The requirements for petitioning a foreign citizen spouse for permanent residence (green card) are more exhaustive than any other relationship. When filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, the petitioner must also submit other supporting documents to evidence the relationship. We’ve developed an I-130 checklist for spouses to help you through this process.
Immigration officials, from the U.S. Department of State and also U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), have an additional layer of scrutiny for spousal relationships. After all, sham marriages are one of the most common ways to commit green card fraud. Immigration officials want to be sure that your spouse is obtaining a green card based on a genuine relationship.
The next wave of Trump administration policy designed to reduce immigration is here. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed major increases in the immigration fee structure. The USCIS immigration fee increase would nearly double the cost of some applications.
The Trump administration is simultaneously squeezing immigrants with a new public charge rule and changes to the fee waiver rules that make it more difficult for low-income immigrants and their families. To add insult to injury, some of the new fees would go to pay for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Since September 2017 the Trump Administration has had a policy to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Although the decision to wind down DACA has been stopped in the courts for now, the future of the program is uncertain. The policy is being challenged in the highest court. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case (McAleenan v. Vidal ) that will likely determine the future for more than 700,000 DACA recipients. This has put a renewed emphasis for many DACA recipients to find other paths to legal status. Obtaining a DACA green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen is one of the most common ways to gain legal status.
When filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of a spouse, it’s necessary to submit evidence that you have a genuine, bona fide marriage. This can be challenging for a couple that hasn’t had time to join financial accounts or have children. This I-130 affidavit sample can help provide evidence in lieu of other documents.
Today, the Department of Homeland Security’s new public charge rule was supposed to go into effect. It will not. Multiple federal judges have issued temporary injunctions against the Trump administration’s public charge rule change. If implemented, this controversial policy would make it more difficult for immigrants to get green cards if it seems like they might need public assistance. Critics see it an attempt to keep out immigrants who are poor or in need of help. But the rule imposes a new burden on even financially self-sufficient applicants. The policy requires most applicants to prepare an additional 18-page form in order to adjust status. This additional step would add to the difficultly and complexity of getting a green card. The court injunctions are a welcome reprieve for intending immigrants and their families. However, the measure may only be temporary. Continue reading →
The Diversity Visa Program, better known as the green card lottery, is a United States lottery system that grants up to 55,000 foreign nationals the ability to apply for an immigrant visa number. Most people need a petitioner to make an immigrant visa available. Either a U.S. family member or employer must file a petition that eventually gives the beneficiary the path to a green card. The green card lottery makes immigrant visas available each year to randomly selected individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
About 20 million people enter the green card lottery each year in hopes of getting one of the 55,000 spots. To participate, applicants must Continue reading →
Several years ago, CitizenPath launched an an innovative, online service to help our customers prepare Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. The online service includes a calculator that helps make Form I-864 easy for anyone to prepare. This article explains how the service works and includes an Affidavit of Support sample created from the CitizenPath software.
Many immigration attorneys consider the Affidavit of Support to be one of the most difficult U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) forms to prepare. USCIS routinely rejects Form I-864 or issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) as a result of incorrectly prepared Affidavits of Support. This is significant. That’s because the intending immigrant’s green card application will be denied if the I-864 does not meet the requirements. Continue reading →
In the current environment, individuals who appear foreign-born are increasingly being asked for proof of status. Even U.S. citizens and permanent residents are at risk of detention if they don’t have identification. In fact, permanent residents are required by law to carry valid, unexpired proof of permanent resident status. Permanent residents with an expired (or expiring within six months) card, should generally submit a green card renewal application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as soon as possible.
If you’ve been a permanent resident for at least five years (or a permanent resident while married to a U.S. citizen for the last three years), you may be able to skip the green card renewal application Continue reading →
You may be wondering if you can get a green card if you’ve worked in the United States without permission. Perhaps you learned that you may be eligible to adjust status to permanent resident but also know that unauthorized employment in the United States is generally a bar from adjustment. This means that unauthorized employment can make many people ineligible to apply for a green card. Employment without permission from the U.S. government before filing Form I-485, Application to Adjust of Status, and after applying can have a negative impact.
Generally, unlawful employment is a violation of your nonimmigrant status and can result in a denial of your application. Fortunately, there’s an exception for certain individuals like immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Continue reading →
Although step-by-step guides through Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, can be helpful, they rarely cover the important topics. And you can find the official set of I-130 instructions on the USCIS.gov website. This overview introduces some of the broader — and critically important —
issues you won’t find in the I-130 instructions. Everybody’s case is unique – there is no simple set of filing instructions for Form I-130.
The relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary (intending immigrant) affects the instructions. As do many other factors such as adoption, step relationships and previous marriages, and immigration history.
Before you blindly fill out an I-130 petition, get to know these issues and how they can affect your relative’s immigration case. Continue reading →