Health Insurance for Immigrants

Health Insurance for ImmigrantsAffordable health insurance options are available for immigrant families. Whether you’ve recently arrived in the United States or are a long-term permanent resident, the U.S. health insurance market has options for you. In fact, the choices are largely the same as for U.S.-born insured. Unfortunately, 17% of lawfully present, non-citizen immigrants are uninsured according to a recent study. That’s almost twice the rate of uninsured U.S. citizens.

The United States offers some of the highest quality healthcare in the world, but that quality comes at a price. Health insurance is a way to manage the cost of healthcare, keeping it more affordable. Health insurance companies collect premiums and pay out eligible benefits. They help families pay for preventive care like routine check-ups and treatment for illness and injury. Continue reading

I-751 Waiver After Divorce: Filing without the Ex

i-751 waiver after divorceConditional residents that obtained a two-year green card through marriage will typically file a joint petition using Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, within the 90-day period before it expires. The conditional resident normally files jointly with the spouse. Once approved, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants the conditional resident status as a lawful permanent resident and provides a 10-year green card. But what if the conditional resident gets a divorce or annulment before the two-year period ends? Or what happens if the spouse is abusive and refuses to file the joint petition? The I-751 waiver after divorce provides a solution to this difficult situation. Continue reading

What Happens at an Immigration Medical Exam

Immigration Medical Exam and form I-693An immigration medical exam is a necessary part of immigrating to the United States and becoming a permanent resident (green card holder). Sometimes called a green card medical exam, the appointment is a routine part of the process to ensure public safety and remove the grounds for inadmissibility for intending immigrants.

Certain diseases of public health significance make an individual inadmissible to the United States. The exam is the process to remove these grounds of inadmissibility. Continue reading

Dual Intent Visas

dual intent visas for nonimmigrantsA dual intent visa allows foreign nationals 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 nonimmigrant visas can potentially trigger severe, long-term immigration problems.

Most people will find it difficult to qualify for a U.S. nonimmigrant 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 nonimmigrant intent. Continue reading

Obtaining a U.S. Visitor Visa with a Pending I-130 Petition

Get a visitor visa with a pending I-130 petitionThe process to obtain a family-based green card can be a long road. While some eligible relationships may only take a few months, other can take years. Naturally, it would be nice to visit family in the United States while waiting for the immigrant visa. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to obtain a B-1 or B-2 visitor visa after filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

It may be difficult, but it’s not impossible to obtain a visitor visa with a pending I-130 petition. Many people with pending immigrant visa petitions have successfully traveled to the United States on a B visitor visa or through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). In fact, Canadians can typically cross the border with ease with a visa or visa waiver. For others, it will be necessary to prove the trip will only be temporary. Continue reading

Family-Based Green Card Application

Family Based Green CardThe steps to obtain a family-based green card — officially known as a permanent resident card — vary based on the qualifying family relationship and where you live (inside the United States or outside).

If you would like to petition (sponsor) a family member for a green card or you are a foreign national that wants to permanently move to the United States, this article provides a basic overview of the eligibility categories and family-based green card process. Continue reading

The MAVNI Program: Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest

mavniAlthough it isn’t a military secret per se, MAVNI is a small and very exclusive program that benefits immigrants and the U.S. military. Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) is a special recruiting program that has been available to certain immigrants interested in joining the U.S. military. Generally, immigrants must be permanent residents to join the military (see Military Enlistment Requirements); once enlisted these green card soldiers can take advantage of expedited citizenship. However, MAVNI allows certain non-citizens in the United States to join the military and thereby gain eligibility for U.S. citizenship without first having to go through the lengthy process of obtaining a green card. 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. For the spouse and/or children of a lawful permanent resident, the wait for an immigrant visa (green card) can be lengthy. After the filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, spouse and children of a lawful permanent resident will wait several months to years. 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

Green Card Renewal Denied

green card renewal denied reasonsYour chances of having a green card renewal denied are on the rise. In fact, based on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data reviewed, the number of denied applications increased over the last decade. All of this comes when USCIS has increased the fee to renew green cards over 300% in the last 20 years.

After receiving USCIS applications and petitions, USCIS reports that they reject approximately 8% of forms. Then, thousands more green card renewal applications, Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, are denied.

In fiscal year 2017, USCIS denied 28,558 applications according to government data. Too many applications are getting denied for unnecessary reasons. When USCIS denies an application, the immigration agency keeps the filing fees and the applicant is denied benefits. If certain immigration violations are exposed in the review process, this can lead to significant legal problems for the applicant. Continue reading

Green Card Interview Questions for Spouses

Preparing for your marriage-based consular interview

Green Card Interview Questions for SpousesThe consular interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate is an important milestone in your application for an immigrant visa (green card). After all, consular officers use their discretion based on this interview to determine if they will approve your green card application. For marriage-based applications the interview is especially crucial. Knowing what to expect and preparing for possible green card interview questions will help you be ready.

Green card interview questions for spouses tend to dig a little deeper than typical interviews. That’s because marriage is one of the primary ways that fraudulent visas are requested. Immigration officers want to verify that you have a bona fide marriage. That’s it. The officer will ask additional questions to help determine if your marriage is the real deal. Continue reading