Assistance with Immigration

If you are having a problem with an issue relating to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) or State Department, my office may be able to help.

Some examples of problems my office may be able to help resolve are: finding the status of your non-immigrant visa, immigrant visa, adjustment of status or naturalization application, petition or interview. My office may also assist in expediting your application under certain government-met criteria, and answering some questions you may have on the immigration process, international adoption, and non-immigrant (temporary) visas. My office cannot assist with any cases that are pending within the legal system.

In order for my office to make an inquiry with USCIS or the State Department, you must first fill out the privacy release form authorizing myself or my staff to receive information on your behalf. You can access a privacy release form online, or by contacting my district office, if you would like it mailed to you. Once you have filled out the privacy release form, you can mail, fax, or drop it off to my district office in Roseville:

Congressman Sander Levin
27085 Gratiot Avenue., Suite C
Roseville, MI 48066
(586) 498-7123 (Fax)

Immigration Frequently Asked Questions

Non-Immigrant Visas

Immigrant Visas

Permanent Resident Status

Naturalization/Citizenship

Q. Which federal agency handles immigration?

A. Most immigration issues are addressed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security.

However, the State Department grants immigrant and non-immigrant visas to enter the U.S.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Detention and Removal Unit transports individuals, manages them while in custody and removes unauthorized residents from the United States when so ordered.

Q. Where can I get answers to basic questions about immigration petitions, applications, or interviews?

A. USCIS provides answers on its website to questions about what you can file, if you are eligible to file, how you can file and where you can file. Additionally, you can download immigration forms and find information about filing fees. You can visit the USCIS website at www.USCIS.gov for more information.

You can also call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 for additional general immigration information or to inquire about your case. If you are calling NCSC about a specific case, please have your A-number, receipt number and the last notice you received about your case.

You can visit the USCIS Detroit Field Office as well. In order to speak with an Immigration Officer, you must have an InfoPass appointment. You may make an appointment online. PLEASE NOTE: USCIS Detroit Field office is CLOSED the first Wednesday of each month and is open to the public 7:00 – 3:30 Monday – Thursday.

For questions on non-immigrant and immigration visa applications and processes, you may call the State Department at 202-663-1225. If you have a question on an immigrant visa application pending at the National Visa Center or U.S. Consulate abroad, you can call 603-334-0700.

For questions pertaining to the detainment or removal of an individual, you may contact the Detroit Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention and Removal Office at 313-568-6049.

For questions regarding a court case pending at the Immigration Court in Detroit, you can call 313-226-2603.  For cases pending at the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), you can call 703-605-1007

If you find that you have questions that are not found online or from a customer service representative, you may contact my office and a member of my staff will contact USCIS or the State Department for the answer.

Q. How can I find out the status of my petition, application, or interview?

A. If you have an application receipt number, you can check the status of your case online. You can also check the processing dates for specific applications and petitions to find out approximately how long it will be take for a petition or application to be adjudicated. You may also contact any of the phone numbers listed above in the basic questions section.

You can also contact my office and a member of my staff can check on the status and progress of your application, petition, or interview. You must complete a privacy release and supply all relevant documentation, such as receipt notices, in order for our office to make an inquiry with USCIS or the State Department.

Q. How can I expedite my petition, application, or interview?

You may contact my office to request that a letter be sent to USCIS asking for your petition, application, or interview to be expedited. Please note that all expedite requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and are granted at the discretion of the Director.

Before my office can send a letter on your behalf, you must provide documentation and evidence to my office meeting the following criteria established by USCIS:

• Severe financial loss to company or individual
• Extreme emergent situation
• Humanitarian situation
• Nonprofit status of requesting organization in furtherance of the cultural social interests of the United States
• Department of Defense of National Interest Situation (Note: Request must come from official United States Government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to our Government)
• USCIS error
• Compelling interest of USCIS

Q. Where can I find information about obtaining immigration legal services?

A. If you are looking to obtain legal services or an immigration attorney, the Justice Department provides a list of attorneys in your area who provide free or inexpensive legal advice.

NON-IMMIGRANT VISAS

Q. What is a non-immigrant visa?

A. A non-immigrant visa is permission to enter the United States on a temporary basis, i.e. for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work or study. Foreign citizens must apply for a visa at an U.S. Embassy abroad. An officer at the Consulate’s office will decide if you meet the qualifications to be issued a non-immigrant visa.

Q. Does every visitor to the United States require a visa?

A. No. Individuals traveling to the United States from a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program for tourism or business for 90 days or less are permitted entry without obtaining a visa.

Q. What is needed in order for my family member or friend to visit the U.S.?

A. If your family member or friend is applying for a non-immigrant visa to visit the United States, they should determine if they need to apply a U.S. visa or renew their U.S. visa. Next, they should make an appointment with the closest U.S. Embassy in advance of their intended travel. Usually, the waiting time for an interview appointment is usually a few weeks or less, but it can be considerably longer. They can fill out an online visa application, schedule their interview at the Consulate office and check visa wait times at U.S. Embassy website.

My office is able to contact the U.S. Consulate on your family member’s behalf, requesting that they receive every consideration under the law. You should contact my district office for assistance at least 2 weeks prior to the interview date.

Q. Why was my family member’s non-immigrant visa application denied?

A. Any individual who applies for a non-immigrant visa to travel to the U.S. is automatically presumed to be an intending immigrant unless they can prove to have compelling reasons for returning to their country of citizenship. Prior to their non-immigrant visa interview, applicants must be prepared to show the consular officer at the interview that they have evidence demonstrating substantial familial, economic or social ties to their home country.

Examples of such evidence include: bank account statements, property deeds, business records, pay stubs, marriage licenses, birth certificates and other items that show the intent to return to their home country. Failure of the applicant to meet the burden of proof will result in the denial of their non-immigrant visa.

 

Q. Where can I get more information about visitor’s visas?

A. If you would like more information on non-immigrant visa, please visit www.Travel.State.gov

IMMIGRANT VISAS

Q. What is an immigrant visa?

A. An immigrant visa is permission to enter the United States for people who intend on permanently living in the United States.

An individual who intends to immigrate to the United States will need to obtain an immigrant visa from their local U.S. Consulate.

Q. How does my relative or co-worker obtain an immigrant visa?

A. There is a three-step process to obtain an immigrant visa.

  1. First, an immediate relative, spouse, (who is either a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen) or employer must file an immigrant petition with USCIS on behalf of the beneficiary. Once the petition is approved by USCIS, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC), which falls under the U.S. State Department. The NVC plays an important role in the next steps of the U.S. immigration process. NVC provides instructions to petitioners and sponsors, and receives from sponsors, the required Affidavit of Support forms, fees, other required documents, and more.
  2. Second, while at the NVC, a visa number must be immediately available for the applicant, even if he or she is already in the United States. Once a visa number is available, the NVC will contact the beneficiary and schedule the interview with the U.S. Consulate abroad.
  3. Third, the beneficiary is interviewed by an officer at the U.S. Consulate abroad and is either issued a visa or denied. In certain circumstances, a beneficiary’s petition is classified as pending after the interview for further administrative processing and review.

    If the beneficiary is already in the United States, he or she may apply to adjust to permanent resident status after a visa number becomes available. (If you are outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available for you, you must then go to your local U.S. consulate to complete your processing.)

Q. What is an immigrant visa number?

A. United States law limits the number of immigrant visa numbers that are available by country every year. If USCIS approves an immigrant visa petition and forwards the petition to the NVC, the beneficiary must wait until his or her priority date, or date when the petition was filed with USCIS, becomes current. The priority date is also dependent on the legal status of the petitioner (whether the petitioner is a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen). In employment immigration, the priority date may be the date the labor certification application was received by the Department of Labor (DOL).

The Department of State’s visa bulletin is updated every month and provides the current priority for immigrant visas of particular categories.

Q. Where can I get more information about immigrant visas?

A. You can visit the Department of State’s webpage on Visa Information for Immigrants or call 202-663-1225.

LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENT STATUS (GREEN CARD)

Q. What is Lawful Permanent Resident status?

A. Lawfull Permanent Resident status officially grants an individual immigration benefits, which includes permission to reside and take employment in the United States. A Permanent Resident card (green card) is given to the Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) as proof of their status.

Q. When can an immigrant apply for Permanent Resident Status?

A. When an immigrant visa number becomes available and the beneficiary is already in the United States, the individual can apply with USCIS to adjust their current status to permanent resident status by submitting an I-485, Application to Adjust Status. If the beneficiary is out of the country at the time a visa number becomes available, the NVC will schedule an immigrant visa interview at the nearest United States consulate where the beneficiary’s visa petition will be adjudicated.

If the case is approved, an immigrant visa will be issued. The beneficiary may enter to the United States with the immigrant visa. At the port of entry into the United States, the beneficiary will be processed for a Permanent Resident Card and get an I-551 stamp, Temporary Green Card, in his/her passport. The Permanent Resident Card will be mailed to his/her US address within several weeks.

Q. How does a Permanent Resident renew their Permanent Resident card (Green Card)?

A. A Permanent Resident should renew their Permanent Resident (Green Card) Card if he or she is a permanent resident who was issued an I-551 valid for ten years, and the card is expired or will expire within the next six months. If the individual is a Permanent Resident whose ten-year I-551 has expired or will expire within the next six months, he or she may renew their card by filing an I-90.

If the individual is a Conditional Resident and his or her status is expiring, these instructions do not apply to them. They are to file an I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence, to apply to remove the conditions on their permanent resident status.

If the Permanent Resident is outside of the United States at the time of the card’s expiration, and have not applied for the renewal card prior to their departure, they should contact the nearest American Consulate, USCIS office, or Port of Entry, before attempting to file an I-90 for a renewal legal permanent resident card.

Q. What happens if the Permanent Resident Card needs to be replaced?

A. If a Permanent Resident needs to replace his or her card, or a Conditional Resident who needs to replace his or her two-year card, they must apply for a replacement card by filing an I-90.

If you are outside the U.S. and have lost their Permanent Resident Card, contact the nearest American Consulate, USCIS Office or Port of Entry before attempting to file an I-90. If the I-90 application is approved, the individual will be mailed a replacement Legal Permanent Resident Card, I-551, with a ten-year expiration date from the date of issuance.

NATURALIZATION / ACQUISTION OF CITIZENSHIP

Q. When can a Lawful Permanent Resident apply for citizenship (naturalization)?

A. A Permanent Resident can apply for United States citizenship, or naturalization, after five years (or after three years if married to a U.S. citizen, or four years if LPR received through political asylum). A Permanent Resident may submit an Application for Naturalization, an N-400, as much as 90 days before meeting the three-, the four-, or the five-year residency requirements.

Q. How does a Naturalized Citizen replace their Certificate of Citizenship?

A. An N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization / Citizenship document is used to apply for a replacement certificate of citizenship or naturalization. An N-565 is filed in person or by mail with the local USCIS office having jurisdiction over your place of residence. It must be filed with appropriate identification to establish your identity, the filing fee and current photographs meeting USCIS photo specifications. If the Naturalized Citizen is outside the United States, he or she must submit their application to a USCIS office in the United States and be willing to return to the United States to pick up the certificate.

For more information, including resources for the Citizenship exam, please see USCIS’ Guide for Citizenship.

(Updated April 12, 2013)