Tag: immigration

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.


Can I travel while my immigration application is pending?

pending immigration applicationUnless you speak with an immigration attorney first, you should not leave or try to enter the US while you have a US immigration application pending. In many cases, you will be able to leave the US and enter the US while your case is pending. You may be in H1B status, which allows you to leave/re-enter the US while a green card application is pending. You may have advance parole, which allows you to leave/re-enter the US. 

However, in other cases, leaving the US will cancel your US immigration application, and you may be barred from the US for up to ten years. 

When we file a green card application for you (Form I-485, not just I-130 or DS-260), we also file a travel document, also called advance parole document. This document can allow you to leave and re-enter the US while your case is pending. Since 2020, USCIS has drastically slowed the processing of advance parole travel documents. Now, most of our clients do NOT receive advance parole documents before their green card (lawful permanent residence is approved). This means that our clients cannot travel outside of the US while their green card application is pending.

In some cases, we get your travel permit expedited (sped up), but we caution all of our clients that USCIS is being extremely stingy and uncompassionate when it comes to requests to expedite. The current state of USCIS processing of travel documents is unacceptable, especially since these simple documents used to be approved in as little as 6 weeks after submission of a green card application. 

If you need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney. We would love to help you as well.  Call 617-714-4375 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!

Peace of Mind After 11 Years!

Green card approved after winning the removal proceedings

This week our firm obtained a big win for one of our clients at their removal hearing. Our client had been in removal proceedings since 2011. Our client suffered 11 years of stress because of the removal proceedings.

Our attorney was able to gather strong evidence and argued a strong compelling argument in favor of our client. The court granted our client his green card. Not only will our client get his green card, but he will also have peace of mind and the opportunity to build a future in the United States.


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.

George W. Bush Criticizes GOP Approach to Immigration

George-W.-Bush-Criticizes-GOP-ApproachIn a series of interviews held this past weekend, former George W. Bush distanced himself from his party on the topic of immigration. On NBC’s Today show, he said the Republican party he served has become “isolationist, protectionist, and to a certain extent, nativist.” He also criticized the fear mongering tactics of many anti-immigrant Republicans. In a Sunday Washington Post op-ed, George W. Bush advocated for bipartisan solutions in addressing the shortcomings of the current immigration system. Through a CBS interview, Bush asked Congress to “put aside all the harsh rhetoric about immigration” and stated his goal to “set a tone that is more respectful about the immigrant.” Later in the interview, the former president also expressed his disappointment in the failures of the American government in enacting immigration reform. He also gave his support for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. 

These statements correlate with the message of his new book, which aims to humanize and appreciate the immigrants that compose this country. It is a refreshing contrast to the harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric currently defining a sizable portion of the immigration debate. George W. Bush’s pro-immigrant stance also reminds the country that respecting immigrants is not a partisan idea, but should rather be the practice of all.


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.

Unknown: The Implications of Last Night’s “Presidential” Tweet about Immigration

Last night, Trump tweeted that he was closing immigration to the US. No one knows what that means. USCIS is the agency that processes immigration in the US. The Department of State’s embassies and consulates process US immigration from outside the US. The worst case scenario is that Trump actually effect a closure of both agencies’ immigration operations. While there is no “best” case scenario following such a hateful, incoherent xenophobic statement, the least worst thing that could happen is that Trump does not actually issue an order/proclamation doing what he claimed. With his record of inconsistency, that is possible. If he does make such an order, the “best” case scenario would be for the order to only affect one agency and for that order to be enjoined by a court, allowing operations to continue until the legal case goes to court.

My plan is to continue filing applications until USCIS and/or DOS tell us not to. Unfortunately, many cases will be stalled due to USCIS’s and DOS’s current in-person closures and restrictions. Nonetheless, USCIS continues behind the scenes processing of cases and in recent weeks has given indications that it is looking for creative solutions such as waiving in-person interviews and new biometrics, in order to allow cases to continue to process and be adjudicated.

If you have questions about immigration, please contact me to set up a consultation to discuss.

Don’t Lie: An Immigration Golden Rule

The immigration process can be stressful and frustrating. It can be tempting to lie on an application or during an immigration interview to get it over with and keep the process “less complicated”. You may even know people who have lied and then successfully obtained their green card and even US citizenship. But lying on an immigration application, or to an immigration officer, is a bad idea. Please don’t do it!

  • One Lie Will Destroy Your Credibility

The immigration application is invasive and frustrating, and it may seem unnecessarily thorough. Let’s say you are applying for a marriage green card, and you were arrested once for something silly as a kid. Even though you know you copies of your arrest and court records, you’re having a hard time finding them or getting copies of everything you need. So, you leave that arrest at 17 off of your application. After all, it wasn’t anything serious, so why should USCIS care?

That kind of thinking is a big mistake. USCIS will investigate you, as they do all applicants. When USCIS finds that arrest record through its security check, you may be accused of fraud and your application could be denied for that reason—even if the arrest at 17 would have had absolutely not impacte on your ability to get the green card had you disclosed it and provided necessary documentation.

  • Lying is Grounds for Inadmissibility

If you lie or misrepresent something on an immigration application, you’re creating more problems. Lying is grounds for inadmissibility. Under 8 U.S.C. §1182(a)(6)(C)(i), “Any alien who, by fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact, seeks to procure (or has sought to procure or has procured) a visa, other documentation, or admission into the United States or other benefit provided under this chapter is inadmissible.”

If you’re concerned about something that you don’t want to include on your immigration application, or, if there’s something you are worried about discussing with an immigration officer during your interview, you should consult an experienced immigration attorney before you submit any application. An attorney can advise you, come up with workable solutions, and attend your immigration interview with you to help you explain the documentation or the facts of the situation. In some cases, an experienced attorney will tell you not to file for any immigration benefit for a certain period of time or, in some cases, ever. I’ve helped people around the world through complicated immigration situations for years, and I’m happy to guide you as well. So, don’t risk lying on an immigration application; I can help.

Will my criminal history make me ineligible for immigration benefits?

Having a criminal record can affect your ability to receive immigration benefits, whether you’re seeking a temporary visa, green card, or an adjustment of status. But under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) convictions for certain crimes, or admissions to committing certain crimes, will automatically make you “inadmissible” to the United States. If you’ve been convicted of or admitted to any of these crimes, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will deny your immigration case, unless you will not succeed in your immigration case, unless USCIS grants you a waiver of admissibility. 

The Immigration and Nationality Act

Section 212 (A) of the Immigration Nationality Act sets forth the crimes that are grounds for inadmissibility, or in other words, ineligibility for a temporary or permanent visa to the US. Among other things, you will become inadmissible if you’re convicted of or admitted to having committed: 

  1. A crime of moral turpitude (e.g., murder, rape, child abuse, aggravated assault, theft, perjury, fraud, and many other crimes)
  2. A violation of any controlled substance law (drugs), whether in the U.S. or abroad.
  3. Multiple criminal convictions for which the total prison sentences were five years or more. 
  4. Illicit trafficking in any controlled substance (drugs). 
  5. Benefiting, financially or otherwise, from illicit drug trafficking, by a spouse, son, or daughter of the trafficker within the previous five years. 
  6. Prostitution and commercialized vice, including procuring prostitutes or receiving proceeds from prostitution. 
  7. Human trafficking or benefitting from human trafficking, whether inside or outside the United States.
  8. Money laundering.

This list provided here is not exhaustive, and each crime may have particular nuances or exceptions. Also, every criminal jurisdiction will define and use words for crimes in different ways. One important job of an immigration attorney is to “translate” your state or foreign conviction into the language of the INA in order to determine where it falls on the INA’s list of problematic crimes. 

Waiver for Inadmissible Crimes

In some cases, you may be able to gain entry into the United States despite your criminal history if the USCIS grants you a “forgiveness” waiver. Section 212(i) 212(h) of the INA describes the waivers for criminal history for someone applying for a visa or a green card. There are also special waivers available in Immigration Court, for example, under INA 237(a)(1)(H) for fraud/misrepresentations that do not result in criminal convictions and 240A for individuals who have been in the US at least 7 years (if a green card holder) or 10 years (if not a green card holder). Also, there is a general waiver under INA 212(d) for applicants for nonimmigrant (aka temporary) visas.

What to do if you have a criminal history

If you have a criminal history and you’re applying for immigration benefits in the United States, it’s crucial to seek the help of an experienced immigration lawyer. I’ve helped clients around the world with a range of complicated immigration issues, and I’d like to help you too.

Immigration under Donald Trump

Donald Trump and his administration issued memoranda relating to the administration’s deportation/removal priorities. These memos do not change the definition of deportable, that is, reasons why someone could be deported from the US. However, the memos signal a drastic change from President Obama’s humane focus on immigrants with certain criminal backgrounds, to anyone who has ever made any criminal mistake (whether charged and whether convicted) and who has ever made any misrepresentation to a government agent. The memos leave no room for a compassion and reasonable immigration officer to determine that an individual may not have authorized status in the US, but nonetheless deserves to be considered for non-prosecution for deportation. In addition to making unrealistically broad priorities for deportation, the memos set forth the administration’s intention to authorize state and local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law. Again, these memos do not change the law but they drastically change prosecutorial discretion and execution of the federal immigration laws.

Memos at https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/17_0220_S1_Enforcement-of-the-Immigration-Laws-to-Serve-the-National-Interest.pdf



What Can Trump Do On Day One?

Many of us are concerned about President-Elect Trump’s views on immigration (aside from his wife’s alleged misuse of her visa). Attached is information from the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association about what Trump could do with a “stroke of a pen” on the first day (or any day) of his Presidency.

As of the writing of this blog, however, no immigration laws or policies have been changed. If you ever hear about an immigration change and believe that it could affect you, consult with an attorney before you take any action in reliance on what you heard from friend, family, co-workers or other members of your communities.


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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.