1. MYTH: Once an individual is granted a Z visa, his or her family outside the country will be eligible for Z visas including his or her spouse, children, spouse’s children, parents and spouse’s parents.
FACT: Z visa eligibility is limited to the finite population of current aliens who were already in the United States illegally as of January 1, 2007. No one outside the U.S. can petition for a Z visa – including family members of Z visa workers.
FACT: Only green card holders and U.S. citizens may petition to bring family members to the U.S. It will take at least 8 years for the first Z visa recipient to receive a green card, and it will take at least 13 years for the first Z visa recipient to become a citizen.
FACT: Z visa holders who eventually receive green cards and become citizens will be subject to the tighter limits on family immigration that the bill imposes. The bill limits future family-based visas to the spouses and minor children of U.S citizens and green card holders, plus a smaller number of parents of U.S. citizens. It eliminates set-asides for siblings and adult children of U.S. citizens.
2. MYTH: Illegal immigrants may stay in probationary status for years without having to apply or meet requirements for a Z visa.
FACT: Illegal immigrants may not obtain probationary status without applying for the Z visa, which requires coming out of the shadows and passing a background check.
FACT: Probationary status is valid only while a Z visa application is pending – it may be revoked at any time if the applicant is found ineligible for the Z visa, fails to maintain a clean record, or fails the background check required for obtaining a Z visa.
FACT: If a worker is deemed eligible for a Z visa, probationary status terminates, and the worker must transition to a Z visa or leave the country. Transitioning to Z status will require the worker to pay a $1,000 fine for head of household and $500 per dependent; up to $1,500 in processing fees per applicant, including heads of household and dependents; and a $500 state impact assistance fee.
FACT: To remain in the United States, the worker is subject to updated background checks on criminal and security history and must stay employed, maintain a clean record, and meet accelerated English and civics requirements by set deadlines. In addition, Z visa holders must pay processing fees of up to $1,500 every four years in order to renew the visa. Z visa holders are not entitled to welfare, Food Stamps, SSI, or non-emergency Medicaid.