Category: tips

What do I do if my spouse does not make enough money to sponsor me for a green card?

Get a Joint Sponsor! You may be able to ask a family member or friend to help. That person must be a US citizen or green card holder and must live in the US. This person will be  “joint sponsor.” The  sponsor will need to complete Form I-864 and provide required documents to show his/her current income. 

USCIS requires the income from your spouse plus income from the sponsor to exceed 125% of the poverty line for your household size. In our cases, we always make sure that the sponsor’s income alone (for his/her household size) supports you. Cases become more complicated when you ask USCIS to add up the petitioner and sponsor’s incomes. 

To determine the required household income for the Joint Sponsor,  add the sponsor, his/her spouse, any dependents, anyone the sponsor-spouse has previously sponsored for a green card, and you. IIn 2022, for a family of five, your Joint Sponsor must earn $40,587. You can find the income requirements at https://www.uscis.gov/i-864p.

 

If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of couples traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well.  Call 617-272-7980 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

How much money does my spouse need to make to sponsor me for a green card?

sponsor me for a green cardThe USCIS stipulates that your spouse must earn 125% of the poverty threshold for your household size in order to sponsor your green card. Your household size will be your spouse, plus you, plus any dependents who live with you (children or other dependents listed on your spouse’s taxes), and anyone your spouse has previously sponsored for a green card. In 2022, for a family of two (you and your spouse), your spouse must earn $22,887 per year. In 2022, for a family of five, your spouse must earn $40,587. You can find the income requirements at https://www.uscis.gov/i-864p. Your spouse files Form I-864 with required documents with your application to adjust status (Form I-485).

Your spouse needs to prove that s/he earns the minimum required amount as of the day that the I-864 is filed. Your spouse should submit a recent (less than one month old) letter from the employer, recent pay stubs showing year-to-date-earnings, the past three years W2 forms, and IRS tax transcripts (not just Form 1040 that you or your accountant files). If your spouse has not earned the required salary for the past three years, that should not matter as long as you have strong evidence of the income on the day of filing. 

You may be able to add your income to the household income if you are authorized to work in the US, and in some consular cases, if you are working outside the US and your income will continue when you move to the US. 

If your spouse does not earn the minimum salary required, you can ask a US citizen or green card holder family or friend to help. This person would be a “Joint Sponsor” and would file Form I-864 and all required documents. 

 

If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of people traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well.  Call 617-676-0503 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

Do I need to tell USCIS about my past marriages and all of my children?

Do I need to tell USCIS about my past marriages and all of my childrenYes! 

USCIS considers this information relevant to most family-based applications, and even if it does not seem relevant to an employment-based application, USCIS wants to know all of this information. 

Make sure that you have valid, final divorce decrees for all your divorces, even old ones. We have seen cases where clients filed for applications without divorce certificates from the 1970s, and USCIS wants the divorce certificate despite the ancient history that the divorce may be for you. As for children, if you leave them off of immigration applications, not only do you risk getting charged with misrepresentation, but you risk making it difficult, or impossible, for those children to get immigration status through you (if they are eligible). 

Do not omit something from your application because it seems to complicate your application. Believe us when we tell you that your application will be much more complicated if USCIS knows, or even suspects, that you omitted information from your applications. We have seen clients’ cases become delayed for years as they try to clean up the simple mess of not disclosing a prior divorce because it was so long ago. 

Speak with an immigration attorney about your history and eligibility for a green card before you file any application with USCIS or speak with any USCIS or other US government  agent or official about your immigration application. 

 

If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of people traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well.  Call 617-676-0503 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

Can I get a green card if I’ve worked without authorization?

Diversity Immigration Visa ProgramIt depends! If you are applying for a green card based on your marriage to a US citizen, then past work without authorization is not a basis of ineligibility on its own. You may have worked as a babysitter or in a restaurant, and the employers didn’t ask for any proof of work eligibility. You may have even used someone else’s documents, and in some cases, that will not make you ineligible. The big problem comes if, to get a job, you told an employer that you are a US citizen. Immigration law is completely unforgiving about someone checking off “citizen” on an I-9 form, even when immigration law seems to forgive much bigger problems. 

If you are seeking a green card based on a marriage to a lawful permanent resident, some other US citizen relative, or through work, then unauthorized work can be a problem. If you’ve worked under 180 days total, then you may be able to get the unauthorized work forgiven. 

In all cases, if you are going to apply for a green card, you must disclose your US employment for the past 5 years. Don’t omit certain jobs because you think it looks better or will make things easier. But, most important, speak with an immigration attorney about your history and eligibility for a green card before you file any application with USCIS or speak with any USCIS or other US government  agent or official about your immigration application. 

 

If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of people traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well.  Call 617-676-0503 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

How long will it take for my marriage-based green card case to get approved?

Marriage based green card pinRight now, as of December 2022, marriage-based green card cases are processing in about 6-9 months in the Boston USCIS office. We are seeing much longer case processing times in Lawrence. Cases there are taking over a year. It’s important for us to note that we are also seeing a wide range of processing times even in the same office, so even if most of our Boston cases are processing in 6-9 months, your marriage-based green card case may take 4 months or 14 months. 

 

If you and your partner are beginning the green card process as an affianced couple or as a married couple, you should discuss your situation with an experienced immigration attorney. We’ve helped hundreds of couples traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. We would love to help you as well. Call 617-676-0503 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

I’m married to a US citizen. Can I get a green card if I crossed the border to get into the US?

How to get a green card even if crossing the border in illegal entry

‘Yes. Crossing the border—which is a certain type of illegal entry to the US—will not prevent you from getting a green card if you meet other requirements.

The most important other requirements are (1) that your US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse or parent will suffer extreme hardship if you don’t get the green card and (2) that you have an approved I-130, I-140, or I-360 petition or that you have been selected for the diversity visa.

If you can meet those requirements, you may be eligible for a green card even if you entered the US by crossing the border “without inspection”/ illegal entry. You will need to go through a multi-step, multi-year process that will end with you leaving the US for an appointment at a US Embassy or Consulate in your home country or other country outside the US. 

 

 

USCIS offices to waive up to 80% of family-based interviews

USCIS offices to waive up to 80% of family-based interviews

USCIS District 11 (MA/RI/NH/ME/VT) recently announced that USCIS National has directed local USCIS offices to waive up to 80% of family-based interviews. This is a huge change in USCIS practice, especially for marriage-based green card cases. Historically, almost ALL marriage-based green card cases required the US citizen spouse and the noncitizen spouse to appear at at USCIS office for an interview, before the green-card could be approved. Now, USCIS plans to approve almost all without an interview.

This change is great for YOU! First, this is likely to reduce the processing time for the green-card application. Currently, in Massachusetts, marriage-based green card applications take about 6-12 months to get approved. We expect this processing time to drop significantly with this big change. Second, you will not have to spend so much of your precious time on the USCIS interview. You won’t need to prepare for the family-based interview, travel to the interview, or spend hours at the USCIS office for the interview. Finally, your legal fees decrease with this change because you do not need to hire a lawyer to meet with you to prepare testimony for the interview, update your marriage-documents, travel to the USCIS office, wait for the interview to be called, and represent you at the USCIS interview.

USCIS may call you for an interview, and we don’t yet know what that will mean. Are all cases called for an interview in bad shape? Or, will USCIS conduct some randomized interviews regardless of how the paper application looks? What we do know is that this change makes your submission of your paper application all the more important. That paper application, if prepared correctly and thoroughly, could result in your green card being approved. You don’t want to hold back on submitting certain documents or the medical exam “until the interview” because your goal now is to NOT have an interview.

Our team at Cambridge Immigration Law focuses on representing clients on marriage-based immigration applications. We make sure that our clients submit the best application possible. We believe that our clients will have an excellent opportunity to avoid the USCIS interview!

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