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Articles Posted in Fiance Visa Videos

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick answers your frequently asked questions relating to K-1 visas, the National Visa Center, and consular visa processing during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Want to know more? Keep on watching for more information.


Your Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How can I contact the National Visa Center?

A: Once your Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative has been approved, your case will be transferred to the National Visa Center for further processing. Once pre-processing has been completed, your case will be forwarded to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy near you. At the NVC stage, you will be asked to provide additional supporting documentation including the affidavit of support, Form DS-260 Immigrant Visa Electronic Application, and other important documents.

To ensure all of your supporting documentation has been received it is very important to maintain contact with the National Visa Center.

You may contact the NVC by email at NVCinquiry@state.gov or by telephone at 603-334-0700.


Q: Will immigration consider my priority date or approval date for interview?

A: For family-sponsored immigrants, the priority date is the date that the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, or in certain instances the Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, is properly filed with USCIS.

Depending on the type of relationship you have to the U.S. petitioner, you may need to reference your priority date to determine when an immigrant visa (or green card) will become available to you.

Immigrant visas for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are unlimited, so they are always available. Immediate relatives include:

  • The spouses of U.S. citizens;
  • The children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of U.S. citizens;
  • The parents of U.S. citizens at least 21 years old; and
  • Widows or widowers of U.S. citizens if the U.S. citizen filed a petition before they died, or if the widow(er) files a petition within two years of the citizen’s death.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick updates you regarding the status of K-1 visa interview scheduling at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide, as well as the status of a new lawsuit that seeks to push K-1 visa cases through the pipeline.

Want to know more? Keep on watching for more information.

Overview

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Consulates and Embassies abroad have refused to schedule K-1 visa applicants for interviews and have instead opted to prioritize interview scheduling for certain spouses of U.S. Citizens. As a result, thousands of couples have remained separated for months on end with virtually no end in sight. This has been a very puzzling phenomenon given that foreign fiancés should be given priority for visa issuance based on their qualifying relationship to a U.S. Citizen. In some cases, K-1 visa applicants have had their interviews cancelled with no follow-up from the Consulate or Embassy regarding future rescheduling, while in others K-1 visa applications have not moved past the NVC stage for interview scheduling.

In our own experience very few K-1 visa applicants have received visa interviews and the cases that have been prioritized are because of serious medical emergencies or other urgent needs. We have been successful in receiving interviews only where the applicant has received approval for expedited processing.

In an unexpected turn of events on August 30, 2020, the Department of State released a cable stating that effective August 28th K-1 visa cases would receive “high priority.” The cable directed K-1 visa applications to check the website of their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for updates on the services offered by the post.

Unfortunately, this cable did not provide applicants with any relief because it was largely ignored by U.S. Consulates and Embassies. Many applicants contacted their posts directly and were given generic messages stating that the post was not able to provide services for K-1 visa applicants until further notice. These new revelations ultimately forced K-1 applicants to seek relief from the courts.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick updates you regarding a recent practice followed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – the waiver of marriage based green card interviews during the Coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, our office has observed that the agency is processing certain types of applications much more quickly than others.

Want to know more? Stay tuned for more information about this important topic.


Overview


Green Card Interview Waivers for Employment Based Applicants

Beginning in April of this year, our office began to receive approval notices for employment-based adjustment of status applications, without the need for the applicant to attend the in-person face-to-face interview as is typically required by USCIS.

As you may recall on March 18th USCIS announced the suspension of in-person services at field offices nationwide, which meant the cancellation of face-to-face interviews. It was not until June 4th that USCIS announced that it would begin resumption of services at field offices nationwide.

Presumably to avoid a growing backlog of cases needing to be scheduled for an interview, USCIS began to grant employment-based green card petitions without requiring the applicant to attend the in-person interview due to the suspension of in-person services.

USCIS never officially announced a policy change allowing for these interview waivers, and instead these changes were occurring as a matter of practice based upon the agency’s discretion.

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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 post, we answer one of your most frequently asked questions: how can you find the right immigration lawyer for you?

You need an immigration lawyer, but how do you find the right one? Watch this video to learn all about what you need to know before hiring an immigration lawyer.

In this video we offer several guidelines that can help you decide on the right immigration lawyer for you.

Referrals

First of all, you may want to begin by asking for a referral from your close network of friends or family members who may have already worked closely with an immigration lawyer. Social media is a great resource to ask for recommendations from your network and look up reviews of immigration attorneys in your area. You should make a list of the attorneys you would like to work with and contact their offices to set up a consultation. Most attorneys offer first-time consultations. Consultations are a great opportunity for the client to meet one-on-one with the attorney and see if you have a connection with the attorney and would ultimately like to retain the attorney to work on your particular case.

Flat Fee Considerations

Secondly, it is important for you to find out during your consultation whether the attorney charges a flat rate for his services or whether the immigration attorney bills the client an hourly rate. Most immigration attorneys charge flat rates for their services, but this may not always be the case depending on the type of immigration service you are seeking (for example asylum and removal defense cases may require additional costs). Flat rates are more desirable for clients because you will know up front how much it will cost you to pay for the legal fees associated with your case. This may be a good way to determine whether an attorney is the right one for you.

Come Prepared

Come to the consultation with the attorney prepared. Research the immigration service you are seeking and become informed about the process beforehand so that you can ask the attorney your burning questions and any concerns you may have before starting the filing process. You will want to discuss with your attorney the steps involved in the process, the general plan to achieving success on your application, the hurdles that you may run into during the process, and fallback options if your application is unsuccessful. An attorney who can provide you with the full picture of the legal process will allow you to have greater confidence and peace of mind.

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In this video, we discuss the difference between adjustment of status and consular processing.

What is adjustment of status?

Adjustment of Status is the process by which a foreign national applies for permanent residence, essentially their green card, within the United States. In order to apply for adjustment of status within the United States, the foreign national must have entered the United States lawfully (typically on a U.S. visa) and be married to a U.S. Citizen. The foreign national must not have entered the marriage within the first 90 days of entry to the United States. Doing so creates a presumption of fraud and the couple will be denied at the green card interview.

Example: The foreign national entered the U.S. on a student visa, and later met a U.S. Citizen. The couple then became engaged, and married in the U.S.

The process begins with the filing of the following forms typically at the same time:

  • I-130 petition for alien relative (signed by the U.S. citizen)
  • I-485 application for adjustment of status aka the green card application (signed by the foreign national)
  • I-765 application for employment authorization (signed by the foreign national)
  • I-131 application for travel document (signed by the foreign national)
  • G-325A biographical information (signed by both the U.S. Citizen spouse and foreign national)
  • I-864 Affidavit of Support (signed by the U.S. Citizen)

The process ends with a green card interview before a USCIS immigration officer at a field office near the couple’s place of residence. The purpose of the interview is to determine whether the couple has a bona fide marriage. Both the petitioner and foreign national must attend this interview.

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In this post, Attorney Jacob Sapochnick Esq,  gives you his tips for a successful K-1 Fiancé Visa Interview.

Processing Times and Procedure: 

Since a K-1 visa can take anywhere from 6 months or longer, it is imperative that you submit an application well in advance of your intended date of travel. This will provide you with a buffer should your application take longer than expected.

Although a K-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, the application process is very lengthy due to its inherent benefit of conferring immigrant status to the foreign fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen. As a result, it is important to begin the process as early as you possibly can. This is especially critical, because United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes applications on a first-come-first-served basis. Given that there are different stages involved in the K-1 visa process, this can potentially increase your overall wait time for the visa. For example, to begin the K-1 process, your U.S. fiancé(e) must first file a Form I-129F petition with USCIS, and it may take a couple months before USCIS approves the petition, depending on the number of cases ahead of yours.

To learn more about the K-1 Fiancé visa please click here.

Read our K-1 Fiancé visa guide here.

To schedule a first time consultation please contact our office.

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In this video attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick explains the process of immigrating a foreign fiance to the United States. For more information just keep on watching.

What are the requirements to apply for a K-1 fiance visa?

You must be able to prove three important requirements to be successful in applying for the K-1 fiance visa. Please keep these requirements in mind when gathering evidence for your case and discuss these requirements with an attorney:

#1: The U.S. Citizen and fiance must prove they have met in person within the last 2 years.

#2: The U.S. Citizen and fiance must prove they are legally free to marry. If either party has been divorced, they must provide final divorce decrees from their respective countries.

#3: The US Citizen must certify that they are legally able to and intend to marry the alien fiancé (green card applicant) within 90 days of his or her arrival to the United States. The alien fiancé must also certify that they are legally able to and intend to marry the petitioner within 90 days of his or her arrival to the United States.

To begin the process of immigrating your foreign fiancé to the United States please contact our office to schedule a first time consultation.

Remember to follow us on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram for daily updates.

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In this segment Attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses immigration options for same-sex couples. The Law Office of Jacob J. Sapochnick has been a long time advocate for same-sex and LGBT immigration rights. Our office has worked diligently to assist same-sex couples and the LGBT community in their immigration endeavors since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Windsor v. United States, which allows legally married same-sex couples to receive federal benefits including immigration relief.

Same sex couples legally married in any state allowing same sex marriage may seek immigration benefits for the foreign national. If the foreign national entered the country legally (with a proper visa or proper inspection) and the foreign national is residing with the US citizen spouse in the United States, the foreign national may apply for adjustment of status. If the foreign national does not reside in the United States with the US Citizen spouse, the foreign national may immigrate to the United States through a process known as “consular” processing.

If the US Citizen spouse and foreign national are not yet married, but intend to marry, the foreign national may apply for a K-1 fiance visa so long as both parties are legally free to marry, and have met in person within the last 2 years before filing the fiance visa.

For more information regarding green cards for same sex couples please visit our website.

Please remember to follow us on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram to catch our next live stream.

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In this segment Attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses the STOKES interview otherwise known as the infamous “fraud interview” for the green card application. During the STOKES interview the US Citizen petitioner is separated from the foreign spouse for questioning. The STOKES interview is typically scheduled when couples do not provide enough evidence of bona fide marriage and cohabitation, or when the testimony provided by the couple during the first interview contains discrepancies and/or is inconsistent. Couples may also be scheduled for a STOKES interview if USCIS is concerned about something that came up during the foreign spouse’s background screening process. In this segment we talk you through the STOKES interview process, and tell you how you can avoid such an interview. For more information regarding the green card application please visit our website.

Overview

Before a green card may be issued to any foreign national, the applicant must attend what is known as the green card interview. In the case of applying for adjustment of status on the basis of marriage to a US Citizen or LPR spouse, the couple must attend the green card interview together. At the time of the interview, the immigration officer will ask the couple to present evidence of good faith marriage and cohabitation. The burden of proof lies on the applicant to prove that they entered their marriage in good faith and not for the purposes of obtaining an immigration benefit or evading the laws of the United States. Failure to provide substantial evidence of good faith marriage, and proof that you have been residing with your spouse throughout your marriage, may result in a STOKES interview. USCIS immigration officers are trained to spot any inconsistencies and/or discrepancies that may arise during the green card interview. To avoid the STOKES interview it is important to organize your evidence and prepare with an attorney before hand.

Typically a STOKES interview notice is issued after the couple has attended the first interview. The couple is interviewed for a second time to address inconsistencies and/or discrepancies that arose during the first interview session. STOKES interviews are stressful, extensive, and have been known to last up to 8 hours depending on the complexity of the case. It is best to avoid the situation entirely and attend your green card interview with an experienced attorney, who can prepare you and perform a “mock” interview with you and your spouse to identify any potential issues.

Our office has extensive experience preparing for and attending STOKES interviews. It is important to provide as much evidence of “good faith” marriage and cohabitation as possible to avoid such interviews.

For a consultation please contact us.

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