Visas and Immigration

Following President Trump’s executive orders on immigration, my office is here to help with any questions you may have regarding documentation and current laws. 

YOU HAVE RIGHTS

  1. You have the right to ask for an attorney before answering any questions by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or any other law enforcement.
  2. Make sure you fully understand the question you are answering and any documents you may be signing.
  3. ICE must have a warrant to enter your home. If an ICE agent does not show you a warrant, you may refuse entry. A valid warrant must state your correct name and address on it.

HAVE A SAFETY PLAN

  1. If you have a valid work permit or Green Card, always carry it with you for identification purposes.
  2. Make sure you know the phone number of a family member, friend or attorney who can help you.
  3. Keep important documents like your birth certificate, immigration documents and alien registration number somewhere where a family member or friend can access them if necessary.
  4. Make sure your friends and family can find you if you are detained by ICE. They can use the ICE online detainee locator.

GENERAL INFORMATION

The information below will answer your questions about visas, deferred action, immigration and citizenship. If you still have questions, please contact my office.

There are several links to the State DepartmentTravel.State.govU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection that may be helpful to you as well.

FAQ

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Q: Where can I find comprehensive information on immigration policies and procedures?

The best single source of information is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The Bureau of Consular Affairs also provides a wealth of information about overseas immigrant and nonimmigrant visa processing.

Below is a list of of phone numbers of Federal agencies for your convenience.

U.S. State Department

  • American Citizens Services - (202) 647-5225
  • National Visa Center - (603) 334-0700
  • Priority Date Information - (202) 485-7699 
  • Passport Information- (877) 487-2778

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

  • USCIS National Customer Service - (800) 375-5283
  • USCIS Forms Request Line - (800) 870-3676

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

  • U.S. Customs Service (Port of Blaine) - (360) 332-5771

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

  • Seattle Field Office - (206) 835-0650

Q: Can Congressman Larsen help me with my immigration issue?

My office can provide general information and assistance in a number of areas related to immigration, including nonimmigrant visas, permanent residency ("Green Card"), naturalization, work permits, asylum and refugees. My office cannot help expedite applications, with the exception of those involving medical emergencies or urgent humanitarian cases. Please visit the USCIS website for more information on immigration forms and processing.

Q: What does Congressman Larsen’s staff need to be able to review my immigration case?

When you contact my office, please let my staff know:

  1. Your alien number and receipt number (if applicable);
  2. What forms you have filed, the dates the forms were filed, and the location at which the forms were filed (if applicable);
  3. Whom you have already contacted to try to resolve the problem;
  4. What responses you have received, and;
  5. A signed Information Release Form. You can download this form here.

In certain cases, copies of receipts, applications, or additional documentation will be required. A staff member will contact you as soon as possible if additional material or information is required.

Q: Are there services for anyone who has a case pending with USCIS, and can I obtain legal advice from Congressman Larsen’s Office?

My office cannot to provide legal advice, but USCIS provides a list of attorneys in Washington state who provide immigration services either for free or for little cost. The American Bar Association also provides information on finding legal services.

Immigrant Visas/Permanent Residency

Q: How do I apply for permanent residency (“Green Card”)?

The steps to becoming a Green Card holder (permanent resident) vary by category and depend on whether you currently live inside or outside the United States. The main categories are:

Immediate Relative and Family Sponsored

Petitions for alien relatives are only available for relatives of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Your U.S. relative will need to sponsor you and prove he/she has enough income or assets to support you when in the United States. If you are a U.S. citizen and plan on marrying a foreign national fiancé(e), you will need to file an I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Employment-Based Immigrant Visas

Approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are available to qualified applicants under provisions of U.S. immigration law. These visas are divided into five preference categories.

Special Immigrants

Special immigrant visas are available for Iraqi or Afghan translators and others who worked for the U.S. government or U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are also two categories of visas for which religious workers may apply.

Diversity Visa Lottery Program

Each year, the Department of State holds a Diversity Visa Lottery that offers 55,000 applicants an opportunity to enter a random computer generated lottery drawing. If selected, the applicant must meet certain requirements prior to consideration for an immigrant visa.

Citizenship

Q: How do I become a naturalized citizen?

If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth or did not acquire U.S. citizenship automatically after birth, you may still be eligible to become a citizen through the naturalization process. Permanent residents (Green Card holders) ages 18 and older who meet all eligibility requirements may submit a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. When applying for a minor child or to obtain a certificate of citizenship, you may submit a Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenships. Please visit the frequently asked questions on the USCIS website for information on naturalization requirements and procedures.

Deferred Action

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA frequently asked questions HERE.

Q: What happens to my DACA status?

You are able to retain your status and work permits until they expire. DACA benefits generally are valid for two years from date of issuance.

Q: What happens when my DACA status expires?

When your status expires, you will no longer be under the protections from deportation that DACA grants. When your work permit expires, you will no longer be lawfully employed.

Q: Can I travel abroad?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will no longer approve DACA applications for advance parole which allows you to travel abroad without losing your DACA authorizations.

DHS will honor DACA recipients’ previously approved advance parole applications.

Q: Can I apply to renew my DACA status or work permit if they expire?

If your authorizations expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security will accept DACA renewal applications filed through October 5, 2017. DHS will reject all renewal applications filed after that date. 

Recipients whose DACA authorizations expire on or after Mar. 6, 2018 may not renew their authorizations

Q: Can I apply for DACA status if I think I am eligible?

DHS will no longer accept first-time DACA applications filed after September 5, 2017.

What if I applied for DACA before September 5, but have not heard back?

DHS will continue to process and render decisions on first-time DACA applications received through September 5, 2017. These applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

DACA Employers

Q: What do I do if I employ DACA recipients?

When a DACA recipients work permit expires, they are no longer lawfully employed in the U.S. However, if a DACA recipient is on your payroll, it is illegal to fire that person prematurely in anticipation of their permits expiring. DACA recipients are still entitled to protections against workplace discrimination.

As an employer, you cannot ask DACA recipients for more or different work-authorization documents than what is permitted for the Form I-9. You cannot reject valid work-authorization documents because of a DACA recipients citizenship status or national origin.

Nonimmigrant Visitor Visas

Q: Where can I find information about student visas?

Please visit the academic section on USCIS' website for information on student visa requirements and procedures.

Q: I want someone from a foreign country to visit me. What does this person need to do in order to obtain a tourist visa?

Have this person visit the United States Consulate Office in their home country and apply for a B-2 tourist visa. Some countries may require an interview. To qualify for a tourist visa, an applicant must show that he or she has a permanent residence and other ties that would compel his or her return home upon the end of his or her temporary stay in the United States. The law places this burden of proof upon the applicant. Evidence of strong ties includes family, home or property ownership, a letter of employment, and bank account.

Q: I know someone who was denied a tourist visa. Can tourist visa denials be appealed?

Unfortunately, tourist visa denials can't be appealed. Consular offices have sole authority to approve or deny tourist visas. The decision cannot be appealed to a higher authority, and it can be reviewed only for factual error within the Nonimmigrant Visa Section. The U.S. Department of State does not review, nor provide individual responses to, overseas visa decisions. There is nothing in U.S. immigration law that allows for an American relative to guarantee a visitor’s return home.

Q: What can someone who was denied a tourist visa do in order to enter the United States?

Every person who is denied a tourist visa can reapply unless the Embassy or Consulate overseas puts a stamp in their passport barring the person from coming back for a period of time. Someone should reapply only if there have been changes to the person's family or economic circumstances, or new evidence is presented that was not considered in the first visa interview.

Q: Where can I go for more information on tourist visas?

Please visit the Department of State's Visa Information website.

Q: I know someone who has been, or is going to be deported. Is there anything that Congressman Larsen can do to help?

U.S. Congress activity is restricted by the House Ethics Rules which prohibit my office from intervening in any civil or criminal matter. Deportation cases are prohibited House casework activity. My office can only request more information from ICE about an individual’s case and what options exist for the individual.

International Adoption

Q: How can I adopt a child from another country?

According to the U.S. Department of State, international (or intercountry) adoption is the process by which you adopt a child from a different country than your own through permanent legal means and bring that child to your home country to live with you permanently. Through international adoption, the legal transfer of parental rights from birth parent(s) to another parent(s) takes place.

For more information please visit the State Department’s Intercountry Adoption website.