Form I-130 Instructions and Preparing the Immigrant Petition

I-130 Instructions onlineAlthough 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

Overview of the H-1B Green Card Process

H-1b green card processBy itself, the H-1B visa does not provide a direct path to permanent resident status (green card) in the United States. In other words, something else has to happen in order for an H-1B foreign national to become eligible for a green card. While generally we think of the employment-based path for H-1B visa holders, there are various ways through the H-1B green card process.

The H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa. Essentially, that means it’s temporary. A foreign national working in the United States on an H-1B visa may Continue reading

Reestablish U.S. Domicile When Filing Form I-864

How U.S. Citizens Abroad Prove Domicile in U.S. for I-864 Affidavit

Reestablish U.S. Domicile for married coupleU.S. citizens who are living abroad and want to repatriate to the United States with a foreign family member will face the challenge of reestablishing domicile in the U.S. Basically, to help a relative immigrant, you must prove that you already live in the United States.

In the most common scenario, a U.S. citizen living abroad marries a foreign citizen spouse. They may (or may not) live in the foreign country for a few years before deciding to immigrate to the United States. The U.S. citizen petitions the American government (Form I-130) so that his/her foreign spouse can apply for a green card. In theory, this is simple. The spouse of a U.S. citizen is eligible for a green card. The challenge comes when filing a related form known as Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. Continue reading

Adjustment of Status Interview Checklist

Adjustment of Status Interview ChecklistU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will likely require you to attend an interview if you applied to adjust status. Adjustment of status is the process of applying for permanent residence (green card) from inside the United States. USCIS uses the interview to confirm information provided by applicants (and often petitioners) is accurate and up-to-date. Use this article as an adjustment of status interview checklist to help you get ready.

The adjustment of status interview is a standard part of the process for most applicants after filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Try not to worry. Get excited. Generally, the interview is the final step. Most applicants walk away knowing that Continue reading

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