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

St. Patrick’s Immigration Day

St. Patrick's Day immigrationRegardless of your nationality, race or language, St. Patrick’s Day should be a great reminder to everyone that immigration is not a “problem,” it’s a celebration.

Sure, St. Patrick’s Day is a great excuse to drink beer and wear green. It is a fun element of American pop culture. But for many Irish Americans, St. Patrick’s Day is as much about immigration as it is Irish culture. Irish immigrants in the 1800s risked everything to cross the Atlantic Ocean and resettle for a better life in a still very young United States. Even after the hazardous journey, they were scorned as outsiders and labeled as thugs. Through all of this, they persevered. Each generation of Irish American Continue reading

USCIS Receipt Number Explained

USCIS Receipt Number ExplanationAfter you’ve filed almost any application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), they will respond by mailing you a Form I-797, Notice of Action, within approximately 1-2 weeks. The I-797, Notice of Action, is commonly known as a receipt letter.

For applicants that have incorrectly filed or included the wrong payment, this receipt letter will indicate that the case has been rejected. The applicant will need to refile. If you’ve prepared the form correctly and followed the USCIS directions carefully, this receipt letter will indicated that your case has been accepted. Once the form has been accepted, USCIS will begin reviewing your case.

The receipt letter contains a unique 13-digit receipt number. Also known as a case number, it’s a very important number to help you track the progress of your case or identify a particular immigration filing.
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Financial Sponsor Needed for a Family-Based Green Card

Financial sponsor needed for family based green cardAn applicant for a family-based green card will need a financial sponsor in the United States before immigrating. Although some new green card holders may be able to find employment immediately and support themselves, the financial sponsor is necessary in case things don’t go as planned.

In fact, every person who immigrates based on a relative petition must have a financial sponsor. So whoever files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of a family member (or Form I-129F on behalf of a fiancé) must also agree to be the financial sponsor and file an affidavit of support when the time comes for the person to actually immigrate to the United States. Continue reading

U.S. Taxes and Immigration Consequences

U.S. Taxes and Immigration ConsequencesFor immigrants arriving to the United States, the American tax system can be a very new and confusing concept. In fact, the tax system in the U.S. is so complex that most natural-born Americans have difficulty filing each year.

In the U.S., everyone with income above certain levels is expected to file a tax return. That’s not true in all countries around the world. In many countries, the government withholds taxes from paychecks, and the individual never has to directly file an income tax return. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. agency responsible for collecting taxes.

Whether you are a lawful permanent resident or an undocumented immigrant, it’s important that you get a basic understanding of your tax obligations and the consequences of where you pay taxes. Continue reading