Articles Posted in I-485

In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses the adjustment of status interview for permanent residence. What happens when a denial is issued? To hear the answer to this question just keep on watching.

Overview: 

As part of the application process for permanent residence based on marriage, you and your spouse are required to attend an in person interview before your green card may be issued. In this video we focus on the marriage visa interview. So what happens when things go wrong?

Typically couples prepare for the green card interview by bringing all of the necessary documents to verify to the immigration officer that they have a bona fide marriage (such documents may include photographs of the couple together and with friends and family, evidence of joint accounts, evidence of commingling of finances, evidence of cohabitation, and joint responsibility of assets and liabilities). In some cases, however the immigration officer may not be convinced by a couple’s particular situation. The immigration officer sometimes finds issue with something the client said, or there may be some inconsistencies that capture the attention of the immigration officer, etc. In these cases, at the conclusion of the interview the immigration officer will notify the couple that they will not able to make an immediate decision. They will send the couple home and tell them to wait for a decision in the mail. If the couple does not receive an approval notice in the mail within 30 days, what will likely happen is that USCIS will send a notice of intent to deny (NOID). In most cases this notice is issued within 30 days of the green card interview.

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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 free consultation please contact us.

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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.

Overview:

Can all same-sex couples get legally married now?

No. The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act requires the federal government to recognize marriages in states where same-sex marriage is legal. It does not require all states to legalize or recognize same-sex marriage.

Can they file for Immigration Benefits?

Yes, same-sex couples who are legally married (married in a state allowing same-sex couples to marry) are entitled to the same immigration benefits as heterosexual couples.

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

For a free consultation please contact us.

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In this video, Attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses one of your frequently asked questions: I entered the United States on the visa waiver program 2 years ago. My stay has now expired. Recently, I married a US Citizen. Can I get my Green Card inside the US?

Overview: 

This question comes to us from a follower in Kansas City. He says: I am an Italian national that entered the United States on the visa waiver program 2 years ago. My visa waiver has now expired. I married a US Citizen recently. Can I get my green card within the United States?

Firstly, the visa waiver program grants foreign nationals from eligible countries, the ability to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa. Once a foreign national overstays this 90-day period, however, that individual loses most of their rights including their right to apply for permanent residency (green card).

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. answers one of your frequently asked questions: I overstayed my visa and I am now married to a U.S. Citizen. Am I eligible for a green card?

Overview: 

I am married to a US Citizen but I came to the United States over 10 years ago, I overstayed my visa. Am I eligible to apply for a green card?

The good news is, even if you have overstayed or worked in the United States illegally,  if you are married to a US Citizen it is possible to legalize and apply for permanent residence. The key to determine your eligibility lies in the manner in which you entered the United States. To be eligible for permanent residence, you must have been inspected by a U.S. Customs Official at a U.S. Port of entry. In other words, you must have entered the United States legally and received an I-94 record of arrival/departure proving that you were inspected upon entry. If all goes well, the immigration officer will waive the overstay and illegal employment, at the time of your marriage interview if you can prove that you were inspected by showing your I-94. Any other grounds of inadmissability such as certain crimes, fraud, or willful misrepresentation may subject you to a bar for a certain period of time. In these circumstances, you will need to obtain a waiver before applying for permanent residence.

For a free consultation please contact our office.

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick answers one of your most frequently asked questions: I have a minor US Citizen child. Can I get a green card?

Overview:

This is a very common question. This question comes to us from a Chinese national who is currently in the United States on an H-1B Visa. This person asks: Can I get a green card based on the fact that I have a minor US Citizen child that was just born in the US?

In this situation because the child is under the age of 21, your child cannot file a petition for permanent residence on your behalf based on the fact that you have a minor child born in the United States. This is a very common misconception. Your child can only file for your immigration benefits once they reach the age of 21. A child must be at least 18 years old in order to petition for immigration benefits for their siblings, and then the sibling must wait for a visa number to become available based on the visa bulletin. You cannot obtain a green card just by having a US Citizen child. If you are in the United States on a visa you must find another way to remain legally in the United States until the US Citizen child reaches the minimum age or find another way to obtain a green card through employment. Parents of US Citizen children, residing in the United States unlawfully, can obtain cancelation of removal for their parents to shield them from deportation/removal proceedings. In this case the child does not need to be 21 years or older.

For more information about this topic please contact our office.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick answers one of your most frequently asked questions: Am I eligible to file for adjustment of status inside the United States? For the answer to this question please keep watching. For more information about adjustment of status, please click here.

Overview: 

Am I eligible to file for adjustment of status inside the United States?

In order to file for adjustment of status from a non-immigrant visa classification to legal permanent resident, several conditions must be met. If you do not meet any of the following conditions you cannot file for adjustment of status from inside the United States.

  1. First, in order to apply for permanent residence, you must be physically inside of the United States. If you are not physically present in the US you must obtain an immigrant visa at a United States Consular post abroad.
  2. Your Immigration petition must have already been approved (I-130 or I-140 Petition) before filing of the I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (green card application).
  3. If your priority date is not current then you cannot file a petition for adjustment of status.

What does this mean?

A priority date is the date when your relative or employer properly filed the immigrant visa petition on your behalf with USCIS. Immediate Relatives of US Citizens are generally not subject to numerical visa limitations. You can check the status of a visa number by checking your priority date on the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin published every month. The Visa Bulletin estimates immigrant visa availability for prospective immigrants.

4. If your priority date is not current then you cannot file a petition for adjustment of status until it becomes current.

5. You must have entered the US illegally and be able to prove that you entered legally (inspection documents such as I-94). There are exceptions to this rule such as section 245i

6. You must not have any changes in your circumstances (ex. change in employment; divorce before green card)

7. You must not be barred from the United States. If you have been subject to a bar because you attempted to enter the US illegally, departed the US voluntarily, are guilty of immigration fraud, willful misrepresentation, or other criminal issues you are likely inadmissible and cannot file for adjustment of status. A waiver may be available to individuals in these situations that will allow the immigrant to seek adjustment of status.

For more information please contact our office for a consultation.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses how President Barack Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration can benefit employment-based visa holders. To learn more about the status of the Executive Actions please click here. For information about employment-based green cards click here.

Overview:

How can individuals in the United States under an employment-based visa benefit from Obama’s executive actions on immigration?

  • Visa allocation for highly skilled workers is likely to improve visa processing;
  • The government will work with the State Department to ensure that all visas authorized by Congress will be issued to people who are eligible;
  • Visa issuance backlogs will likely improve;
  • The process for determining visa availability likely to improve;
  • Rules will be put in place so that priority dates will be preserved for people who are in the process of changing jobs;

More questions? Please contact us for a free consultation.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses the marriage based green card process for persons who entered the United States legally. To learn more about adjustment of status within the United States please click here. For information about employment-based green cards click here.

Overview:

  • The process discussed is only for persons who entered the United States legally (those who were legally inspected through a United States port of entry);
  • If you did not enter the United States legally but are married to a United States citizen, you may qualify for a waiver if you have acquired only unlawful presence in the United States;
  • The US Citizen spouse and the intending immigrant must be legally free to marry. Pending dissolution proceedings in a foreign country will present a problem;
  • Both parties must reside in the United States in order to file for adjustment of status;
  • Once the civil marriage takes place, the USC spouse and intending immigrant must file several forms with CIS along with supporting documents (I-130, I-485, I-864, G-325A, etc.);
  • The intending immigrant will NOT be able to travel internationally until they are issued an advance parole by filing form I-131 with CIS. It takes approximately 90 days for an advance parole document to be issued from the receipt date of the I-131;
  • The intending immigrant will receive conditional permanent residence status if the marriage was less than 2 years old on the day they were given permanent residence;
  • If you have received conditional permanent residence status, you must remove the conditions within the 90 day window immediately before your permanent resident status expires;

For more information about the removal of conditions process please click here. For a free consultation please contact us.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses common reasons for green card denials. To read more about family-based green cards please click here. For information about employment-based green cards click here.

Overview:

There are generally two ways to apply for a permanent resident green card 1. through a qualifying family relationship and 2. through employment. Please note that special categories of green card applicants exist beyond these two options including obtaining a green card through 245i, the diversity immigrant visa program , the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Asylum, and based on a U visa.

There are several reasons a green card application may be denied which may include, but is not limited to the following: health, criminal, and security related issues, failure to demonstrate that the applicant will not become a public charge, failure to respond to a request for evidence by the required deadline, prior immigration violations, inability to meet the requirements for a green card, and not showing up to required immigration appointments.

If your green card application has been denied, you may be able to rescue your application by filing a motion to reopen. To assess your specific case please contact us for a free consultation.

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