For immigrants arriving to the United States, the American tax system can be a very new and confusing concept. In fact, the U.S. tax system is so complex that most natural-born Americans have difficulty filing each year. As a general rule, U.S. tax law applies to you if you live in the United States or spend a significant amount of time here.
In the United States 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 filing obligations. Continue reading
Special rules in U.S. immigration law allow permanent residents applying for citizenship through marriage to become naturalized in just three years. Most permanent residents must live in the United States for a minimum of five years before applying for citizenship. However, the spouse of a U.S. citizen who resides in the United States may be eligible to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, on the basis of his or her marriage after just three years.
The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA Section 319(a)) describes the special provisions for the spouse of a U.S. citizen living in the United States. The spouse must have continuously resided Continue reading
The K-1 fiancé visa is one of the most requested U.S. visas. The U.S. Department of State issues the K-1 to the foreign national fiancés of U.S. citizens for the purpose of entering the United States for marriage. Once married, the foreign national may adjustment status to permanent resident (green card holder). However, mistakes in the K-1 visa process can ruin those plans. Minor oversights may only delay the process, but other mistakes can create long-term immigration problems.
Although most visa requests are granted, it’s good to know the common pitfalls that caused problems for others. We’ve outlined five of the biggest mistakes in the K-1 visa process. Before preparing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, review these avoidable problems. Continue reading
A foreign national spouse of a U.S. citizen who is also inside the United States can generally apply for a green card without leaving the U.S. This process, known as adjustment of status, concludes with an interview. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) interviews virtually every applicant for a marriage-based green card. Upon completion of a successful marriage-based adjustment of status interview, the applicant will generally become a permanent resident (green card holder). Every couple should prepare for this interview. Knowing what to expect, what items to take, and how to respond to questions will improve your chances of a quick approval. Continue reading
It is possible to avoid the dreaded I-751 interview. No couple wants to visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to be prodded with personal questions about their marriage. What’s more, the stakes are high. If USCIS isn’t convinced that you have a bona fide marriage, the conditional resident’s status may be in jeopardy.
As a matter of law (INA §216) a couple must appear for a personal interview in order for the conditions on residence to be removed. But if USCIS is satisfied that the marriage was not for the purpose of evading the immigration laws, they may waive the interview and approve the I-751 petition. Let’s help you avoid the I-751 interview all together. Continue reading
Marriage green card is a common phrase used to describe a permanent resident card obtained through marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Permanent residence is an immigration status that allows a foreign national to live and work in the United States permanently. Of course, the permanent resident may choose to naturalize as a U.S. citizen once eligible.
A marriage-based green card can be one of the quickest ways to obtain permanent residence. The marriage alone doesn’t provide any immigration status to a foreign national. But marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is a qualifying relationship for a foreign national to apply for immigration benefits. Continue reading
Since September 2017 the Trump Administration has had a policy to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Although the decision to wind down DACA has been stopped in the courts for now, the future of the program is uncertain. This has put a renewed emphasis for many DACA recipients to find other paths to legal status. Obtaining a DACA green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen is one of the most common ways to gain legal status.
The DACA program does not provide a direct path to permanent residence (green card). However, certain individuals with DACA can apply for permanent residence in the United States. In other words, under current immigration law, no individual can apply for a green card on the basis of having DACA. There must be some other factor that makes a DACA recipient eligible for a green card. These factors may include marriage to a U.S. citizen, certain employment, and others. The most common scenario, and the focus of this article, is a DACA recipient who marries a U.S. citizen and then wants to adjust status to permanent resident. Continue reading
Which is the Best Way to Get a Marriage-Based Green Card?
When 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.
The fiancé visa (aka K-1 visa) is a nonimmigrant 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).
The 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
When filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, a conditional resident and spouse must provide evidence that they have a bona fide marriage. There are numerous documents that can used to establish that you entered a genuine marriage and deserve a 10-year green card.
Even if you are filing with a waiver to the joint filing requirement (due to a terminated marriage), you will need to prove that your marriage was genuine and not created to circumvent immigration laws. Thus, proving a bona fide marriage on an I-751 petition is extremely important to it’s success. Continue reading
The K-1 visa is for the fiancé of a U.S. citizen to come to the United States for the purpose of marriage. If you entered the U.S. on a K-1 visa, you have 90 days to marry the U.S. citizen from the date of entry. A K-1 visa does not allow the foreign national to stay in the United States for more than 90 days – it can’t be extended. Once married, the foreign national has the option of staying in the United States if he or she files an application for adjustment of status through a K-1 visa entry.
Adjustment of status to permanent resident is an exclusive process to apply for a green card reserved for certain intending immigrants that are physically present in the United States. A K-1 visa holder who has married his or her U.S. citizen fiancé is generally eligible. Continue reading