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Articles Posted in Fraud

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a frequently asked question: can someone who is in the process of getting divorced overseas re-marry in the United States before that divorce is final?

Overview:

In many foreign countries the process of getting divorced is a very long and tedious process with many divorces taking many years to come to a final conclusion.

Many clients are left wondering whether they can lawfully re-marry in the United States while their divorce process is pending overseas, so that they can move on with their lives and apply for adjustment of status based on their marriage in the United States.

Unfortunately, you may not lawfully re-marry in the United States until all prior marriages have been terminated. A prior marriage is terminated when divorce proceedings come to a conclusion. A prior marriage is terminated by a government order or decree of dissolution of marriage issued by the appropriate authority in the country where your divorce proceedings took place. If you have not received a final order or decree of dissolution from such an authority, your prior marriage has not been terminated.

Filing a petition for adjustment of status while you remain married to someone else, even in a foreign country, carries with it very serious legal consequences.

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Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we discuss whether a parent of a US Citizen child 21 years of age or older, can adjust status within the US if they overstayed their visa.

Overview: 

In this scenario, a US citizen child is interested in petitioning his or her parent for a green card. In this case, the parent arrived to the United States on a valid visa 12 years ago and overstayed that visa.

Can that parent adjust their status in the US? Can the parent do this process from within the US or overseas?

As long as the parent entered the United States legally by way of a valid visa and the petitioning child is a US Citizen over 21 years of age, the parent is still eligible to apply for adjustment of status within the United States, even if the parent has overstayed their visa. The “overstay” is essentially waived in cases where the petitioner is a U.S. citizen and immediate relative of the beneficiary.

On the adjustment of status application, the overstay must be disclosed.

DUI Offenses

What if my parent obtained a DUI offense while in the US? Are they still eligible to Adjust Status?

A DUI on its own does not bar an applicant from obtaining permanent residence, however the applicant must provide all documentation necessary regarding the offense, such as the final disposition of the offense, and documentation showing what if any fines were paid.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses recent immigration raids in the state of Mississippi that led to the arrests of 680 undocumented immigrants at several worksite locations across the state.

ICE was able to obtain search warrants prior to the raids, which enabled them to conduct these raids and arrest undocumented workers.

These raids occurred ahead of stricter compliance standards announced by USCIS penalizing employers hiring undocumented workers. These raids come as a sign that USCIS will be getting tougher on employers, and on employees working unlawfully in the United States.

What will happen to the employees that were arrested?

These individuals will be questioned to determine whether they are undocumented and whether they are working in the United States illegally. If an individual is determined to be in the United States illegally then that individual will go through the normal process of being removed from the United States.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick talks about your options, as a U.S. Citizen, if you have just discovered that your foreign spouse used you to obtain a green card.

When such a case arises, and we are representing the U.S. Citizen who has just discovered that they have been defrauded, we advise our client to seek outside counsel. We cannot advise our client on how to proceed if we have filed the case because providing such advise creates a conflict of interest.

If our office did not file the green card petition, then it is possible for us to assess the U.S. Citizens options by having a consultation and discussing the situation at hand.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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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Learn more about the new 90-day presumption of fraud rule in this video and how it affects the adjustment of status of foreign nationals living in the United States.

0:24 – New Rule Changes

0:52 – What is 90-day Rule Do?

1:37 – Our advice or suggestions for this new rule

Overview: 

WHO:

In September 2017 the Department of State released an amended version of the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), which is a manual used by governmental agencies and other federal agencies that directs and codifies information that must be carried out by respective agencies “in accordance with statutory, executive and Department mandates.”

WHAT:

The new amended version of the manual expands the definition of misrepresentation, the types of activities that may support a presumption of fraud, and establishes changes to existing policies that federal agents must follow in making assessments of fraud or material representation.

According to the amended FAM: If a foreign national engages in any of the following activities, and applies for an immigration benefit, the FAM directs immigration officers to apply a presumption of fraud or material misrepresentation when the foreign national seeks adjustment of status:

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