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Frequently Asked Questions
What factors are considered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in granting one’s immigration status?
Factors considered by the USCIS are:
- Whether the applicant has an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
- Whether the applicant has a permanent employment opportunity in the United States and whether that employment fits under one of the five eligible employment categories
- Whether the applicant is making a capital investment in the United States that meets certain dollar thresholds, and that either creates or saves a specified number of jobs
- Whether the applicant qualifies for asylum or refugee status as an individual who suffers or fears persecution based on race, nationality, religion, political view, or membership in a certain social group in their country of origin.
What is the purpose of the Diversity (DV) Lottery Program?
The purpose of this program is to annually award immigrant visas to applicants whose country of origin has low immigration rates to the United States (not more than 50,000 in the last five years). It is called a lottery because the visas are granted randomly among qualified applicants since there are more applicants than available visas
What is the basis for deportation and what are the consequences?
An alien that is found to have violated certain immigration or criminal laws will be facing deportation with consequences being that the alien forfeits their right to remain in the United States, and is usually barred from returning.
How is the deportation process initiated?
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issues a Notice to Appear (NTA) which outlines the reason why an arriving alien should be deported or removed. The NTA gets served on an arriving alien and is also filed with the Immigration Court which now has jurisdiction over an alien’s case. A hearing is scheduled at which an immigration judge determines whether the information in the NTA is correct or not. If the judge finds the information correct, the removal of the alien is ordered.
Can a deportation or removal order be appealed?
Yes, it can. One has 30 days to appeal to the Board of Immigration (BIA). If the BIA rules against an alien, the matter can be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals. If the Court of Appeals also finds against the alien, the matter may possibly be appealed to the United States Supreme Court
Under what circumstance will a foreign spouse’s permanent resident status in the United States be conditional?
Residency will be conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old from the day the permanent resident status was granted. An applicant spouse will need to establish that the purpose of the marriage was not to evade the U.S. immigration laws for conditions to be removed.
Under what circumstance will a foreign fiance(e), who has been admitted into the United States for the purpose of getting married, be required to leave the United States?
If the marriage to the U.S. citizen who filed the petition to permit the fiance(e) into the United States doesn’t take place within 90 days of entering the United States, the fiance(e) will be required to leave the country.
Can a U.S. citizen apply to adopt a foreign-born child although the citizen has yet to identify a child to adopt?
Yes. A married U.S. citizen, or an unmarried U.S. citizen who is at least 24 years old and will be at least 25 years old when the petition is filed, may file a Form I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) to speed up the adoption process.
What is the basic law that governs immigration?
The federal Immigration and Nationality Act provides the basis for United States immigration law.
Can a fee for immigration-related services be waived?
Yes, it can. USCIS has the discretion to waive a filing fee if an applicant can establish that they are unable to pay. For USCIS to consider waiving a fee, the applicant must follow specific instructions, including completion of a form for review by the USCIS.
What types of visas are available if I want to come to the United States for a visit or a temporary stay?
If you wish to visit the United States temporarily or be granted entry for a very specific period, you need a non-immigrant visa. Some of the most common types of non-immigrant visas are:
- Student visa - If you are looking to further your education and skills
- Business investor visas - If you want to come to the United States to invest in a business
- Traveler visa - If you wish to do some traveling in the United States
What type of visa do I need to become a permanent U.S. resident?
Depending on your current immigration status or situation, there are many visas available to foreign nationals who want to permanently immigrate to the United States. Some of them are:
- A fiance(e) visa - if you are a foreign national engaged to a U.S. citizen
- Family visas - If you have or are the relative of a U.S. citizen and want to permanently immigrate to the United States
- A work visa - If you have unique skills or requirements which make you a commodity in a particular field or industry
How long does my Green Card remain valid?
Permanent residency obtained through a Green Card (also referred to as Lawful Permanent Resident Card) allows a foreign national to potentially, indefinitely live and work in the United States.
However, and as mentioned above, residency will be conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years when permanent resident status was granted. After that period, provided one has not been convicted of any criminal activity and has maintained one’s eligibility status and is still lawfully married to the petitioner, one will then petition to remove Conditions on Residency and apply for lawful permanent residence which is valid for ten years and can be renewed. These are only some of the requirements. For a complete list of the qualifications and requirements contact an immigration attorney Chicago.
Once I obtain a Green Card, how can I obtain citizenship through naturalization?
One must have been physically present in the United States as a Green Card holder for at least 50% of the time. One must not be away from the United States for more than a year, and ideally less than six months before one’s citizenship application. One must not have committed a serious crime of moral turpitude. One must be able to write and speak English. These are only some of the requirements. For a complete list of the qualifications and requirements contact an immigration attorney Chicago.
What can I do if my visa has expired?
If your visa has expired, the first thing you should do is contact an immigration lawyer Chicago, and we will help you determine the best course of action. We advise you not to delay.
What should I do if I am in the United States on a temporary visit and wish to obtain a permanent visa?
This question can only be answered after consulting a Chicago immigration lawyer, since changing immigration status while in the United States is often difficult, and there is no guarantee it can be done. The possibility and requirements vary from person to person.
Is there anything I can do to avoid being deported once I have received an NTA?
You need to contact Sverdloff Law Group so we can work with you closely and build your deportation defense. We can help you apply for asylum, adjust your status, or file the paperwork necessary to keep you in the country, such as waivers of inadmissibility, motions to terminate, cancellation or removal proceedings, and bonds of redetermination.
Will getting married to a U.S. citizen make me a citizen?
When you marry a U.S. citizen, you can file for an adjustment of status based on marriage. While this is considered to be one of the easiest ways to get a Green Card, it comes with many restrictions. You cannot fraudulently marry into citizenship or have prior criminal convictions. You must be able to prove your marriage is true and bona-fide and does not intend to defraud the United States immigration system.
Who is eligible for asylum?
The United States offers asylum for persecuted individuals. However, you must be able to prove that you are facing danger in your country of origin because of your race, religion, particular social group affiliation, political opinion, or nationality.
Can I come to the United States to work or for school?
Yes, you can. Every year a certain number of workers are allowed to enter the United States for work-related purposes. The B-1 and E-2 visas are temporary visas available to people who want to open or invest in a business. These visas allow people to live in the United States for up to two years and conduct their business legally. There are also visas available to skilled workers and those of extraordinary ability. There are F visas available to students sponsored by a university or college where the student is enrolled full-time and is seeking education at a U.S. university.
Can I bring my family from our home country to live in the United States?
There are two visa categories for immigrant families:
- Preferred relatives
- Immediate relatives
The preferred relatives are your brothers and sisters, married children, spouse of married children, and adult children. Immediate family members include minor children, your husband or wife, and your parents. Once you have obtained citizenship, you may sponsor your family member in the green card process with the help of your immigration attorney Chicago. Your spouse or fiance(e) may also be eligible for a K-visa or Immediate Relative visa. These types of visas are usually the first step in the process of obtaining permanent residency.
How does one become a United States Citizen?
U.S. Citizenship gives one all the benefits and responsibilities of a U.S. citizen, but it also comes with certain specific stringent requirements. One must be a permanent resident for at least five years (or the spouse of a citizen for at least three years), have good moral character, and not otherwise be inadmissible to apply for href="https://sverdlofflaw.com/naturalization-lawyer-in-chicago/">Naturalization.
Obtaining a permanent residency status involves getting and renewing one’s Lawful Permanent Resident Card. Lawful Permanent Resident Card expires after ten years and takes on average six months to renew. There are other ways one can obtain U.S. citizenship, for example via adoption. Contact your immigration lawyer Chicago, and we will assist and guide you with assessing your eligibility and best course of action for obtaining United States Citizenship.
What is a Green Card? What is the difference between an immigrant petition and a non-immigrant petition?
A Green Card is synonymous with ‘lawful permanent resident’ card. This card is proof of U.S. residency.
An immigrant petition is a filing to obtain lawful permanent residency, while a non-immigrant petition is a filing to obtain temporary status in the United States.
What are the options for immigration if I would like to sponsor my spouse who is a foreign national?
This depends on many factors, some of which are:
- If the person is present in the United States and can simply adjust status or abroad and requiring Consular Processing of the immigrant visa
- Whether the petitioner is a Lawful Permanent Resident or U.S. citizen
- Whether the petitioner meets the income requirements for sponsorship
For further details and a full list of requirements contact your immigration attorney Chicago.
What are the options for immigration for my fiance(e) living abroad?
You can sponsor the individual for a Fiance(e) Visa Petition, or marry them in that country or a third country and file a spousal petition. Keep in mind that each of these options has different impacts on the application to be filed, evidence to be compiled, and when the person can enter the United States.
What are the options for immigration if I would like to sponsor a family member to come to the United States?
One may either come to the United State on a permanent or a temporary basis, and it depends on the individual’s specific circumstances which can be examined by immigration attorney Chicago. Immigration for family members often depends upon whether the person is recognized as an immediate relative, in which case a visa is available. Sometimes visa wait times for non-immediate relatives can be delayed even for decades
Who qualifies for a Provisional Waiver under I-601A?
Spouses of U.S. citizens who have resided unlawfully in the United States for at least 180 days qualify. Also, undocumented individuals who have resided unlawfully in the United States for at least 180 days and who are the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, or the spouse and sons or daughters of lawful permanent residents.
Which alternatives do I have if I am afraid to return to my country of nationality?
Asylum and Temporary Protected Status are two examples of relief that the United States provides.
I am the victim of abuse in the United States. Is there a visa that can protect me?
Under the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act (WAVA), the United States provides visas for men, women, and their children who are the victims of an abusive relationship.
What do I need to do if I was told I need an immigration waiver?
Immigration waivers forgive certain immigration violations or crimes on one’s record that hinder one’s ability to legally enter the United States. In these situations, one will need an immigration waiver if, when applying, one is not permitted by USCIS or the Department of State to enter the United States.
A waiver application can be filed to address and attempt to set aside these reasons for denial of entry. Identifying the type of waiver you need depends largely on whether you are trying to move permanently to the United States (immigrant waiver) or whether you are coming to the United States for a short period of time (nonimmigrant waiver).
For example, one can be denied admission to the United States based on:
- Criminal record
- Unlawful presence
- Working without authorization
- Health reasons
- Not meeting J-1 home residency requirement
Because of the nature and difficulty in obtaining a waiver, it is best to hire an attorney who has the experience in preparing and obtaining waivers. At Sverdloff Law Group we will use our expertise and skill to prepare the best waiver for you.