Articles Posted in Permanent Residents

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 upcoming changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.

Under a new rule published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, several changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program will go into effect on Nov. 21, 2019.

The new rule modernizes the EB-5 program by:

  • Providing priority date retention to certain EB-5 investors;
  • Increasing the required minimum investment amounts to account for inflation;
  • Reforming certain targeted employment area (TEA) designations;
  • Clarifying USCIS procedures for the removal of conditions on permanent residence; and
  • Making other technical and conforming revisions.

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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 discusses how to file the perfect PERM application.

What is PERM?

The Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) is the system used by immigration to process labor certifications, which is the first step certain foreign nationals must take in order to obtain an EB-2 or EB-3 visa immigrant visa.

As part of the PERM process, the petitioning employer must go through a series of recruitment activities to test the labor market before filing a labor certification application. If, during the recruitment process, the employer finds that there is not a sufficient number of able, qualified, and willing applicants, whether U.S. citizens or permanent residents, then the employer can submit a PERM labor certification application.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick will show you how you can check the processing times for the I-751 Removal of Conditions and Form I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.

What is the I-751?

Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence is a form that must be filed by conditional permanent residents to remove their conditions and receive the ten-year permanent resident card.

At the moment, the I-751 Petition is taking longer than expected to be adjudicated by USCIS. As a result of these delays, on June 11, 2018, USCIS began issuing receipt notices extending an applicant’s conditional permanent resident status for a period of 18 months, as opposed to 12 months.

It is not uncommon however for some petitions to take longer than 18 months to be processed, especially in the case of an I-751 waiver of the joint filing requirement.

It is important to note that processing times vary by service centers. There are five service centers that process and adjudicate the I-751 petition. These service centers include: California, Nebraska, Potomac, Texas, and Vermont.

Please follow along on the CIS website to find out how you can check the processing times based on these service centers.

What is the I-90?

The I-90 application is used by lawful permanent residents to apply for replacement or renewal of existing Permanent Resident Cards.

The Potomac service center is the only service center currently processing I-90 applications.

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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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What’s the difference between someone who is undocumented in the United States and someone who is here illegally?

What does it mean to be “undocumented”?

When someone is in the United States “undocumented,” that means that the person entered the United States without inspection (without the proper documentation), and as a result are currently living in the United States without the proper documentation, hence the term “undocumented.”

What does it mean to be in the U.S. “illegally”?

On the other hand, someone who came to the United States on a valid visa (such as a student visa, tourist visa, etc.) and then lost their status, either because they did not renew their visa, or their visa expired, or for some other reason, are in the United States “illegally.” These individuals were legally in the United States at some point but are now in the United States “illegally” because they are now out of status. This is also referred to as a visa overstay.  That is because the individual has now stayed in the United States past the time authorized by their initial visa.

In both cases, the individual is in the United States without authorization because they do not have the proper visa.

Path to Residency

A person who is “undocumented” meaning that they entered the United States without proper inspection, cannot adjust their status to permanent residency so easily even where married to a U.S. Citizen. Undocumented parties married to U.S. Citizens must file a waiver of inadmissibility and in some cases will have to leave the United States before applying for residency.

By contrast, a person who entered the United States with proper inspection, but who is now in the United States illegally because of an overstay, can apply for permanent residency more easily, where married to a U.S. Citizen. These individuals do not have to leave the United States before applying for residency.

The key difference between the two is in whether the person entered the country with inspection. If you entered without inspection, you would be undocumented. If you entered with inspection, but have overstayed your visa, you are in the country illegally.

If you have questions about relating to your status and legalization, please contact us.

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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.

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