Car accidents, Venezuela's TPS and myths about real estate investment and U.S. immigration
Published on March 25, 2021
Immigration attorney Nayef Mubaraktalks about the latest USCIS updates including a 60-day extension announced by USCIS for some cases, and the suspension of visa processing for Brazil due the COVID-19 outbreak. Mr. Mubarak also talks about Venezuelan TPS, DACA and car accidents under Florida Law. Finally, Nayef Mubarak introduces Dawood Bedrosian, a Canadian citizen who immigrated to Orlando in 2002 and who has made a living with real estate. Mr. Bedrosian addresses some common myths about how investing in real estate can open the door for immigrating to the U.S.
- 60-day extension: On March 24th USCIS issued an update informing that they are offering a 60-day extension on deadlines for cases that have received either a denial, a request for evidence, a notice of intent to deny, or a notice of intent to revoke, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Brazil: Due to the massive COVID-19 outbreak in Brazil most of non-immigrant and even immigrant visas from Brazil have been suspended. Due to the specific circumstances of the pandemic on each region, the re-opening of US embassies, and their services, throughout the world depends on a case-by-case situation.
- DACA: The House passed a bill for the American Dream Act but the Senate has not. So we're asking all of you to reach out to your representatives in Congress to ask them to support this bill, and to find some type of path of legal residency for dreamers. This is still a proposal, it's not law so we strongly advice everybody to avoid paying a paralegal or a “notario” who may be trying to sell their services to handle this. Instead, seek the guidance of an immigration attorney, specifically an AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) immigration attorney. As the vice chair of AILA in Orlando, Mr. Mubarak continuously communicates with Orlando USCIS supervisors and provides updates to the AILA Central Florida Chapter so AILA attorneys have a good understanding of the current USCIS situation and can provide proper legal advice about your options.
How long does it take to replace a lost or stolen resident card?
We are currently seeing delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we have seen process taking 8 to 12 months and sometimes even longer. A lot of the issues are people who are going to renew their residency cards had to get their biometrics appointments and they were not doing biometrics for three or four months during 2020, so a lot of these cases are severely delayed. You can check the processing times at USCIS’s website to see if you are within the processing time. If you're outside the processing time you can send an inquiry through the USCIS website. They send a response within 60 days to tell you what is the current status of your case and how much longer you can expect your case will take, or if your case is aw with the “currently normal” processing time.
TPS (Temporary Protected Status)
TPS is a Temporary Protected Status for specific countries designated because of some type of catastrophe, war, turmoil, or unsafe situations the country is going through. Very recently Venezuela was designated for TPS, something our office, AILA attorneys and many activists have been lobbying for, for a long time now. Venezuelans that apply and get approved for TPS are protected from deportation, can have a travel document in case you need to travel and can also get a work authorization document. This protection is good for 18 months. Syria has also TPS and has been recently re-designated, so if you've arrived in the last six months or a year you may be eligible for Syrian TPS.
- Do I qualify for Venezuelan TPS? - In order to qualify for Venezuelan TPS you must have been in the U.S. by March 8th 2021. Although Venezuela TPS is the newest one, it’s the one with the largest number of people. There are more than 300,000 Venezuelans eligible for temporary protected status. There is a window of opportunity to register for this program. If you do not register now it could be gone forever.
- Asylum and TPS - Many Venezuelans have pending asylum applications. Venezuelans in this situation may not need a work permit but you must register within the established time frame.
- TPS and dual citizenship - We have a lot of clients who have dual nationality meaning that they have for example an Italian, a Spanish or a Lebanese passport but they're also Venezuelan, and they ask if they can still apply for TPS. The answer is it depends on your specific situation, because typically firm resettlement is not allowed, so if you've resettled somewhere permanently like if you went to Mexico, you got married and you got the green card version of that country then you don't necessarily need a temporary protected place to stay because you have an alternative from your home country now. Even if you entered the U.S. on an Italian passport but you were born in Venezuela, you lived your whole life in Venezuela you could still qualify for TPS we just have to demonstrate that you were residing in Venezuela prior to here and that you did not have a permanent resettlement. If for example you lived in Europe for four or five years and then you came to the U.S. then you might not be eligible. If this is your situation, we strongly suggest you contact us for a consultation.
More information on Venezuela’s TPS - If you need more information about Venezuela’s TPS including how to maintain your F1 status, what you can do with your TPS and how you can register, please visit our page on Venezuela's TPS and read the answer to the FAQs we get about TPS for Venezuelans. You can also watch our complete presentation at UCF, where we went in depth into this subject.
Car accidents unfortunately happen. In Orlando, with all I-4 construction, and bad weather in the summer we're going to see an increase in car accidents. A lot of times people don't want to wait for the police and don't want to make a police report. Instead, they exchange numbers because they think the other person looks nice and the other person accepts responsibility for the accident. So, they go home, call the insurance company and next thing they know is that the version of events given to the insurance by the other person is completely different than what it really happened, and suddenly they are being seen now as the liable party. Our advice to those involved in a car accident is to be patient and make the time to make a police report so you don't want to deal with contesting liabilities or issues that are not true just because you didn't wait for a proper police report, which sometimes can take several hours.
Another critical step you need to take is after a car accident is to seek medical treatment within 14 days, or you will lose any rights for compensation.
Another issue about car accidents in Florida is that Florida law does not require drivers to have bodily injury protection, which means that if you're in an accident and the other driver does not have bodily injury and you have excessive injuries you are not going to be covered unless you have what is called uninsured motorist insurance. For this reason, we strongly advice everybody to contact your insurance providers to let them know that you need uninsured motorist insurance. Your monthly payment may increase $20 or $30 but you would not rely on other people having proper insurance to properly covered in case of an accident.