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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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:

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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). 

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Is there a mistake on your green card?

Posted on in green cards

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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US immigration has many requirements for anyone entering the country long-term as well as a variety of restrictions that bar certain applicants. However, these grounds of inadmissibility are not black and white.

With the right waver, you may have more options than you think when it comes to applying for your own immigration or helping loved ones with theirs.

Examples of inadmissibility and exceptions

As CitizenPath details, there are several categories of inadmissibility that may or may not have waivers available.

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Applying for a fiancé visa in the United States is a long process. One of the most important components of the visa process is the associated interview.

Preparing correctly for this interview is key to receiving a fiance visa. According to the US State Department, to prepare for the interview you will need to have a medical examination and ensure that you have all of the proper paperwork at hand.

Medical examination

You must schedule your medical examination in the country where your interview will take place. Additionally, the physician must have approval from the US embassy. This approved physician is the “Panel Physician.” The US government will not accept examinations from non-approved physicians.

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The Texas Department of Public Safety launched a program in March to target migrants crossing the Mexican border into the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating this program for potential civil rights violations.

What are the alleged violations?

Alleged civil rights violations

The DOJ investigation is attempting to determine if the Texas DPS is not complying with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Information that indicates that the DPS is discriminating based on race or national origin prompted the investigation. The allegations assert that Operation Loan Star officials are targeting people for traffic stops and misdemeanor trespass violations based on their actual or perceived race or national origin.

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If you are a U.S. citizen, you are eligible to bring your foreign national fiancée into the country.

There are regulations to follow and documents to submit, but once you finish with the details, your fiancée will qualify for the required K-1 visa.

About Form I-129F

As the petitioner to bring your fiancée to the U.S., you must first file Form I-129F, the Petition for Alien Fiancée, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In this document, you must confirm that the two of you are free to marry. You must also confirm that the marriage will occur within 90 days of your fiancée arriving in the U.S. as a K-1 non-immigrant.

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If you are currently in the United States and you are not eligible to adjust your status because of unlawful presence, there may be a faster way to begin the green card process. Unlawful presence means you entered the country without inspection, you are in violation of your temporary visa or you overstayed your original period of authorization.

The provisional waiver application, or I-601A, is available to certain visa applicants who are immediate family members of U.S. citizens.

Purpose of the provisional waiver

According to the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the purpose of the waiver is to reduce the amount of time that spouses and children are away from their families while they go through the immigrant visa process. Without the provisional waiver, the separation time is sometimes months or even years.

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The naturalization process can feel overwhelming as you steadily move closer to your interview and test. A lot hinges on whether you pass your test, so it makes sense that you may feel nervous about the whole event.

Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to prepare for your naturalization interview and test. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the interview and test involve answering an officer’s questions and taking a two-part exam.

Preparing for the interview

To prepare for the interview, study your application. The USCIS officer will have questions about your background and talk to you about your application. If you are nervous before the interview, ask a friend or family member to go over your application with you. Ask someone you trust to perform a mock interview to prepare you. When it comes to your interview, answer calmly and honestly.

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If you are a U.S. citizen who moved here from another country, you may have both close and extended relatives that would like to join you in the states. You might also be planning to marry a non-U.S. citizen and would like him or her to be able to live and work in the country you now call home.

American immigration law is constantly changing. However, preserving family bonds remains a top priority when considering petitions for either visas or green cards.

What are the options for helping family members gain legal residency?

If you already have citizen status, you may be able to sponsor immediate family, extended family members, a current spouse or a future spouse. Options for helping family members gain legal residency include:

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The naturalization and citizenship process consists of several parts, including English and civics tests. Unless you qualify for an exemption, you must pass both.

What happens, though, if you fail either? Do you get another chance to retake it, or do you lose the opportunity to become a U.S. citizen entirely?

The English and Civics test portions of the naturalization test

Unless an exemption applies to you, you must take and pass the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization test. This test consists of two components:

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