Reduction in Visa Processing Fees for DV Lottery Winners

An announcement from the US Department of State on April 13th 2012, states that the visa processing fees for immigrant and non-immigrant visas will be changed. The visa processing fee for most non-immigrant visas will be increased while the visa processing fees for immigrant visas will be decreased. The processing fees for the E-Treaty Investor and Trader visas and K-Fiancé(e) visas will be decreased.

This reduction in the processing fees for immigrant visas will benefit the immigrants who wish to apply for permanent resident status in the United States. Moreover, this news delights the Green Card Lottery winners. It is because the Green Card Lottery winners will benefit from the new reduction in the visa processing fees. They will pay US$330 per person instead of US$440, which is the old visa processing fees for the DV lottery winners.

The visa processing fees must be recovered by the Department of State by collecting processing fees for visas. For certain reasons, the fees that was collected was not enough to cover the cost of processing the non-immigrant visas. The increase in non-immigrant visa fee is likely to support the expansion of facilities overseas, along with additional staffing which is needed to meet the increased demand for visas.

All the immigrant visa processing fees have been decreased. One of the reasons for a reduction in the processing fees for immigrant visas is because the costs connected with these visas have been redistributed. Hence the immigrant visa applicants profit in all visa categories, due to the fee reduction.

The reduction in fees for the Green Card lottery winners applies to the winners who still have their interview appointment, in the near future. As the processing fees has changed from 13th April, if you had paid a visa fee before the 13th of April and the fees for your particular category has decreased, you will not be given a refund.

If you had already paid the visa processing fees and if the fees has increased, you need not pay the difference between your old and new visa fees, if your visa interview is on or before the 12th of July 2012. After the 12th of July you must pay the new fees according to your visa application. This change in fees is a worldwide change and is not country based. This reduction in fees is one of the good news for the Green Card lottery applicants and winners.


Immigration Rights Denied – Suit Filed by Lesbian Couples

Five lesbian couples are bringing judicial action against the federal government, demanding immigration rights similar to that of the others. Married gay couples continuously face a lot of difficulties. Several cases have been filed on behalf of such gay couples who have been denied constitutional rights. They are prevented from sponsoring Green Cards for their spouses. These complaints challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Each of the five couples is trying to obtain US citizenship for their foreign-born spouse. According to DOMA, a law of 1996, same-sex wedlocks are not recognized by the Federal Government. This law denies federal welfare to gay couples. Several gay couples have been denied Green Cards as the Federal Government does not accept gay and lesbian couples for immigration purposes.

An executive director of the Immigration Equality had said that these families meet all the eligibility requirements to obtain immigration benefits and the only exception is that they happen to be lesbians. Though they were married in states that sanction gay marriages, DOMA is said to violate their constitutional right to equal protection. If these couples were heterosexual, the government would accept the spouse as an immediate relative to the US citizen and there by paving way for US Citizenship.

Complainants Heather Morgan and Maria del Mar Verdugo, live in New York City. They were married last year and the say that their plans for the future are in oblivion because the application for Green Card for Verdugo, who is from Madrid, is unlikely to be approved. Both, Morgan, 36, and Verdugo, 43, say that they love each other without measure and want to live together as a family just like the others. Morgan is the Marketing Director for a global non-profit organization in New York but still she is considered ineligible to sponsor a Green Card for her spouse. Other plaintiffs include people from Japan, South Africa and England.

DOMA is soon expected to recognize same-sex marriages and the opponents of same-sex marriages are worried about the other states as they may be forced to acknowledge such marriages. Many states have their own bans on gay marriages whereas 8 states (Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Connecticut, Washington, New Hampshire, Maryland and District of Columbia) have legalized such marriages, since the national jurisprudence was passed in 1996. However, the laws of Maryland and Washington state are still not in effect.

Gay and lesbian couples are even denied federal benefits including the eligibility to file tax returns jointly. Such reasons have led them to file a suit against DOMA, as this law has unconstitutional discrimination against same-sex couples.


Eligibility for Green Cards or Permanent Resident Cards

Green Card Eligibility

Green Card Eligibility

Any foreign national is eligible for a Green Card in the United States if they satisfy the eligibility norms constituted by the Congress. The most important thing is that, a person must prove his eligibility and must complete all the formalities in order to establish that he is eligible to enter the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

You may be eligible to get a Green Card if you are sponsored by your US citizen family member, if sponsored by an employer in the United States, by investing in any commercial enterprise in the United States or through refugee or asylum status.

People who do not have US citizen family member to sponsor them or people who have very few chances to apply for a Green Card in the regular way can always apply for a Green Card through the Green Card Lottery.

An individual is required to satisfy certain eligibility norms to get a Green Card and to enter the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

If you wish to get a Green Card or become a lawful permanent resident in the US, the primary conditions are that

  • you must be admissible into the US;
  • you must be eligible for any one of the immigrant categories as per the Immigration and Nationality Act;
  • you must possess an approved immigrant petition; and
  • you must have an available immigrant visa.

You can enter the United States based on your relationship with your US citizen family member, based on your employment offer or through some other immigrant category. The USCIS has allotted a fixed number of visas for each immigrant category, every year.

Green Card Eligibility through US Citizen Family Member

The immediate relatives of the US citizen are not required to wait for a visa number to be available and there is no restriction in the number of visas in this category. Such immediate relatives are the parents of the US citizen, US citizen’s spouse and children below 21 years of age who are unmarried. Other qualified family members must wait for an available visa number in their category, in order to apply for legal permanent resident status in the US.

Get a Green Card through Job offer in the US

If you are offered an employment in the United States, you can apply for lawful permanent resident status here. There are five preference categories through which you may qualify for permanent resident status, through employment in the United States. To get a Green Card through an employment offer, you must be sponsored by the employer who is hiring you.

Refugee and Asylee Status in the US

People who are admitted into the United States as refugees or asylees can apply for lawful permanent resident status, one year after their entry into the country as a refugee or an asylee.

Green Card or Diversity Visa Lottery Program

Green Card lottery program is considered to be a good opportunity for eligible immigrants to obtain a Green Card or to become lawful permanent residents in the United States. The US Department of State conducts the Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery program every year. This program offers 55,000 immigrant visas to people across the globe. But there are also certain countries that are not eligible to enter this program. Those are the countries that had sent more that 50,000 immigrants to the US over the past 5 years.

The official DV lottery, mainly aims to diversify the US population, thus creating an opportunity for eligible immigrants to live, study and work permanently in the United States.

If you are applying for an immigrant visa, you must prove that you are admissible to the US. Certain grounds of inadmissibility are constituted by the USCIS such as, issues related to health, criminal background and few other grounds. Certain people are considered ineligible to enter the United States as lawful permanent residents due to such reasons. People who are considered to be ineligible can apply for a waiver and to excuse inadmissibility using certain USCIS forms.