Tag: green card

DECODING THE LANGUAGE OF IMMIGRATION: A GUIDE TO COMMON TERMS

DECODING THE LANGUAGE OF IMMIGRATION: A GUIDE TO COMMON TERMS

Embarking on an immigration journey can feel like learning a new language, with a plethora of terms and phrases that might seem perplexing at first. Let’s unravel the mystery and make sense of common immigration terms.

Green Card: Your Ticket to Permanency

A “green card” isn’t just a color; it’s a symbol of permanency in the U.S. Holding a green card allows individuals to reside in the country indefinitely, opening doors to various opportunities. Whether through family sponsorship, employment, or other avenues, obtaining a green card signifies a significant milestone in one’s immigration journey.

Naturalization: The Path to Citizenship

When we talk about “naturalization,” we’re discussing the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. It’s the final step in the immigration journey, granting the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship. Eligibility for naturalization typically includes meeting residency requirements, demonstrating good moral character, and passing a citizenship test.

Asylum: Seeking Shelter and Protection

“Asylum” is a term that echoes the pursuit of safety and protection. Individuals may seek asylum if they fear persecution in their home country, providing a legal avenue for refuge in the United States. Navigating the asylum process involves proving a credible fear of persecution, often requiring legal assistance to present a compelling case.

Deportation: Facing the Possibility of Departure

On the flip side, “deportation” is a term none wish to encounter. It refers to the process of being sent out of the country due to legal violations. Navigating the complexities of immigration rules can help avoid this outcome. Seeking legal counsel and understanding the grounds for deportation, such as criminal convictions or visa violations, is crucial for safeguarding one’s status.

Visa: Permission to Enter

A “visa” is like a golden ticket granting permission to enter the U.S. It comes in various types, each serving a unique purpose, from work visas to family-sponsored visas. Understanding the nuances of visa categories is vital for choosing the right path. Work visas allow individuals to contribute to the U.S. economy, while family-sponsored visas reunite loved ones.

Understanding these terms is akin to having a trusty guide through the intricate landscape of immigration regulations. It not only empowers individuals to know their rights but also facilitates smoother communication with immigration officials.

CAN I APPLY FOR A GREEN CARD THROUGH NIW IF I AM ON A NON-IMMIGRANT VISA?

CAN I APPLY FOR A GREEN CARD THROUGH NIW IF I AM ON A NON-IMMIGRANT VISA?

Individuals on a non-immigrant visa can indeed apply for a green card through the National Interest Waiver (NIW) pathway. The NIW offers a strategic route for those already in the United States under a non-immigrant visa, such as an H-1B or L-1, to transition to permanent residency without the necessity of employer sponsorship. This option underscores the flexibility of the NIW process, allowing qualified candidates to leverage their exceptional abilities or advanced degrees to pursue long-term residency in the United States. It is crucial for applicants to thoroughly understand the eligibility criteria and engage with immigration professionals to navigate the intricacies of the NIW application successfully.

WHAT IS THE NATIONAL INTEREST WAIVER (NIW)?

WHAT IS THE NATIONAL INTEREST WAIVER (NIW)?

The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is a unique provision in the U.S. immigration system that enables eligible individuals to secure a green card without the traditional requirements of a job offer or labor certification. This waiver is granted to those whose work is deemed essential for the national interest of the United States, emphasizing contributions that significantly benefit the country as a whole. This pathway acknowledges and encourages individuals with exceptional abilities or advanced degrees to contribute to the nation’s progress and development.

It’s important to note that the NIW process can be complex, and requirements may evolve. Consulting with immigration professionals will provide accurate and up-to-date information tailored to individual circumstances.

Vaccinations — you have to get them unless you qualify for a medical and religious exemption

Learn about vaccinations and medical requirements for the green card application, including exemptions for medical and religious reasons.To get a green card through marriage, you need to undergo a medical exam with a USCIS approved doctor. You can find the doctors using the tool at this website. The doctor will give you a sealed envelope with Form I-693. You should also request an unsealed copy of Form I-693 so that your attorney can review it. 

The medical exam requires you to have certain vaccinations. You can find the vaccination list at this link.  There may be vaccinations that you cannot get right now due to your current age or health reasons. If so, there is no problem, and those would be considered medical waivers to the vaccination requirement. However, if the doctor determines that you need a vaccination and you do not want to take it for a medical reason and the doctor does not agree,  you will have a problem. 

Also, you may not want to get a vaccination for religious reasons. Those waivers are difficult to obtain, and you must show the following:

  • You are opposed to all vaccinations in any form.: This means you are opposed to all vaccinations, not just a specific vaccination such as the flu or COVID vaccinations. You may have received vaccinations as a child, but as long as you have not received any as an adult, you may be able to meet this requirement.  
  • Your objection must be based on religious beliefs or moral convictions.: You have to show that you belong to an actual religion that holds an actual opposition to vaccinations. A mere preference of yours won’t cut it. 

The religious belief or moral conviction must be sincere.: Again, you have to show that you are part of a religion that holds this belief. If you just joined the religion recently, you’ll have more difficulty proving that this is a “sincere” religious belief.

 

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 (617-744-7919) or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

 

Why should you get the medical done before you file your I-485 application and, in most cases, submit it with your I-485 application?

Know the importance of including your medical exam with the I-485 application for a smooth green card process.You should get your medical exam completed before you file your green card for two important reasons. First, you–and I as your attorney–want to see if any issues come up with your medical exam. For example, a client recently conducted her medical exam and learned that she was positive for TB (tuberculosis). With that diagnosis, she is not eligible for a green card. She needed to get the necessary treatment–which took 8 months–in order to get a clear and complete medical exam. If she had filed without the medical exam, waited for an RFE, and then learned that she had TB, she may not have been able to respond to the RFE by the 3-month deadline and her entire case would have been denied, and she would have had to start over. Sometimes, even when we see negative results, we file the application due to certain legal issues. However, it’s best to decide to file without the medical exam knowing why you’re applying without the medical exam. 

The other big reason to file with the medical exam is that USCIS can fully approve your case if the medical exam is included. Meaning, in most cases (since 20220, there will be no interview. Lots of people used to bring the medical exam to the interview. Now, you do not always have that opportunity. If you don’t file the medical exam with your application, the approval of your case may be slowed down because USCIS has to ask you for the exam, you have to send it to USCIS, and then USCIS has to get back to looking at your case once you send in the exam.

 

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 (617-766-0214) or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

Have you worked in the US without permission?

Worked in the US without permission? Understand the implications and the importance of disclosure in immigration applications in this article.This won’t be a problem for a spouse of a US citizen UNLESS the person worked without permission and then did NOT disclose that fact when asked about it on an online immigration application, paper submitted application, or in person with an immigration official. A common situation is for a student on an F-visa to babysit while he is in school, and then not disclose that when asked about it on an online immigration application, paper submitted application, or in person with an immigration official. If you’re asked by a US immigration official about unauthorized work and you lie, you may turn a non-problem (the work) into a big problem (lying, fraud, misrepresentation).

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 (617-766-0214) or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

 

Why do you need to get ALL marriage and divorce certificates?

Prepare for your green card application: Gather essential marriage and divorce certificates to ensure a smooth process.If you’re trying to figure out if you’re eligible to get a green card based on your marriage to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, you need to get some marriage documents in order. First, you’ll need a certified copy of your current marriage certificate. If the certificate is not in English, you’ll need an English translation of the document. You can use an online translation service, or you can use a simple Certificate of Translation, like we will show you here. Just make sure that neither you nor your spouse does the translation. 

Next, you will need copies of all marriages and divorces for you and your spouse. It’s best to have certified copies of these documents, but generally you can get by with any acceptable copy. You need to get all marriage and divorce certificates, even if they are from decades ago! If you absolutely cannot get them, you must provide a sworn statement of your efforts to convince USCIS that the document is in fact not available. USCIS will not accept a document as unavailable just because it’s a huge pain for you to try to get it. 

When information about a marriage or divorce is difficult to obtain, do not make the mistake of leaving it off the immigration applications. That decision could come back to haunt you in the form of a charge of misrepresentation, which will add years and thousands of dollars of cost onto your immigration process. 

For all marriage and divorce documents, you need to check that they comply with the format that the US Department of State defines for each country. You can find those requirements at this link. If your marriage took place in the US, then your marriage certificate from the registry in your town/city is what you’ll need. 

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 (617-744-7919) or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

 

Are you Canadian and applying for a marriage-based green card? There are special (usually positive) issues for Canadians as related to entering the US.

Canadian Green Card Applicants: Benefits and Exemptions for Marriage-Based Immigration to the USCanadians are entitled to various benefits when they enter the US. First, the visa requirements are much more lax for Canadians. Most Caan tourists do not even need a visa in their passport to enter. Many Canadians entering the US on certain visas such as the H1B or L can process their visas at the border and may in some situations be able to enter with just an I-797 Notice of Action Approval Notice. Also, Canadians are entitled to TN visas, which are available to both Canadians and Mexicans. Canadians can apply for TN visas right at the border or airport, but Mexicans must apply at an embassy, which makes the process much slower and more expensive. 

With all that background, you will not be surprised that Canadians are in a better situation than most when applying for a marriage-based green card. That is, if you are applying for a marriage-based green card, you need to show proof of entry, usually with form I-94. Canadians are generally exempt from that requirement–the US government generally will just believe your statement about when you came into the US. Wow! If only the US could trust other noncitizens as much as it trusts Canadians!

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 (617-766-0214) or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

 

Are you eligible for a marriage-based green card from within the US, and are you married to more than one person at the same time?

Ensure your first marriage is valid for immigration purposes as USCIS recognizes only the initial marriage.USCIS will only recognize your first marriage as a valid marriage for immigration purposes. With that, you do not need to disclose marriages that take place after a first marriage is still legally valid. However, talk to an experienced immigration attorney if you have engaged in a marriage ceremony while you are legally married because you may be committing a crime in certain US states and in countries outside of the US.  

If you plan to practice polygamy in the US or have attempted to be polygamous in the US, you will not be eligible for a green card. 

It is not allowed to practice polygamy in the US.

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 (617-766-0214) or email hello@cambridgeimmigrationlaw.com to get in touch.

Are you eligible for a marriage-based green card within the US? What is your marital status—engaged or married?

Marital Status Matters: Discover your eligibility for a marriage-based green card from within the US—engaged or marriedWhat is your Marital Status? Are you engaged or married? 

If you’re trying to figure out if you’re eligible to get a green card based on your marriage to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, let’s start with an easy question: Are you married or engaged? If you’re not yet married, you cannot file for a marriage-based green card from within the US. There is a route for fiancé/fiancées of US citizens if the fiancée is outside the US; but there is no path for a fiancée to get the green card from within the US unless the fiancée entered the US with the special fiancée visa (K-visa). 

 

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.

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Marriage-Based Green Card Document Guide

We work hard to make your immigration case easy for you. Use this easy guide to help you organize the documents that you would use if you are eligible to submit an application for a marriage-based green card application. 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.