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Green Card/Adjustment of Status
A Green Card holder (permanent resident) is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person is granted a permanent resident card, commonly called a "Green Card."
Adjustment of Status (AOS) is a path to permanent resident status (green card). Adjustment of status is an alternate process by which an eligible applicant, who is already in the United States, can apply for permanent resident status without having to return to his/her home country to complete processing.
Consular Processing is a path to permanent resident status (green card). An applicant who is the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition, and has an immigrant visa number immediately available, may apply at a U.S. Department of State consulate abroad for an immigrant visa in order to come to the United States and be admitted as a permanent resident.
The U nonimmigrant status (U visa) is set aside for victims of crimes, and their immediate family members, who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse. The victim must have, or is willing to, assist law enforcement officers in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. U-Visa recipients can legally live and work in the United States for four years. After three years of having a U-Visa, recipients can apply for a green card to stay in the U.S. permanently.
As part of the U visa process a U certification is filed on the applicant's behalf. A judge, police officer, prosecutor or other official must complete a certification of helpfulness on the applicant's behalf. It certifies that the applicant has been a victim of qualifying criminal activity, have information that will be useful to law enforcement and the applicant is cooperating in order to bring the perpetrator to justice.
By using Form I-601, certain foreign citizens who are ineligible to immigrate to the United States because they are “inadmissible” can request a waiver (forgiveness) of inadmissibility.
Naturalization is the process of U.S. citizenship being granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). A lawful permanent resident can apply for United States citizenship, or naturalization, after five years of residency. This period is shortened to three years if married to a U.S. citizen.
Asylum may be granted to people who are already in the United States and are unable or unwilling to return their home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. To obtain asylum through the affirmative asylum process the applicant must be physically present in the United States. The applicant may apply for asylum status regardless of how they arrived in the United States or their current immigration status.
Deportation (sometimes called "removal") occurs when the federal government formally removes an alien from the United States for violations of immigration or criminal laws. This process begins with detention, often in a local detention center but it may be in any detention center.
Once deported, an alien may not ever be allowed to return to the United States, even as a visitor.
Removal is a legal proceeding, and an alien who is subject to this procedure has legal rights prior to being removed from the country, including the right to challenge the removal itself on procedural or constitutional grounds.
Certain foreign citizens who are ineligible to immigrate to the United States because they are “inadmissible” can request a waiver (forgiveness) of inadmissibility for being illegally present in the United States thereby waiving the three year or ten year bar.
Advance parole is an immigration document issued by the United States. It allows certain people to be paroled into the United States. It is not a re-entry permit; it is only issued to people without permanent residency. The advance parole document is valid for up to one year and during that period, an alien may make multiple entries into the United States. Also, an advance parole document may be renewed, so long as the renewal application is filed at least 120 days before the previously issued advance parole expires.
USCIS contacts applicants with an interview time. This interview is another opportunity to use an attorney to protect your interests.
A Request for Evidence (RFE) can be alarming. However, these are often an opportunity for clarification on your application package. These RFEs can be a second chance to show how you are a deserving candidate.
A U.S. citizen may petition for certain family members to receive either a Green Card, a fiancé(e) visa or a K-3/K-4 visa based on your relationship.
Family based preference categories:
This visa is available if you are looking to marry but your fiancé(e) is overseas and you want to bring them to the United States to marry one another. Your fiancé(e) enters the United States for 90 days, at which time your marriage ceremony can take place. Once married, your spouse can apply for permanent residence (Green Card) and remain in the United States while the application is in processing.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows battered and abused spouses (and certain parents and children) to obtain a green card without the cooperation of the U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative who is abusing them. Although commonly filed for victims of domestic violence, VAWA recognizes elder and financial abuse as well.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allow some individuals who entered the United States as minors, and either entered illegally or over stayed their visa, to receive a renewable two-year period where they are deferred from deportation and are eligible for a work permit.