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Basic facts for Texas immigrants about the citizenship process

 Posted on March 01, 2019 in naturalization & citizenship

Many immigrants choose Texas as their new home state. Details regarding how each person came to live in the United States greatly vary. Some people entered under urgent, sudden circumstances while others filed petitions for visas before gaining legal entry. The ultimate goal for many immigrants is to successfully navigate the citizenship naturalization process.

Becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen is a legal process. A person pursuing this process must first meet all eligibility requirements. One requirement is that an applicant must be age 18 or older. He or she must also have physically resided in the United States as a legal permanent resident for at least five years before applying.

The ability to speak and understand English is a key factor toward naturalization, as well. Applicants must also be in good moral standing. As with most immigration processes, there are exceptions to certain rules. An experienced immigration law attorney can explain such details to an applicant, especially those that would have an impact on a particular case.

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Family immigration: How to help a loved one obtain a green card

 Posted on March 01, 2019 in Firm News

Texas is home to tens of thousands of immigrants. Each person’s journey to the United States is unique although many people’s experiences share certain issues in common. For instance, a great number of people enter the U.S. through the family immigration system.

This means that a U.S. citizen or someone who has green card status can petition the government on behalf of a family member to help him or her obtain a green card as well. Family members entering the U.S. on a family-based visa often include spouses, siblings, parents or children of petitioners. As with most immigration programs, there are strict requirements involved that must be fulfilled in order to process the proper documents.

It can be quite helpful to seek guidance and support from someone who is well-versed in U.S. immigration law and, in particular, the family immigration process. Filing applications, answering interview questions and making sure all legal status paperwork is in order can be highly stressful. Relying on an experienced immigration attorney throughout the process can help alleviate such stress.

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Does the Constitution apply to you if you are not a citizen?

 Posted on February 01, 2019 in Firm News

That immigration is a complex matter is no secret. Whether you are trying to bring your fiancé to America, work in the United States or get your Green Card, the application process can seem demanding. Appeals may seem to take forever. And denials can often put hope to the test.

Regardless of your adjustment of status, you may not understand what rights you have. According to a professor from Yale Law School, Cristina Rodriguez, the U.S. Constitution applies to undocumented immigrants. Rather than “citizen,” the Constitution often refers to “person” or “people.” Therefore, Rodriguez says the rights apply to you, regardless of citizenship.

How rights might apply to you

Just because these Constitutional rights might apply to you does not mean you can necessarily predict how they will be effected. It may be good to consider what the following rights could look like in your case:

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Make the most of a green card marriage interview

 Posted on February 01, 2019 in green cards

Many Texas immigrants hope to obtain a permanent resident legal status in the United States. Those who have married U.S. citizens will, at some point, attend a green card/marriage interview. Answering questions during an official immigration interview can be quite stressful, and not performing well can ultimately place one’s status at risk.

The purpose of the marriage interview is to rule out fraud. The federal government is aware that some people try to abuse the system by entering marriage under false pretenses, perhaps even for money to help immigrant spouses gain permanent resident statuses. The marriage interview is designed to weed out those whose relationships are not legitimate.

To avoid problems, it is best to arrive at a green card/marriage interview well prepared. This includes bringing all written documentation pertaining to entrance into the United States. In addition, one should bring a marriage certificate and any additional evidence that may help convince the interviewer that the marriage in question is bona fide. Such evidence might include photographs, correspondence between spouses, greeting cards or notes, and things like bank statements or other mail addressed to both spouses.

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Marriage to a US citizen does not always lead to a green card

 Posted on February 01, 2019 in green cards

Many Texas households include family members who are U.S. citizens who happen to be married to spouses who are not. The federal government often calls such marriages into question if it has reason to suspect that a relationship is fraudulent and that two people have gotten married simply to help one of them obtain permanent resident legal status. A non-citizen marrying a citizen, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that person will gain green card privileges.

A person who marries a born or naturalized citizen has the option of petitioning the federal government for a green card. Numerous documents must be submitted to request permanent residency. Requesting permanent resident status is not a legal obligation; in fact, an immigrant spouse should only do so if he or she plans to remain in the United States on a permanent basis.

Immigration laws can be quite complex. If a person files a petition for a green card based on a marriage to a U.S. citizen, he or she will want to seek clarification of all regulations pertaining to travel in and out of the country. While some statuses allow for traveling abroad and returning to the United States after marrying a citizen and filing application for a green card, others do not.

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Green cards for parents not limited to birth parents

 Posted on January 01, 2019 in Firm News

Under federal law, U.S. citizens are allowed to petition for green cards for certain relatives. This includes parents. Typically, U.S. citizens that are over 21 are eligible to pursue a green card for parents who are from another country.

Does this only extend to birth parents? No, it does not. Citizens generally are allowed to petition for adoptive parents and step-parents to be granted permanent resident status.

As a note, there are some added required supporting documents for petitions for non-biological parents.

For cases involving adoptive parents, this includes:

  • A copy of the adoption certificate (which generally needs to show the adoption occurred prior to the citizen turning 16)
  • A statement on when and where the citizen lived with the adoptive parent

For cases involving step-parents, this includes:

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Rejection rate of fiancé visas holds oddly steady

 Posted on January 01, 2019 in Firm News

The rate of rejection of almost every kind of immigration visa has jumped in the first nine months of 2018, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The denial rate for most immigration applications jumped from 8.3 percent in 2016 to 11.3 percent in 2018. The denial rate from H-2A agricultural workers and H-1B high-skilled workers went from 16.8 percent in 2016 to 22.6 percent in 2018. The denial rate for green cards went from 5.9 percent in 2016 to 7.9 percent in 2018.

Most of these categories saw either a measured increase between 2016 and 2018 or a large bump in the last year. One of the odd blips during the increase in visa denials is that the K-1 visa – the fiancé visa – jumped from 13.6 percent in 2016 to 21.8 percent in 2017, then actually dropped 0.8 percent between 2017 and 2018.

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