Alexus Paul Sham - Immigration Law Made Simple
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Steps for preparing a fiance visa

Preparation of the I-129F visa application

First you and your fiance need to assemble all the information that establishes your relationship. This includes, email correspondence, love letters, phone records, and plane tickets of trips to see each other. Photos of both of you in different locations are very helpful.

Interview at the US Consulate abroad

After the I-129F petition has been submitted to USCIS and approved, then the fiance will have an interview at the US consulate abroad. The consular officers may ask questions about the relationship and other evidence provided.

The dangers of applying for Form I-131 Advance Parole (a travel document)

Many people are anxious to travel outside of the United States while the green card application is still pending. If you are married to a United States citizen, and applying for a green card, there is an option to apply for advance parole or a travel document that will allow the foreign national spouse to leave the country while the green card application is pending. The best route is to stay in the United States  after the green card application is filed. Generally, USCIS will give foreign nationals the travel document. However when applying for the document, the instructions do state that if  the foreign national spouse has overstayed a visa by over 180 days they may be subject to a 3 year bar. In  addition if the foreign national spouse has overstayed a visa for over a year, then they may be subject to a 10 year bar. So even though the foreign national spouse may have the advance parole travel document, they may not be allowed to re-enter the United States.

What to do if you receive a Notice of Intent to Deny

When an application is filed with the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS)  whether it be for a family based green card or an employment based visa such as H1-B it is possible that the government will issue you a notice of an intent to deny. Generally, this means that there is lack of sufficient documentation for the application.  There  is also normally a deadline in which you must respond. Failure to respond in a timely fashion will almost certainly lead to a denial.

The US government should grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to nationals from The Philippines

The pictures and stories of devastation from The  Philippines after Super Typhoon Haiyan landed in mid November are truly heart wrenching. Much like after the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti, (where Temporary Protected Status was granted to Haitians) it is important for the US government  to offer support to nationals of The Philippines. Out of  utter destruction from this natural catastrophe,   there is an opportunity for concrete action. The government of the Philippines has formally requested Temporary Protected Status.

Maintaining Status as a Legal Permanent Resident

There appears to be a myth that  many foreign nationals believe about being a green card holder.  A common fact pattern is that a green card holder thinks that it is okay to enter the United States every 5 months for a few weeks and maintain status.

The reality is that if a foreign national is living less than 6 months a year, there is a presumption that the foreign national has abandoned the green card.  Being a permanent resident means that  the green card holder is in the United States.

Why we need Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now.

I was born in the United States and feel very blessed to be a United States citizen. My father came to the United States from Guyana on a student visa and met my mother while at the University. Growing up, I witnessed how the immigration system worked as my father sponsored his siblings to come to the United States.

Currently we have an immigration system that is broken with over an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. If Congress fails to take any action, then that inaction is an action that continue to maintain the status quo and the same broken system.

Marriage after entering on B1/B2 visa

Many foreign nationals come to the United States on B1/B2 tourist visas. Generally these visas are issued to foreign nationals who show that they have enough strong ties to their home country when the I-94 expires usually 3 to 6 months.


However there is a frequent fact pattern where the foreign national ends up marrying a US citizen while on a tourist visa or shortly after the visa is expired. Before applying for a green card it is very important that the married couple consult an immigration attorney.

Good news for same sex couples

It is now possible for same sex marriage couples to apply for a green card.
 
However, the couple must be married in a state inside the US that recognizes same sex marriage, for example Massachusetts, New York, Iowa or California. Another option is to be married in a foreign country such as Canada that recognizes same sex marriage. 
 
What this means is that a US citizen spouse can now file for a green card for the same sex spouse. The green card process is still very complicated and it is best to consult an immigration attorney.

Potentially exciting news for spouses of Legal Permanent Residents

There is good news for spouses and the children under 21 of current green card holders.  According to the August Department of State's visa bulletin, the F2A category is current for all nationalities.

What this means that if your spouse or child under 21 is in the United States in lawful status they have a visa number available andcan apply for a green card immediately. However, if your spouse or child is in the United States butnot in lawful status they are not eligible.  So if you are Legal Permanent Resident and you want to file the green card application for your spouse of child under 21,  you should contact our firm to assist you right away.

Form I-864 The Affidavit of Support: Fill it out accurately

Many people have questions about this form when filing for an immediate relative. It is very important that this form is filled out accurately and completely. 


The amount of people in the US citizen's household needs to be answered honestly. If you are claiming people as dependents on your tax returns, these people must be added to the number of people in your home. Be sure that all the required documentation accompanies this form, including federal tax returns and W2s. 


If the US citizen is near the poverty guidelines, it is usually best to have a co-sponsor fill out an I-864.
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