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.
Did you know that in 2012, USCIS naturalized 757,434 LPRs in 2012? According to 2012 DHS data, of the 40.8 million people who comprise the foreign-born U.S. population, 18.7 million immigrants are currently naturalized U.S. citizens. This sounds like a lot, but accounts for only 6 percent of the total U.S. population!
So where did our newly naturalized citizens come from, you ask? Immigrants from the following countries accounted for approximately 49 percent of all naturalizations that year:
- 13 percent were born in Mexico (102,181)
- 6 percent each in the Philippines (44,958) and India (42,928)
- Dominican Republic (33,351)
- China (31,868), Cuba (31,244)
- Colombia (23,972)
- Vietnam (23,490)
- Haiti (19,114)
- El Salvador (16,685)
USCIS estimates indicate that 13.3 million LPRs were residing in the United States as of January 1, 2012. This means that 8.8 million or more people may be eligible to naturalize currently! Are you among them?
To become a naturalized U.S. citizen, LPRs must meet a number of criteria, including being at least 18 years of age, having resided in the United States with LPR status continuously for at least five years, and passing a basic English and civics exam. For any questions about naturalizing, please feel free to contact Your Immigration Angel!
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!