For immigration benefits adjudicated by USCIS, whether a person is likely to become a public charge is often considered when someone is trying to become a permanent resident and obtain a U.S. green card. It is also considered when someone applies for certain non-immigrant or other temporary benefits, for example by extending non-immigrant status within the United States.
According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), if you are seeking admission to the United States or seeking to adjust status to become a lawful permanent resident, you are inadmissible if “at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, you are likely at any time to become a public charge.” If an individual is inadmissible, admission to the United States or adjustment of status is not granted. Public charge does not apply in naturalization proceedings.
Every hopeful immigrant knows that there are constraints on the availability and issuance of United States Green Cards. The limited availability of U.S. visa creates the main backlog on green card applications. Employment-based green cards for foreign workers and their families are also limited by the United States government, and the 2015 cap has been set at 144,000 per year, world-wide. Family-sponsored preference categories for 2015 are limited to 226,000 visas per year. USCIS also places a total annual cap on the amount of visas that can be issued to foreign nationals from any particular country. For 2015, no country can receive more than 7 percent of the total annual number of family-sponsored and employment-based visas or approximately 25,600 visas.
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
Extending Your United States Green Card
Your U.S. Green Card can expire even if your lawful permanent status is still valid. The physical card will be good for 10 years, but you will need to renew it within six months of its expiration. The process is not difficult, but you need to make certain that you submit your green card extension paperwork in a timely manner! You will need to submit the correct fee as well as a fee for biometrics processing. Your fingerprints, photo and signature will be recorded for your file with USCIS. You can even renew your U.S. Green Card if you are planning on going abroad, as long as you file from within the U.S.
Your Biometric Appointment is a very important part of your Green Card and Immigration Application Process. Recently, USCIS erroneously scheduled some people for redundant Application Support Center (ASC) biometric appointment. If you have received more than one biometric appointment notices, you should check yours. The document is called “Form I-797C.”
You may have already attended an ASC biometric appointment, and then later received a second appointment notice for the same application type. If so, please call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to confirm that you do not need to return to the ASC to have your biometrics collected again. Please note that if you have not yet attended your ASC appointment and received more than one ASC appointment notice, you should attend just one appointment but take both ASC notices to that appointment.
If your petitioning spouse is a U.S. citizen the children are full biological children or legal step-children, they may qualify for green cards as the U.S. petitioner’s immediate relatives. The children must be unmarried and under 21, and if they are step-children, they must have been under 18 years of age when you married. Immigration laws give a high priority to applicants who are immediate relatives. Also, there are no annual limits on the number of green cards issued for immediate relatives, and waiting periods. Your Immigration Angel is available to help you with any of your immigration needs today! Call or email for a free consultation.
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!
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!
As a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States, you are allowed to live in the United States indefinitely even if you are still a foreign national. Permanent residency also entitles you to work in the United States and to travel in and out of the United States without seeking additional visas or permissions. However, what is usually most important to many LPRs is the ability to petition for a foreign spouse or child(ren) to be granted permanent residency through a green card. You can petition for your spouse and children and there are always green cards available, because they are immediate relatives! For more information on petitioning for your spouse and child(ren), contact Your Immigration Angel today!
The Violence Against Women Act or VAWA, provides wide-ranging support and comprehensive immigration law benefits for victims of domestic violence. VAWA has also provided a foundation for federal financial support, as well as additional guidance for state and local law initiatives. There has been significant progress in addressing the domestic violence crimes against immigrants. However, many abused immigrant men and women are unsure of their rights. If you or someone you know is being abused or thinks they are being abused and is an immigrant, please, feel free to contact Your Immigration Angel for a free consultation today.