ERM Immigration Law, Pllc
Any person from the following
countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya,
Somalia, Sudan and Yemen should
contact an attorney before
NOTICE: NEW ORDERS ON IMMIGRATION ARE ANTICIPATED - STAY INFORMED
Legal Permanant Residents:
From any country, if you are
asked to sign papers at the airport
DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING or you may
lose your Green Card. Politely ask to
see an immigration judge or to be
Interested in learning more?
ERM Immigration Law
Frequently Asked Immigration Questions
Please note this is only general information and should not be considered legal advice. Immigration laws can change rapidly, and the website may not be up to date. Each case is specific and risks should be considered on an individual basis. Please call for more information about your specific case.
1. I am married to a US Citizen and my spouse wants to sponsor me for a "green card" but I overstayed my visa. Can I still become a legal permanent resident? YES. Generally, even if you have overstayed your visa you can still "be forgiven" by the USCIS and have a successful green card application. You should consult an attorney to make sure you don't have any other complications.
2. Does it matter when I get married? YES. In most cases, it is very important you do not get married within 30 days of your last entry into the US. Or, you may consider a a fiance visa if you know you want to get married and emigrate. If you do get married within 30 days, and you plan to adjust status (apply for permanent residency inside the US), the USCIS may assume your marriage is a "sham marriage" or for the purposes of evading the immigration laws. It will be your burden to prove otherwise. If you wait at least 60 days, or even better, 90 days after your last entry to get married, it is presumed that your marriage is "bona fide" or legitimate.
3. Can I come to the US on a visitor visa knowing I am going to get married and get my green card? NO. Usually, not. You may enter, but if you intend on getting married and adjust status here you most likely need to return to your home country to process your green card. If the USCIS thinks you had "immigrant intent" when you entered on your non-immigrant visa, your green card application can be denied, you may be accused of visa fraud, and could even face criminal charges. Be sure to speak to a knowledgeable immigration attorney before you make plans to marry your foreign partner to understand your best options. In many cases you can stay inside the US while your case processes abroad, or come for visits. But before doing so you talk to an attorney.
4. I got my spouse sponsored green card! Now what?
Congratulations! After getting your green card based on a spouse sponsored petition, you should be aware that the card is only a "conditional" permanent residency card if you have been married less than two years at the time of approval. It is valid for only 2 years. Sometime between 90 and 1 days before the expiration your card, you must file with the USCIS a form in order to remove your conditions. This application will ask for proof that your marriage is ongoing. If approved, the green card holder will be issued a permanent residency card, that card will not need to be renewed for 10 years. If you are no longer married, you will need to attempt to petition without your spouse sponsor and apply for a waiver. It is recommended that you seek the advice of an attorney in order to remove your conditions. Be advised, no one will remind you when it comes time to remove our conditions, so mark you calendar!
5. I need to be gone for for a long time, should I do something to maintain my Green Card?
YES! If you know you will be gone for more than 6 months at one trip, you need to apply for a re-entry permit. If you have already been gone for more than 1 year, never sign anything at the airport or you may be giving up your green card. If pressured, politely ask for an immigration judge who will determine if you are still a legal resident. Until then, you are still a Legal Resident. Call an attorney.