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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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