APRIL 2014
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Immigration

New Naturalization Form (N-400) Must Be Used After May 5, 2014

Dilip Patel

By DILIP PATEL

USCIS has changed the form used for applying for naturalization, Form N-400, and instructs that the new form must be used after May 5, 2014. While the form’s length has been changed significantly — from 10 to 21 pages — only modest changes have been made substantively. Those changes include additional national security questions and highlights nobility and foreign title renunciation requirements. The filing fee for the N-400 remains the same, as do the naturalization eligibility requirements.

Medical Exams and Vaccines for Adjustment of Status and Consular Processed Immigrant Applicants

Applicants for lawful permanent residence must undergo a medical exam as required pursuant to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulations. The exam requirement applies to those adjusting their status in the United States and to those obtaining their immigrant visa at a consulate abroad.

During the exam, applicants are required to show proof that they have received certain vaccines. If an applicant does not have proof of having received the required vaccines, the law states that the vaccines must be given at the time of the medical exam.

CDC determines which vaccines should be required as part of the immigration process and uses criteria for vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for the general U.S. public. The criteria are: (1) the vaccine must be age-appropriate for the immigrant applicant; (2) the vaccine must protect against a disease that has the potential to cause an outbreak; and (3) the vaccine must protect against a disease that has been eliminated or is in the process of being eliminated in the United States.

If an ACIP-recommended vaccine for the general U.S. population meets these criteria, all applicants — overseas and those in the U.S. — must receive the vaccine. The only exception is if an immigrant applicant can show proof of having already received a given vaccine or if the vaccine is not medically advised. (However, applicants are only required to get one dose of each vaccine during the medical exam, although they are encouraged to get other doses of a vaccine to finish each series.)

Vaccines for the following diseases are currently required: mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria, pertussis, haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib), hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rotavirus, meningococcal disease, varicella, pneumococcal disease, and seasonal influenza. For more information and frequently asked questions on medical exams for immigration purposes, see http://www.cdc.gov/immigrantrefugeehealth/laws-regs/vaccination-immigration/revised-vaccination-immigration-faq.html

New Adoption Laws Related to Immigration

The Consolidated Appropriations Act signed into law by President Obama in mid-January included a change to the definition of “orphan” found within the definition of child under the immigration laws — a change that can have an important effect on parents required to travel to meet and observe their adopted child. Under the new law — which governs non–Hague Convention adoptions — there is no longer a requirement that both parents travel prior to or during the adoption to meet and observe the child in order for the adopted child to enter the United States on an “IR-3” visa. An “IR-3” visa results in automatic U.S. citizenship upon entry. Prior to this change, if only one parent traveled to meet the child during the adoption process, the child was issued an “IR-4” visa, which required the family to readopt the child after entering the U.S. in order for the child to obtain U.S. citizenship. This resulted in additional costs for the adoptive family and lengthy delays for the child in receiving the full protections of U.S. citizenship.

Another law recently signed by the President helps correct, for citizenship or other federal purposes, inaccurate birthdates given abroad to adopted children. The Accuracy for Adoptees Act requires that a certificate of citizenship or other federal document issued or requested to be amended reflect the child’s name and date of birth as indicated on a state court order, birth certificate, certificate of foreign birth, certificate of birth abroad, or similar state vital-records documents issued by the child’s state of residence in the United States after the child has been adopted or readopted in that state.

Dilip Patel of Shutts & Bowen LLP, a Florida Bar board-certified expert on immigration law, can be reached at (813) 227-8178 or e-mail dpatel@shutts.com

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