Tag: green card approval

WORKING DURING GREEN CARD APPLICATION PROCESSING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

WORKING DURING GREEN CARD APPLICATION PROCESSING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Are you navigating the process of applying for a green card in the United States and wondering about your eligibility to work during this period? The journey to obtaining permanent residency can be complex, especially when it comes to employment authorization. In this detailed guide, we’ll delve into the ins and outs of working legally in the U.S. while your green card application is pending and explore the steps involved in obtaining employment authorization.

Applying for Employment Authorization:

Individuals with a pending green card application can work legally in the U.S. by obtaining employment authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To apply for employment authorization, you’ll need to submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, along with the required filing fee and supporting documents. These documents typically include a government-issued identity document, passport or travel document, and two passport-style photographs.

Understanding Processing Times:

The processing time for employment authorization varies, but USCIS typically processes these requests before other applications to reduce wait times for applicants. If you’re simultaneously applying for a green card and employment authorization, you may also consider applying for a travel document (Form I-131, known as advance parole) to facilitate travel outside the U.S. while your application is pending.

Receiving Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD):

Upon approval of your employment authorization application, you’ll receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as a work permit. This card serves as physical proof of your authorization to work in the U.S. and contains essential information, including your photograph and fingerprint. It’s crucial to present your EAD to potential employers to demonstrate your eligibility for employment.

Renewing Your EAD:

EADs typically remain valid for two years and can be renewed in two-year intervals. To prevent a disruption in your employment authorization, it’s essential to file for renewal within 180 days of the expiration date of your current EAD. USCIS recommends using the USCIS Case Status Online System to track the status of your EAD and ensure timely renewal.

Transitioning After Green Card Approval:

Once your green card application is approved, you’ll no longer need an EAD to work legally in the U.S. As a lawful permanent resident, you’ll have unrestricted authorization to work for any employer in the country. However, it’s crucial to maintain compliance with all applicable immigration laws and regulations throughout the process.

Understanding the Consequences of Unlawful Employment:

Working without proper employment authorization can have serious consequences, including ineligibility for adjustment of status (green card), removal proceedings, and inadmissibility for future entry into the United States. It’s essential to avoid unlawful employment and seek legal guidance to navigate the complexities of immigration law effectively.

Exploring Legal Income Options:

While awaiting employment authorization, individuals can explore passive income opportunities, such as financial investments in savings accounts, stocks, or bonds. Consulting with an immigration attorney can provide valuable guidance on lawful income generation and ensure compliance with immigration laws and regulations.

Navigating employment authorization while your green card application is pending requires careful attention to detail and adherence to USCIS guidelines. By understanding the application process, processing times, and legal implications of employment authorization, you can navigate this aspect of the immigration journey with confidence. Seeking guidance from an experienced immigration attorney can provide invaluable support and ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

Journey to Citizenship: Overcoming Trauma and USCIS Delays

Journey to Citizenship Overcoming Trauma and USCIS DelaysFour years ago, a wonderful person came to my office seeking help. She was confused about what USCIS planned to do with her “green card” and was terrified that she would be deported from the United States. She was faced with a devastating decision of whether to bring her young US citizen daughters to live in her home country, where deadly violence was rampant, or leave them in the US without her.

She came to me because USCIS had sent her a “Request for Evidence” (RFE) after she and her now ex-husband had submitted Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Lawful Permanent Residence. She and her ex-husband had split up, and he refused to assist her with the case. The client informed me about her experience with her ex-husband, and it became apparent that he had subjected her to abuse and extreme cruelty. We decided to file a waiver of the “joint” I-751 petition based on abuse. This meant that we would renew her “green card” without her husband’s support by explaining that he, a US citizen, had abused her during their marriage.

For the next few months, the client worked with me to prepare a clear explanation of her experiences with her abusive husband. We submitted the petition and hoped for a speedy approval by USCIS. However, many months passed, and there was still no decision by USCIS. The client then decided to file for US citizenship, once again explaining that she was eligible based on her ex-husband’s abuse of her.

Then, two years after the client first hired me, USCIS scheduled her for an interview on her I-751 Petition and N-400 Application for Naturalization (Citizenship). While we prepared for the interview, we realized that the client had forgotten important information in prior USCIS applications. We discovered that the client had blocked out the memory of a prior abusive marriage that she had not previously disclosed on USCIS applications. We quickly connected the client to a mental health specialist who could analyze why the client had forgotten about her first marriage when she had been previously asked about all of her past marriages. The mental health specialist determined that the client suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress, which caused her brain to protect itself by suppressing memories of past abuse, including her entire first marriage. The mental health specialist explained that this was a common response to trauma, and the client’s mistake in not previously mentioning the marriage was not an intentional lie–it was a trick her brain played on her to help her survive after trauma.

We attended the interview, confident that we could explain the client’s full story and all inconsistencies in her past applications. Unfortunately, we ended up with an officer who doubted her answers throughout the interview and distorted what she said over and over, despite my corrections to his mistaken understanding of her answers. He wrote a statement that he wanted her to sign, and I insisted that he correct it four times because he repeatedly misstated the client’s answers in the written document. I spoke with a supervisor and explained how we presented our case clearly and proved that the client was eligible for the green card and citizenship applications to be approved. However, both the USCIS supervisor and officer refused to approve the decision that day.

After the interview, several months passed before we heard anything from USCIS. I contacted them on multiple occasions, but still, there was no decision. Finally, after almost two years since the client hired me, USCIS approved her I-751 Petition, and her green card was extended for another ten years. While it was great news, I knew that the client was still waiting for her citizenship application to be approved. I considered suing the federal government over the delay, but the client was hesitant to take that step. So, I kept pestering USCIS until we finally saw an online update, almost three years after the client hired me, that her case had been scheduled for a Naturalization Oath Ceremony. The client, her family, and my entire team were thrilled that she finally received the result that she deserved. Our client is now a proud U.S. citizen.

Ellen Sullivan, Esq.   Founding Attorney Cambridge Immigration Law, P.C., April 11, 2023

 

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 (617-272-7980) or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

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!

Two Approved Naturalization Applications in One Week

Approved naturalizationLast week, two of our clients had their Naturalization interviews.  Their naturalization applications both got approved!

One of cases dealt with a green card holder that after living in the U.S. for over 40 years finally decided to apply for their U.S. citizenship.  The other approval required intense preparation for the interview due to their prior arrest.

 

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 617-714-4375 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

Employment Authorization Documents Finally Approved!

Over the course of the past month, three of our clients’ employment authorization documents were approved. As a huge improvement over horrendously slow processing times at USCIS in the past few years, we are excited for these clients whose employment authorization documents approvals came just one month after filing for adjustment of status. The clients and their US citizen spouses are extremely happy that they will be able to further build their lives by working legally in the US, as they all await the processing of their green card applications.

 

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 617-714-4375 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

Marriage Based Green Card Approved!

Marriage based green card approved!Recently, our client was thrilled that his marriage based green card was approved. Due to COVID travel restrictions and embassy closures, 2020 was a stressful year for him and his wife, but now they are at ease that their application has been approved.

 

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 617-714-4375 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

February 28 Update – U.S. citizenship after immigrating almost 9 years ago

Us citizenship -American flag and USCIS logoLast week, we represented a client who obtained U.S. citizenship after immigrating to the U.S. almost 9 years ago. He had met his wife in Europe, married there, had a child there and immigrated to the U.S. on a marriage based green card. He now enjoys the peace and security of U.S. citizenship.

 

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 617-714-4375 or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

Free Guides and Resources!

Marriage-Based Green Card Guides

We work hard to make your immigration case easy for you. Use these easy guides to help you organize your documents.

You should consult with an attorney to figure out if you are eligible for a green card before you submit any applications or documents to the U.S. government.