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The dangers of applying for Form I-131 Advance Parole (a travel document)

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 2:01 PM Comments comments (397)
Many people are anxious to travel outside of the United States while the green card application is still pending. If you are married to a United States citizen, and applying for a green card, there is an option to apply for advance parole or a travel document that will allow the foreign national spouse to leave the country while the green card application is pending. The best route is to stay in the United States  after the green card application is filed. Generally, USCIS will give foreign nationals the travel document. However when applying for the document, the instructions do state that if  the foreign national spouse has overstayed a visa by over 180 days they may be subject to a 3 year bar. In  addition if the foreign national spouse has overstayed a visa for over a year, then they may be subject to a 10 year bar. So even though the foreign national spouse may have the advance parole travel document, they may not be allowed to re-enter the United States.

What to do if you receive a Notice of Intent to Deny

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 9:52 PM Comments comments (413)
When an application is filed with the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS)  whether it be for a family based green card or an employment based visa such as H1-B it is possible that the government will issue you a notice of an intent to deny. Generally, this means that there is lack of sufficient documentation for the application.  There  is also normally a deadline in which you must respond. Failure to respond in a timely fashion will almost certainly lead to a denial. If you receive a Notice of Intent to Deny it is best to hire an immigration attorney to assist you. It is not only important to respond in a timely fashion, it is also essential to supply sufficient evidence to overcome the reasons for the possible denial. For example, if a US citizen files an I129 fiancee petition, but does not submit enough evidence to establish the two people know each other and are  in a relationship, a Notice of Intent to Deny may be issued.  Evidence of the relationship could include records of trips taken together, email correspondence and photos of the couple.

Maintaining Status as a Legal Permanent Resident

Posted on September 1, 2013 at 2:32 AM Comments comments (346)
There appears to be a myth that  many foreign nationals believe about being a green card holder.  A common fact pattern is that a green card holder thinks that it is okay to enter the United States every 5 months for a few weeks and maintain status.

The reality is that if a foreign national is living less than 6 months a year, there is a presumption that the foreign national has abandoned the green card.  Being a permanent resident means that  the green card holder is in the United States. Evidence of residence includes  tax returns filed in the United States, employment in the United States and utility bills or bank statements in the United States.

If it is absolutely necessary for the green card holder to be outside of the United States for more than 6 months, it is necessary to file for a re-entry permit. This application must be filed in the United States before the foreign national leaves the United States. If the green card holder fails to apply for this permit there will be the presumption of abandonment of the status and can lead to removal proceedings.  

Alexus P. Sham [email protected] (281)  296-5770. The above information is only general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. It does not create an attorney-client relationship. 

Marriage after entering on B1/B2 visa

Posted on August 13, 2013 at 1:46 PM Comments comments (85)
Many foreign nationals come to the United States on B1/B2 tourist visas. Generally these visas are issued to foreign nationals who show that they have enough strong ties to their home country when the I-94 expires usually 3 to 6 months.

However there is a frequent fact pattern where the foreign national ends up marrying a US citizen while on a tourist visa or shortly after the visa is expired. Before applying for a green card it is very important that the married couple consult an immigration attorney.

Several issues  can arise, including possible visa fraud, and if there are any other past visa violations.  In order to address these issues,  an immigration attorney must evaluate each case on its individual basis.  The green card process is complex and marriage based applications must show that the couple has entered the marriage in good faith.  Documentation should include photos, correspondence and letters from friends who have personal knowledge of the relationship.

Good news for same sex couples

Posted on August 9, 2013 at 1:46 AM Comments comments (122)
It is now possible for same sex marriage couples to apply for a green card.
However, the couple must be married in a state inside the US that recognizes same sex marriage, for example Massachusetts, New York, Iowa or California. Another option is to be married in a foreign country such as Canada that recognizes same sex marriage. 
What this means is that a US citizen spouse can now file for a green card for the same sex spouse. The green card process is still very complicated and it is best to consult an immigration attorney.  US citizens can file the I-130 and 1-485 together. So unlawful presence can be forgiven if the foreign national spouse entered the country legally and is married to a US citizen.
Green card holders can also marry but they have to wait for the green card visa to become available depending on the visa bulletin.  

Potentially exciting news for spouses of Legal Permanent Residents

Posted on August 2, 2013 at 10:08 AM Comments comments (350)
There is good news for spouses and the children under 21 of current green card holders.  According to the August Department of State's visa bulletin, the F2A category is current for all nationalities.

What this means that if your spouse or child under 21 is in the United States in lawful status they have a visa number available and can apply for a green card immediately. However, if your spouse or child is in the United States but not in lawful status they are not eligible.  So if you are Legal Permanent Resident and you want to file the green card application for your spouse of child under 21,  you should contact our firm to assist you right away. Filing for a green card is a complex process that requires filing of many forms and lots of other supporting documentation. So in order to avoid delays, it is best to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney. Many of our clients tried to do it themselves and encountered many difficulties. It is best to save time and money by consulting an experienced immigration attorney in the first place.

It is also important to note that although the visa number is available, there still will about 6 to 9 months for processing.  So do not expect things to happen overnight. This could change as of September 1st when a new visa bulletin will be issued.