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Articles Posted in Waiver

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick updates you regarding a recent practice followed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – the waiver of marriage based green card interviews during the Coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, our office has observed that the agency is processing certain types of applications much more quickly than others.

Want to know more? Stay tuned for more information about this important topic.


Overview


Green Card Interview Waivers for Employment Based Applicants

Beginning in April of this year, our office began to receive approval notices for employment-based adjustment of status applications, without the need for the applicant to attend the in-person face-to-face interview as is typically required by USCIS.

As you may recall on March 18th USCIS announced the suspension of in-person services at field offices nationwide, which meant the cancellation of face-to-face interviews. It was not until June 4th that USCIS announced that it would begin resumption of services at field offices nationwide.

Presumably to avoid a growing backlog of cases needing to be scheduled for an interview, USCIS began to grant employment-based green card petitions without requiring the applicant to attend the in-person interview due to the suspension of in-person services.

USCIS never officially announced a policy change allowing for these interview waivers, and instead these changes were occurring as a matter of practice based upon the agency’s discretion.

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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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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 attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the non-immigrant visa waiver process for individuals who are ineligible to obtain a non-immigrant visa (such as a tourist visa or work visa) due to previous immigration violations such as an overstay, criminal offense, or misrepresentation. All of these offenses can make a person ineligible for a non-immigrant visa, and the only way to obtain a non-immigrant visa is to first apply for a waiver called a 212(d)(3) waiver. Section 212(d)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“the Act”) is a broad waiver provision that allows applicants to apply for admission as nonimmigrants to overcome certain grounds of inadmissibility found in Section 212(a) of the Act. For more information just keep on watching.

The Section 212(d)(3) waiver is available to broad range of inadmissible individuals, however the 212(d)(3) waiver must be anchored to a nonimmigrant visa, such as a tourist, student, H-1B or L visa. An approved 212(d)(3) waiver “waives” an individual’s inadmissability and allows the foreign national to apply for a non-immigrant visa.

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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 consultation 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 the I-601A waiver and when it may be used to legalize a foreign spouse. In this case the foreign spouse was removed for a 3-year period.

For more information about the I-601 and I-601A waivers please click here.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses one of our most frequently asked questions: I have married a different petitioner than the one who filed my K-1 fiancé visa, can I still apply for my green card?

Overview

– The K-1 fiancé visa allows you to marry only the original US citizen petitioner that filed your K-1 fiancé visa

–The K-1 fiancé visa does not allow you to enter the United States and later adjust your status to permanent residence within the United States, while married to a different person

– It is possible for you to proceed with an adjustment of status from your home country, if you have now married a different person than the one who petitioned for your K-1 fiancé visa, through a process known as consular processing

–Couples who are concerned about the impact of physical separation on their relationship may consider the K-3 visa as an alternative to consular processing

–If you have accrued unlawful presence in the United States you will be subject to a bar and will need to file a waiver before applying for permanent residence

Remember to follow us on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram. For legal advice please contact us.

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