The non-litigation department is equipped to handle all cases before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Department of State (DoS). Specifically, it provides full support to beneficiaries involved in the immigration process domestically and internationally.

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Application Naturalization expertise creates a transparent path to citizenship. If you would like to know more information about the N-400 application, interview process, and taking oath, contact us!

If you meet the following criteria then you may be able to obtain your U.S citizenship:

  • You have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years, and not married to U.S. citizen;
  • You are married to a U.S citizen and have been a legal permanent resident for at least 3 years;
  • You have good moral character;
  • You have not traveled and lived outside of the U.S for more than thirty months;
  • You can read, write, and speak basic English;
  • You support the U.S constitution and are knowledgeable of the U.S history; and
  • You do not have felonious convictions in the last five years.

Do you qualify to become a U.S citizen but do not apply because of a low English proficiency? If you are:

  • Over 50 years of age and have lived in the with U.S as a permanent resident for 20 years;
  • Over 55 years of age and have lived in the U.S as a permanent resident for 15 years; or
  • Have a medical disability that prevents you from learning the English language.

You can still apply.

It is important that you consult an immigration expert to assess your specific circumstances and if you qualify for citizenship. If you have certain convictions, our attorneys can speak to you and explain how you can still apply for citizenship.

You can file for Asylum up to one year after arriving to the United States. If you pass that one year deadline, you may still qualify, but speak with an immigration attorney to assist you with your application. After filing your application, you can file for a work permit so you can work in the United States. Keep in mind that Asylum is a discretionary application, which means that even if you meet the substantive eligibility requirements for asylum, you may be denied asylum if you have a record of criminal or terrorist behavior, among other activities considered detrimental. The determination of asylum is based on substantial evidence on the record as a whole, and is credible in nature.

Other supporting documents to assist you with your application include Asylum a declaration on why you left your country, and what happened to you when living in your country.

After your application is granted, he or she is called an “Asylum.” An asylee’s spouse and children may be granted permission to reside and work in the United States. Because asylum is a temporary status, you can apply for other more permanent types of status after certain requirements are met.

Affirmative Asylum Overview

Immigrants residing lawfully in the Unites states can seek asylum through an affirmative process. Through this process the asylum seeker will have to have an interview conducted by an Asylum officer.

The affirmative asylum process will allow the immigrant to remain in the U.S while their application is pending. If the asylum is denied the Asylum seeker will be issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) before immigration court. Asylum applicants

Defensive Asylum Overview

If you are an immigrant facing removal proceedings you could apply for asylum and withholding of removal. Immigrants who are apprehended by Customs and Border Protection at time of entry are placed in detention. An asylum officer will provide a credible fear interview and determine whether the immigrant maintains credible fear of harm based on one of the five grounds or if the alien has been persecuted. If fear of persecution is legitimate they may opt to apply for asylum before an immigration judge.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)  is a temporary immigration benefit that allows an individual to live and work in the United States for a period of time.

TPS is available to immigrants of certain countries, who live in the United States, and who the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has said their home countries unsafe for return.

Presently, immigrants of the following countries are eligible for TPS: El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. This list is not complete, and DHS does consider other countries suffering from temporary and extraordinary conditions.

Typically, DHS considers such temporary conditions as:

(1) Environmental disasters;

(2) Public health crises; and,

(3) Armed conflict.

What kinds of status am I eligible for with TPS?

TPS status does not automatically lead to lawful permanent resident status, nor does it automatically lead to any other kind of immigration status.

HOWEVER, while you are in the United States with TPS you may obtain work permit AND apply for any other immigration benefit for which you qualify. The fact that you have TPS has NO impact on your eligibility to apply for other forms of immigration relief.

How long does TPS last?

It depends. Every country is different, but TPS generally lasts for 6-18 months. After your initial TPS period ends, you also may be eligible for to extend your TPS.

 

How long does it take to apply for TPS?

There are 5 basic steps to your TPS application:

(1) File your application including the necessary forms and evidence with USCIS;

(2) USCIS will review your application and may ask for more evidence;

(3) USCIS will schedule an appointment to have your biometrics collected;

(4) USCIS will determine whether or not you are eligible to obtain an EAD;

(5) USCIS will grant or deny your application.

 

The entire process usually takes between 3-6 months from start to finish, it can be long, complicated, and sometimes frustrating. Our office can help you determine your eligibility for TPS and other forms of immigration relief.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for TPS, you must:

  • Be born in a country designated for TPS.
  • File within the initial registration or re-registration period. If you don’t file during the allotted time you must meet the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of your country’s TPS designation
  • Must have been continuously physically present in the U.S since the date the designation took effect for your country.

You may NOT be eligible for TPS or to maintain your existing TPS if you:

  • Have been found guilty of any felony or two or more misdemeanors in the United States;
  • Are found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA section 212(a), including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds;
  • Are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum.
  • Fail to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirements;
  • Fail to meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements; or
  • If granted TPS, you fail to re-register for TPS, as required, without good cause.

If you have been inspected and admitted into the United States as a non-immigrant or a parolee, and you are eligible for permanent legal residence in the United States, you may qualify for a change of your immigration status. This transition is often referred to as adjustment status. An alternative is known as consular processing (obtaining immigrant visas at appropriate consulates or U.S. Embassies).

In order to be eligible for adjustment of status, you must first identify the immigrant visa you may qualify for. Most categories require the filing of an immigrant petition. You may be eligible for a family based visa through US citizen or legal permanent resident family members. If you will be working for a U.S. employer, you may be eligible for an employment-based visa that leads to legal permanent residence. There are also various classes of special immigrant statuses that could lead to adjustment.

Some of these visas have significant waiting times while others may be available as soon as filed. In certain circumstances, you may qualify for more than one of these visas. Once you apply for one of these visas and your petition is approved, you can apply for adjustment to the status of legal permanent resident. Some of the visas described allow for immediate adjustment, that is, filing a petition for an immigrant visa and an application for adjustment of status simultaneously.

STEPS FOR ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS.

  1. Determine your basis to Immigrate
    Determine which specific immigrant category you fit in. Ex: green card through a petition submitted by a family member or employer, asylum, etc.
  2. File the Immigrant petition
    You could be eligible, depending on the category you adjust under, to file the petition at the same time as the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent residence or Adjust Status. That is called “concurrent filing.”
  3. Check Visa Availability
    Every category is different. You can not file an I-485 until a visa is available for that particular category.
  4. File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status.
    Make sure you file the I-485 at the appropriate time along with the required supporting documents. Failure to follow instructions could result in your application being delayed or possibly denied.
  5. Go to your Application Support Center appointment (fingerprints)
    You will receive a notice in the mail regarding your biometrics appointment. It is a fairly easy process which usually involves a picture, signature and fingerprints.
  6. Go to your interview (If applicable)
    If applicable, you will be informed of a date, time and location for an interview at a USCIS office. This interview is to answer questions under oath regarding your application. You must make sure you attend all interviews.
  7. Get you final decision in the mail
    After all steps have taken place and all paperwork has been submitted your case will be ready for a decision by USCIS. Times vary depending on the category

People who enter the United States, illegally are not eligible to adjust their status, get a green card or work permit.  People who enter illegally are forced to receive a visa outside the United States that allows them to enter. However, if you entered the United States illegally, you are subject to a bar. Meaning, if you leave the United States under any circumstances you are not allowed to return within a certain time frame beginning at 3 years, and going up to 10 years. There is an application that allows the waiving of those two bars, a waiver of inadmissibility and deportability application. If you were in the United States for more than a 180 day time period, you will be required to file this application.

This application is only available to people who are immediate relatives to United States Citizens. To qualify, you must be an immediate relative to an United States citizen, show that your absence will provide extreme hardship to your immediate relative, your length of stay in the U.S. is more than 180 days, be at least of 17 years of age, have an approved Petition For Alien Relative, or Petition For Alien Worker or, Petition For American Widow(Er), or Special Immigrant who has paid the immigrant visa processing fee.

To apply, you must show documentation, of the hardship that will occur if you or your loved one, leaves the country. Proving hardship can be difficult, and the criteria of hardship consist of the following area financial, emotional, health, personal, and educational. In general, the form will be adjudicated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and depending on the circumstances of your case, it is adjudicated by the Immigration Judge.  Once you receive the approved waiver, you are able to go schedule an appointment with the consulate in your home country. At the consulate, you will be required to attend an interview. If you pass the interview successfully, you will return to the United States with a visa, and be able to adjust your status.  Doing a waiver by yourself without consulting with an attorney, puts you at a high risk of being deported or not able to re-enter the United States. Make sure you consult with an immigration attorney prior to filing for a waiver application.

Consular Process is the process by which beneficiaries of an immigration petition who are outside of the U.S apply for an immigrant visa at consulate in his or her home.  The first part of the green card process is to obtain an approved visa petition by USCIS on the immigrant’s behalf, for an employer to obtain a labor certification and an approved visa petition for the immigrant, or for the immigrant to be selected in the diversity visa lottery. Consular processing can be thought of as the second part of the green card application process; a non-citizen immigrant attends a consular personnel interview and after approval he or she enters the United States and claim lawful permanent resident status.

The main benefit of consular processing is that it may be generally quicker than AOS. The time frame for consular processing on average is between 6 and 12 months, whereas AOS can take an average of 1 to 2 years.

Who is required to Consular Process?

Immigrants who are already living overseas will have no choice but to use consular processing as their green card application method.  Additionally, those whose permitted stay under a visa has expired or who entered illegally will be required to leave and use consular processing.

Immigrants who are already living in the United States, in particular those who are either on a valid visa or entered with inspection and area immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen, can use the procedure known as adjustment of status.  This means that you submit your documents and attend your green card interview at a USCIS office without leaving the U.S.

Dangers of Consular Processing:

Immigrants who have lived unlawfully in the U.S. and leave the U.S. to consular process may become subject to penalties for their unlawful stay.  Even if they otherwise qualify for a green card, the consulate must under the law bar them from re-entering the U.S. for 1 year, if their unlawful stay was between 180 days and 1 year, and for 10 years, if 3 years if their unlawful stay was 1 year or more.  In this instance, the immigrant may apply for a waiver, but it’s difficult to get.

How to Apply:

Step 1: Determine Your Basis to Immigrate

First, you must determine which specific immigrant category you fit into: family based and employment based petitions, refugee or asylum status, or through a number of other special provisions.

Step 2: File the Immigrant Petition

File the immigration petition or have one filed on your behalf.  Family based categories require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative file a Form 1-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) to the USCIS.  Employment based immigration petitions require the intending U.S. employer to file a Form I-140 (Petition for an Alien Worker) to the USCIS.

Step 3: Wait for a Decision on Your Petition

You will be notified if the petition is approved or denied.  If the non-citizen is living outside of the U.S. (or living in the U.S. but is required to apply for his or her visa through consular processing), the USCIS will then send the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center.  It will remain there until an immigrant visa number is available.

Step 4: Wait for Notification from the National Visa Center

The NVC will notify both the petitioner and beneficiary of visa processing fees and the supporting documentation needed.  The usual supporting documents needed include:

  1. The original I-797 approval notice for immigration petition (I-130, 1-140, etc.)
  2. A copy of the immigration petition as-filed
  3. The receipt notice for Form I-824, if applicable
  4. A valid unexpired passport or other suitable travel document
  5. A police certificate from a local police authority if arrested for any reason at any age;
  6. Certified copies of prison records and military records if applicable
  7. Certified copy of a birth record
  8. Documents establishing relationship to spouse and children, if applicable
  9. Identity of documents and visa classification with respect to visa eligibility

Step 5: Go to Your Appointment

When the case is complete and a visa number is available, the NVC will forward the file to appropriate consular office at your place of residence abroad.  The beneficiary will receive an appointment letter providing the date he or she is to appear at the consulate and instructions for the medical exam.  The interview is as an opportunity to verify the contents of your application to see whether you’re inadmissible. If you’re applying based on marriage, it also allows it to ask personal questions designed to reveal whether your marriage is the real thing or a fraud to get the immigrant a green card. Note: the consulate office may return the petition to the USCIS to request reconsideration and revocation.

Step 6: After your Visa is Granted

If you are granted an immigrant visa you will receive a packet of information known as a “Visa Packet” and it SHOULD NOT be opened. When you arrive in the United States, you give your Visa Packet to the CBP officer at the port of entry who can deny you entry into the United States.  If you are found admissible, you will be admitted as a permanent resident and can live and work in the United States permanently. Your Green Card will be mailed within three months of your arrival in the United States.

Are you eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”)?

Since daca came on the scene three years ago, it has made a substantial difference for those who qualify.  DACA is a prosecutorial discretion program created by the Department of Homeland Security in 2012 aimed at certain individuals who came to the U.S. as children.  It was created with 2 goals in mind: (1) to provide deferred action for two years and (2) to provide a work authorization document.

It is estimated that 7 in 100 undocumented children have applied for the benefit so far and even more remain eligible, but have no idea how the process works.  With this article, our goal is to highlight the requirements and benefits of the program.

You are eligible for DACA if you meet the following requirements:

  • You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  • You came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  • You have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  • You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  • You had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  • You are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school or equivalency; and
  • You have not been convicted of certain crimes.

The benefits are twofold: (2) deferral of deportation and (2) authorization to work legally in the U.S.

If you are requesting DACA for the first time you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of Identity
  • Proof you came to the U.S before your 16th birthday
  • Proof of Immigration status
  • Proof of presence in the U.S on June 15, 2012
  • Proof of continuously resided in the U.S since June 15th, 2007
  • Proof of your student status at time of requesting DACA

If you are renewing your DACA USCIS suggests you to submit your renewal between 150 days and 120 days before the expiration date.

For DACA Renewals you must provide the following documents:

  • Proof of Identity
  • Proof of presence in the U.S the last three years.
  • Proof of student status, if applicable

If you believe that you meet the requirements, it is important that you consult an immigration expert to assess your specific circumstances and eligibility for DACA, especially if you have had any criminal convictions.

In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), creating special routes to immigration status for certain battered non-citizens.  VAWA allows a non-citizen who is being abused by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to self-petition independently, and without the knowledge of their abusive spouse or family member.  Immigrant victims of domestic violence or an abusive relationship often feel compelled to stay with their abuser since the victim needs the abuser’s help to get a green card. This dynamic gives the abuser power to manipulate his or her victim.

Who is Eligible?

The intending self-petitioner must prove that he or she is:

  1. A spouse, child (unmarried and under age 21)/parent of an abused child (unmarried and under age 21), or parent
  1. Who was physically battered and/or subjected to “extreme cruelty” by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent or adult child within the United States.

For a marriage-based petition, the intending self-petitioner must additionally prove that:

  1. The abusing spouse is (or was) a green card holder or U.S. citizen;
  2. The abuser spouse was legally married to the VAWA applicant;
  3. The VAWA applicant lived with the abusing spouse;
  4. The VAWA applicant was abused during the marriage;
  5. The marriage was based on a relationship that was entered into for bona fide, good faith reasons and not solely for obtaining immigration benefits; and The marriage must be still valid or terminated less than 2 years prior to petition;
  1. The VAWA applicant is a person of good moral character.

How to Apply?

The non-citizen will file Form I-360 Self-Petition with supporting documentation.

Is VAWA available for Men?

Despite the name, VAWA also protects men.  Battered spouses of a same-sex marriage could also eligible for a VAWA case.  The same legal standard would apply regardless of the VAWA applicant’s gender or sexual orientation.

Re-Marriage

A VAWA self-petitioner must wait to get remarried until after USCIS approves the petition.  If the applicant remarries before USCIS approves the petition, it will be invalidated.

I-751 Waiver Petitions for Conditional Residents

A battered immigrant may apply for a waiver of the joint petition requirement and file his or her own I-751 petition to remove conditions.  In order to apply for a waiver of the joint filing requirement, the immigrant spouse holding conditional resident status must prove that:

  1. The marriage was entered into in good faith and not for fraudulent immigration purposes;
  1. The conditional resident falls into one of the following categories:
    1. His or her removal from the U.S. would result in extreme hardship, or
    2. The good faith marriage was legally terminated by divorce, or death of U.S. citizen spouse, or
    3. He or she was subjected to battering or extreme cruelty by the U.S. citizen spouse/lawful permanent resident during the course of marriage (or for a child applicant, the abuse occurred at the hands of U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent).

Processing:

If the VAWA petition is approved, the immigrant is granted deferred action status in most cases, meaning that removal, or deportation, proceedings will not be initiated.  Self-petitioners who are immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens (spouses, parents, unmarried children under the age of 21) are eligible to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident status when their VAWA petition is approved.

Spouses and children of lawful permanent residents must wait for an immigrant visa to become available for their category.  Upon approval of his or her petition, an applicant is also eligible for work authorization (with proof of approved VAWA application or pending I-485).  Derivative status is available to certain children and parents of the principal immigrant.

The K-3 visa (U Nonimmigrant Status) is designed to expedite the entry of the U.S. citizen’s spouse (K3 Visa) and hers/his unmarried dependents under the age of 21 (K4 Visa) by having the option to obtain a nonimmigrant K-3 visa overseas and enter the United States to await approval of the immigrant visa petition.

Who is Eligible:

A K-3 applicant who is the beneficiary of an approved or pending I-130 immediate relative petition filed by the U.S. citizen spouse. The applicant will then apply for Adjustment to Permanent Residence.  A foreign citizen who marries a U.S. citizen outside the U.S. must apply for the K-3 visa in the country where the marriage took place.

Eligible children of K-3 visa applicants receive K-4 visas.  K-3/K-4 visas allow their recipients to stay in the U.S. while immigrant visa petitions are pending approval by USCIS.  A K-3/K-4 is a multiple entry visa, therefore allowing the visa holder to travel in and out of the U.S.  Additionally, the K-3 visa holder is permitted to work in the U.S. and may apply for and obtain Employment Authorization.

How to Apply:

The U.S. citizen spouse must first submit Form I-130 with DHS and USCIS.  Once the I-130 receipt notice is received from USCIS, the U.S. citizen spouse can file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, for spouse and stepchildren.  Additionally, the application must include:

  1. Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act
  1. Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  1. Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
  1. Form G-325A, Biographical Information
  1. DS-156 Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  1. DS-156-K Nonimmigrant Fiance(e) Visa Application
  1. DS-157 Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application

The Petitions will be sent to the National Visa Center for processing and the petition will be sent to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that issues visas in the foreign-citizen spouses’ country of nationality unless there is no U.S. Embassy, or the Embassy or Consulate does not issue visas. In that case, the NVC will send the petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that normally processes visas for citizens of that country.  The denial of a visa at a U.S. Consular post is generally a non-reviewable and non-appealable decision.

A T visa (T Nonimmigrant Status) is a type of visa allowing victims of human trafficking to remain temporarily and work in the United States. This visa allows law enforcement agencies to strengthen their ability to minimize human trafficking. Human trafficking by definition is recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring, or receiving a human being by the use of force, threats, abduction, receiving money for someone, or having control over a person for the purpose of exploitation. Human trafficking often occurs to individuals who are poor, unemployed, or who lack access to social services. To apply for the applicant must show that they were the victim of human trafficking, are in the United States, complied with law enforcement requests, demonstrate you suffered harm such as a serious or mental illness, likelihood of re-victimization, proof that he or she will not be safe in native country and likelihood of harm by traffickers.

Application Advanced Parole Enter Nonimmigrant is a document or card issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  It allows certain non-residents to re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad without the need for a visa, and also preserves any adjustment of status or protected status application that is pending with the USCIS.  Advance Parole does not guarantee admission into the U.S; if not obtained before traveling abroad there is a great possibility that the individual may not be permitted to re-enter the U.S. upon his or her return.  As such, non-residents are still subject to the inspection process at the port of entry.

Who May Apply:

Non-residents present within the United States may apply for Advance Parole if they have:

  1. An application for adjustment of status (Form I-485) pending;
  2. Been admitted as a refugee or have been granted asylum;
  3. Been granted benefits under the Family Unity Program;
  4. Been granted Temporary Protected Status;
  5. An asylum application pending; or
  6. An emergent personal or bona fide reason to travel temporarily abroad.

Non-Residents present within the United States are not eligible for Advance Parole if they are:

  1. In the United States without a valid immigration status;
  2. In possession of a previously issued reentry permit or refugee travel document which is still valid, unless it was returned to USCIS or it is demonstrated that it was lost;
  3. An exchange alien subject to the foreign residence requirement;
  4. The beneficiary of a private bill; or
  5. Under removal proceedings

Individuals who have applied for adjustment of status and are maintaining H-1 status or L-1 status or are a dependent in H-4 or L-2 status do not require an advance parole.

How to Apply:

The non-resident must reside within the United States and have a personal or bona fide reason to travel temporarily abroad. The application must include the following:

  1. USCIS Form I-131, Application for Travel Document;
  2. Two identical color passport-style photographs taken within 30 days of filing the application Note: lightly print your A# or your name if you have no A# on the back of each photo using a pencil.
  3. Copy of your current passport.
  4. Copy of the USCIS Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Document issued to

you while you entered the United States;

  1. Copy of the receipt notice or other evidence that your application for Green Card is pending with the USCIS;
  2. Copies of documents which indicate your current status

Abandonment of Status Adjustment

If a non-resident applies for an Adjustment of Status and then enters the U.S. on a visa, instead of an advanced parole document, the pending I-485 petition may be considered to have been abandoned, However, if they are paroled prior to traveling outside of the U.S., all pending applications continue to be effective.

Non-residents holding valid H-1 (temporary worker in a specialty occupation) or L-1 (intra-company transferee) visas and their dependents who have filed for adjustment of status do not have to file for Advance Parole for the purposes of maintaining their adjustment of status application, as long as:

  1. He/she is in possession of a valid H or L status before traveling abroad;
  2. He/she comes back to the US with a valid H-1 or L-1 visa; and
  3. He/she resumes employment with the same employer for whom H or L status was issued prior to departure from the US.

Processing:

The Advance Parole application filing fee is $360, and it takes about two to three months to process.  Once issued, a non-resident may make multiple entries into the U.S.  Renewal application must be filed at least 120 days before the previously issued advance parole expires.

Typically, an interview is not required for the Advance Parole application. USCIS Service Centers and/or local offices will mail the document directly either to the applicants or to the applicant’s attorney after reviewing the materials received and approving the application.

If an Advance Parole application and Work Authorization application are submitted concurrently with an Adjustment of Status, the filing fees are generally waived.  Also, both the Work Authorization and Advance Parole permission are issued on one card.

Refugee Asylee relative petition provides a safe haven for those who either have been persecuted in their countries of origin or have a well-founded fear of persecution. Asylum are for individuals who are in removal proceedings and are not in removal proceedings. To apply for asylum, not only do you need to satisfy the definition of “refugee” to be eligible for asylum, but you must also be physically present in the United States. The refugee definition is someone who is, “unable or unwilling to return to” their country of origin, “because of persecution or well-founded fear of persecution”, and based on five protected groups of face, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. You must fit in one of these categories.

You can file for Asylum up to one year after arriving to the United States. If you pass that one year deadline, you may still qualify, but speak with an immigration attorney to assist you with your application. After filing your application, you can file for a work permit so you can work in the United States. Keep in mind that Asylum is a discretionary application, which means that even if you meet the substantive eligibility requirements for asylum, you may be denied asylum if you have a record of criminal or terrorist behavior, among other activities considered detrimental. The determination of asylum is based on substantial evidence on the record as a whole, and is credible in nature.

Other supporting documents to assist you with your application include a declaration on why you left your country, and what happened to you when living in your country.

After your application is granted, he or she is called an “asylee.” An asylee’s spouse and children may be granted permission to reside and work in the United States. Because asylum is a temporary status, you can apply for other more permanent types of status after certain requirements are met.

Affirmative Asylum Overview

Immigrants residing lawfully in the Unites states can seek asylum through an affirmative process. Through this process the asylum seeker will have to have an interview conducted by an Asylum officer.

The affirmative asylum process will allow the immigrant to remain in the U.S while their application is pending. If the asylum is denied the Asylum seeker will be issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) before immigration court. Asylum applicants

Defensive Asylum Overview

If you are an immigrant facing removal proceedings you could apply for asylum and withholding of removal. Immigrants who are apprehended by Customs and Border Protection at time of entry are placed in detention. An asylum officer will provide a credible fear interview and determine whether the immigrant maintains credible fear of harm based on one of the five grounds or if the alien has been persecuted. If fear of persecution is legitimate they may opt to apply for asylum before an immigration judge.

A person’s permanent residence status will be conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old on the day they were given permanent residence (lawfully admitted to the U.S. on an immigrant visa or received an adjustment of status).  A person’s permanent resident status is conditional, because they must prove that they did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States.

When to File:

Typically, the couple must file jointly.  The Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence) must be filed within the 90-day period before the second anniversary as a conditional resident or within 90 days of your return to the U.S., if you and your spouse are outside the U.S. on orders of the U.S. government.

If the application is filed earlier than the 90 days before the conditional residence expires, the application will be sent back.  If the application is not filed properly filed, or without explanation, the conditional resident status will be automatically terminated and the USCIS will order removal proceedings against the resident.  At the hearing you may the evidence may be rebutted by proving that the requirements were complied with.
How to Apply:

  1. Include a copy of conditional resident card (front and back);
  1. Evidence of your Bona Fide Marital Relationship – evidence covering the entire period from your marriage up to the present date; however, there is no need to repeat evidence that you already submitted to them earlier. Concentrate on the evidence that has developed since they last interviewed you.
  • A deed, showing co-ownership of your property or a lease agreement with both of your names on the lease.
  • Utility bills, credit card bills, and other types of bills which have both of your names on them (or separate bills in each person’s name with the same address).
  • Copies of joint cards, credit cards, or health insurance cards showing same account number.
  • Car, health, or life insurance that has both of your names on the policy or the other spouse listed as the beneficiary.
  • 401K or other retirement plan with spouse listed as beneficiary (right to survivorship is the technical term).
  • Bank or stock accounts with both of your names on them.
  • A copy of your joint federal and state tax returns or official tax transcript (including W-2’s and other applicable Schedules and attachments).
  • A car title or other titles to property showing joint ownership with your spouse.
  • Documentation of any vacations that you have taken and family pictures.
  • Documentary proof showing evidence of your children together (Copy of Birth Certificate, photos, etc)
  • Copies of Christmas cards and other holiday cards addressed to you both.

Processing:

The I-751 form and accompanying documents are mailed to either the USCIS California or Vermont Service Centers depending on the state of residence.  If the couple is selected for an interview, it will be at their local USCIS office, not at the service center.  I-751 cases are generally completed in 6-12 months, currently.  Once you receive the 10-year green card, it should be renewed every 10 years, if you do not become a U.S. citizen in the interim.

Persons who come to the United States for full or part time employment within a Religious workers may qualify for an R-1 Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Worker visa.  The visa was created in order to support those persons who practice a recognized religion and have devoted their lives to their religious practice.

To qualify for this kind of visa you must be employed for at least 20 hours per week by a non-profit religious organization located within the United States, a non-profit religious organization associated with a religion that is recognized in the United States, or a religious organization that has tax exempt status in the United States. You must also have been a member of an aforementioned category of religious organizations for a period of at least 2 years preceding the filing of your visa application.

The application itself, including the form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, must be filed by your current/prospective employer in the United States. After the I-129 is approved you can travel to the closest U.S. Consulate or Embassy at which time you eligibility to enter the U.S. with an R-1 visa will be further examined.

The application process can be complicated and there are many specific components to the qualifications. Supporting evidence must be provided by both you, as the beneficiary, and your employer, as the petitioner. The requirements vary based on the type of religious organization with which you are contracted to work.

It should be noted that USCIS has the right under the applicable federal regulations to inspect the organization prior to approving your application. For this reason, your employer must be able to provide a physical address to the place of worship or congregation where you are to be employed.

R-1 visas are granted for a 30 month period of admission and can be extended for up to another 30 months. You, as the worker, will not be permitted to remain in the United States on an R-1 visa for a period exceeding 60 months, which translates to 5 years. Because R-1 visas are granted for a finite period of time, you must show that you have dual intent. In other words, you must supply proof with your application that you intend to return to your country of nationality once your visa expires.

As an R-1 visa holder, your children under the age of 21 and spouse may be permitted to accompany you to the United States with R-2 dependent classification, however, they will not be permitted to work

If you chose to apply for and R-1 Temporary Nonimmigrant Religious Workers visa it is important you contact an experienced immigration attorney who can help you navigate the process.

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is for children in the United States who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by one or both of their parents. Children who are granted Special Immigrant Juvenile Status can apply for permanent residence in the United States. In order to qualify for this status, the child, through their attorney, must prove these facts:

  1. The child is under 21 years old;
  2. The child has never been married;
  3. The child was abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both parents;
  4. Reunification with the abusive or missing parent is not possible; and
  5. It is not best for the child to go back to their country.

When a child applies for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, they must submit an order from a juvenile court that includes these five facts. The child can request this order in many types of cases, including custody, guardianship, adoption, and other family or juvenile court cases. If you know a child under 21, or if you are a child under 21, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the child live apart from their father or mother?
  • If so, does the absent parent fail to provide financial or emotional support?
  • Has the child’s father or mother ever intentionally hurt them?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then the child may qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.

In order to hire someone in the United States, an employer must complete an I 9 form to document verification of the employee’s identity employment form authorization (for both citizens and non-citizens).  This form requires that certain enumerated forms of identification be presented to an employer in order to verify that the employee is allowed to work in the United States.

The K 3 /K 4 Nonimmigrant Visas is designed to expedite the entry of the U.S. citizen’s spouse (K3 Visa) and hers/his unmarried dependents under the age of 21 (K4 Visa) by having the option to obtain a nonimmigrant K-3 visa overseas and enter the United States to await approval of the immigrant visa petition.

Who is Eligible:

A K-3 applicant who is the beneficiary of an approved or pending I-130 immediate relative petition filed by the U.S. citizen spouse. The applicant will then apply for Adjustment to Permanent Residence.  A foreign citizen who marries a U.S. citizen outside the U.S. must apply for the K-3 visa in the country where the marriage took place.

Eligible children of K-3 visa applicants receive K-4 visas.  K-3/K-4 visas allow their recipients to stay in the U.S. while immigrant visa petitions are pending approval by USCIS.  A K-3/K-4 is a multiple entry visa, therefore allowing the visa holder to travel in and out of the U.S.  Additionally, the K-3 visa holder is permitted to work in the U.S. and may apply for and obtain Employment Authorization.

How to Apply:

The U.S. citizen spouse must first submit Form I-130 with DHS and USCIS.  Once the I-130 receipt notice is received from USCIS, the U.S. citizen spouse can file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, for spouse and stepchildren.  Additionally, the application must include:

  1. Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act
  2. Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  3. Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
  4. Form G-325A, Biographical Information
  5. DS-156 Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  6. DS-156-K Nonimmigrant Fiance(e) Visa Application
  7. DS-157 Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application

The Petitions will be sent to the National Visa Center for processing and the petition will be sent to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that issues visas in the foreign-citizen spouses’ country of nationality unless there is no U.S. Embassy, or the Embassy or Consulate does not issue visas. In that case, the NVC will send the petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that normally processes visas for citizens of that country.  The denial of a visa at a U.S. Consular post is generally a non-reviewable and non-appealable decision.

The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) applies to certain individuals from Guatemala, El Salvador, and the former Soviet Bloc Countries who applied for asylum in the United States by specific dates or registered for benefits under the American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh, 760 F. Supp. 796 (N.D. Cal. 1991) class-action lawsuit settlement agreement.

NACARA also applies to qualified family members and certain individuals who have been victims of extreme cruelty at the hands of legal permanent residents, U.S. Citizens or other NACARA beneficiaries.

Under a subsection of this act (203), qualified individuals may apply for suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal under standards similar to those in effect before the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

Most immigrants come to the U.S. because of the opportunity to work and earn a decent living.  But one’s eligibility to work legally in the U.S. depends on their immigration status, which is not easy to discernible at times.  Please note that permanent residents do not need an Application Employment Authorization (EAD) other than their green card. If you do not have your green card, here are a few (not all) of the ways to obtain a valid employment authorization card.

The following categories of foreign workers are eligible to apply for an employment authorization document:

  • Asylees and asylum seekers
  • Refugees
  • Students seeking particular types of employment
  • Foreign nationals in the U.S. pursuing the final stage of permanent residence
  • Nationals of certain countries given Temporary Protected Status or TPS due to conditions in their home countries
  • Fiancés and spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Dependents of foreign government officials
  • J-2 spouses or minor children of exchange visitors
  • H2A and H2B workers
  • DACA recipients
  • Some foreign nationals in removal proceedings
  • Foreign nationals released under an order of supervision
  • Other workers depending on circumstances

Many beneficiaries and their dependents may be eligible to work in the U.S. as a result of their nonimmigrant status.  For more information on whether you are eligible to obtain an employment card, please call us for a 10-minute free consultation over the telephone or set up an appointment to meet with us in person.

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KONARE LAW 2021. All Rights Reserved.