Articles Posted in Permanent Residents

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 breakdown the labor certification process also known as “PERM.”

Overview:

What is labor certification? Labor certification is required because the government wants to make sure that U.S. workers are not adversely affected by the employment of the foreign national, in this case the beneficiary of the application.

Step one: Filing the labor certification application

The first step in filing a labor certification application is to file a prevailing wage request with the state workforce agency. This request will inform the employer about the wage that must be paid to the foreign national for the work to be performed. Knowledge of the prevailing wage is important because it will affect advertising for the position, the prevailing wage information to be included on the immigration forms, etc. Any mistakes that occur in this step of the process can affect the likelihood of success. It takes several months to receive the certified prevailing wage determination from the labor department. Once the certification is received, the recruitment process can begin.

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In this post, we discuss how you can get a green card through your employer.

Overview:

What does it take to get a green card through a job offer?

There are many ways a foreign national can obtain a green card for example by starting a company in the United States, as an entrepreneur, or demonstrating that they are a person of exceptional ability. However, the most common way to obtain a green card is to obtain a green card through a job offer. Essentially being sponsored by the employer that they are currently working for in the United States or their future employer. This process involves several steps:

  1. The Employer Must Commit to Green Card Sponsorship

The employer must commit to giving you a permanent job offer and be willing to support you in the green card process from start to finish. This is because the employer must not only sign the forms required to petition for the worker’s green card but must also foot the bill including the immigration fees and attorney’s fees. If an employer does not understand his responsibilities in filing for the worker’s green card, delays can result, and in some cases an employer may abandon the green card process altogether. It is very important for an employer to be aware of their obligations at the outset of the application process.

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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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In this video, we explain the process of obtaining a green card if you have been a victim of domestic violence.

As a battered spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen, you may self-petition for an immigrant visa petition under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), without the abuser’s knowledge. If you have an approved petition, you may be eligible to file for a Green Card.

Overview: 

Generally if you have been the victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse, as a spouse of a US Citizen, you may still apply for your green card (self-petition) without the US Citizen spouse, by filing the I-360 petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Once approved, you may file for permanent residency. A VAWA petition may be filed regardless of gender.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the 5 main ways to obtain permanent residence in the United States. Permanent residency allows a foreign national to live and work in the United States.

0:22 – 1. Family Based Immigration

0:56 -2. Employment Based Immigration

1:48 – 3. Investment Based Immigration – EB5

2:42 – 4. Diversity Green Card Lottery

3:26 – 5. Asylum and Special Immigrant Visas

Family-Based Sponsorship

The first and most common way to obtain a green card is through family based sponsorship where an immediate US Citizen relative files a petition for you the foreign national. There are generally 2 ways for a US Citizen to petition for an intending immigrant (1) file a petition with USCIS if the intending immigrant is residing inside of the United States, and entered the United States by lawful means through a U.S. port of entry and was properly inspected upon their entry or (2) if the intending immigrant resides outside of the United States, the beneficiary will need to go through consular processing to obtain an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consular post abroad.

Certain extended family members (brothers and sisters) may also petition for a foreign national, however these visas are limited and subject to a waiting period according to the Visa Bulletin.

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick sits down with international business students studying at INSEAD, a graduate business school in France. Jacob asks them a burning question: Despite all of the obstacles foreign workers face in immigrating to the United States, and the President’s hard-line stance on immigration, are foreign workers still interested in living and working in the United States? Click here to join the conversation.

Why do you want to live and work in the US?From INSEAD 🇫🇷 France

Posted by San Diego Immigration Lawyer, Jacob J. Sapochnick on Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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In this video, our clients speak about their unique experience with the Law Offices of Jacob J. Sapochnick. Our law office specializes exclusively in immigration and nationality law. We work with a broad range of clientele including entrepreneurs, investors, business visitors, foreign workers, U.S. employers, asylees, students, athletes, performers, families seeking to immigrate their family members and much more. Throughout the years, we have established a proven track record of success and a high level of customer service that is unparalleled in the legal industry. Contact our office today to schedule your free first time consultation.

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In this episode, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. answers one of our most frequently asked questions: can you leave the country while your application is pending with CIS? Keep watching to learn more.

This is one of the most common and most important questions asked by our clients. Once you have filed an application with USCIS and the application is pending with USCIS (meaning that you have not received a decision on your application) you CANNOT leave the United States, UNLESS you have received special permission from USCIS to travel outside the country (an advance parole document). If you do not have an advance parole document you do not have permission to travel outside of the United States while your application is pending with USCIS. Doing so will ultimately result in the abandonment of your application with USCIS. The applicant will have to reapply to receive any immigration benefit from USCIS.

This is a very serious matter that should not be taken lightly. If you plan to travel outside of the country you must apply for an advance parole document at least 4 months in advance of your international travel.

Always seek counsel from an attorney before partaking in any international travel.

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