Dear Friends of the Firm:
Happy summer! The following are some important immigration updates for you.
HR Tips for New Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification
As described in our prior News Flash, as of May 7, 2013, all employers are required to use the most recent version of Form I-9. The following tips may help HR transition to the new form and avoid potential penalties for I-9 violations:
Navid Dayzad was recently interviewed by CBS and PBS news about the immigration consequences of the Supreme Court decision, United States v. Windsor. You can listen to the entire CBS interview here.
The Department of State announced that starting in August, visa numbers are available for spouses and children of legal permanent residents to apply for U.S. permanent residence. If you are a green card holder hoping to sponsor your spouse and/or child for U.S. permanent residence—now is the time! Please contact us immediately to take advantage of this wonderful—but short—opportunity.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor vs. United States opens the doors for equal access to immigration benefits for gays and lesbians. It also opens the door to a new era in our nation’s immigration history. As the Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told us, “Gay and lesbian couples now have the freedom to be, and opportunity to become.” Our law firm has been working very closely with the various government agencies to help you navigate these uncharted waters smoothly.
The following is an overview of the immigration benefits that are now available to legally married gays and lesbians (as they have been to straight immigrants):
Besides navigating the new benefits described above, there are other tricky issues that require vigilant attention. Navid continues to advocate on behalf of LGBT immigrants with liaisons to the U.S. government on the following remaining issues:
This summer, the U.S. Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform legislation (S. 744) by a vote of 68-32 (including 14 Republicans). This landmark vote reflects how far the country has come in understanding the significance of immigration reform to the health and well-being of the nation. Now that the immigration reform bill has passed the Senate, it will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The House of Representatives has four options regarding immigration reform:
Upon nomination by president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Navid Dayzad will serve as Vice Chair of the organization’s LGBT Immigration Issues Working Group. He will also join AILA’s Practice Management Committee. In these roles, Navid will discuss important updates in immigration law and practice management that can help us better serve our clients.
Nicole Black and Navid Dayzad enjoyed attending the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s international conference in San Francisco, CA. While there, they swapped information and insights with immigration attorneys from around the world regarding changes in immigration laws and procedures.
Reports from the trenches suggest that I-94 mistakes continue to plague international travelers. Foreign-nationals should be vigilant! These mistakes can have serious effects on an individual’s immigration status and can be costly to fix retroactively. To help minimize these mistakes, our law firm can prepare in advance an “Attorney I-94 Travel Letter” that explains to the officer what should be recorded on the specific individual’s Form I-94 and the legal basis for it.
Clients often ask us, “How do we get married??” The following are valuable tips for California residents. First, you and your partner must obtain a marriage license from the office of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk of any California county. Both partners must go together to the county office to complete the marriage license application and present a government-issued picture ID and proof that both are over 18 years old. (If either or both is younger than 18, different procedures apply.) Some counties post their marriage license applications online so you can fill them out before you arrive at the County Clerk’s office. (For example, http://www.lavote.net/Clerk/Marriages.cfm). The license fee varies by county, but is generally less than $100. No blood test or health certificate is required. Call ahead or visit the county’s website to learn the hours, locations and fees of the county offices that issue licenses.
Once you receive the marriage license, it will remain valid for 90 days. Before the marriage license expires, a ceremony must be performed by someone authorized to solemnize marriages (such as a judge or clergy member). The person who performs the marriage ceremony and at least one adult witness must sign the marriage license. You may be able to have your ceremony performed at the county office on the same day you obtain a marriage license. You return the license to the county office within ten days of the ceremony. You will then receive your official marriage certificate several weeks later. (Thank you to our friends from Lambda Legal for this information.)
Confidential Marriage Licenses are also available to California couples who are living together as spouses at the time they apply. No witnesses are required to attend the ceremony or sign the marriage license. The marriage license is a confidential record and is registered at the County Clerk’s Office in the county where it was purchased. Only the couple may purchase copies of the marriage license and must present valid picture identification in order to do so. Copies of Confidential Marriage Licenses are not available to any other person without a court order.
Note: This publication serves only as general information and is not a substitute for consultation with an attorney who can assess the specifics of your case and inform you of the constant changes in law and policy. No attorney-client relationship is formed by the transmission of this information until a legal service contract has been signed by both of us.