Form I-130 Instructions and Preparing the Immigrant Petition

I-130 InstructionsAlthough 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

Green Card Abandonment: Risks of Travel Abroad

green card abandonmentThere are several ways that you can lose your status as a lawful permanent resident. One of the most common ways is through unintentional green card abandonment. Permanent residents may travel outside the United States. Vacation, family engagements, tourism, business are all legitimate reasons for traveling abroad. However, permanent residents who are absent from the United States for extended periods of time risk abandoning their green cards.

In fact, the risk of green card abandonment is real for any permanent resident whose travel is not temporary in nature. Each year, many green card holders returning from trips abroad find themselves in jeopardy of losing their status because their trips are not clearly temporary in nature. Continue reading

Evidence of Bona Fide Marriage to Support a Spousal I-130 Petition

Evidence of a Bona Fide Marriage for I-130 PetitionTo obtain a green card for your spouse, you’ll need to submit Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and evidence of a bona fide marriage to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Filing the I-130 petition is just the first step in the family-based immigration process. It’s critical that you establish a valid spousal relationship at this point, but also again and again.

In fact, immigration officials will ask additional questions about the relationship during the green card interview. As a conditional resident, the scrutiny will continue. A marriage certificate is necessary, but more evidence is required to prove a bona fide marriage. It’s never too early to begin collecting this evidence.
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5 Common Reasons Form N-400 Denied

form n-400 denied uscisU.S. citizenship is perhaps the greatest benefit any immigrant can receive. It is often the pinnacle of a long journey over many years and many miles. Over 2.3 million permanent residents have naturalized as U.S. citizens in the past three years.

However, during the same period, over 224,000 permanent residents had their Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, denied. There are many reasons for this — so we took a look and found five common reasons for a continuation or denial of a Form N-400 application. Continue reading

Renewing a Green Card after an Arrest

Renewing a Green Card After an ArrestWhen renewing a green card after an arrest or criminal offense, be aware that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will review the record of the permanent resident.

There are several crimes that can be deportable offenses. And some criminal offenses do not require a conviction to trigger inadmissibility or deportability for an immigrant. When renewing or replacing a green card, these crimes will be revealed to USCIS. Each time a permanent resident files Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, USCIS requires the applicant to pay for and undergo a criminal background check.

The way that USCIS treats these crimes has also changed over the years. Therefore, a crime that was not a deportable offense 15 years ago could be a deportable crime now. It is very important that anyone with a criminal record understand their situation before filing for a green card renewal. Continue reading

Fiancé Visa Interview Questions: What K-1 Visa Applicants Can Expect

K1 Fiance Visa Interview QuestionsAn interview is an essential part of obtaining virtually any nonimmigrant visa for entry to the United States. But K-1 fiancé visa interview questions dive deeper into your history and intentions. They can even seem a little personal. And that’s a little scary.

It’s natural to be anxious about your K-1 interview. If you are prepared and know your fiancé well, you’ll find that the fiancé visa interview questions are actually very simple to answer. The K-1 questions will focus on your relationship with the U.S. citizen fiancé, but there’s no reason to fear the interview if you have a genuine relationship. Continue reading

Advance Parole Travel after Adjustment of Status

The Advance Parole travel document permits reentry to the United States after travel abroad and preserves a pending I-485 application

advance parole travel after adjustment of statusDuring the adjustment of status (AOS) process, the applicant can remain in the United States while waiting for his or her green card. But it can take several months to receive the green card after filing Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status.

Many applicants want to travel abroad during this time to visit family or take a vacation. But there’s a problem – an adjustment of status applicant that leaves the U.S. without Advance Parole is automatically considered to have abandoned the application. In simple terms, this person will not be allowed the re-enter the United States and the I-485 application would be terminated. To return to the U.S., this person would need to restart the immigration process through consular processing in a foreign country. This is a long and expensive journey. Continue reading

Marriage to a U.S. Citizen after a Visa Overstay

Marriage to a U.S. Citizen After a Visa OverstayThe questions vary from, “Can I stay in the U.S. after a visa overstay and marriage to a U.S. citizen?” to “What happens if my visa expires and I’m married?” These questions are concerned with obtaining a legal status in the United States despite a period of unlawful presence.

Spouses of U.S. citizens do have special privileges in immigration and benefit from certain provisions in the law that are beneficial in cases where the intending immigrant has overstayed a visa. But it’s important to get a picture of the entire landscape.

By itself, marriage after a visa overstay does not solve the immigration problem. It can put the immigrant in a position to return to a lawful immigration status. As the spouse of a U.S. citizen, the immigrant can generally become a permanent resident (green card holder). Continue reading

Travel Abroad Affects N-400 Citizenship Eligibility

Travel Abroad Affects N-400 Eligibility for us citizenshipWhen applying for U.S. citizenship via naturalization, English and civics tests get much of the attention. But permanent residents often do not understand how travel abroad can affect their eligibility for naturalization.

Two related but separate requirements, continuous residence and physical presence, must be satisfied for one to be eligible to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Excessive travel abroad can adversely affect eligibility. Excessive travel can include one long trip or the accumulation of several trips over the period that precedes your admission as a U.S. citizen. Continue reading

How to Do a Green Card Name Change After Marriage or Divorce

Green Card Name Change ProcessThere are various reasons you may want to do a green card name change. Everyday people get married and divorced, often resulting in a legal name change. Others may just decide to adopt a more Western style name after immigrating to the United States. Whatever your reason, a green card name change is a relatively simple matter.

It’s important to understand that the legal name change must take place before you update the green card. In other words, you’ll need a registered copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree, or other court-issued document showing your name was legally changed. Once you have this, you can complete your green card name change. Continue reading