Categories for Immigration Law

You’ve waited patiently for several months and the big day has finally arrived – you are going to your naturalization eligibility interview.  Here’s what you can expect and what you can do to be best prepared: Questions about your application and background – be very familiar with the contents of your application. Update the interviewer of any changes in your application such as additional travel...

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In rule changes implemented last year, the U.S. government now permits certain H-4 dependent spouses to obtain employment authorization in the United States. The spouses of two categories of H-1B beneficiaries are covered by this change: Those H-1B spouses who are the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140 filed by their employer; or Those H-1B spouses that have been granted H-1B status or an...

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The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) is a statute relevant to the fiancé visa application process. Under this law, an international marriage broker is defined as an organization that charges fees for providing dating and matchmaking services between U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. Dating services that provide comparable services to users regardless of their country of origin and gender are excluded from the definition...

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You may not think it needs saying, but make sure that the person giving you advice about immigration law is authorized to give it. Only an attorney or an accredited representative working for an organization recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals can give you legal advice. Notaries public, or the Spanish equivalent of “Notarios publicos” or “Notarios” for short have a different role in...

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Understanding Advance Parole

February 27, 2016

“Is it ok for me to travel outside the United States?” A frequently asked question by clients is whether it is safe to travel outside the United States while an application for adjustment of status is pending.  The answer is no, not without advance permission from the government in the form of an advance parole document.  If an adjustment applicant leaves the country without obtaining...

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The Violence Against Women Act

February 24, 2016

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows the eligible battered spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to self-petition for a green card without the abuser’s knowledge.  The ability to self-petition prevents an abuser from using his or her immigration status to keep their victim in an abusive relationship.  The protections in VAWA apply equally to men and women. Spouses may...

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Immigration status is commonly conferred in two ways in the United States – through a change from one status to another in the U.S. and through an application for a visa at a U.S. consular post overseas. Many people are familiar with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and its different forms available for different immigration benefits. One of the most well-known USCIS processes is...

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“I live in Mexico but travel regularly to the U.S. to work for a U.S. employer” States such as Texas which have a border with a contiguous territory of the United States see a higher incidence of lawful permanent residents living in Mexico but commuting to work in the United States. You may wonder how this is even possible given the significant amount of regulation...

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“I live overseas with my intending immigrant relative” A relatively uncommon but nonetheless important situation arises where the petitioner in a family-based immigrant visa application resides overseas with the beneficiary. In order for the petitioner’s affidavit of support to be accepted by the U.S. Department of State, the petitioner must demonstrate a U.S. domicile or establish a U.S. domicile prior to the beneficiary’s admission to...

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“I don’t make enough money to sponsor my relative on my own” As part of the immigrant visa application process, petitioners must demonstrate that they have sufficient income to sponsor their beneficiaries. The Department of Homeland Security utilizes the federal poverty guidelines to determine the minimum income level necessary according to a petitioner’s household size – at 125% of the poverty guidelines for most petitioners....

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“I recently took a trip longer than 6 months but I want to apply for my citizenship” The continuous residence and physical presence requirements for naturalization are frequently encountered legal issues in citizenship proceedings. Applicants are required to show that they have resided continuously in the U.S. for 5 years prior to applying and were physically present in the U.S. for 30 months within the...

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“My spouse entered the country illegally and has remained here ever since…” The Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver is a valuable tool for the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens present in the country without status. To be eligible for the waiver, an applicant must be at least 17 years of age, physically present in the United States, and be the beneficiary of an approved I-130 immediate...

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Despite the best of intentions, not all marriages last forever. If you recently obtained your two-year conditional green card through marriage, you might think that a divorce would make it impossible to maintain your permanent resident status. In the ninety-day period before expiration of a conditional green card, all conditional residents must submit Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, to transition to...

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Immigration attorneys are frequently asked by clients how long it will take to obtain a green card. In the United States, this depends on several factors: whether the applicant is proceeding via a family or employment petition, the applicant’s relationship to the petitioner if the petition is family-based, the particular employment-based visa the applicant is approved for if the petition is employment-based, and the applicant’s...

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Can I still become a U.S. citizen? One of the requirements for naturalization is good moral character. An applicant for naturalization must show that he or she has been, and continues to be, a person of good moral character. Generally, the applicant must show good moral character during the five-year period immediately preceding the application for naturalization and up to the time of the Oath...

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How do I remove the conditions and obtain an unrestricted green card? You must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. The purpose of this form is to demonstrate to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the marriage upon which you were granted conditional status was entered into in “good faith” and was not for the purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit....

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After filing your Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (Form I-751), you will receive a receipt notice on USCIS Form I-797. This document will extend your residence for a period of time while your application is pending, usually 12 months. You can safely travel outside of the United States if you carry both your expired green card and this receipt notice, provided the receipt notice...

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If you move to another country with the intent of living there permanently or if you remain outside of the United States for more than 1 year without obtaining a reentry permit, you will likely be deemed to have abandoned your permanent resident status. In determining whether your status has been abandoned, however, the government may consider any length of absence from the United States,...

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You can renew your initial grant of deferred action if you did not depart the United States on or after August 15, 2012 without advance parole; you have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent DACA request that was approved; and you have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not...

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U.S. immigration law supports family reunification by allowing a citizen or permanent resident to petition for their spouse to join them in the United States. Same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents are now eligible for the same immigration benefits as opposite-sex spouses. The process begins the same way for citizens and permanent residents – the petitioning spouse files an I-130, Petition for...

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