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Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing: What Is the Difference?

 Posted on January 25, 2023 in Immigration

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.

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Can a Person With Children Receive a Fiancé Visa?

 Posted on January 18, 2023 in Immigration

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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What Will Happen if My Conditional Green Card Expires?

 Posted on December 27, 2022 in Immigration

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. 

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Will Criminal Convictions Affect Eligibility for U.S. Citizenship?

 Posted on December 15, 2022 in Immigration

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.

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Can I Receive a Waiver of Inadmissibility When Applying for a Visa?

 Posted on November 18, 2022 in Immigration

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:

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Is there a mistake on your green card?

 Posted on November 01, 2022 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.

Do you have to pay for a new card?

If the USCIS made the error, though, you probably qualify for a fee waiver. That is, according to the USCIS, you can file a form to request a replacement card without having to pay its filing fee. When you complete the form, be certain to provide accurate and complete information. Also, include the erroneous card with your filing.

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Understanding what extreme hardship means

 Posted on October 01, 2022 in naturalization & citizenship

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.

The law defines four specific levels of hardship, though. This ranges from one to four, with four being the least severe. Not only should a person have at least one qualification from level one, but they should have several qualifications from other levels, too. Serious life situations or plausible fears about going back to a home country are ideal for extreme hardship.

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Understanding the citizenship oath of allegiance

 Posted on October 01, 2022 in naturalization & citizenship

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.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you must swear to several tenets, including each of the following:

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What happens if a family member’s U.S. citizenship gets denied?

 Posted on September 01, 2022 in naturalization & citizenship

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.

Luckily, people can appeal the decision or apply again immediately after paying another application fee. There are no restrictions on the number of times people can reapply to take the test, and they can keep their green cards during this process.

When applicants do not have continued residence

Another citizenship requirement is physically living in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the previous five years. If applicants can not prove that they resided within the U.S. for enough time, their citizenship may get denied. In these cases, applicants can wait until they have been in the country long enough and reapply.

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Should you worry about your green card’s expiration date?

 Posted on September 01, 2022 in fiancé visas

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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