Articles Posted in Family Visas

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick will discuss a very important topic: can a step-parent, who is a U.S. Citizen, petition for a step-child to immigrate to the United States?

USCIS takes the position that as long as the marriage between the U.S. Citizen and foreign national takes place before the child turns 18, that child can immigrate to the United States on the same I-130 petition.

This situation arises where the U.S. Citizen’s foreign spouse has children from a previous marriage, and the U.S. Citizen is interested in petitioning for the child to immigrate along with the foreign national spouse.

If the child is older than 18 at the time of the marriage between the U.S. Citizen and foreign national takes place, the child must find an alternative means of obtaining permanent residence.

The location of the marriage does not matter, rather the child’s age at the time of the marriage is what is key here.

For more information about this topic please click here.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a new rule, effective October 15, 2019, that expands the list of public benefits that make a foreign national ineligible to obtain permanent residence and/or an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa.

Overview: 

Receipt of certain public benefits by a non-citizen may render that individual ineligible to obtain: a visa to the United States, adjustment of status to permanent residence, or ineligible for admission to enter the United States.

The final rule defines a public charge as any alien who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period.

Under the final rule, immigration will now be taking into consideration the following benefits to determine whether an individual is or is likely to become a public charge to the U.S. government:

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick demonstrates how to complete USCIS Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.

What is the Affidavit of Support?

Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, is a form that is required for most family-based immigration petitions and some employment-based immigration petitions.

The affidavit of support is necessary to prove that the foreign national wishing to immigrate to the United States has adequate means of financial support and is not likely to become a public charge at the time of filing or in the future. The person signing the affidavit of support is called a “sponsor” and is usually the U.S. Petitioner.

Signing the Affidavit of Support is a serious matter. Sponsors who sign this form are entering into a contract with the U.S. Government agreeing to use their resources to support the intending immigrant if it becomes necessary.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses important visa bulletin updates.

F2A Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents is now current as of July 1, 2019 with the release of the July 2019 Visa Bulletin. That means that beginning July 1, 2019, spouses and minor children of green card holders can file for I-485 adjustment of status.

What does this mean for green card holders? If your spouse and children (under 21 and unmarried) are in lawful status and have already filed an I-130, they should be ready to file their I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status, starting July 1. If your spouse and children (under 21 and unmarried) are in lawful status in the US and you have not already filed an I-130, the I-130 and I-485 should be filed concurrently starting July 1. If your spouse and children (under 21 and unmarried) are overseas and they have an approved I-130, they should be ready to submit all necessary documents to the National Visa Center so an immigrant visa interview can be scheduled.

For more information about this new update please click here.

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Overview: 

Have you ever wondered what is bona fide marriage and what is the evidence required to establish bona fide marriage? In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick will explain how you can go about proving bona fide marriage.

When applying for adjustment of status based on marriage, the foreign national must prove to USCIS that they have what is called a “bona fide” marriage, meaning that the couple has entered the marriage for love, and not solely to obtain an immigration benefit. USCIS requires the applicant to meet their burden of proof of bona fide marriage to prevent green card fraud.

There is certain documentation that must be provided to prove that the couple has a bona fide marriage. This documentation can be provided with the filing itself, or at the time of the green card interview.

What type of documents are required to show bona fide marriage?

Evidence of Cohabitation: to show bona fide marriage, the couple must show that they have been living together throughout the marriage. The types of documents that can establish cohabitation are lease agreements, property deeds, and secondarily utility bills (electricity bill, water bill etc.).

Evidence of Commingled Finances: in addition, the couple must provide evidence of commingled finances such as joint bank account statements showing activity on the account such as payments for rent, food, groceries, and regular household items.

Joint Ownership of Assets: if the couple has any assets held in both of their names such as real property, an automobile, ownership of stocks or bonds etc. they may provide evidence of such assets.

Other Joint Documents: The couple may also provide life insurance policy documents, health or auto insurance, or joint memberships in a club such as gym membership.

Photographs: The couple must present photographs of themselves with friends and family members throughout their relationship to show that they have a legitimate marriage.

Trips: the couple may choose to show evidence of trips or other activities they have undertaken throughout the marriage as proof of bona fide marriage.

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The San Diego Immigration Law Offices of Jacob J. Sapochnick welcomes you. Our immigration practice is committed exclusively to the areas of immigration and citizenship law. We have big firm expertise in these specialties, but strive to deliver personalized client services at an economical cost.

Every week we cover different immigration topics on our Youtube channel. Subscribe and hit the notification bell to be notified every time we upload!

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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