In this video, Attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses one of your frequently asked questions: I entered the United States on the visa waiver program 2 years ago. My stay has now expired. Recently, I married a US Citizen. Can I get my Green Card inside the US?

Overview: 

This question comes to us from a follower in Kansas City. He says: I am an Italian national that entered the United States on the visa waiver program 2 years ago. My visa waiver has now expired. I married a US Citizen recently. Can I get my green card within the United States?

Firstly, the visa waiver program grants foreign nationals from eligible countries, the ability to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa. Once a foreign national overstays this 90-day period, however, that individual loses most of their rights including their right to apply for permanent residency (green card).

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In this video, Attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses one of your frequently asked questions: Is there a minimum investment amount required to apply for the E-2 Treaty Investor visa? To read more about the E-2 visa click here. To read about other visa types for start-up companies and entrepreneurs please click here.

Overview: 

Although, there is no minimum investment amount required for the E-2 Treaty Trader Visa, the investment amount must be reasonable, to demonstrate that the business is not marginal and that it is the funds will be “at risk.”

As a general rule the investment must be significantly proportional to the total investment, that is, usually more than half the total value of the enterprise or, for new businesses, an amount normally considered necessary to establish the business.

Consider the following when coming up with the appropriate investment amount:

  • What is the type of business?
  • Where is the location?
  • How much money is typically required to run this type of business?
  • How many employees will you need to hire?
  • Consider cost of assets, equipment, operating, and other start up expenses

Typically, anything less than $50,000 would not be sufficient to convince the consulate or immigration service that your funds are committed and “at risk.” We would be happy to discuss your options. For a free first time consultation please contact our office.

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses his new book, My American Job, designed to teach immigrants just like you how to land a job in the United States. Attorney Sapochnick came to the United States many years ago to fulfill his dream of studying and eventually practicing law in the state of California. After graduating law school, he learned just how difficult it was for a foreign national to get hired. In his book, Jacob provides helpful tips and strategies that will help you find your place in the American workforce.


Get advice and strategies on how to:

  1. Be prepared, physically, mentally and financially, to maximize your chances for long term job success;
  2. Overcome misconceptions and objections U.S. employers have about hiring foreign workers;
  3. Navigate the job application and interview processes;
  4. Land the job including how to leverage social media sites;
  5. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus for job searching;
  6. Adapt to U.S. business customs, ideas, etiquette, and protocol;
  7. Read about the real life success of foreigners who now live and work in the U.S.

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses the birth tourism industry and potential implications. Although it is not illegal to come to the United States to have a child, seeking to profit by creating these birthing centers is illegal. It is also illegal for a person to obtain a United States visa by fraudulent means, or by misrepresenting the facts in order to obtain a U.S. visa. If you lie to an immigration officer about the reason you are coming to the United States, you may be banned from the United States preventing you from applying for any visas in the future.

INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i) bars an alien from receiving a visa or admission into the U.S. if this alien has previously obtained or attempted to obtain a visa, other documentation, admission or other benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), by means of fraud or by willfully misrepresenting a material fact.

We urge our readers to be very cautious. Never misrepresent the facts. To protect yourself from fraudulent schemes, please contact an experienced attorney before investing thousands of dollars in a scheme that may prevent you from immigrating to the United States in the future.

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. answers one of your frequently asked questions: I overstayed my visa and I am now married to a U.S. Citizen. Am I eligible for a green card?

Overview: 

I am married to a US Citizen but I came to the United States over 10 years ago, I overstayed my visa. Am I eligible to apply for a green card?

The good news is, even if you have overstayed or worked in the United States illegally,  if you are married to a US Citizen it is possible to legalize and apply for permanent residence. The key to determine your eligibility lies in the manner in which you entered the United States. To be eligible for permanent residence, you must have been inspected by a U.S. Customs Official at a U.S. Port of entry. In other words, you must have entered the United States legally and received an I-94 record of arrival/departure proving that you were inspected upon entry. If all goes well, the immigration officer will waive the overstay and illegal employment, at the time of your marriage interview if you can prove that you were inspected by showing your I-94. Any other grounds of inadmissability such as certain crimes, fraud, or willful misrepresentation may subject you to a bar for a certain period of time. In these circumstances, you will need to obtain a waiver before applying for permanent residence.

For a free consultation please contact our office.

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses a new California law called AB-60 enacted in 2015 which grants undocumented immigrants the ability to apply for a California drivers license.

Overview:

Beginning in 2015, the California DMV began issuing AB 60 driver licenses, which are available to California residents regardless of their immigration status. This change became effective on January 1st, 2015.

AB 60 driver’s license can be used for personal identification and gives undocumented immigrants the right to legally drive in California but does not grant any other privileges. An AB 60 driver license looks the same as a regular driver’s license except for one feature. In the right corner, there is a pre-printed notation “Federal Limits Apply”.

If you want to obtain an AB 60 driver license, you need to prove your identity and residency in the State of California, pass the knowledge tests and behind-the-wheel driving exams. In order to apply for AB 60 driver’s license, you need to make an appointment or visit DMV office.

The identification information and residency address you provide when applying for AB 60 driver’s license does not become a public record. Even if you are unlawfully present in the US, the DMV may not disclose this information except when requested by a law enforcement agency as part of an investigation.

You do NOT have to provide a Social Security Number in the AB 60 application. Please do NOT use any SSN number that was not legally assigned to you as it is a federal crime. DMV will check legitimacy of your information and has a right to forward the SSN for verification.

You can find more information here and read our AB 60 frequently asked questions here.

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick answers one of your most frequently asked questions: I have a minor US Citizen child. Can I get a green card?

Overview:

This is a very common question. This question comes to us from a Chinese national who is currently in the United States on an H-1B Visa. This person asks: Can I get a green card based on the fact that I have a minor US Citizen child that was just born in the US?

In this situation because the child is under the age of 21, your child cannot file a petition for permanent residence on your behalf based on the fact that you have a minor child born in the United States. This is a very common misconception. Your child can only file for your immigration benefits once they reach the age of 21. A child must be at least 18 years old in order to petition for immigration benefits for their siblings, and then the sibling must wait for a visa number to become available based on the visa bulletin. You cannot obtain a green card just by having a US Citizen child. If you are in the United States on a visa you must find another way to remain legally in the United States until the US Citizen child reaches the minimum age or find another way to obtain a green card through employment. Parents of US Citizen children, residing in the United States unlawfully, can obtain cancelation of removal for their parents to shield them from deportation/removal proceedings. In this case the child does not need to be 21 years or older.

For more information about this topic please contact our office.

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick answers one of your frequently asked questions: I stayed overseas after my green card expired. Can I renew my green card?

Overview: 

This is a very important question that we often receive from our followers. Although the green card is a permanent resident card, there are certain rules you must follow to maintain your permanent resident status. If you leave the United States for more than one year, without obtaining a re-entry permit (a document that would preserve your residency), you may risk losing your green card.

In this particular situation, a person who has been out of the country for three and a half years is now at risk of losing their permanent resident status. There are two issues that arise with this situation. The first issue is that it is not going to be possible to renew the green card from overseas. Secondly, even if the green card had not expired, trying to re-enter the United States after such a long period of absence could be a problem. This is because the presumption is that you have abandoned your permanent residency, having been out of the country for so long.

Generally, persons who have stayed overseas for more than a year, but who maintain a valid unexpired green card, may apply for re-entry to the United States by applying for a returning resident visa called SB-1 at a U.S. Consulate overseas. To be successful, you must prove that you had circumstances that were beyond your control requiring you to stay overseas. This may be difficult to prove if you have stayed overseas for a prolonged period of time. The less time you spend abroad after the year, the easier it will be to obtain the SB-1 visa. You must also show that you are not abandoning your permanent residency.

If your green card has already expired and you are overseas, it will be very difficult to re-enter the United States, especially if you have stayed overseas for a prolonged period of time. In this situation you should consult with an attorney to discuss your options based on your situation.

Recap:

  • If you leave the US for more than a year without getting, for example, a reentry permit you may lose your green card.
  • Two issues: not possible to renew it overseas and it could mean you abandoned your residency.
  • Three years is considered a long time; card now is deemed abandoned. Best thing to do is to consult an attorney.
  • If your green card has not yet expired and you have stayed overseas for more than one year, you may be able to apply for the SB-1 Returning Resident Visa.

For more information about the SB-1, please contact our office.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick tells you all about the visa bulletin. Who is it for? How does it work? Why do we need it? For more information about the visa bulletin, please click here.

Overview: 

What is the Visa Bulletin?

The Visa Bulletin exists due to congressional numerical immigrant visa limitations for family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories established by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The visa bulletin is for foreign nationals wishing to immigrate to the United States through a relative or employer. Family-sponsored preference categories are limited to a minimum of 226,000 visas per year, while employment-based preference categories are limited to a minimum of 140,000 visas per year. The Visa Bulletin is a useful tool for aliens to determine when a visa will become available to them so that they may apply for permanent residence.

You can check the status of a visa number by checking your priority date on the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin published every month. A priority date is the date when your relative or employer properly filed the immigrant visa petition on your behalf with USCIS (Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative or Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker).

Family-sponsored preference categories

Family based immigrant visas are divided into preference systems and priority dates. This refers to one of the various categories under which an individual qualifies for U.S. residency, and must wait for a visa to become available.

  • First Preference: unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. This category refers to the adult children of U.S. citizens or those who have reached the age of 21 years prior to issuance of the immigrant visa;
  • Second Preference: a) spouses and children under the age of 21 of U.S. permanent residents; b) unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21 of U. S. permanent residents;
  • Third Preference: married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
  • Fourth Preference: brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens.

Employment-sponsored categories

  • First Preference:  Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.
  • Second Preference:  Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:
  • Third Preference:  Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers
  • Fourth Preference:  Certain Special Immigrants
  • Fifth Preference:  Employment Creation: not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers (EB-5)

For more information regarding the immigrant process for family members and the Visa Bulletin please click here. For a legal consultation please contact our office to speak with our legal consultants.

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq., explains the F-1 student visa application process by examining a successful student visa case. For more information about the F-1 student visa please click here. For a free first consultation please contact our office.

Overview:

A student visa is a good option for foreign nationals who wish to enroll in a short course of study that is more than 18 hours per week. The F-1 visa is a temporary visa that allows a foreign national to pursue their academic studies and/or enroll in a language training program. First time student visa applicants must attend an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate abroad if they are living outside of the United States. Please note that each U.S. embassy and consulate has its own interview procedures for student visas. Please visit the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate near you for more information.

Requirements for a student visa

To qualify, an alien must meet the following requirements:

  • The student must be enrolled in an academic education program, not a vocational-type program;
  • Educational institution must be approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS);
  • The student must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution;
  • The student must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency;
  • The student must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study; and
  • The student must maintain a residence abroad which he/she has no intention of giving up
  • The student must demonstrate that they have legitimate obligations to return to their home country by providing sufficient proof of ties home such as a letter of future employment, proof of assets, proof of insurance payments, etc.

For more information about this program, please contact our office. 

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