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Dallas Immigration LawyerImmigrating to the United States can be a complicated process, and there are many different types of visas that may be available, as well as multiple legal statuses that may affect a person's ability to remain in the country and avoid deportation. For some immigrants, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) may be an option to protect against deportation and ensure that they are not forced to return to countries where their safety could be at risk. TPS is intended to protect individuals who are unable to return to their home countries due to natural disasters, wars, or other extreme circumstances. Understanding when a person can qualify for TPS and the process of applying for this form of protection can be crucial for immigrants who are seeking to remain in the U.S.

Understanding Temporary Protected Status

The Temporary Protected Status program was created in 1990, and it grants temporary protections to individuals from certain countries. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a country for TPS based on extraordinary issues that temporarily affect the safety and well-being of the country's residents. These may include environmental disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, or hurricanes, as well as civil wars, other armed conflicts, epidemics of infectious diseases, or any other dangerous conditions.

Immigrants from designated countries can apply for TPS, and once they are granted this status, they cannot be deported from the United States. They will also be able to receive authorization to work for employers in the U.S., and they may be granted authorization to travel internationally and return to the United States. TPS designations usually remain in effect for a limited time, although they may be extended. Immigrants who have been granted Temporary Protected Status will be required to re-register after the designation for their country has been extended.


Plano Naturalization LawyerCitizens of the United States enjoy many benefits. They will be able to live in the U.S. on a permanent basis, and they cannot be forced to leave the country. They can live anywhere they want within the United States, work for U.S. employers, and travel internationally with a U.S. passport. Because of these benefits, the attainment of U.S. citizenship is a goal for many immigrants. Children of U.S. citizens will usually also be eligible for citizenship. While citizenship will automatically be granted if a child is born in the United States, parents may need to take steps to make sure children born in other countries are recognized as citizens.

Citizenship Requirements for Children Born Outside of the U.S.

If at least one of their parents is a U.S. citizen who has established residence in the United States, the child may also be granted citizenship. A child's citizenship will be automatically recognized if the child is younger than 18 years old, the child has a valid Green Card, and the child is living in the U.S. in the custody of a parent who is a U.S. citizen.

A child may be considered to be in the legal and physical custody of a parent if their parents are married, if they live with one parent when the other parent is deceased, if they were born to unmarried parents and have been legally recognized as the child of the parent with whom they reside, or if custody has been awarded to a parent after a divorce or legal separation. If parents share joint custody of a child, this will meet the requirement for legal custody for purposes of U.S. citizenship. To meet the requirement for physical custody, a U.S. citizen parent must be primarily responsible for the child's care.


Dallas Family-Based Visas LawyerImmigrants who wish to resettle in the United States and U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who wish to sponsor family members for immigration may struggle to understand their options and the laws that apply to them. In family-based immigration cases, different types of visas may be available depending on the status of the sponsor and their relationship with those who will be immigrating to the U.S. In addition to determining the appropriate types of visas, family members will need to understand the quotas that determine the number of visas that may be issued each year.

Numerical Limits on Family-Based Visas

The United States sets strict annual limits for the number of family-based visas that will be available. Because of these limits, certain immigrants may experience lengthy wait times before they can receive approval for a visa. In some cases, they may need to wait for years or even decades.

Family-based immigrant visas are divided into two categories: immediate relative visas and family preference visas. The laws in the United States have set a limit of 480,000 family-based visas that may be issued each year. In addition, there is a per-country limit that applies to all visas issued, and the number of visas issued for people from one country cannot be more than 7 percent of the total number of people who immigrate to the U.S. in a given year.


Plano Provisional Waiver LawyerImmigrating to the United States can be a daunting process. One of the biggest hurdles that many immigrants face is being able to stay in the country legally. Those who entered the United States without authorization or stayed in the country after the expiration of a visa may be concerned that they will be deemed "inadmissible" when applying for a visa or Green Card. However, certain types of waivers of inadmissibility may help address these issues. One of these is known as the provisional unlawful presence waiver. These provisional waivers are available in certain situations, and they may facilitate the process of receiving a visa that will give them authorization to enter the United States and remain in the country permanently.

What Are Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers?

Provisional waivers exist to help certain immigrants achieve lawful status in the United States. These waivers are available to people who are already in the U.S. but believe that they are inadmissible due to a period of "unlawful presence," such as those who came to the country on a tourist visa or student visa but did not depart after the visa expired and remained in the country for at least 180 days. If an immigrant can prove that their absence from the country will cause extreme hardship for a spouse or parent who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, they may apply for a provisional waiver. If the waiver is approved, they will be required to leave the United States and attend an interview for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Eligibility for Provisional Waivers

An immigrant must be at least 17 years old to apply for a provisional waiver, and they must be in the United States at the time they file their application. They must already be in the process of applying for an immigrant visa, such as by receiving approval on an I-130 form filed on their behalf by an immediate family member. Provisional waivers will only be available for immigrants who are subject to a three-year bar due to an unlawful presence in the United States for between 180 days and one year or a 10-year bar due to an unlawful presence in the U.S. for more than one year.


Dallas Spouse Visa Lawyer

If you are a citizen of the United States, and you are married to a foreign spouse, you are likely looking at your options for applying for a family visa and ensuring that they can receive a Green Card and live with you in the U.S. on a permanent basis. This can be an intimidating process, but with careful planning, you can successfully apply for and receive a visa for your spouse. Here are some things to consider when applying for a visa when your spouse is either inside or outside of the U.S.:

Eligibility for Sponsoring a Spouse for Immigration

To sponsor your spouse for an immigrant visa, you must be at least 18 years old. While there is technically no age requirement for filing a visa application, you will need to file an Affidavit of Support along with the application, and this affidavit has an age requirement of 18. You must also have a permanent residence in the United States, and you must plan to continue living in the country for the foreseeable future.


Plano Waivers of Inadmissibility Lawyer

Immigrants, including those who wish to come to the United States and those who are currently in the country and wish to obtain authorization for permanent residence, will need to be aware of the issues that could affect their ability to receive a visa or Green Card. There are certain factors that may lead to inadmissibility, which may prevent a person from receiving authorization to enter the U.S. or limit their ability to remain in the country. Criminal convictions are a common issue that can affect admissibility, and immigrants who have been convicted in the past will need to understand their options as they address issues related to immigration.

How Does the U.S. Government Determine Eligibility for a Visa or Green Card?

Immigration officials will follow multiple laws, regulations, and procedures when determining whether a person is admissible to the United States. When an immigrant applies for a visa or Green Card, their application is sent to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where it is reviewed by an immigration officer. The officer will look at many different factors to determine whether the applicant is eligible for a visa or Green Card, including their criminal history.

What Types of Crimes Make Someone Inadmissible?

There are many different offenses that can make someone inadmissible to the United States, but some of the most common include:


Dallas Family Immigration Lawyer

U.S. citizens and Green Card holders have the right to sponsor certain family members for immigration to the United States. This will allow a family to live together in a safe community and pursue the opportunities available to residents of the U.S., including earning income through employment and seeking an education. Family-based immigration involves a complex set of requirements that must be met in order for an immigrant to qualify for a visa and Green Card. By understanding the documents that must be filed and the information that will need to be submitted, a sponsoring family member can take the correct steps to bring their family members to live with them.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to sponsor a family member for immigration, you must be either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident with a valid Green Card. You can only sponsor certain family members for immigration, and the types of visas that you can apply for will depend on your status and the specific relationships. If you are a U.S. citizen, you can sponsor your spouse, your children (as long as they are younger than 21 years old and are not married), and your parents for Immediate Relative visas, which are typically available with no quotas and no wait times. U.S. citizens can also sponsor unmarried adult children, married children, and siblings for Family Preference visas, although these visas have quotas and wait times, and they are issued according to an order of preference. If you are a Green Card holder, you can sponsor your spouse and unmarried minor children for Family Preference visas.


Plano Citizenship Lawyer

People from other countries who wish to permanently resettle in the United States may encounter difficulties as they navigate the immigration process, and understanding the rules and regulations that govern eligibility for citizenship is not always easy. The path to becoming a naturalized citizen is long and complex, but understanding the basic eligibility requirements can help make the process easier and more straightforward.

A Guide to Eligibility for U.S. Citizenship

People who are born within the United States will automatically be considered to be citizens. Children born to U.S. citizens abroad will also usually be able to receive citizenship as long as their parents or grandparents meet certain residency requirements. Others who wish to become citizens will usually need to complete the naturalization process. Naturalization will be available to people who are at least 18 years old and who meet other requirements, including:


Plano Green Card LawyerUnderstanding the differences between adjustment of status and consular processing is an important part of navigating the immigration process. Both options involve filing an application for a green card, but there are a few key differences that could make one option more suitable than the other depending on a person's specific circumstances. Immigrants and their family members can determine the proper steps to take by working with an attorney who is experienced in immigration law.

What Is Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of status (AOS) is the process by which an immigrant may apply for a green card while already in the United States. It allows immigrants who have entered the country legally or, in some cases, those who have overstayed their visa to submit an application for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status without leaving the country.

To be eligible for AOS, an immigrant must either have entered the U.S. lawfully or be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility. In family-based immigration cases, a person must have a qualifying relative who is already a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who is willing to sponsor them in their green card application process. In employment-based immigration cases, a person will need to receive sponsorship from a U.S. employer. If all requirements have been met, a person can file an I-485 form with USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) and begin the adjustment of status process while remaining in the United States.


Plano Immigration LawyerA fiancé visa allows a foreign national to travel to the United States in order to marry a U.S. citizen. However, when it comes to receiving a fiancé visa, there are certain issues that must be taken into consideration—including whether the foreign fiancé has children. By understanding the applicable immigration laws, a couple can make sure they take the correct steps to ensure that all family members will be able to live in the United States.

Applying for a K-1 Visa

K-1 fiancé visas are immigration visas that allow foreign fiancés of U.S. citizens to enter the United States for the purpose of getting married. In order to be eligible for a K-1 visa, the U.S. citizen and foreign national must meet certain requirements, including:

  • The couple must have met in person within two years before filing the immigration paperwork. However, this requirement may be waived in certain circumstances, such as when traveling to another country would involve extreme hardship for one or both parties or when meeting prior to getting married would violate a person's religious or cultural practices.


Plano Green Card LawyerWhen an immigrant receives a Green Card, they are given lawful permanent resident status, allowing them to continue living in the U.S. indefinitely, work for U.S. employers, and travel both inside and outside the United States. However, some immigrants will initially qualify for conditional Green Cards that will be valid for two years. At the end of the two-year period, a person will need to take steps to remove the conditions on their Green Card, and if they fail to complete this process, their status as a lawful permanent resident will expire.

Repercussions of an Expired Card

If a conditional Green Card expires, a person will no longer have authorization to live and work in the United States. They may also lose certain rights and benefits, such as Social Security and Medicare benefits, travel privileges, and eligibility for government-funded programs. If a person loses their status as a lawful permanent resident, they may become eligible for deportation. It is important to take the correct steps to remove the conditions on permanent residence before the expiration date. In situations where a Green Card has expired, a person can consult with an attorney to determine their options. In some cases, it may be possible to renew a Green Card or remove the conditions on permanent residence after the expiration date has passed. 

Removing Conditions on Your Green Card

Within 90 days before a conditional Green Card expires, a person should file Form I-751 with U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In cases where a person received a Green Card after getting married to a U.S. citizen spouse, both spouses will be required to file Form I-751 together, and they will need to demonstrate that they entered into the marriage in good faith and that the marriage was legally valid. If a person's spouse died prior to the expiration of their conditional Green Card, they may file Form I-751 on their own. 


Dallas Immigration LawyerApplying for citizenship in the United States is a complex process that should not be taken lightly. In order to become a lawful citizen of the country, an individual must meet certain criteria that are defined in U.S. immigration laws, including residency requirements, knowledge of United States history and government, and the ability to speak, read, and write English. A person must also be able to show that they have good moral character, which may be affected by their previous criminal history. It is important to understand how criminal convictions that took place in the past may affect a citizenship application. 

Criminal Convictions That May Affect Good Moral Character

Certain types of offenses are severe enough that they are considered to be "permanent bars" to establishing good moral character. These include murder and other "aggravated felonies," such as sexual assault, drug trafficking, possession of child pornography, money laundering, and theft-related offenses or violent crimes that resulted in a prison sentence of at least one year. A person who was involved in genocide, torture, or similar activities will also be permanently barred from U.S. citizenship.

Other offenses are known as "conditional bars" to establishing good moral character, and they may be considered if a conviction occurred within an applicable statutory period. For most people, the statutory period is the five years prior to the date they filed an application for naturalization. For some spouses of U.S. citizens, the statutory period is three years. A person will be required to show that they have had good moral character during this statutory period and until the date of naturalization. Offenses that may be considered conditional bars if a conviction occurred during the statutory period include:


The process of applying for an immigrant visa or a green card can be long and complicated. In some cases, a person may be determined to be inadmissible to the United States. A finding of inadmissibility may be due to past criminal convictions, a period of unlawful presence in the United States, or health-related issues. If you have been informed that you are inadmissible to the U.S., you may be wondering if there is any way that you may still be able to receive your immigrant visa or green card. In certain situations, waivers of inadmissibility are available, and with the help of an immigration attorney, you can determine whether you will be able to meet the requirements for this type of waiver.

Eligibility for Waivers of Inadmissibility

Based on the circumstances of your case, the U.S. government may choose to excuse your inadmissibility. If you receive a waiver of inadmissibility, you will still be able to apply for an immigrant visa or green card. The eligibility requirements will be different depending on the reasons for inadmissibility:

  • Inadmissibility on health-related grounds due to a communicable disease - If you are inadmissible because you have been diagnosed with a disease such as tuberculosis, you may receive a waiver if you are the spouse, parent, or unmarried child of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident or if you are applying for a visa through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). 


Is there a mistake on your green card?

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If you have gone through the process of applying for legal permanent residency, you are probably ready to take a break from dealing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. After all, receiving a green card can take seemingly forever and requires jumping through dozens of bureaucratic hoops.

When you receive your green card in the mail, you should immediately inspect it for any errors. If you notice one or more, you must take prompt action to correct the problem.

Who owns the mistake?

Your first step is to assign responsibility for the mistake. That is, you must know whether you made the error or whether the USCIS did. To do so, you should look through your permanent residency filing to see if you made a typographic error or some other error. If you did, you likely must pay to correct the problem.


If you are thinking about becoming a citizen of the U.S., you may be a bit nervous about the English-language requirement and civics test. You also may worry about getting through the lengthy application and interview process. Luckily, there are ways to prepare for each of these.

With some effort, you can probably make your citizenship process go smoothly. If it does, you eventually will arrive at the final stage of the process: the oath of allegiance. Because this is a legally binding and solemn oath, you should think carefully before taking it.

The oath of allegiance

Every aspiring citizen must take an oath of allegiance to the U.S. before becoming a citizen. This tradition, which dates back to the 1700s, requires you to make certain affirmations.


If you are an immigrant looking into potential waivers, the extreme hardship waiver might be one available. It is applicable to people who may claim extreme hardship from deportation.

This waiver, also called the 601 waiver, exists to delay deportation and resist banishment from the country for up to 10 years.

What is extreme hardship?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services discuss what extreme hardship is. Unfortunately, the definition itself is intentionally left quite vague which means there is a lot of room for interpretation in the immigration courts.


Even after applying for a green card, it is important to stay on top of the application process the whole way through.

This gives you the best chance of catching mistakes as they happen, as well as ensuring that the application gets processed with no snags or hang-ups.

Stay engaged

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services discuss what to expect when dealing with pending green card applications. First, make sure to stay engaged throughout the process. For example, the USCIS requires an up-to-date address for the application.


If you are a legal permanent resident of the U.S., your green card undoubtedly has an expiration date. While it makes sense to apply for an unexpired card before yours expires, your legal permanent residency probably does not expire. That is, regardless of your card’s expiration date, you are likely a legal permanent resident forever.

There is an exception to this rule, though. If you are a conditional resident and have a two-year green card, you must take steps to extend your residency. After all, failing to do so may cause immigration officials to try to deport you from the country.

10-year green cards

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, all legal permanent residents must have their green cards with them at all times. If you let your card expire, you may be guilty of a misdemeanor offense. You also may have trouble reentering the U.S. with an expired green card after traveling abroad.


It might take years of planning to help family members obtain U.S. citizenship. Many people may worry about what happens if the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denies an application.

What happens next depends on the reason for the denial.

When applicants fail the citizenship test

The USCIS requires a test as one step in the citizenship process. When applicants fail the test, they can take it a second time within 60 to 90 days. If they fail the second test, their request gets denied.


If you meet the eligibility requirements to become a U.S. citizen, you may be itching to get through the process. After all, applying for naturalization can be both stressful and expensive. To improve your chances of sailing through your naturalization interview, it is important to study for the civics exam.

Individuals who want to become U.S. citizens must have a general knowledge of American civics, history and government. To test this knowledge, officials with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services give naturalization applicants an oral examination. Regrettably, it is not uncommon for legal permanent residents to fail this exam.

How does the civics exam work?

According to the USCIS, it is entirely possible to prepare for the civics exam, as immigration officials publish the 100 possible questions they may ask you. You do not have to ready yourself to answer 100 separate questions, though. Indeed, the officer will only ask you 10 of them. Because you do not know which 10 to prepare for, however, you should try to learn the answers to all 100.

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