Most entries below contain actual legal discussions of events directly related to Filipinos in or immigrating to the United States.
Remember- These writings are provided for general information only and do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. Each person's needs and requirements are different and require a personal evaluation to determine the proper legal course of action.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Value of Good Advice IF TPS-Philippines Happens

This writing supplements the information in the general TPS video posted April 24th prepared by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).  Although written in the context of the possibility of TPS-Philippines, this advice applies equally for any immigration benefit.

An application for TPS is a very serious event that will have a major effect on your U.S. immigration status.  In many cases, filing the application on your own can be a perfectly acceptable way to save some money.  But before you apply for anything with USCIS, you must be sure you fully understand the benefit you are requesting, and are sure that it is YOUR best course of action.

Unfortunately, this means doing something you probably do not want to do -- have a personal talk with an immigration attorney.  Read below to see why this is true.

Before filing, you need someone to answer these THREE BIG QUESTIONS:

1.  is this is really the best thing for you to do, or are there better options?

2.  Do you fully qualify for TPS?

3.  How would TPS effect your current status and your future immigration plans?

These questions cannot be answered UNTIL an attorney has a complete understanding of you and your unique personal situation.  

People don't want to believe this, but everybody's case really is different.  It is the little personal details of your life that determine the best actions for you.  Details such as:

--When and how you entered the US?
--Was your visa application truthful?
--What have you been doing since you came here?
--What is the status of your family relationships?
--What is your employment background?
--How you've been employed? 
--What other benefits you or a relative may be eligible for now, or later, and how the TPS application can harm those benefits or, better yet, how TPS can be used to enhance them?

This important list of potential questions about your history and future plans goes on and on.  Without having this conversation with you, any advice you are given is just someone's guess.

That is why the information you read on the internet (even here!) is often incomplete or overly-simple.  ‘General' advice is merely informational.  Only specific advice is what you act upon.  And the advice given to someone else - even a close relative - may be bad advice for you, no matter how alike your personal circumstances seem to be.

One last caution.  If the Philippines is designated for TPS, many wonderful community groups will offer "clinics" or "workshops" to explain and help prepare the immigration forms.  These organizations also play the very important role in getting the word out to the public that this benefit is available, and serve to encourage people to come forward to apply.  If you feel comfortable with the reputation and knowledge of the sponsoring group, by all means use them.  But if they do not have a qualified person available on-site to spend private time with you and thouroughly discuss your personal situation, and ARE ABLE TO ANSWER THE THREE BIG QUESTIONS above, seek out good advice SOMEWHERE before you drop that form in the mailbox.

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