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

Renewing DACA on Your Own: Easier Than Ever

Renewing DACA on your ownPreparing your initial DACA application, even with a lawyer’s help, was probably challenging. The concept of deferred action was very new, and the application packet was voluminous. But renewing DACA on your own has never been easier. Once the initial application has been approved, DACA renewals are generally much easier. Far fewer documents are required. And with the right guidance, many do-it-yourself filers can prepare the DACA renewal application by themselves.

For DACA recipients with straightforward cases, renewing your deferred action status is possible. If you’ve ever run into problems with law enforcement or immigration authorities, it’s a good idea to discuss your situation with an immigration attorney. In many situations and with the right advice, you might still be able to renew DACA on your own. 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

How to Become a U.S. Citizen

Resources for permanent residents to overcome barriers like money, age, language, and civics knowledge.

how to become a us citizenIf you’ve put off naturalization because you think it’s too difficult or too expensive, think again. Provisions in the law and numerous free resources are making it easier than ever to become a U.S. citizen.

CitizenPath published a free guide for permanent residents that want to become U.S. citizens through the naturalization process. The free guide includes 44 pages of tips and valuable information about the naturalization process. It even includes 100 sample test questions and a necessary vocabulary list. 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

Press Release: CitizenPath Provides Free Services on Citizenship Day 2016

FULLERTON, Calif. (September 7, 2016) – CitizenPath, an online service for do-it-yourself immigration filers, is providing its services at no cost in celebration of Citizenship Day 2016. Constitution Day and Citizenship Day will be celebrated on September 17, 2016. It’s the 229th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, but it’s also a popular day to reflect on the value of American Citizenship.

To apply for citizenship, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires eligible permanent residents to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. The 20-page application comes with another 18 pages of instructions. Thus, many hopeful Americans can find the process overwhelming. 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

Reentry Permit for Permanent Residents

CBP inspects reentry permit of permanent residentA permanent resident can generally travel outside the United States and return by simply showing a permanent resident card (green card) upon reentry at a U.S. port of entry.

But there are situations that a reentry permit is needed in addition to the permanent resident card.

A reentry permit can help avoid two types of problems:

  • Your permanent resident card becomes technically invalid for reentry into the United States if you are absent from the U.S. for 1 year or more.
  • Your permanent resident status may be considered as abandoned for absences shorter than 1 year if you take up residence in another country.

After traveling abroad, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at your U.S. port of entry will need to determine if your travel was “temporary” in nature. To be temporary, you must have the intention to return to the Untied States at the time of departure and throughout the entire trip. Employment, family, filing of taxes, involvement in the community all demonstrate ties to the U.S. To determine your intentions, some of the questions that a CBP officer may ask cover topics such as: Continue reading

Best Way to Send Money Abroad

best way to send money abroad internationallyYour first thought when sending money abroad might be to visit your bank or maybe even the convenience of the services at your local Walmart. In fact, you can find remittance services — funds sent overseas by foreign-born residents — in supermarkets, convenience and drug stores, and stand-alone storefront operations. Today, the variety of options can make it complicated to shop for the best way to send money abroad.

Each year, U.S. households send an estimated $135 billion to families, friends, and others abroad. The United States is the world’s largest source of remittances according to the Government Accountability Office. The graph below illustrates U.S. remittance amounts to the top 10 countries. Continue reading