Reasons for a Green Card Application Denial

Common reasons why a family-based application for permanent residence may be denied by USCIS

Green Card Application DenialEach year the U.S. government allows thousands of people to enter the United States with permanent resident status. Permanent residence is symbolized with a card, most commonly referred to as a green card. But the government also denies thousands of green card applications. There are several possible factors for a green card application denial. The reasons vary from no basis for eligibility to grounds of inadmissibility to failure to properly deal with the application requirements. What’s more, a new policy broadens the powers of immigration officials to deny applications without first issuing a warning. 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 temporary travel abroad. However, permanent residents who are absent from the United States for extended periods of time risk abandoning their permanent resident status.

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

Adjustment of Status Denial Due to Changes in Circumstances

Adjustment of Status Denial Due to Changes in CircumstancesWhen you’re preparing an adjustment of status application package, it goes without saying that you need to be eligible. However, it’s important to remember that you must remain eligible throughout the process and until the green card is issued. Avoid an adjustment of status denial due to changes in circumstances.

It’s common that someone files Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, and then circumstances change. Continue reading

How to Get a Copy of Your Immigration File

Getting an Immigration FileThe Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows you to obtain copies of the records and documents in your alien file (immigration file). As a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you may also request the immigration records of other people (provided that person consents to the search).

You may obtain specific documents inside your records or even a complete copy of your entire immigration file. Continue reading

Filling Out the Application for U.S. Citizenship

Filling Out the Application for U.S. CitizenshipWith 20 pages of questions (and another 18 pages of instructions), filling out the application for U.S. citizenship can be intimidating for many applicants.

Officially known as Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, the majority of applicants can prepare the application without extensive help from an attorney. If you have a straight forward case, you can probably do it yourself.

If you’re ready to tackle the application for U.S. citizenship by yourself, go to the website for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at www.uscis.gov/n-400/ to download Form N-400 and the filing instructions.

If you want some extra support and the reassurance that you’re doing everything correctly, Continue reading

Obtaining a Waiver for the J-1 Home Residency Requirement

J-1 Home Residency Requirement WaiverThe J-1 home residency requirement can be a major obstacle for J visa holders trying to adjust status to permanent resident or change status to another nonimmigrant visa. J visa holders should initially determine if the regulation applies to them. In some cases, a waiver is available.

After satisfying the J-1 home residency requirement or obtaining a waiver, foreign nationals subject to the requirement can generally file Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, if they are otherwise eligible. Continue reading

Top 7 Questions About Form I-864 Affidavit of Support

Form I-864, Affidavit of Support QuestionsEven many immigration lawyers consider Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, to be one of the most confusing immigration forms. It’s a little like combining the financials of a tax return with the complexity of an immigration form. In fact, that’s basically what it is. The stakes are high. If the sponsor does not qualify, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not issue the intending immigrant permanent residence (green card).

When a foreign national applies for permanent residence in the United States, immigration officials are obligated in most cases to make sure that the intending immigrant has adequate means of financial support and is not likely to become a public charge. USCIS requires Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, for most family-based applications and some employment-based applications. It’s a contract between a sponsor and the U.S. government, in which the sponsor promises to support the intending immigrant if he or she is unable to do so on their own. It’s a back-up plan in case the immigrant has financial problems. Continue reading

I-485 Interview Preparation

What to expect at your Adjustment of Status Interview

I 485 InterviewFirst of all, don’t get anxious just because USCIS sent you an appointment notice for an I-485 interview. Almost everyone must go through an interview during the adjustment of status process. In fact, there’s reason to get excited. The I-485 interview is likely the last step in your application process. If all goes well, you’ll be a permanent resident (green card holder) at the end of the interview. 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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Overview of the K-1 Fiancé Visa Process

K-1 Fiance Visa Process OverviewA foreign citizen may use the K-1 fiancé visa to travel to the United States for the purpose of marriage to his or her U.S. citizen fiancé. Once married to the U.S. citizen sponsor, the foreign citizen may apply for permanent residence – represented by a green card — inside the United States.

It’s one of two principal ways for a U.S. citizen and foreign citizen to unite in the United States. Alternatively, the couple Continue reading