Articles Posted in Hiring an Immigration Lawyer

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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Overview:

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a new USCIS policy that says that individuals who use marijuana, may be barred from obtaining U.S. Citizenship, even if smoking marijuana is not an offense in that state. This includes individuals who work in the marijuana industry.

Under federal law, marijuana remains a controlled substance, and the possession, cultivation, and distribution of both medical and non-medical marijuana remains illegal, even though these activities are lawful in some states. Such conduct can result in very serious immigration consequences for non-citizens who are interested in applying for naturalization. That is because immigration is regulated at the federal level, and the federal rules apply.

A candidate for naturalization must demonstrate that they are a person of good moral character in the five years prior to filing for naturalization. A violation for the possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana within the five-year period prior to filing your application for naturalization, may result in conditional bar to good moral character and require the applicant to file for a waiver to remove the bar, or delay the process of applying for naturalization.

Please speak with your immigration attorney for more information about how this new policy may affect you. For more information please contact our office.

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The J-1 visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa type that allows foreign nationals to come to the united states to gain some skills or training in the fields of education, arts, and science. The J-1 visa allows the foreign national to live and work in the United States for 18 months, to develop their skills.

You may apply for the J-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy in your home country if:

  • you are between the ages of 20 to 36
  • you hold a bachelor’s degree or post-secondary diploma and
  • you can demonstrate English proficiency by taking the TOEFL exam
  • you find a sponsor through the U.S. Department of State that is willing to employ you to provide the training you will need for the position you are seeking
  • you have a training plan provided to you by your designated company outlining what you will be doing while working for the company

A J-1 visa applicant must be sponsored by a designated public or private entity in an exchange program approved by the U.S. Department of State. The J-1 visa applicant can only work for the U.S. company and/or organization listed on Form DS-2019.

Professors or scholars, research assistants, students, trainees, teachers, au pairs, camp counselors etc. are example of exchange visitors who may qualify for the J-1.

Employment is authorized for J-1 nonimmigrants only under the terms of the exchange program. Once the duration of stay has expired, the J-1 applicant must return to their home country.

For more information about the J-1 visa please click here.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares very exciting news for Israeli citizens. The U.S. Embassy has announced that Israeli citizens are now eligible for the E-2 investor visa. This is very exciting news because Israeli citizens have been waiting for Israel to be added to the E-2 visa program for years.

The U.S. Embassy in Israel has announced that Israeli citizens may begin to apply for the E-2 visa at the Embassy in Tel Aviv beginning May 1st.

The E-2 visa is a temporary (nonimmigrant) visa that can be used to develop, direct, or provide specialized skills to an enterprise in which the owner has invested a substantial amount of capital. With the implementation of this visa, Israeli investors now have the opportunity to invest in the U.S. economy and send qualified employees to the United States. Likewise, U.S. citizens will be eligible to apply for visas to invest in Israel.

To qualify for a Treaty Investor (E-2) visa:  

  • The investment must be substantial and sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise;
  • The business must be a real operating enterprise;
  • The investor must be traveling to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise;
  • If the applicant is not the investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity.

Once the Consular Section receives a complete E-2 visa application and reviews the applicant’s documentary evidence, applicants will be invited to schedule a visa interview in Tel Aviv.

During the interview applicants should be prepared to discuss details of the business and investment, the business plan and history, and the investor’s professional experience.

Interested parties should contact our office to schedule a free consultation to determine eligibility.

For more information about the E-2 visa click here.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses an EB-2 National Interest Waiver success story involving a client who was able to obtain a green card without an employer based on his background as a foreign national with an exceptional ability.

The EB-2 category allows a person to apply for a green card without an employer, as long as certain criteria are met.

* Criteria

  • Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability
  • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation
  • A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation
  • Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability
  • Membership in a professional association(s)
  • Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.

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You are married to a US Citizen and you filed your petition for a green card, but now you are going through a divorce, can you keep your green card?

Divorce Prior to Green Card

If you have filed your application for a green card, but have not yet attended your green card interview, and you or your spouse has since filed for divorce, it is going to be nearly impossible for your green card application to continue without the U.S. Citizen spouse.

If the divorce is filed or is happening before the adjudication of your green card, there are very few options for the foreign spouse to obtain a green card.

As long as the foreign spouse is in legal status, they may be able to remain in the United States by changing their status to a nonimmigrant visa category. In this case, the foreign spouse may only remain in the U.S. temporarily, until the duration of the visa is up.

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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 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.

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Have you ever wondered how you can land a job with a US employer who will sponsor you for an H-1B visa?

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the process of finding a job in the United States that can lead to an H-1B sponsorship.

To be able to work in the United States you must have a work visa. The most common work visa is the H-1B visa.

What is the H-1B visa?

The H-1B visa allows American companies and/or organizations to employ foreign workers in a specialty occupation. To be able to apply for the H-1B visa you must have a job offer from a U.S. employer, and a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent work experience to work in the position sought.

The H-1B visa is a visa for professionals. Attorneys, architects, engineers, business directors, lodging managers, etc. can apply for the H-1B visa based on their specialty occupation.

How do you land a job offer?

U.S. employers are open to hiring foreign nationals, but many are unaware of the process that goes into employing a foreign national.

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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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