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
Family-Based Petition for Permanent Residency - Relative is Inside the US
Family-based petitions include those filed by U.S. citizens and/or permanent residents on behalf of their immediate relatives (e.g., spouses, parents, and children). If your immediate relative is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, then you may be eligible to adjust your status in the United States. In most cases, work and travel applications can be applied for at the same time as your "Green Card." Upon approval by the USCIS you may work and travel (usually within 2-3 months). The work permit will allow you to obtain a social security card and a State I.D. or Driver’s License (in most cases). A "Green Card" is issued within 90 days after your interview at the local immigration office, but usually much sooner. Although each case is different, currently, my clients are receiving their green cards within about 4 months of filing.
Maintaining Your Legal Permanent Residency: Travel Permits & Removal of Conditions
Immigrant Visa for a Foreign Spouse of a US Citizen - Consular Process
IR-1 / CR-1 Visas are immigrant visas issued to foreign spouses of US Citizens. After the US citizen spouse files the proper petition with the USCIS, and the petition is approved, the foreign spouse will complete the visa process from outside the US. Upon approval and issue of the immigrant visa, the foreign spouse may enter the US with their visa and pass through the arrival Port of Entry, where they will become a Permanent Resident immediately.
Note to K3 Applicants: the K-3 visa was intended to shorten the time family members were separated while relative petitions were being process. The K-3 was initiated at a time when immediate relative petitions were backlogged and processing was taking an extremely long time. Now that the backlog is no longer an issue, the K-3 visa and IR / CR visas are processed at the same rate. Most applicants are better off simply applying for the IR / CR visa. Additionally, there is the benefit of earning your permanent residency upon entry with the IR-1 / CR-1 visa, whereas with the K3 visa, you are required to apply for adjustment of status (Green Card) within the US once the spouse has arrived. This prolongs the wait for a Green Card, and is more expensive.
In either process, the applicant is required to submit the correct forms and supporting evidence. The appropriate fees must be paid to the USCIS and the National Visa Center. They must also submit to medical exams and obtain background checks. This process may at first glance seem simple enough; however, it is very wise to at least consult an immigration attorney before making any attempt to navigate the system or file a petition.
Many Legal Permanent Residents (LPR) assume that once they have been awarded their "Green Card" they don't have to do anything more to maintain legal permanent resident status. That is not true, and if you are not careful, there are several ways your permanent residency could be revoked or otherwise be compromised. Below is a primer of some ways to maintain your LPR status..
RE-ENTRY PERMITS and SB-1 VISAS: If you are a legal permanent resident and you intend on leaving the US for a lengthy period of time, a re-entry permit will allow a lawful permanent resident to stay outside the U.S. for up to 2 years without abandoning their green card. If you do not have a re-entry permit, or extreme conditions outside of your control have prevented your return, you may be able to apply for an SB-1 or other remedies. Contact me immediately for more information.
REMOVAL OF CONDITIONS: Also, if you obtained a green card through marrying a US Citizen, you will need to "remove conditions" on your temporary permanent residency card within 90 days of its expiration. Not doing so can cause you to be put into proceeding with the USICS. The expiration date on your green card is also the date of your second anniversary as a conditional resident. If you do not apply to remove the conditions in time, you could lose your conditional resident status and be removed from the country.
JOINT FILING WAIVER: You can apply to waive the joint filing requirement if you are no longer married to your spouse, or if you have been battered or abused by your US Citizen or LPR spouse or parent. In such cases, you may apply to remove the conditions on your permanent residence at any time after you become a conditional resident, but before you are removed from the country. You must provide evidence that removal from the US would cause you extreme hardship.
Fees are affordable but will vary depending on your unique case. Fees generally include: the preparation and filing of all your paperwork with the USCIS, interview preparation and appearance (in Bay Area), and most importantly, peace of mind. There is a general flat fee depending on the service that you need, and additional fees may be necessary. Half of your attorney fee is due upon signing your Legal Services Agreement, and the remainder is due upon filing. Filing fees are additional to service price. The above list of services is not meant to be exhaustive, and I also provide other immigration services that are not listed above, including consultations and review services in which an hourly rate would apply. Please call for rates and processing times. Thank you!
DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States, or overstayed visas, as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization.The applicant must also either be in school, have graduated from high school, obtained a GED or have served in the military. Criminal record restrictions also apply. If you were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, and entered the US illegally by your 16th birthday, then you may qualify. Although many people attempt to apply for DACA on their own, it is STRONGLY encouraged you consult an immigration attorney before filing so you are aware of any negative consequences of applying.
Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Generally, a Legal Permanent Resident can qualify to adjust status to citizen if s/he has held a Green Card for three 3 years based on a spouse sponsored petition, or after five (5) years of holding a Green Card under another immigrant visa type. Some exceptions, bars, and other issues may apply to your case. You should talk to an attorney before applying to make sure you are currently eligible to apply.
Get US Citizenship - Naturalization
Fiancé(e) Visas (K-1) are for US citizens who wish to bring their fiancés to the United States to marry. Upon entry, the fiancé is given 90 days to marry. To qualify for a fiancé visa, you must have physically met the person you are marrying within the past two years. Sufficient evidence of the physical meeting is required. Fiancé visas can be issued in cases where the fiancé was denied a tourist visa or student visa. Processing times vary, but generally processing takes 5 months to one year.
Asylum is a form of protection provided by the United States Government to individuals that have a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, race, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The persecution that the U.S. government is willing to protect asylum seekers from must be either carried out by the government of a foreign country or a group that the government is unable or unwilling to control. Once inside the US, anyone can apply and if eligible, receive work and travel authorization. Applying for asylum is very complicated. I can help you navigate the process, as well as make the best possible presentation of your case, improving your chances of approval.
Stateside Unlawful Presence Waiver (I-601A)
In March of 2013 the USCIS announced a new waiver available to some relatives of US Citizens that are unlawfully present inside the US. This waiver is very exciting, because if your relative entered illegally they may be able to apply for their immigrant visa from within the US. The relative can be permitted to wait for an interview inside the US, instead of being required to return to their home country to wait, sometimes more than a year, for an interview. To qualify, you must be able to prove that your "qualified relative" -- US Citizen or LPR parent or spouse -- will suffer extreme hardship should you (the illegally present relative) not be allowed to remain inside the US during processing. In order to be approved for this process, you must meet very specific requirements, and you should know all the potential consequences of applying. This process is both substantively and procedurally complicated, and one should hire an attorney to handle their case.
Violence Against Women Act - VAWA
Same-sex spouses of US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), along with their minor children, are now eligible for the same immigration benefits as opposite-sex spouses. Immigration offers are required to same-sex immigrant visa applications as well as applications for Legal Permanent Residence, in the same way as they would any other application. To protect your rights, you may consider hiring an attorney to file your application and attend your interview.
VAWA relief allows an abused spouse or child of a US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident to self-petition (without a sponsor) for lawful status in the United States, receive employment authorization and access public benefits. VAWA provides domestic violence survivors with the means that are essential to escaping violence and establishing safe, independent lives. The applicant can be male, or female, however, the application must be submitted WITHIN two years of the termination of the "qualifying relationship" (within two years of the divorce being finalized).
Employment Based Visas and Green Cards (EB1, EB2, E3, NIW, TN, and L VIsas)
I can also help you with your employment-based visa as a NAFTA Mexican or Canadian Professional (TN), an Australian Specialty Occupation Worker (E3), or a Multinational Executive or Worker of Specialized Skill (L1). I also have proven success with Alien of Extraordinary Ability (EB-1), National Interest Waivers (EB-2), Extraordinary Researchers, and Multinational Executive green card applications, and more!
The U-Visa is relief available to non-legal-resident victims of a crime that occurred within the US, and the victim cooperated with the authorities (called the police, made a report, or testified, for example). A high level of cooperation is not required, so long as some contact with the police or other justice department was made. U-Visa grants a 4 year legal status (including a work permit), from which the applicant can adjust to citizen, and a criminal background is rarely a problem. The U-Visa requires the applicant to gather reports, medical records, write declarations, obtain certification from the authorities, and several forms must be filed. Waivers may also be required. As the backlog for these visas grow, so does the difficulty in obtaining approval. You should consider help before applying.