You may not be required to prove your financial ability to be eligible for immigration benefits! There are certain groups of people who are either exempt from public charge, or may get a waiver for public charge when applying for a green card or other benefits with USCIS. These include:
- Refugees (or current refugees applying for adjustment to permanent resident status)
- Asylum applicants (or current asylees applying for adjustment to permanent resident status)
- Amerasian Immigrants (for their initial admission)
- Individuals granted relief under the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA)
- Individuals granted relief under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA)
- Individuals granted relief under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA)
- Individuals applying for a T Visa or have one and are trying to become a permanent resident and get a green card
- Individuals applying for a U Visa or have one and are trying to become a permanent resident and get a green card
- Applicants for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
- Certain applicants under the LIFE Act Provisions
If you have any questions or concerns regarding if you need to prove your financial ability or file an Affidavit of Support, feel free to contact us at Your Immigration Angel!
Inadmissibility based on the public charge ground is determined by the totality of the circumstances. This means that the adjudicating officer must weigh both the positive and negative factors when determining the likelihood that someone might become a public charge. At a minimum, a USCIS officer must consider the following factors when making a public charge determination:
- Family status
- Financial status
- Education and skills
The officer may also consider any affidavit of support filed on behalf of the individual. In assessing the totality of the circumstances, including the statutory factors above, an officer may consider the individual’s receipt of certain publicly funded benefits. Not all publicly funded benefits are relevant to deciding whether someone is likely to become a public charge. When determining whether someone is likely to become a public charge, USCIS will consider whether the individual is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense. Short-term institutionalization for rehabilitation is not subject to public charge consideration under existing field guidance.
U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs, or green card holders) are the only U.S. residents with the rights to obtain permanent residence or green cards for their spouses. Anyone who immigrates to the United States through a petition filed by a family member must be able to prove that he or she has financial support from the family member in the U.S. The financial sponsor must file an Affidavit of Support. An Affidavit of Support is a form that a qualified individual (a sponsor) files on your behalf when you are applying for a green card through your marriage to a U.S. Citizen or LPR spouse. The purpose of the form is to show that you have the financial means to live in the United States without needing welfare or financial benefits from the U.S. government. The law requires that the sponsor demonstrate that he or she is able to assist you financially. The sponsor must show that he or she has an annual income of not less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level. Failure to file a qualifying Affidavit of Support showing sufficient income levels with your Adjustment of Status makes you inadmissible as a public charge. USCIS will not allow anyone to immigrate if they do not have financial means to live in the U.S. and will reject anyone who will become or is currently a “public charge.” If you have any questions regarding your marriage green card application or Affidavit of Support, please feel free to contact Your Immigration Angel!
Noncitizen spouses who have entered the United States without inspection may still be eligible for immigration benefits under section 245(i) of the LIFE Act. Many people who have either never had valid immigration status in the U.S. or who have fallen out of valid status are allowed to apply for adjustment of status in the U.S. if they pay a penalty fee. Without this type of waiver, many people who do not have valid status in the U.S. would be unable to seek a visa while in the United States. Without this waiver, they would be required to seek their immigrant visa from within their home country. However, due to the status violation, they also would be barred from reentering the U.S. for at least three years. In many cases, they may even be banned from re-entering the U.S. for ten years!
To be eligible for this waiver, you must:
- have been present in the U.S. before December 18, 2000, and
- have either filed a family or employment based residency petition on or before April 30, 2001, or you must have been the derivative beneficiary of such a petition.
Even if your initial petition was not successful, but was filed on or before April 30, 2001, you may still be eligible for the 245(i) waiver. Under certain circumstances you may apply again for residency through another family petition. Immigration law is one of the most complicated areas of law, with a constantly evolving and changing laws and regulations. At Your Immigration Angel, we are committed to staying on top of the most recent changes to help you better follow your immigration path! Let us guide you on your path and assist you in achieving your immigration goals!
Did you know that according to 2012 data, more than half of young adults in California ages 16 to 26 were first- or second-generation immigrants? This should not come as a surprise if you consider that California is home to one-quarter of the nation’s immigrants! Although some naysayers like to denigrate immigrants as uneducated high school dropouts or worse, statistics show that recent immigrants to California include a large number of highly educated workers. Although it is important to note the wide spread of ages in the Current Population Survey data, let’s look at some of the numbers:
For Californian adults aged 25 to 65:
- 8% immigrants had a high school level education, compared to 23.3% of U.S. citizens.
- 1% of immigrants had achieved a bachelor’s level degree, as compared to 37.2% of U.S. citizen adults.
Even better, among recent immigrants aged 24 and over who arrived in California between 2005 through 2008:
- 41% had at least a bachelor’s degree!!!
Immigrants in California are attaining higher educational levels, and while many still add valuable work to the unskilled labor forces, many are helping the U.S. and California economies by joining the higher skilled workforce as well. And that is good news for all of us!
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!
In a memorandum on Immigration, President Obama said up to 70,000 refugees may be admitted to the U.S. during the 2015 fiscal year. The President stated that this number was well justified due to humanitarian concerns and national interest.
The number of people eligible to receive refugee status is split into an uneven quota by region. The slots available to people from various regions is as follows:
- the Near East and South Asia region received the highest allocation with 33,000.
- Africa received 17,000
- the East Asia region was allocated 13,000
- the Latin American and the Caribbean region was assigned a total of 4,000 available slots
- Europe and Central Asia was allotted 1,000
- the “Unallocated Reserve” has 2,000 slots, to be allocated as needed
The State Department can allocate the 2,000 unallocated refugee numbers to another region if the need is warranted but only after notification to the Judiciary Committees of the Congress.
Numbers of Central American Refugees Allowed into the United States is Decreased, but President Obama wants to Promote the Development of New, Safer Options for Those in Need
International and United States immigration law states that refugee status “may be granted to people who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.” The freedoms and opportunities the U.S. offers has made America the country of choice for many refugees. The Presidential 2015 fiscal year memorandum stated that El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are eligible to be considered refugees “for the purpose of admission to the United States within their countries of nationality or habitual residence.” These countries, known as the “Northern Triangle” are the only Latin American countries, along with Cuba, to be part of the list. However, President Obama also noted in the memo that the number of 2015 allotments for refugees from South America was being decreased to 4000, which is 1000 slots fewer than in 2014. The President did encourage the development of new programs that would allow individuals to apply for refugee status from within their own countries. This type of program was implemented successfully in countries like Haiti and Vietnam, with the goal of preventing dangerous trips to the United States. If you have questions about whether you qualify for refugee status, please call or email Your Immigration Angel today!
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.
- Incorrect Green Card Application, Wrong Fee, Incorrect Mailing Address for USCIS
- USCIS Considers Your Marriage a “Sham” or Fraudulent Marriage
- Lack of Financial Security to Become a U.S. Citizen
- Misunderstanding Your U.S. Green Card Eligibility
- 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!
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