Berardi Immigration recently helped Reza Kamran obtain a Green Card in order to work for a company in the United States. Reza was thrilled to receive a job offer from a company in California but was unfamiliar with immigration firms and the process. Originally, Reza worked with the company’s internal corporate immigration lawyer. Unfortunately, this application was denied at the border, leaving Reza without work authorization. Fortunately, Berardi Immigration Law was able to step in and assist Reza with both damage control for his denial and suggest another preferable course of action. Based on Reza’s qualifications and individual circumstances, an employment-based Green Card was determined to be the best fit. This application submitted by Berardi was successful, and Reza and his family are currently in the United States. Reza is excited to continue living and working in the U.S.  Reza was impressed by his interactions with everyone at Berardi Immigration Law. The professionalism and knowledge of the entire team especially stood out. Reza was glad that “Berardi was fully prepared to not only speak on my behalf but ensured that the documentation case was air tight.” Furthermore, the team at Berardi “was always there to support and recommend the best […]
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Certain AOS Applications Can Be Filed Early in the Month of October 2018

USCIS has announced that for the month of October 2018, applicants for adjustment of status in both the family-based and employment-based categories may file their I-485 applications according to the Filing Date Charts. This means that you may file your I-485 application before your priority date is current, a huge benefit for many as this enables applicants and their dependents to obtain Employment Authorization and Advance Parole travel permits.  Here is an example of why this is an important opportunity: Your green card category is EB-1 for Persons of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors and Researchers, or Executives/Managers of International Companies. Your priority date is January 1, 2018. In October 2018, the priority date for EB-1 Worldwide will be April 1, 2017, which means you are months away from having a current priority date. However, the Filing Date Chart for Worldwide EB-1’s in October 2018 is June 1, 2018. Because USCIS has allowed applicants to use the Filing Date Chart in October, you and your dependents will be able to apply for adjustment of status this month. In this instance, there is no need for your priority date to become current in order to file.  If you have questions on how […]
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Thousands of Americans May Face Passport Denial for Unpaid Tax Debts

Americans born in the U.S. and naturalized Americans alike should take note that citizens who have significant overdue tax debt can be denied passports under a law passed by Congress in 2015. Under this law, the IRS and State Department are required to deny passports to Americans who owe more than $51,000 in overdue tax debt. As many as 362,000 Americans fall into this category, according to an IRS spokesperson. In February, the IRS began sending tens of thousands of relevant names to the State Department; the agency that reviews passport applications.  According to the State Department, violators who have not paid their debts prior to applying for a passport will have their application delayed or denied. The State Department has already denied passports under this enforcement. However, officials have stated that only applications for new or renewed passports are being denied. Although the State Department has the ability to, the passports of Americans with outstanding debt are not being revoked, as of yet. This enforcement could cause significant problems for Americans living abroad. According to a report issued by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), IRS systems often do not accommodate international addresses, which results in some […]
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