If You or Your Spouse “Entered Without Inspection,” There May Still Be Options!

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All noncitizens entering the U.S. are required to present themselves to a USCIS immigration officer for inspection.  This inspection meant that they will be assessed and that they must demonstrate the right to enter the country based on approval obtained prior to entry in the U.S.  If you do not have an approved means for entering the United States, then the Customs and Border Patrol or USCIS officer may refuse entry to you.

If you have entered without inspection (EWI) and without the proper documentation, there are a limited number of legal immigration options available to you.  If you or your spouse EWI, that means that you do not have legal immigration status in the United States.   That also means that you cannot file to change or adjust your status, as you do not have a legal status to begin with.  It is not possible to adjust status even if you marry a U.S. citizen or have U.S. citizen parents or children that will petition for them. However, there are a few exceptions that might allow an adjustment of status. The two most common are the LIFE Act and a waiver implemented in new immigration law as of 2012.

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Top 5 Reasons a Marriage Based Green Card Application is Denied by USCIS

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Obtaining a marriage based green card may be a dream come true for many couples.  However, this sweet dream can instead become a nightmare if you or your spouse’s green card application is denied.   Although romantic and comedic movies have been made about how fun and easy it is to obtain a marriage based green card, that is often far from the truth.  In reality, immigration law is a complex field, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services must adhere to strict rules and regulations.  There are many reasons a marriage based green card application may be rejected, but the following are some of the most common causes of denial.

  1. Incorrect Green Card  Application, Wrong Fee, Incorrect Mailing Address for USCIS
  2. USCIS Considers Your Marriage a “Sham” or Fraudulent Marriage
  3. Lack of Financial Security to Become a U.S. Citizen
  4. Misunderstanding Your U.S. Green Card Eligibility
  5. USCIS Determines Ineligibility Based on Crimes, Previous Marriages

If you have any questions or concerns about whether your marriage green card application or if your marriage will be questioned by immigration officials when you apply for a U.S. green card, feel free to contact us today!

Interested in Obtaining a Marriage Based Green Card?  Would YOUR Relationship Pass the Test?  

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It’s almost Valentine’s Day!  What could be more romantic than ensuring that you and your spouse can live together in the United States, happily ever after?  Marriage green cards are a great immigration option for many immigrants who have married U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.  But along with a number of other eligibility requirements (see our post on eligibility) your relationship must be able to withstand the scrutiny of USCIS!

USCIS needs to be assured that you are in a bona fide marriage.  When two people get married and intend to establish a life together as spouses, the marriage is bona fide.   A marriage entered into for the sole purpose of getting a green card is not bona fide.  It’s called a “sham” or “fraudulent” marriage, and the USCIS tries to uncover these fake marriages and will refuse to issue green cards to people in a marriage that does not appear to be bona fide.  USCIS is very strict in determining whether a marriage is bona fide.  You will be asked many questions during the course of your application process and you will have to provide extensive documentation to show that you are establishing a life together.   How can you prove that your relationship is bona fide?   Continue reading

It Doesn’t Matter Where You Live in the United States!   If You and Your Same Sex Spouse were Married in a State that Recognizes Same Sex Marriage, You Can Petition for Your Spouse’s Green Card!

 

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You and your same sex spouse may be currently living in a state that does not recognize the validity of your marriage.  USCIS evaluates the marriage of any U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident petitioner, based on the laws of the State or place where the marriage took place.  As long as the State, territory or foreign country that performed the marriage recognizes the marriage, then it is valid for U.S. immigration law.  An individual may live in a State that does not accept gay marriages as legal and still file for his or her noncitizen spouse.  Immigration laws can be tricky to navigate; if you need assistance, call or email Your Immigration Angel for your free initial consultation.

Marriage Based U.S. Immigration: You’ve Got Options!

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Every year, tens of thousands of United States Visas are issued to people who live overseas and are married or engaged to be married to an American Citizen.  A U.S. visa allows them to move to the United States and be with their loved ones.  There are a number of ways to obtain a U.S Visa to join your spouse or fiancé(e).    If you are a foreign citizen and are engaged to a U.S. citizen, the most common way of coming to the U.S. is with a K-1 fiancé(e) Visa.   For a foreign citizen spouse, there are several common ways to come the U.S., each with their own benefits.  Below is a list of visas that can be obtained to bring a foreign fiancé(e) or spouse to the U.S. 

Immigration options for a foreign fiancé(e) living overseas:

  • Fiancé(e) Visa K-1

Immigration options for a foreign spouse living overseas:

  • Spouse Visa K-3
  • Spouse Visa IR-1 or CR-1
  • Consular Processing

If you have any questions about obtaining a U.S. visa through your spouse or fiancé(e), call or email Your Immigration Angel for a free initial consultation.  We can assist you today!

Did You Know that You can Apply for a Green Card Even if Your Visa has Expired?

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If you entered the United States “legally,” you probably came to this country with a valid nonimmigrant visa, such as a student visa, tourist visa, or temporary work visa.  Some people are even allowed into the U.S. on a visa waiver or with a special pass at one of the U.S. borders.  In either event, you would have been inspected by an immigration official at your point of entry and allowed into the United States.  This method of entering the U.S. makes it easier for you to file for an Adjustment of Status in the U.S.  Your U.S. citizen spouse can file a Petition for Alien Relative to apply for your green card.

However, did you know that even if you are now staying in the U.S. past the date of your authorized stay, , you are still eligible for a marriage based green card?  A green card is still available to you even if you are “out of status” or are staying here illegally.  If you have overstayed by six months or more since April 1, 1997 you may still apply but would need a waiver.  It is very important to note that if you leave the country, you would be barred from returning for three or ten years, depending on the length of your unauthorized stay.  Immigration law is a complicated field.  Your personal immigration path may have twists and turns that you did not expect!  We can help you to make your journey as smooth as possible.  Contact Your Immigration Angel today for your free consultation!

The Two Paths to a Marriage Based Green Card from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services: Which is Right For YOU?

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There are two paths to apply for a marriage based green card.  Which path is right for you depends on your individual circumstances.  The two methods are:

1.)   If you are outside of the United States, then you can apply through a consular process and have your interview at the U.S. consulate in your county.

2.)  If you are currently in the United States, then you can apply to adjust status from within the U.S. and you will have the interview in the U.S.

If you are in the U.S., the USCIS will review your application based on if you came into the U.S. with an inspection or entered the U.S. without an inspection.  If you have fallen out of lawful status but you entered the U.S. legally, and had an inspection by an immigration official, you can generally obtain your green card from within the U.S.   If you are in the U.S. without lawful status, then you cannot change your status from within the U.S.  You will have to return to your home country to proceed through a consular process unless you qualify for an exception to this general rule as the spouse of a U.S. citizen.  Immigration law is very complicated and errors or problems with your petition for a green card can ruin the chances for success now and in the future.  For assistance with your marriage based green card, please contact Your Immigration Angel today!