WAIVERS, PERMANENT RESIDENCE/CONSULAR PROCESSING
Family petitions (I-130), Consular Processing (DS-230 or DS-260) and Stateside Waivers (I-601A) or traditional waivers (I-601). Our firm has experience with literally hundreds of cases involving family- based cases with waivers and is considered a “waiver firm.” Family petitions (I-130), Adjustment of Status (I-485) inside the United States and, Conditional Residence (I-751). Some clients are eligible to apply for adjustment of status (a “green card”) inside the United States if they entered the U.S. after being legally inspected or because they are “grandfathered” through a previously filed petition for themselves or a close family member before April 30, 2001. A person may be “grandfathered” using a previous petition even where they seek lawful status through a new petition that was recently filed, such as through a recent marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Other possibilities exist to adjust status inside the United States.
DOMA AND IMMIGRATION FOR SAME SEX MARRIAGES
A recent Supreme Court decision allows for immigration benefits for same-sex married couples. When a same-sex couple marries, the United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse may apply for immigration benefits on behalf of their foreign-born spouse regardless of their state of residence. Be proud!
NATURALIZATION AND CITIZENSHIP (N-400, N-600)
Typically, Lawful Permanent Residents may file an application for naturalization 90 days before the five-year anniversary date of becoming a lawful permanent resident or, in the case of an applicant married to a U.S. citizen, 90 days before the three-year anniversary date of becoming a lawful permanent resident. Certain exceptions apply for people who secured lawful permanent residence through the Cuban Adjustment Act, through asylum or refugee status, through special laws that apply to widows/widowers of United States citizens, and for those who obtained status as the result of an abusive marriage to a U.S. citizen. Be careful! Unsuspecting lawful permanent residents who have had misdemeanor or felony convictions may not qualify for naturalization and may even be deportable. Before filing a naturalization application, consult with our attorneys to evaluate your criminal record and any potential problems you may face during the process of applying for citizenship.
VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE
Pathways to a lawful immigration status with a work permit exist for certain victims of violent crimes (U visa or U status) and their immediate family members. Additionally, parents, spouses and children of mentally or physically abusive lawful permanent resident or United States citizens may also qualify for lawful immigration status (VAWA).
REVIEW OF CRIMINAL RECORDS
Many people begin their immigration case without understanding that the consequences of their criminal history can result in removal proceedings (deportation). Our attorneys review criminal records along with immigration records to evaluate possible consequences and not only avoid removal (deportation, but also to help our clients secure lawful permanent residence, naturalization or, other immigration benefits.
NICARAGUAN AND CENTRAL AMERICAN RELIEF ACT (NACARA, I-881)
This is a special law still in effect for citizens of Guatemala and El Salvador (and their spouses and minor children regardless of foreign citizenship). To qualify, a principal applicant must have entered the United States by a designated date (Salvadorans before September 19, 1990 and Guatemalans before October 1, 1990), and must demonstrate physical presence in the United States, good moral character and several other technical requirements to qualify. Some spouses and children of principal applicants may also be eligible to apply as derivatives, and may not have to meet the same requirements as the principal.
We have successfully defended clients against removal (deportation) since 1996. Our typical immigration court cases, include bonds, cancellation of removal for non-lawful permanent residents (EOIR-42B), requests for prosecutorial discretion, Cancellation of removal for lawful permanent residents (EOIR-42A), Adjustment of status, Waivers for criminal convictions or violations of immigration law, Temporary Protected Status (I-821, TPS), NACARA (I-881), Voluntary departure, Motions to reopen previous orders of removal or deportation, waivers under INA 212 (c), appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and all other types of waivers.
DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA, I-821D)
Deferred Action may be available for certain young people who are at least 15 years of age (even younger for those in removal proceedings) who were under age 31 as of June 15, 2012, came into the United States before the age of 16, have continuously resided in United States is June 15, 2007, and who have not been convicted of certain crimes. Additionally, the person must have a high school diploma or GED, be honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces, or currently be attending classes. Many of our clients meet all these requirements except for the educational piece. After enrolling in a reputable GED or diploma program, many have these clients have successfully applied for deferred action and received authorization to work.
REMOVAL OF CONDITIONS
Conditional Lawful Permanent Residents apply to “remove conditions” from their resident status 90 days before the two-year conditional lawful permanent resident card expires. Typically, this process requires the signature of the petitioning spouse, but there are some exceptions where a couple has divorced and the application may be filed earlier. Our firm gladly assists in these applications, both when the couple remains married and together, and where the couple has divorced.
TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS (TPS, I-821)
People who currently have TPS typically need to reregister every 18 months. Individuals who had TPS in the past, but somehow lost or were denied these benefits may seek to renew or reapply for TPS if they are in removal (deportation) proceedings. It is important to consult with an attorney before reregistering for TPS, especially if the individual has recently been convicted of any criminal offense, including misdemeanors. Even minor offenses where a person did not serve any time in jail may affect a TPS application. Our firm also handles applications for advance parole, special permission to travel that is available to individuals with TPS. We have helped many people with TPS to adjust status to that of lawful permanent resident, inside the United States, based upon marriage to a United States citizen.