Category Archives: IMMIGRATION LAW

Permanent Residency

 

Who is a Green Card Holder? (Permanent Resident)

 

 

A Green Card holder (permanent resident) is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person is granted a permanent resident card, commonly called a “Green Card.” You can become a permanent resident several different ways. Most individuals are sponsored by a family member or employer in the United States. Other individuals may become permanent residents through refugee or asylee status or other humanitarian programs.

Even if you are simply trying to obtain a green card through marriage the process is an extremely long and complicated one. It’s best to use an attorney that has experience dealing with the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS). That’s where the Crossley Law Office comes in.

Over the years we have successfully helped clients obtain green cards, work permits and visas. We understand how to file the applications quickly, correctly and successfully. Whatever your immigration law needs are, the Crossley Law Office can help you.

Contact us on-line, call us at (508) 655-6085 or complete the form below to schedule your FREE initial consultation.

 

If you’d like to learn more about the fast track to permanent resident status please click here.

Work Visas

 

Do You Qualify for a

Work Visa?

 

 

Every fiscal year (October 1st – September 30th), approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available to qualified applicants under the provisions of U.S. immigration law. Employment based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories. Certain spouses and children may travel together with those who receive employment-based work visas.

It’s not luck that determines if you will receive a work visa or not. It comes down to whether or not your application is filed on-time, filed correctly the first-time and filed quickly.

It’s best to use an attorney that has experience dealing with the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS). That’s where the Crossley Law Office comes in.

Over the years we have successfully helped clients obtain green cards, work permits and visas. We understand how to file the applications quickly, correctly and successfully. Whatever your immigration law needs are, the Crossley Law Office can help you.

Contact us on-line, call us at (508) 655-6085 or complete the form below to schedule your FREE initial consultation to see if you can qualify for a Work Visa.

 

Fiance Visas

 

 

 

 

Applying for and obtaining a fiancee/fiance visa is a complicated and lengthy process that most people simply can’t do on their own. It’s best to use an attorney that has considerable experience dealing with the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS). That’s where the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE can help you.

Contact us on-line, call us at (508) 655-6085 or complete the form below to schedule your FREE initial consultation to discuss your application for a Fiance Visa.

Over the years the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE has successfully helped clients obtain fiance visas, green cards, work permits and work visas. We understand how to file the applications quickly, correctly and successfully. Whatever your immigration law needs are, the CROSSLEY LAW OFFICE can help.

Clients often ask whether they should apply for a fiance visa or simply get married and bring their new spouse to the USA. If the immigrant spouse intends to work here in the USA then it’s best to have him/her apply for a fiance visa prior to entering the USA. Although marriage to a US Citizen will allow your immigrant spouse to legally remain in the USA while their Green Card application is being processed, it will not allow them to legally work. However, if they have a fiance visa they can legally work while their Green Card application is being processed. It’s important to know that it can take anywhere from 6 months to 1.5 years for USCIS to process a Green Card application once your spouse has arrived in the USA. Obtaining a fiance visa prior to entering the USA for a wedding in the USA has 2 important advantages. First, it tends to speed up the process of obtaining the Green Card with applications being processed in as short as 2 to 3 months. Second, while your new spouse is waiting for their Green Card application to be processed they are legally entitled to work in the USA because they hold a fiance visa.

There are a large number of forms and other documents required when applying for a fiance/fiancee visa. Just a few of these include:

I-485: Application to Adjust to Permanent Resident Status

I-765: Application for Employment Authorization

I-131: Application for Travel Document

I-797C: Notice to Appear for Initial Interview

I-797: Notice to Appear for ASC (obtaining your biometric data (fingerprints and photo)) Appointment Notice

G-325A: Biographic Information

I-864: Affidavit of Support

Contact us on-line, call us at (508) 655-6085 or complete the form below to schedule your FREE initial consultation to talk with us about obtaining a Fiance Visa.

 

Fast Track To Permanent Resident Status

EB5-Visa-Conditional-Green-Card

Marriage to a U.S. citizen is sometimes referred to as the “fast track” to lawful permanent residence. The spouse of a U.S. citizen is deemed an “immediate relative” under the law meaning that there are no quota restrictions on the number of people who can obtain green cards through marriage to U.S. citizens.

The U.S. citizen starts the process by submitting a form I-130 visa petition on behalf of their foreign-born spouse. If the spouse entered the U.S. lawfully, he/she can file for adjustment of status (I-485 packet) without having to leave the U.S. Generally, the spouse receives an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) within 90 days, and may also be eligible for an Advance Parole document to travel abroad.

If the foreign-born spouse entered the U.S. without inspection, he/she may have to apply for a green card abroad. They may, however, be eligible to apply for a provisonal waiver in the United States.

To obtain a green card, your marriage must be bona fide. This is a lot easier to prove if there is a wedding reception where the U.S. citizen spouse’s parents and relatives are present, where the couple has joint property and files joint income tax returns and especially if the couple has a child together.

If the marriage is less than two years old when the green card is granted, it will have a two-year time limit. The couple must submit form I-751 during the 90-day prior before the expiration of the green card in order for the foreign-born spouse to obtain a ten-year green card. If the couple divorces before the end of the two-year period, the foreign-born spouse must use form I-751 to apply for a “good faith marriage waiver” of the joint petition requirement.

Please call our office to schedule a Free Consultation to talk about How to Obtain a Green Card Through Marriage before you get married and before you submit any paperwork to the USCIS.

If you have a two-year green card, but are separated or divorced, please call our office to schedule a Free Consultation to talk about the I-751 Waiver Where Marriage Ends in Divorce.

The I-601A Provisional Waiver

i601a provisional waiver image

On January 3, 2013, the Department of Homeland Security published a regulation allowing immediate family members of U.S. citizens who entered the U.S. without inspection, or are otherwise ineligible to adjust their status in the U.S. due to unlawful presence,  to apply for “form I-601A provisional waivers” in the United States.  Once their waivers are approved by the USCIS, they will be eligible to attend their appointments for immigrant visas (green cards) in their countries of origin.

The aim of this new program, which became effective on March 4, 2013, is to avoid having spouses and sons and daughters of U.S. citizens be separated from their families for months or even years while their waivers are pending.

Now, these family members will obtain their waivers before departing the U.S., will be interviewed abroad, and will then return to their families in the U.S. within just a few days or weeks.

In our FAQ, we explain who is eligible to submit a provisional waiver, what happens if a person’s waiver is denied and how to qualify for this program if you in removal proceedings.

Permanent Resident FAQ

EB5-Visa-Conditional-Green-Card

I-601A PROVISIONAL WAIVER FAQ

On January 3, 2013, the DHS published a regulation which will, as of March 4, 2013, allow persons who entered the U.S. without inspection (or who are otherwise ineligible to adjust their status in the U.S.) to apply for “form I-601A provisional waivers” to excuse their unlawful presence in the U.S.  Once their waivers are approved by the USCIS, they will be eligible to attend their appointments for immigrant visas (“green cards”) abroad.

The aim of this new program is to avoid having immediate relatives submit I-601 waivers abroad, and then be separated from their families for months or even years while their waivers are pending.

Instead, they will obtain their waivers before leaving the U.S., be interviewed abroad and return to their families in the U.S. within a few days.

The following set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) explains many of the complications involved in the new provisional waiver process:

 

1. Who qualifies to submit a provisional waiver in the United States?

To qualify, a person must be at least 17 years old, and be the beneficiary of an approved I-130 visa petition as an “immediate relative” of a U.S. citizen.

Immediate relatives are spouses, parents and children of U.S. citizens. To be considered a “parent”, the sponsoring son or daughter must be at least 21 years of age. To be considered a “child”, the person must be under 21 years of age, although many persons over 21 years of age may still be classified as children under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).

The law requires that in order to obtain an waiver, the applicant must demonstrate “extreme hardship” to a qualifying relative.  Qualifying relatives must be spouses or parents who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs). However, a person with only an LPR spouse or parent, while eligible to apply for a regular I-601 waiver abroad, is ineligible to qualify for an I-601A provisional waiver in the U.S.

Persons who are in the numerically-limited family or employment-based preference categories do not qualify for provisional waivers, although the USCIS indicates that the program could be expanded at some point in the future.

 

2. What grounds of inadmissibility does the waiver apply to?

The waiver applies solely to inadmissibility based on “unlawful presence” in the U.S. Applicants must be subject to either the 3-year or the 10-year bar once they leave the U.S.  Persons subject to the “permanent bar” can not submit a waiver application until they have remained outside the U.S. for 10 years.  Hence, they are ineligible for provisional waivers.

Persons who are inadmissible under another section of the law (e.g.fraud, criminal convictions, etc.) are also ineligible for provisional waivers.

 

3. What if a person is already outside the U.S. or is scheduled for an immigrant visa interview outside the U.S.?

Such persons are ineligible to submit provisional waivers.

 

4. What if a person is currently in removal proceedings or is subject to a final order of removal?

Such a person may participate in the provisional waiver program only if his removal proceedings have been “administratively closed” and have not been recalendared as of the time that the waiver is submitted to the USCIS.

Persons in removal proceedings who have applied for Deferred Action (DACA) may apply for provisional waivers after USCIS grants their DACA  applications, but only if they meet all the requirements for filing a provisional waiver and their removal proceedings have been administratively closed.

If the USCIS approves a provisional waiver for a person in removal proceedings, the person must seek termination or dismissal of the removal proceedings by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), and this must be granted before the person departs the U.S. for their immigrant visa interview abroad.  Failure to do so could prevent the person from obtaining an immigrant visa and returning to the U.S.

Persons under final orders of removal are ineligible to participate in the provisional waiver program.

 

5. Can a person who had a previously scheduled immigrant visa interview (scheduled by the State Department prior to January 3, 2013) abroad that he did not attend submit a provisional waiver?

The answer is usually no.  However, there are exceptions.

Here we quote the DHS:

“An alien who is ineligible to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver because of a previously scheduled immigrant visa interview may still qualify for a provisional unlawful presence waiver if he or she has a new DOS immigrant visa case because 1) DOS terminated the immigrant visa registration associated with the previously scheduled interview, and they have a new immediate relative petition; or 2) the alien has a new immediate relative petition filed on his or her behalf by a different petitioner.”

“DOS” in the above paragraph stands for the “U.S. Department of State”.

 

6. Is it possible to waive the fees for an I-601A provisional waiver ($585) or for the biometrics ($85)?

No.

 

7. Is premium processing available for an I-601A waiver?

No, but applicants can request expedited adjudication of a provisional waiver in accordance with current USCIS expedite guidance.

Generally, the USCIS takes about 4-6 months to approve an I-601 waiver.  With an expected influx of many thousands of I-601A provisional waivers, expect waiting times to increase, perhaps dramatically, since the USCIS has no plans to boost the number of officers who will be adjudicating hardship waivers.

 

8. If a person’s I-601A waiver is denied, is it possible to appeal?

No.

However, although it is not possible to appeal an I-601A denial or submit a Motion to Reopen (The USCIS reserves the right to reopen or reconsider an I-601A denial on its own motion.), it is possible to refile a waiver after a denial.

Again, we quote the DHS:

“If an individual’s provisional unlawful presence waiver request is denied or withdrawn, the individual may file a new Form I-601A, in accordance with the form instructions and the required fees. The applicant’s case must still be pending with DOS, and the applicant must notify DOS that he or she intends to file a new Form I-601A. In the case of a withdrawn Form I-601A, USCIS will not refund the filing fees because USCIS has already undertaken steps to adjudicate the case.”

“Alternatively, an individual who withdraws his or her Form I-601A filing or whose Form I-601A is denied can reapply for a Form I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility,with the USCIS Lockbox,after he or she attends the immigrant visa interview and after DOS conclusively determines that the individual is inadmissible. If the ground(s) of inadmissibility identified by the DOS consular officer can be waived, the individual can file a Form I-601 along with any supporting documentation or evidence needed to demonstrate eligibility for the waiver and ultimately the immigrant visa…”

“Applicants and their attorneys or accredited representatives also are reminded that they may address or correct mistakes by supplementing a pending Form I-601A waiver request with additional evidence or correcting the request before USCIS makes a final decision in the case. USCIS will take into consideration any evidence received when making the decision.”

 

9. Can a person who submits an I-601A waiver be placed in removal proceedings?

Although the USCIS states that it “does not envision initiating removal proceedings against aliens whose Form I-601As are denied or withdrawn prior to final adjudication”, it reserves the right to do so if the person is considered to be a “DHS enforcement priority – that is, if the individual has a criminal history, has committed fraud, or otherwise poses a threat to national security or public safety.”

“DHS reminds the public that the filing or approval of a provisional unlawful presence waiver application will not: (1) confer any legal status; (2) protect against the accrual of additional unlawful presence; (3) authorize an alien to enter the United States without securing a visa or other appropriate entry document; (4) convey any interim benefits (e.g., employment authorization, advance parole, or eligibility to be paroled based solely on a pending or approved Form I-601A); or (5) protect an alien from being placed in removal proceedings or removed from the United States, in accordance with current DHS policies governing initiation of removal proceedings and use of prosecutorial discretion.”

 

10. What are the chances that your I-601A waiver will be granted?

This, of course, depends on the facts of your case, and how well your I-601A waiver is documented to demonstrate “extreme hardship” to your qualifying relatives. Do not submit 5 or 6 exhibits and expect to receive an approval.  Here, it is absolutely essential that your attorney know the legal basis for establishing “extreme hardship”, and that he or she has prepared many successful I-601 waiver applications.

Extreme hardship can be emotional, financial, medical, etc. and hopefully a combination of these and many other factors.

Last year, the USCIS denied 34%, or a little more than one out of every three, I-601 waivers.

Persons who have recently married are usually well-advised not to submit waivers. However, their chances of approval rise markedly after they have children and a house, especially if the breadwinner would be forced to remain at home to care for the child(ren).

Also, many of those denied by the USCIS prepared their applications on their own or used the services of a notario or an immigration “consultant”.  This is not a wise course of action.

Hire an experienced immigration attorney.  But how do you choose the right attorney to prepare your I-601A waiver? A good place to start is by contacting our office to schedule a Free Consultation to discuss your case.