Links to Immigration Information
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Website
Look here for immigration forms, to check your case status, to learn average times for processing most kinds of applications, and for descriptions of immigration benefits.
American Immigration Lawyers Association Website
This association of U.S. immigration lawyers includes a feature locate lawyers, details about immigration issues, and an Immigration lawyer referral service. Linnartz Law Office, P.A., is a member of AILA since 1999.
North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization
The North Carolina State Bar licenses lawyers in general, but also certifies certain lawyers as specialists in fields such as taxation and immigration law. This website includes a directory of certified specialists, including Hans Christian Linnartz, who has been a certified specialist since 2005.
The Visa Bulletin gives “priority dates” each month, indicating who is eligible to apply for an immigrant visa or a green card, based on when the applicant’s sponsor submitted a petition or a Labor Certification Application.
Diversity Visa Lottery
Every year, the government gives out 55,000 visas to people applying from countries which are somewhat under-represented in the annual pool of immigrants to America. This free application process is done on line. Instructions and the on-line application are found at this website.
What to do if your case is stuck
If your case has taken significantly more time than the Immigration Service forecasts on the “processing time” page, there may be some reason for that – or no reason at all. It is sometimes possible to push the government to meet its own goals, but it can be a challenge. Try taking these steps, remembering always to give your own A number and the receipt number for any petition or application you are calling about.
1.Call the USCIS Customer Service Line, 800-375-5283. Expect to wait on hold for at least half an hour before getting to talk to someone. Be aware that any answers you receive on the line may be wrong. Especially if the information agent tells you to do something, check that with your lawyer first!
2. Make an Infopass appointment at the local USCIS office. You can make an appointment to see an in-person information officer at the USCIS Field office near you through Infopass, an internet-based scheduling service. If the local office has your case, you will get best service with Infopass; at other times, all the officer will be able to do is tell you what CIS office has the case file. https://infopass.uscis.gov/
3. Get help from a U.S. Senator or Representative. Even if you are not a citizen, you can request help with an immigration matter from the offices of members of Congress. To find your Representative, you can go to: www.house.gov (click on “Find your representative” and enter your zip code). Your state has two Senators, who can be located via www.senate.gov. Each politician you find will have a website, where you should search for “Constituent Services.” Most of the websites will give you a form to complete in order to ask for immigration assistance.
Help with your Immigration Court Case
The system of Immigration Courts is called the “Executive Office for Immigration Review.” Its website is www.justice.gov/eoir. You can learn a reasonable deal about your case if you have your A number (the number designating your case with Immigration authorities) and call the EOIR information line: 800-898-7180.