Find help and informative articles about U.S. immigration law relating to family-based immigration including K1 fiance visas, green cards, and adjustment of status. Follow our news feed and keep up on the latest changes that may affect you or your family members.
I often get ideas for article topics from cases I am working on, inquiries from prospective clients or past cases. I recently received a call from a prospective client about an important immigration issue that I have encountered several times in the last five years. The common situation involves a U.S. citizen who has a spouse or significant other who is a foreign national and does not have lawful permanent residency in the U.S. but spends at least half of her time in the U.S. with her spouse or significant other.
One of the most common misconceptions (and dangerous pitfalls) about U.S. immigration law made by prospective immigrants, their family members or employers is that all one must do is quickly complete a few simple forms and file them with the government. While one of the recurring themes in many of my posts is the fact that most immigrant visa petitions are granted or denied based on the strength and sufficiency of the supporting documents, I rarely talk about the importance of properly completing government forms.
Michigan, like many states, has a legal procedure for allowing a person convicted of certain criminal offenses to petition the court to have the criminal conviction expunged. The statutory citation for this law is MCL 780.621. While “expungement” or “expunged” is the word that is commonly used to describe this legal procedure, in Michigan the the formal name for the procedure is an Application for Order Setting Aside Conviction.
Criminal convictions or behavior that is considered criminal in nature are some of the most common reasons intending immigrants are found inadmissible to the United States. The rules regarding criminal grounds for inadmissibility can be confusing and, in some cases, can lead to results that come as a surprise to an unwitting applicant for an immigrant visa.
The Social Security Administration is responsible for assigning social security numbers and issuing social security cards. The SSA has well-established rules regarding who may be assigned a social security number and what evidence must be presented to proved eligibility. Assignment of social security numbers is a common concern for recent immigrants and non-immigrant's visiting the United States for employment or non-employment related purposes.
Since the early 1980's and the Reagan era's War on Drugs, the United States has taken an extremely harsh, even draconian, position with respect to unlawful drugs. As part of the War on Drugs, the U.S. Legislature enacted tough new drug laws that included harsh sentences for what were previously considered minor drug offenses. Many drug offenders were sentenced to long prison terms under the new mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. The legislative reaction to the War on Drugs in the U.S. was broad and was even incorporated into U.S. Immigration law.
All approved I-130 immigrant visa petitions are forwarded by the USCIS to the National Visa Center or NVC. The NVC is responsible for gathering additional forms, supporting documentation, collecting visa fees, conducting preliminary background clearances and generally preparing the approved immigrant visa petition for final adjudication by the processing post. Compared to USCIS processing, NVC processing is relatively complicated and many applicants who are handling their cases without the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney run into problems at this stage.
A question that I am asked over and over again is whether a person who enters the U.S. on a tourist visa may get married while in the U.S. This question generally arises where the person who entered the country on the tourist visa desires to marry a U.S. citizen and then apply for adjustment of status. As is often the case with U.S. immigration law, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about this issue.
Immigration between the United States and Canada is not something that Canadians and Americans think about as much as people from other countries. This is largely because Americans and Canadians can move between each others countries so freely. However, this open border can create a false sense of security or give Canadians a sense that the U.S. immigration laws with respect to Canadians are different or special. In fact, while there are some special visa provisions for Canadians, U.S. immigration laws with respect to Canadians are otherwise the same as they apply to all other countries.
A new regulation proposed by the USCIS would allow unlawful immigrants currently residing in the U.S. to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver prior to departing the United States. This new regulation is an attempt to provide some relief to persons who have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence in the U.S.