Frequently Asked Questions
EVERY CASE IS DIFFERENT AND IMMIGRATION MATTERS CAN BE QUITE COMPLEX.
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PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE OR SCHEDULE YOUR CONSULTATION BELOW.
There are different types of employment-based immigration petitions. Typically, your employee can only start working if you are petitioning for an H-1B non-immigrant and the employee is already in the United States under H-1B classification. In all other circumstances, you must wait for approval of the petition.
Premium Processing is a special USCIS processing route that provides significantly faster processing in exchange for an additional fee. For an additional fee USCIS guarantees either a decision or a request for additional evidence within 15 calendar days on the following types of visa petitions or applications: H-1B, H-2B, H-3, O, P, Q-1, E-1, E-2, L, TN, some R-1, and certain I-140 petitions.
It depends on the type of visa status obtained and the amount in question.
The federal Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides the basis for U.S. immigration law.
A “green card,” provides proof of lawful permanent resident status, with authorization to live and work anywhere in the United States. It is issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Most green cards must be renewed every ten years, but some conditional green cards based on marriage or investment must be made permanent after the first two years.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is the government agency that oversees legal immigration to the United States. USCIS is primarily responsible for approving green cards, naturalization, work permits, travel permits, and other immigration benefits.
Yes. USCIS provides several filing fee waiver options if the applicant can establish that he or she is unable to pay. In order to have the USCIS consider waiving a fee, the applicant must follow specific instructions, including completion of a form and demonstrating financial hardship.
A lawful permanent resident, also known as a green card holder, is a foreign national who is authorized to live and work anywhere in the United States, sponsor certain relatives for their own green cards, and ultimately apply for U.S. citizenship.
A conditional green card is only valid for two years, and the designation “CR1” on the physical card stands for “conditional resident.” A conditional green card holder must file Form I-751 to “remove the conditions” and obtain a permanent green card. Most commonly, a conditional green card is issued to a spouse who has been married for less than two years at the time their green card was first approved. Contact us to learn more.
A green card application may be denied by the government for several reasons, including but not limited to mistakes on the required forms, missing documents, insufficient financial resources, or failure to demonstrate eligibility. Contact us to learn more.
Anyone who already has a valid work visa (for example, an H-1B or L-1 visa) can continue working even while applying for a green card. Otherwise, green card applicants aren’t allowed to start working in the United States until they obtain a work permit by filing Form I-765. Contact us to learn more.
There are many ways to get a green card, and the timeline for each option is different. Depending on the situation, the marriage-based green card process can last as little as ten months or over three years. Contact us to learn more.
The visa bulletin, issued every month by the U.S. Department of State, shows which green card applications can move forward, based on when the I-130 petition that starts the green card process was originally filed. The visa bulletin exists because Congress caps the number of green cards that can be issued each year in certain categories, creating numerous backlogs. Contact us to learn more.
During a biometric screening, a government representative records an individual’s fingerprints and takes photos, in order to check government records for any serious criminal record or relevant prior immigration violations. The biometric screening process is typically short and simple. Contact us to learn more.
All foreign nationals requiring new visas must apply for their visas at a U.S embassy or consulate outside the United States.
- Does the applicant have an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen?
- Does the applicant have a permanent employment opportunity or offer in the U.S. Does that employment fit under one of the five eligibility categories?
- Is the applicant able to make a capital investment in the U.S. that meets certain monetary thresholds? Does making such investments create or save a specified number of jobs?
- Does the applicant qualify for refugee or asylee status as an individual who suffers or fears persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political view, or membership in a certain group in his or her country of origin.
Yes. All non-immigrants and lawful permanent residents must register any change of address using USCIS Form AR-11.
Diversity Visa Lottery
The DV Lottery Program annually awards immigrant visas to applicants whose country of origin has low immigration rates to the U.S. (not more than 50,000 in the last five years). This is also referred to as quotas. The program is called a lottery because there are more applicants than available visas. The visas are granted randomly allocated to qualified applicants.
Yes, absolutely. It is not a ruse or scam to locate those who are illegally present in the United States.
Deportation (or removal) proceedings occur when an alien is found to have violated certain immigration or criminal laws. The consequences being that the alien forfeits his or her right to remain in the U.S., and is usually barred from returning to the U.S.
The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issues a Notice to Appear (NTA) stating the reason why the alien should be deported or removed. The NTA is served on the alien and is filed with the Immigration Court. A hearing is then scheduled, at which an Immigration Judge will determine if the information in the NTA is correct. The removal of the alien will be ordered if no objections or findings in favor of the alien are recorded. That’s why it is important to have an attorney represent you.
Yes. The alien has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). If the BIA decides against the alien, the matter can be appealed further to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Finally, if the Court of Appeals also finds against the alien, the matter can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court (the highest court in the U.S.).
Most U.S. citizens and U.S. green card holders are entitled by law to sponsor their spouses for a green card, also known as permanent residence status. The total cost, waiting time, and other details of the marriage green card process varies based on several factors. Contact us to learn more.
No. It may take several months to years to complete the green card process.
A K-1 or “fiancé(e) visa” is a temporary visa that is available only to fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens who are living outside of the United States and intend to get married within 90 days of arriving in the United States. A marriage green card is available to spouses of both U.S. citizens and U.S. green card holders, whether living in the United States or abroad, and provides permanent residency. Contact us to learn more.
A spouse’s permanent resident status will be conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old from the day the permanent resident status was granted. To remove the conditions, the spouse must establish that the marriage was entered in good faith (also called bona fide) and was not to circumvent the U.S. immigration laws.
The K-1 fiancé(e) visa is available to fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens who are living outside of the United States and intend to get married within 90 days of arriving in the United States. Contact us to learn more.
If the marriage to the U.S. citizen who filed the petition to let the fiancé(e) into the U.S. does not take place within 90 days from the date of entry to the U.S., the fiancé(e) will be required to leave the country.
The final step in the marriage-based green card process is the interview, where the interviewing officer’s primary goal is to assess the authenticity of the marriage. Questions can focus on the history of the couple’s relationship, their daily activities as a married couple, and their future plans as a couple. Contact us to learn more.
A “bona fide” marriage means two people who intend to build a future together, and who did not get married only for immigration purposes. Evidence of an authentic marriage can include joint financial documents, evidence of living together, tickets and photos of trips taken together, and other forms of evidence. Contact us to learn more.
Only if the student has been authorized for curricular practical training (CPT), optional practical training (OPT), or has an employment authorization document obtained under different immigration provisions.
Yes, once the I-140 petition is approved.
L-2 visa holders (spouses of L-1 visa holders) and spouses of E visa-holders, and some H-4 (H1-B visa dependents) visa holders can apply for employment authorization (EAD).
Each consulate or embassy has different local regulations for obtaining visas. Visit the Department of State to see the websites for American embassies and consulates across the world.
Here is an unofficial list of countries whose nationals may be subject to additional clearances that may delay visa issuance: Bangladesh; Egypt; Indonesia; Jordan; Kuwait; Afghanistan; Algeria; Bahrain; Eritrea; Iran; Iraq; Lebanon; Libya; Morocco; North Korea; Oman; Pakistan; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Somalia; Sudan; Syria; Tunisia; United Arab Emirates; and Yemen.