Articles Posted in Adjustment of Status

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the current processing time for the I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence.

If you were granted conditional residence (2-year green card) based on your marriage to a U.S. citizen (USC) or legal permanent resident (LPR), you must file USCIS Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence proving that you entered your marriage in good faith, and not to gain an immigration benefit. Filing the I-751 petition allows you to receive your 10-year permanent resident card

The most common question we receive regarding the I-751 application is how long the application takes to process.

The processing time depends on various different factors such as when you filed your petition, where you reside, the service center processing your application, and the volume of applications currently in the pipeline.

You can view the current processing times based on the service center handling your petition, by visiting the USCIS website.

The current processing times for each service center are as follows:

  • The California Service Center is currently taking between 14.5 to 19 months to process these petitions.
  • The Nebraska Service Center is currently taking between 15.5 to 23 months to process these petitions.
  • The Texas Service Center is currently taking between 16 and 19 months to process these petitions
  • The Vermont Service Center is currently taking between 15 and 19 months to process these petitions.

If you have received a request for evidence, then you may experience delays if you wait a long time to respond. If you have changed your address please ensure that you file a change of address on the USCIS website as soon as possible.

Please remember to follow us on FacebookYoutubeTwitter, and Instagram.

Capture

Can I lose my green card if my citizenship application is denied after the interview?

A person typically acquires a green card based on employment or an underlying family petition. As part of the process of becoming a permanent resident, an applicant must pass a background check, and meet all other eligibility requirements to become a permanent resident.

During the citizenship application process, USCIS is given another opportunity to further vet the applicant and ensure that the applicant meets all of the criteria required to become a United States Citizen, as well as ensuring that the applicant has not committed fraud or any other immigration violations to obtain an immigration benefit.

If during your citizenship application process, USCIS finds that there was an inaccuracy or inconsistency during the process of obtaining your green card, it is possible that such a finding might adversely affect the outcome of your citizenship application, depending on the type of defect.

USCIS may or may not decide to investigate further depending on the inaccuracy or inconsistency involved. If USCIS decides to investigate any inaccuracies or inconsistencies involved in your prior green card case, they may decide to not only deny your citizenship application, but also to rescind your permanent resident card. Typically, this occurs where there is an instance of fraud or an individual gained a green card through misrepresentation.

An applicant who is denied for other reasons, such as failing the Civics or English examination, failing to prove good moral character, or failing to meet the continuous residence requirement, is typically not at risk of losing their green card.

If you have any concerns that are specific to your case, please feel free to contact our office to schedule a consultation.

Please remember to follow us on FacebookYoutubeTwitter, and Instagram.

Capture

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses what happens at an employment-based green card interview. Employment-based green card interviews became mandatory pursuant to USCIS policy in March of 2017.

It was not until the President issued an executive order on March 6, 2017 that USCIS began to require in person interviews for employment-based green card applicants.

The President’s executive order broke the agency’s long-standing policy of waiving in-person interviews for employment-based green card applicants, who were previously considered low risk applicants.

In keeping with the executive order, all applicants who have filed for adjustment of status, on or after March 6, 2017, on the basis of employment, must attend an in-person interview with USCIS. Derivative family members must also be present at the interview.

Employment-based adjustment of status is where an individual qualifies to apply for permanent residence based on an underlying employment visa category such as EB-2 or where the foreign national has an approved National Interest Waiver.

What happens during these interviews?

At the interview, the immigration officer will review the foreign national’s job description as it appears on the original Form I-140, to determine whether the applicant is still doing the same work or whether there has been a significant change in employment.

If the applicant is no longer working in the same or a similar position, the applicant must explain why.

Immigration officers are also closely scrutinizing federal income tax returns filed by applicants to determine whether the foreign national has engaged in unauthorized employment. Engaging in unauthorized employment will likely result in a denial of the adjustment of status application.

National Interest Waiver

In the case of adjustment of status based on an approved national interest waiver, the immigration officer will want to know whether the applicant has done what they promised to do in keeping with the original Form I-140 to ensure that the applicant has not engaged in fraud to obtain immigration benefits.

Please contact us at jacob@h1b.biz if you have any questions.

Please remember to follow us on FacebookYoutubeTwitter, and Instagram.

Capture

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how to respond to a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) after a marriage fraud interview also known as the STOKES interview.

Overview:

As part of the I-130/485 application process to obtain a green card based on marriage, the couple must attend an in-person interview before USCIS to prove that they have a bona fide marriage.

During this interview the immigration officer must determine whether the marriage is in fact legitimate or whether the foreign national entered the marriage solely to obtain an immigration benefit.

If all goes well, the couple is approved following the initial interview.

If the immigration officer suspects fraud or is not convinced that the marriage is legitimate, the couple will be scheduled for a second interview or “STOKES” interview.

Continue reading

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick explains the differences between the K-1 fiancé visa and a marriage visa.

What is the K-1 Fiancé Visa?

The K-1 visa is available to foreign nationals who are engaged to U.S. Citizens only. K-1 visas are also reserved for foreign fiancées, who do not have any other means of coming to the United States. A K-1 visa holder must marry the U.S. Citizen fiancé/fiancée within ninety days of entry to the United States or else the alien must leave the country.

If the foreign fiancé does not intend to marry the U.S. Citizen within ninety days of arriving to the United States, then the K-1 fiancé visa is not a good option.

The K-1 fiancé visa is a good option for couples who want to spend time together in the United States before getting married.

The fiancé visa process is typically much faster than the marriage visa process.

Marriage Visa

Spouses Overseas: U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents may file Form I-130 on behalf of a foreign spouse residing abroad, so that the foreign spouse can apply for a marriage visa through the U.S. Consulate in their home country. Spouses of Legal Permanent Residents must wait for a visa to become available to them, before proceeding with the marriage visa application process.

Spouses within the U.S.: If the foreign spouse of a U.S. Citizen is residing inside of the United States on a valid visa type, then the foreign spouse can file Form I-130 and Form I-485 to adjust their status permanent residence at the same time.

The marriage visa application process is generally longer than the fiancé visa process, while adjustment of status for spouses residing within the United States is shorter than the fiancé visa process (typically 4-7 months processing time).

Continue reading

In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how you can obtain permanent residence if your U.S. Citizen spouse has passed away, and you are still in the process of applying for permanent residence.

Overview:

What happens if you and your spouse have filed the I-130/485, and your US Citizen spouse tragically passes away during the process?

SCENARIO ONE: If the couple married but did not have the opportunity to file the I-130/485 applications with USCIS, before the death of the US Citizen spouse, the surviving spouse can still obtain permanent residence by filing form I-360 as a widow(er), provided the couple had a bona fide marriage. Once the I-360 petition is approved by USCIS, the surviving spouse can proceed on their own in filing the I-485 application for permanent residence.

SCENARIO TWO: In cases where the I-130/485 applications have already been filed with USCIS, but the couple did not have the opportunity to go to their I-485 interview before the passing of the US Citizen, USCIS may still adjudicate the foreign national’s application for permanent residence, even if the US Citizen spouse is now deceased. At the interview, the surviving spouse must provide the US Citizen’s death certificate, as well as evidence of bona fide marriage.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please email jacob@h1b.biz, or contact our office.

Please remember to follow us on FacebookYoutubeTwitter, and Instagram.

Capture

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how to complete Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. Please keep in mind that this video is not intended to be legal advice. The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not substitute the legal advice of your attorney. If you are filing the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative on your own, you must read the form instructions very carefully or seek the assistance of an attorney who will complete the forms according to your specific situation.

If you are filing for adjustment of status, or for an immigrant visa, based on a qualifying family relationship, your petitioner must sign and complete Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative to establish that a valid family relationship exists. If the beneficiary of the petition is the spouse of the petitioner, then the beneficiary must complete Form I-130A Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary.

Filing a Form I-130 is only the first step in helping a relative immigrate to the United States. Certain eligible family members must wait until there is a visa number available before they can apply to become a lawful permanent resident.

Who May File Form I-130

U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents may file the I-130 on behalf of qualifying relatives.

For more information about adjustment of status please click here.

Please remember to follow us on FacebookYoutubeTwitter, and Instagram.

Capture

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how to complete Form I-485 for adjustment of status to permanent resident. Please keep in mind that this video is not intended to be legal advice. The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not substitute the legal advice of an attorney. If you are filing the I-485 application on your own, you must read the form instructions very carefully or seek the assistance of an attorney who will complete the forms according to your specific situation.

You must make sure that all of the information on the I-485 application is correct, because the I-485 form is the form that USCIS is going to use to prepare your green card. Form I-485 must be signed and completed by the beneficiary (the person that is applying for the green card), not the petitioner of the I-130.

What is Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of Status is the process by which an eligible foreign national already in the United States can apply for permanent residence without having to return to their home country to obtain a visa through consular processing. Adjustment of status refers to the change of the foreign national’s legal status from a non-immigrant (temporary) category to an immigrant (permanent) category.

Generally, to be eligible to file for adjustment of status within the United States, a foreign national must have an immigrant petition filed on their behalf either by a US citizen (USC) or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) qualifying relative (USCIS Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative) or employer (USCIS Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker). Exceptions exist for self-petitioning Amerasian, Widow(ers), special immigrant categories such as refugees or asylees, and humanitarian visas. In addition, the beneficiary of the green card application must have been inspected, admitted, or paroled into the United States to qualify for adjustment of status within the United States, except in cases of 245i.

For more information about adjustment of status please click here.

Please remember to follow us on FacebookYoutubeTwitter, and Instagram.

Capture

In this live stream, attorneys Jacob Sapochnick and Marie Puertollano discuss recent topics in immigration including the new USCIS policy giving immigration officers ample discretion to deny an application or petition filed with USCIS without first issuing a RFE or NOID, suspension of premium processing, fraudulent H-1B schemes, and more.

Overview:

RFE/NOID Policy

Beginning September 11, if you do not provide sufficient evidence to establish that you are eligible for the immigration benefit you are requesting, USCIS may exercise their discretion and deny your petition without first issuing a request for evidence or RFE. This new policy applies to all applications and petitions filed after September 11th, with the exception of DACA renewal applications.  The decision to deny your application or petition without issuing a RFE or NOID will ultimately be up to the discretion of the officer reviewing your petition. An officer may in his discretion continue to issue a RFE or NOID according to his best judgement.

If you are filing for a change of status or extension of your status, we recommend that you file early, so that you are not out of status in the case that USCIS denies your request for an immigration benefit. This will give you the opportunity to either re-file or to consider changing your status to another visa type. In addition, if you have the ability to apply for premium processing service, you should take advantage of that service.

Suspension of Premium Processing

At the moment premium processing services have been temporary suspended for cap-subject petitions until February 19, 2019, with the exception of cap-exempt petitions filed exclusively at the California Service Center, because the employer is cap-exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap exempt institution.

Continue reading

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick covers the top ten tips to help you overcome the marriage fraud interview also known as the “STOKES” interview. A foreign national applying for permanent residence based on marriage may be required to attend a second interview. This typically occurs in cases where the officer, who interviewed the couple during the initial marriage interview, does not believe that the couple has a bona fide marriage, because of red flags that arose during the initial interview.

1. Be Honest

Our first tip to avoid being scheduled for a second interview also known as the STOKES interview is simple. Be honest with yourself, with your partner (the U.S. Citizen or LPR spouse), and your attorney if you have one. Before walking into your initial I-485 interview you should be careful not to misrepresent the facts in your relationship and ensure that you and your partner are both being honest and truthful regarding all aspects of your marriage. If you or your spouse misrepresent any facts about your relationship, the immigration officer will presume that you do not have a bona fide/genuine marriage, and it will be very difficult to overcome this presumption at the second interview.

2. Preparation

The second tip to avoid the STOKES interview is to be well prepared. You and your spouse should prepare all of your documentation proving bona fide marriage well in advance of your I-485 interview, so that you have enough time to review your documentation with your spouse and your attorney in preparation of your interview. This well make you feel more confident and prepared when it comes time to your I-485 interview.

Continue reading