Thinking of having your baby in the U.S. – think twice!

The Trump administration implemented new rules in January 2020 that could make it more difficult for pregnant foreign nationals to travel to the United States using tourist visas to give birth to their child in the U.S.  The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.”  So, parents do not need to be U.S. citizens – once a child is born in the U.S. then that child is a U.S. citizen, regardless of parent’s citizenship.

The new rules attempt to crack down on “birth tourism,” or the practice of giving birth in the United States to obtain U.S. citizenship for a child. It’s not clear how consular officials at the U.S. Embassy will determine whether individuals seeking to travel to the U.S. are pregnant. The rule calls for officials to reject the visa applications of individuals whose “primary purpose” is obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child by giving birth.

The new rules also tighten the restrictions on traveling to the U.S. to seek medical treatment.

The department said it will deny visas to those seeking medical treatment if they are unable to establish “to the satisfaction of a consular officer” that there exists a legitimate medical reason for treatment and that a practitioner or facility in the U.S. has agreed to provide it.

The rule amends 22 CFR 41.31 to include three paragraphs.

The first paragraph, amends the Department of State’s regulations on B nonimmigrant visas to clarify that tourism for the purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child by giving birth in the United States, or “birth tourism,” is not a permissible activity for a temporary visitor visa, or B visa.

The second paragraph codifies current standards for obtaining a B nonimmigrant visa for the primary purpose of obtaining medical treatment, requiring such individuals to provide documentation showing that a physician and/or hospital has agreed to provide the treatment and that the applicant has the means to provide payment for all expenses, including incidentals, either independently or with prearranged assistance of others.

Lastly, those individuals with B-1/B-2 visas who have used their visa to give birth to a child in the U.S. are at risk to have their visas revoked and canceled.

For more information on rules regarding having a baby in the U.S.,

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Trump Expands Travel Ban to Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania

Trump expands travel ban 3.0 upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court to Africa’s biggest country, Nigeria, as well as Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Tanzania. The proclamation, which President Trump was expected to sign on January 31, 2020, will take effect on February 22. The ban would prevent immigrant and non-immigrant visas from being issued however, a waiver is available but very difficult.

All of the newly added six countries have substantial Muslim populations. The total number of countries now on the restricted travel list stands at 13 – Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Somalia AND Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Tanzania.

The effect on Nigeria, not only Africa’s most populous country but also its largest economy, could be particularly severe. The United States issued more than 7,920 immigrant visas to Nigerians in the 2018 fiscal year, the second-most of any African country.

“We’re adding a couple of countries” to the ban, Trump told reporters at a news conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We have to be safe. Our country has to be safe. You see what’s going on in the world. Our country has to be safe,” he said.

For more information on Trump expands travel ban,

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Green Card Denials at U.S. Embassy based on Public Charge

New rules are being applied at the U.S. Embassy to determine if an immigrant visa applicant will be a “public charge.”  One of the changes decrease the weight given to the affidavit of support in deciding whether a person is likely to become a public charge. Previously, a qualifying affidavit of support (Form I-864) was generally sufficient to establish that an immigrant visa applicant was not likely to become a public charge.

An affidavit of support still must be submitted, where required, but the weight it carries has diminished. Now, a “properly filed and sufficient Form I-864 may not necessarily overcome a denial on public charge at Embassy interview.  Instead, it is merely one, “positive factor” as part of the totality of the circumstances test.

The “totality of the circumstances” involves consideration of other factors such as the applicant’s age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, and skills.  This test is not new, but the fact that an affidavit of support that meets the financial requirements has been reduced in weight to simply one factor of many is new. A sufficient affidavit of support generally was considered adequate evidence that the person had overcome any public charge concerns. It is now considered only a factor in the assessment of whether an immigrant will be a public charge or dependent on U.S. government benefits such as medicaid or food stamps.

Thereby, expect to see the language below in denial notices for green cards issued by the U.S. Embassy:

Examples of documents to bring to the Embassy interview to overcome public charge at embassy interview:

  • For older applicants: health records showing they are in good health despite advanced age
  • Proof of private medical insurance, or other proof of how the applicant pays for healthcare
  • Proof of on-going relationship with petitioner and joint sponsor (i.e. recent emails, pictures, screenshot of social media post where chatting and interacting)
  • If joint sponsor is not related, declaration of joint sponsor briefly explaining their commitment to support the applicant
  • Proof of applicant’s job offer or job with decent salary and savings in bank account
  • Copies of applicant’s degrees, certificates, licenses, etc. to show education, skills, and overall “employability”

All immigrant visa (green card) applicants appearing for their interview at the U.S. Embassy need to be aware that more documentary evidence (besides a Form I-864 affidavit of support) will be required to prevent a denial based on public charge at embassy interview.

For more information on public charge at embassy interview,

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Copyright © 2020, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Green Card through New Spouse if Form I-751 Denied

Effective November 21, 2019, a new policy guidance applies the case law Matter of Stockwell and clarifying when USCIS may adjust the status of an alien whose Conditional Permanent Resident (CPR) status has been terminated due to Form I-751 denied . An immigration judge does not need to affirm the termination of CPR status before the alien can file a new adjustment of status application.

An applicant/immigrant obtains conditional permanent resident status either based on marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (if the marriage is less than two years at the time the alien adjusts status or is admitted for lawful permanent resident status) or based on an immigrant investor (EB-5) visa.

In the past, when Form I-751 was denied, the applicant/immigrant had to wait for a master hearing date in immigration court for the immigration judge to review the Form I-751 denied and to terminate conditional resident status before the applicant/immigrant could marry another spouse and file for adjustment of status.

However, under the new policy, the applicant/immigrant does not have to go to immigration court to have status terminated.  USCIS may adjust an alien’s status if their Conditional Permanent Resident status has been terminated by a Form I-751 denied and:

The alien has a new basis for adjustment of status;
The alien is otherwise eligible to adjust status; and
USCIS has jurisdiction over the adjustment of status application.
Time spent in the prior CPR status does not count toward the residency requirements for naturalization.

This guidance applies to adjustment of status applications filed with USCIS on or after Nov. 21, 2019

For more information on Form I-751 Denied,

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Proposal Changing Work Permit for Asylum

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a proposed rule to deter aliens from illegally entering the United States and from filing frivolous, fraudulent or otherwise non-meritorious asylum applications to obtain work permit for asylum.

The proposed rule will better allow USCIS to extend protections to those with bona fide asylum claims. USCIS also seeks to prevent certain criminal aliens from obtaining work authorization before the merits of their asylum application are adjudicated.

As directed by the presidential memorandum, USCIS proposes to:

  • Prevent aliens who entered the United States illegally from obtaining work permit for pending asylum application, with limited exceptions; and
  • Automatically terminate employment authorization when an applicant’s asylum denial is administratively final.

Additionally, USCIS proposes to:

  • Clarify that an asylum applicant’s failure to appear for a required appointment may lead to dismissal of their asylum application and/or denial of their application for employment authorization;
  • Prevent aliens who fail to file their asylum application within one year of their latest entry as required by law from obtaining work authorization; and
  • Render any alien who has been convicted in the United States of any federal or state felony, or convicted of certain public safety offenses involving child abuse, domestic violence, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, ineligible for employment authorization.

Unresolved arrests or pending charges may result in the denial of the application for employment authorization as a matter of discretion.

For more information on Work Permit for Asylum,

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Copyright © 2019, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

DACA Hearings in U.S. Supreme Court











Today, November 12, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court will hold DACA hearings on Trump administration’s decision to terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. What’s at stake today? For over 700,000 immigrants, #DACA provides work authorization and protection from deportation in the only home they’ve ever known. The Supreme Court will now decide their future.

While the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on whether to keep DACA alive, request for renewals are being accepted by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).

Who Can Renew

You may request a renewal if you met the initial 2012 DACA guidelines and you:

  • Did not depart the United States on or after Aug. 15, 2012, without advance parole;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent DACA request that was approved; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

How to Renew

  • Complete and sign:
  • Follow the instructions on all three forms to submit them to USCIS. Make sure you submit the correct fees.

For more information on DACA,

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Copyright © 2019, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Trump immigrant health insurance rule blocked by U.S. Federal Courts

A US judge has temporarily blocked a rule proposed by President Donald Trump that would require immigrants to prove they will have health insurance within 30 days of arrival in the US, or can pay for medical care.

Judge Michael Simon, a district judge in Oregon, granted a preliminary injunction against the proposal.

Seven American citizens and an NGO had filed a lawsuit opposing the rule.

They argued it would block hundreds of thousands of legal migrants.

The lawsuit said the number of immigrants who enter the US with family-sponsored visas would drop considerably, or be eliminated altogether.

Would-be immigrants had been struggling to establish how to get the required insurance coverage. The US healthcare system is complex, and has not generally catered to people yet to arrive there.

For more information on Trump immigrant health insurance rule,

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Trump Public Charge Rule blocked by 3 Federal Courts

Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York issued the temporary injunction on October 11, 2019 and called the proposed Trump public charge rule, “unlawful, arbitrary and capricious.” Similar rulings were issued later in the day by judges in California and Washington state.

Under the proposed Trump public charge rule, an immigrant might not be permitted entry to the U.S. or granted a green card if the individual “is likely at any time to become a public charge,” meaning they might rely on the government as their primary means of support.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, “age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education and skills” will be considered when determining whether someone is likely to be considered a public charge.

The public charge test isn’t new – it has been codified in immigration law for more than 100 years. In the past, the public charge test applied only to immigrants who used cash assistance from the government, or those who needed long-term institutional care.

But the new definition of what is considered a “public charge” would have expanded to include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Section 8 housing, public housing, Medicaid and Medicare Part D for the first time.

Trump public charge rule will be on hold until the courts decide whether it can go into effect or not.

In a statement, American Immigration Lawyers Association executive director Benjamin Johnson welcomed the court decisions, before the rule “started hitting families, businesses, and communities across the nation,” Johnson wrote. “To quote Judge Hamilton, ‘DHS’s new definition of ‘public charge’ is likely to be outside the bounds of a reasonable interpretation of the statute.'”

For more information on Trump Public Charge Rule,

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Visa Requirements for Bahamas Citizens Coming to U.S.

The U.S. Embassy in Nassau is open for emergency visa appointments and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Ports of Entry are prepared, should Bahamians request to temporarily relocate to the United States. The U.S. Embassy in Nassau is located at 42 Queen St, Nassau, The Bahamas and the phone number is 242-322-1181.

All travelers applying for admission to the United States via air or sea must meet the following document requirements for admission to ensure a lawful and orderly arrival to the United States..

1. Bahamians must be in possession of a valid, unexpired passport or a Bahamian Travel Document listing nationality as Bahamian. All other travelers arriving from the Bahamas (U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, and individuals of other nationalities) must possess a valid, unexpired government–issued passport.

2. Bahamians arriving to the United States by vessel must be in possession of a valid passport AND valid travel visa.

3. Detailed information on all visa application requirements and processes, as well as a step-by-step guide to visa applications for Bahamians, can be found at

4. Bahamian citizens may apply for admission to the United States without a visa at one of the CBP Preclearance facilities located in Nassau or Freeport International Airports, IF they meet the following requirements:
a) Be traveling on a flight that CBP completes immigration and customs inspections in Nassau or Freeport. (*Note – Bahamians traveling on to another country and expecting to transit the United States on their return will need a visa);
b) Be in possession of a valid, unexpired passport or a Bahamian Travel Document listing nationality as Bahamian;
c) Have no criminal record nor any legal ineligibility or inadmissibility as defined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (click here);
d) Be traveling for business or pleasure (tourism, visiting relatives, shopping, etc.) purposes for a short duration;
e) All persons 14 years of age and older must be in possession of a police certificate issued within the past six months;
f) Bahamians traveling through the United States to a third country must possess a valid visa for return travel through the U.S.

Other details
CBP Port Directors may use discretion and will consider all exigent circumstances on a case by case basis, in accordance with existing laws and regulations.   

The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army continue to also work with local Florida governments to address any needs of evacuees who seek temporary relocation in the United States.

For more information on Bahamas Residents after Hurricane Dorian, 
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Copyright © 2019, Law Offices of Gail S. Seeram. All Rights Reserved.

Public Charge Rule – Q&A to Clear Confusion

The proposed rule to change the meaning of “public charge” has no impact on the rights of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The proposed rule is not in effect, faces numerous legal challenges and there is still time to oppose and resist the change.

DHS has revised the definition of public charge in determining whether an alien can be denied a green card or permanent residency. If the proposed rule goes into effect, the U.S. government will at a minimum consider the alien’s age; health; family status; assets, resources, and financial status; and education and skills; and may consider any required affidavit of support.

The final rule defines the term public charge to mean an alien who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months, in total, within any 36-month period. The rule further defines the term public benefit to include cash benefits for income maintenance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), most forms of Medicaid, Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program, Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, and subsidized public housing.

The rule does not include, for example, consideration of emergency medical assistance, disaster relief, national school lunch programs, foster care and adoption, Head Start, or student or home mortgage loans.

Q1. Does President Trump’s new public charge apply to citizenship applicants?

A1. No. The rule impacts only applicants for permanent residence (green cards). Applicants for U.S. citizenship need not be concerned. You can naturalize even if you are receiving public benefits. That’s true assuming you were eligible to get the benefits when you applied and did not lie to get them.

Q2. I got a conditional, two-year green card through marriage. I already filed U.S. Citizenship and Citizenship Services form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. Am I subject to the new public charge rule?

A2. No. The rule does not apply to I-751 petitioners. That’s because you are not applying for adjustment of status to permanent residence. The law requires you to file form I-751 because you got your permanent residence within two years of your marriage. However, since you already have permanent residence, though it is conditional the rule doesn’t apply. You are just applying to remove a condition from your residence.

Q3. Does the new rule apply to green card holders applying to renew or replace their cards?

A3. No. Applying for a new card doesn’t count as applying for permanent residence.