A. There are no new laws yet and no “amnesty;” all we have is a bill in the Senate. We are still many months away – if not longer – from any new laws. You can call us at 800-566-7636 to check if the law has passed; we’ll be happy to answer your calls.This Senate bill is only the beginning of the conversation. There will be a long time before we know what the law looks like and before anyone can apply for anything.
B. In the meantime you should NOT give anyone money to any notarios, agencies, or lawyers to prepare an application or help them gather documents. Once we have a Comprehensive Immigration Reform law, there will be many reliable agencies that will help people at low cost and possibly for free. There is no need to pay thousands of dollars now.
C. What you can do is to start preparing on your own in the following ways:
i. Start a box of important documents, including:
1. Identity documents;
2. Evidence of when you came to the US and how long you have been here (the date in the Senate bill is December 31, 2011, but people who came to the US before they turned 16 and would qualify under the DREAM Act, should gather evidence for all those years that they have been living in the US);
3. Evidence of any trips outside the US after the first arrival (evidence of how long they were out of the US);
4. Evidence of work (particularly if you are an undocumented farm worker) or education in the US (particularly for DREAM Act-eligible kids);
5. Copies of any applications you already made to INS/USCIS;
6. If ever arrested, get the certificates of disposition, because those with certain serious convictions will not be eligible to apply, so you will need to show those conviction records to an attorney.
iii. US citizens who want to sponsor their siblings should talk to an attorney about starting the process now (the Senate bill proposes to eliminate visas for siblings of US citizens – but that can also change);
iv. Save money because there will be penalty fees (Senate bill says $2000, to be paid in stages) in addition to application fees.