Schedule a Consultation at 210.226.9725

STILL THE SAME OLD DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY (now open for filing online for the 2020 allocation of 50,000 immigrant visas)

YES, the Diversity Visa Lottery is alive and well.  MOST foreign nationals can file from October 3, 2018 through November 6, 2018 so long as they have completed the equivalent of a US high school education or have worked for at least two years within the last five years in a qualifying occupation.

The diversity visa lottery was established by the US Congress almost 30 years ago to increase the number of persons who could immigrate to the United States from countries with historically low rates of immigration.  Individuals born in the following countries are NOT eligible for the 2020 lottery:

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Phillipines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.  Note that persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.

To apply and to get more information about qualification, go to www.dvlottery.state.govMultiple entries will disqualify you!!

Failure to list all your dependents could mean you will not be issued an immigrant visa, if you are chosen for a diversity visa.

Should you apply this year?  YES, as it could be the last year of the diversity visa lottery depending on what Congress does in 2019 in terms of immigration legislation.

Will My DACA status and my work authorization end or what can I do with my DACA status?

As of today, we believe the answer is “It depends.”  The information below is based on initial information and may be revised in the near future. 

FIRST, as of September 5, 2017, NO ONE can file for his or her first DACA.

SECOND, if you have your first DACA application on file with the USCIS, that application may be approved.

THIRD, if you have DACA status that expires on or before March 5, 2018, you can still file an I821D application to renew your status and an I765 application for work authorization—requesting two more years of DACA status. This must be filed before October 5, 2017.

FOURTH, IF your DACA status expires after March 5, 2018, you will not be able to file applications to renew your status.

FIFTH, there will be no more advance paroles granted for persons with DACA.

Now more than ever is the time to become an advocate.  You can contact the senators for your state and the congressman for your district.  But whenever possible, urge your coworkers, your fellow students, your USC relatives, your doctor, your dentist, members of your church to do the same.  Our elected representatives from Texas need to know that many, many us citizens support the bipartisan bills already introduced in congress to allow the DACA population to become permanent residents and to be allowed to remain in the united states.


Is Military Service Required? What is Selective Service Registration?

ALL males in the US, except for those with NONIMMIGRANT status (such as E, F, G, H, L among others), must register for Selective Service with the US Department of Defense, Selective Service between the ages of 18 and 26.  This requirement applies to US Citizen, Permanent Resident, and undocumented males.  This requirement does NOT apply to females. This registration can be completed on-line at or by mailing in a registration card available at US Post Offices and other locations.

This is strictly a Registration.  The United States does NOT have a draft or mandatory military service.

In order to be able to apply for college and university financial aid for federal grants and loans and for some scholarships, a male under 26 would have to be registered for Selective Service.  Otherwise he would not be eligible for the grants and loans.  This could include work study programs at a university.

If a permanent resident male under the age of 31 applies for naturalization (US citizenship) and has failed to register for Selective Service—assuming he was a permanent resident between the ages of 18 and 26—his application could be delayed or even denied in some cases.  (If the applicant did not know about the registration requirement, his affidavit of explanation would be required.)

KEY:  The Selective Service registration is important for all male permanent residents if they became permanent residents before their 26th birthday.

Public Schools in the US: Which Foreign Nationals Can Attend?

As August approaches, most public schools start classes in the latter half of that month. Foreign nationals often get seemingly conflicting answers to the question of who can legally attend public schools.  Often a foreign national moving into the US does not realize that there is more than one answer to the question.

First, children can attend a public school located in the area in which they are residing. This is true regardless of their immigration status.   This is what the school personnel will tell the parent who rents or buys a home in the area the school serves.

BUT, if foreign national children attend US public schools, they may violate their immigration status. If their parents are in the US with B1/B2 tourist visa status, and the children have the same status, the children will violate their status if they attend a public school. [8 CFR 214.2(b)(7)]  This can affect the eligibility of the parents and the children to obtain other non-immigrant visas in the future.

If the parents are in the US and admitted in certain other non-immigrant classifications and the children have been admitted in a derivative (dependent) classification related to the parent’s visa, then the children will not violate their status. Some of the most common non-immigrant visa classifications that allow the dependent children to attend public schools without adverse immigration consequences include the following ones:

A   (generally for diplomats—consul officers and staff; military)

E    (treaty traders and treaty investors)

F     (student—generally at college or university)

G    (international quasi government agency)

H    (professionals; trainees)

I      (international press)

J       (exchange visitor—student, research, employment)

L      (intracompany transferee)

O      (extraordinary ability)

R      (religious worker)


Often a parent may not be able to obtain one of these non-immigrant visa classifications until after the school year begins—and may prefer not to pursue a student visa for the child to attend a private school.  To avoid problems in applying for and obtaining the visa classification, the parent should consider postponing the children coming to the US until the visa status has been approved for the parent.  In the alternative, a parent could have his/her child tutored or home-schooled until the status has been approved or can be requested.

Some foreign national children do not attend public schools.  They attend private schools and are in the United States with F1 student visa classification based on certain documents that the school issues to the student and a SEVIS filing the student makes with US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).  Not all private schools have this authorization.  Some choose not to because of the ICE application filing fee cost and extensive documentation requirements.  Some choose not to because of the records required on an ongoing basis by ICE about student enrollment and attendance.     Generally, public schools elect not to seek authorization to issue student visas often because it is almost impossible to deal with the interface of state student funding allocations and F1 student visa programs.  (Public elementary schools are expressly prohibited from being approved to issue student visas.)  Not all private schools have this authorization in part because it is an expensive and complicated application process to obtain this authorization.


A child living within the boundary of a given public school can attend that school but doing so may be a violation of his or her immigration status.  Generally, it is a violation of a child’s immigration status if he/she attends public school while in the US as a B2 visitor.

Nancy Taylor Shivers     July 2014

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival renewal applications available for filing!!

As of June 2014 the USCIS issued a revision of the DACA application that can be used for renewal of DACA status and for initial applications.  The DACA renewal application along with the application to renew the employment authorization document should be submitted 4 months prior to expiration of your current DACA status.  This is important because you cannot renew your driver license without the DACA renewal approval.  If you have not yet filed for DACA status, it is still possible to do so.