Category Archives: Green Card

Blog articles in this category include information about obtaining and maintaining a green card and issues related to lawful permanent resident and conditional permanent resident status in the United States.

33 Great Documents for Proving a Bona Fide Marriage on an I-751 Petition

Proving a Bona Fide MarriageWhen filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, a conditional permanent resident (and spouse when filing jointly) must prove that they also have a bona fide marriage. There are numerous documents that can used to establish that you entered a genuine marriage and deserve a 10-year green card.

Even if you are filing with a hardship waiver (rather than jointly with your spouse), you will need to prove that your marriage was genuine and not created to circumvent immigration laws.
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How the Green Card Renewal Process is Sucking You Dry

Green Card Renewal Process is Sucking You DryLast month U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it would be increasing the fee on the green card renewal process by an additional $90. Each and every time you need to renew or replace a green card, you’ll soon pay $540 in USCIS filing fees. However, you have until December 23, 2016, to file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, and beat the fee increase.

The permanent resident card, best known as a green card, is your tangible proof that you are a lawful permanent resident in the United States with unique rights and privileges. If you’re stuck without a valid, unexpired green card, you could run into serious problems. But maintaining it incurs a cost. There is a better way. Continue reading

Upgrade an I-130 Petition After Naturalization

upgrade an i-130 petition for spouse or childrenIf you previously filed an I-130 petition for your spouse and/or minor children when you were a permanent resident, you can upgrade the petition if you’ve now become a U.S. citizen. The spouse and/or children of a lawful permanent resident that has filed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, will generally get wait listed. In some situations the wait can be very long. If you upgrade an I-130 petition after naturalization, your petition gets expedited because there is no numerical limit.

In many cases, one family member is able to obtain permanent resident status in the United States, but must leave behind a spouse and/or children in the home country. Upon arriving in the U.S. and becoming a permanent resident (green card holder), he or she may petition those family members to immigrate with Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. However, the wait time can take several years. If that permanent resident becomes a U.S. citizen, he or she may upgrade the I-130 petition and speed up the immigration process. Continue reading

Lost Green Card Abroad and Returning to the U.S.

lost green card abroad with travelingIf you’ve lost your green card or reentry permit while outside the United States, there’s a new process to help you obtain a carrier document. USCIS recently released Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation), a new form that allows permanent residents to apply for a travel document (carrier documentation) if they:

  • Are returning from temporary overseas travel of less than one year, and their green card has been lost, stolen or destroyed, or
  • Are returning from temporary overseas travel of less than two years, and their reentry permit has been lost, stolen or destroyed.

U.S. laws require transportation carriers such as airlines to check passengers for passports and visa before bringing them to the United States. In fact, these laws impose penalties if passengers are not in possession of the required documents. Your lost green card abroad can be a travel headache. Continue reading

USCIS Fee Increases Effective December 23rd

uscis fee increasesEffective December 23, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will increase the fees that must be submitted with the majority of its immigration forms. The USCIS fee increases, which were finalized in an announcement yesterday, can be found in a final rule published in the Federal Register. Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016, must include these new fees or USCIS will reject your submission.

During the early summer of 2016, USCIS announced fee increases would be coming. The USCIS fee increases became official yesterday. Fees increased by a weighted average of 21 percent for many forms. While fees for some forms increased only modestly, fees for other forms such as Form N-600 ballooned by 95 percent. Continue reading

Help a Relative Get a Green Card

How to Help a Relative Get a Green CardAs a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, you can help a relative get a green card. The green card, formally known as a permanent resident card, is the tangible proof that a person may permanently live and work in the U.S. as a permanent resident.

To help a relative get a green card, you need to sponsor your relative and be able to prove that you have enough income or assets to support your relative(s) when they come to the United States.

The process begins by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Specifically, the form establishes the eligible family relationship that exists between you and your relative and initiates the request for a visa number. Continue reading

Expired Green Card Creates 4 Big Problems

CBP officer holds an expired green cardMany people are carrying an expired green card right now. Because you don’t use your card everyday, it’s easy for an expired green card to go unnoticed. By law, permanent residents must carry a valid green card at all times. But in practice, this rarely happens and is rarely enforced by the U.S. government.

When a green card expires, it’s natural to procrastinate before renewing it. After all, the USCIS fee to renew or replace a green card is currently $450 (and will increase soon). That’s a lot of money for anyone. But an expired green card does have consequences that can be even more costly. Continue reading

Dual Intent Visas

dual intent visas for nonimmigrantsA dual intent visa allows foreigners to be temporarily present in the United States with the known intention of possibly immigrating to the U.S. permanently. That’s significant because most temporary visas require that the visitor intend to return home. Thus, attempting to adjust status to permanent resident with other non-immigrant visas can potentially trigger severe, long-term immigration problems.

Most people will find it difficult to qualify for a U.S. non-immigrant visa, such as a visitor visa, if there is any evidence of immigrant intent—a past intent, an intent to seek to immigrate during this trip to the U.S., an intent to immigrate to the U.S. in the future, or even a hope to immigrate in the future. The applicant must establish non-immigrant intent. Continue reading

Green Card Identity Theft

Green Card Identity TheftIf your green card is lost or stolen, you may also be wondering about identity theft. Identity theft is a crime in which an impostor obtains personal information, such as a green card or Social Security card, in order to impersonate someone else. By using someone else’s information, the impostor may obtain new credit cards or make unauthorized purchases. What’s worse, the thief may provide false identification to police, creating a criminal record or leaving outstanding arrest warrants for you, the victim of the green card identity theft. Continue reading

Fiance Visa or Marriage Visa

Which is the Best Way to Get a Marriage-Based Green Card?

k-1 fiancé visa or marriage visa for green cardWhen a U.S. citizen marries a foreign citizen, there are fundamentally two different ways for the foreign citizen to immigrate to the United States and obtain a green card. The choice — a fiancé visa or marriage visa — can cause confusion for many couples. Each has its own benefits. So what’s best for one couple may not be ideal for another couple’s situation. In making your decision, you’ll need to consider speed of the process, cost, as well as other factors.

  • Fiancé Visa (aka K-1 visa) is a non-immigrant visa obtained by the foreign fiancé to travel to the U.S. for the purpose of getting married in the U.S. and then adjusting status to a permanent resident (green card holder).
  • Marriage Visa (aka CR-1 or IR-1 visa) is an immigrant visa obtained by the foreign spouse while in the foreign country after marriage for the purpose of immigrating to the U.S. to live permanently with the spouse.

Deciding on the fiancé visa or marriage visa is a personal decision. So, the best path for you depends on your specific situation. However, for many couples, the speed of the immigration process is an important factor. Continue reading