Articles Posted in I-485

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick talks about the Diversity Visa Program also known as the “Diversity Visa Lottery.”

What is the Diversity Visa Lottery?

Every fiscal year approximately 50,000 immigrant visas are up for grabs for a special class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants.” To be eligible to participate in the program as a “diversity immigrant,” you must be from a country with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. If you were not born in an eligible country, you may qualify to participate in the program if your spouse was born in an eligible country or if your parents were born in an eligible country.

In general, the requirements to participate in the diversity visa program are as follows:

Requirement #1: You must be a national of one of the following countries

AFRICA Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burkina Faso Burundi Cameroon Cabo Verde Central African Republic Chad Comoros Congo Congo, Democratic Republic of the Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Djibouti Egypt* Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Ethiopia Gabon Gambia, The Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Kenya Lesotho Liberia Libya Madagascar Malawi Mali Mauritania Mauritius Morocco Mozambique Namibia Niger Rwanda Sao Tome and Principe Senegal Seychelles Sierra Leone Somalia South Africa South Sudan Sudan Swaziland Tanzania Togo Tunisia Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe

ASIA Afghanistan Bahrain Bhutan Brunei Burma Cambodia Hong Kong Special Administrative Region** Indonesia Iran Iraq Israel* Japan*** Jordan* Kuwait Laos Lebanon Malaysia Maldives Mongolia Nepal North Korea Oman Qatar Saudi Arabia Singapore Sri Lanka Syria* Taiwan** Thailand Timor-Leste United Arab Emirates Yemen

EUROPE Albania Andorra Armenia Austria Azerbaijan Belarus Belgium Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark (including components and dependent areas overseas) Estonia Finland France (including components and dependent areas overseas) Georgia Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Kazakhstan Kosovo Kyrgyzstan Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Special Administrative Region** Macedonia Malta Moldova Monaco Montenegro Netherlands (including components and dependent areas overseas) Northern Ireland*** Norway (including components and dependent areas overseas) Poland Portugal (including components and dependent areas overseas) Romania Russia**** San Marino Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Tajikistan Turkey Turkmenistan Ukraine Uzbekistan Vatican City

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses some new developments regarding the government’s planned implementation of a final rule that would have made certain individuals inadmissible to the United States on public charge grounds.

On October 11, 2019, judges in three separate cases before U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of New York (PDF)Northern District of California (PDF), and Eastern District of Washington (PDF) granted court orders to stop the government from implementing and enforcing the terms of the public charge rule proposed by the Trump administration. As a result, the final rule has been postponed pending litigation until the courts have made a decision on the legality of the rule on the merits. These court orders have been placed nationwide and prevent USCIS from implementing the rule anywhere in the United States.

What would the public charge rule have done?

The public charge rule was set to be enforced on October 15, 2019. The rule would have expanded the list of public benefits that make a foreign national ineligible to obtain permanent residence and/or an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa to enter the United States.

A person would have been considered a “public charge” under the rule, if they received one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate, within any 36-month period.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the implications of accepting unlawful employment while in the United States, how it can impact your future green card or immigration status in the United States.

First, what is unlawful employment?

Unlawful employment occurs when a foreign national accepts employment outside of their authorization. For example, if you do not have a work visa with authorizes you to engage in lawful employment, a green card, or employment authorization card, and you accept employment regardless, then you have accepted unlawful employment. In some cases, even unpaid employment may be considered unlawful employment.

Unlawful employment is employment that may have occurred before your last entry (maybe years ago), employment that you have taken before you have filed for adjustment of status, etc.

Unauthorized employment may impact a person’s ability to legalize their status in the United States. However, there are certain instances in which accepting unauthorized employment will not have a negative effect on a person’s future ability to obtain permanent residence.

Exceptions

One of these exceptions is what we call the “immediate relative exception.”

If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, and are filing for adjustment of status based on your family relationship as:

  • The spouse of a U.S. citizen;
  • The unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. citizen; or
  • The parent of a U.S. citizen (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age or older).

Your acceptance of unauthorized employment will not impact your ability to obtain permanent residence because that unauthorized employment will be considered “waived” at the interview.

Recipients of VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) filing for adjustment of status also qualify for this exception and will not be adversely affected by acceptance of unauthorized employment.

In addition, certain physicians and their families who are immigrating to the United States may also be exempt, as well as certain U.S. service members who are in the military and are in the process of adjusting their status.

For more information click on the video above.

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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 shares some exciting news: the EB-3 Philippines employment-based category has become current as of July 2019!

Since there is currently no waiting period for EB-3 Philippines, employers of Filipino nurses and other health care professionals, may now apply for the I-140 straight away, and applicants may file for their adjustment of status (green card).

Why is this change so exciting? Before this change, it could take a Filipino nurse eight or more years to work in the United States and obtain permanent residence. Since the EB-3 category is now current, the whole process could take as little as 10-12 months.

Because we do not yet know how long this category will remain current, we encourage Filipino nurses and their employers to take advantage of this narrow window of opportunity and file their I-140/I-485 petitions as soon as possible.

If you have any questions regarding this new change please contact our office.

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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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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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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.

If you have any questions please contact our office. Please also remember to follow us on FacebookYoutubeTwitter, and Instagram.

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