If you have been the victim of a crime and you entered the United States, legally OR illegally, do not be afraid to report the crime or to assist the police with their investigation. In doing so you may become eligible to apply for a U Visa. The U visa is available to immigrants who are victims of certain crimes, including but not limited to; domestic violence, trafficking, sexual assault, and incest. If you have cooperated with authorities in the prosecution of the person responsible the crime, you may qualify for legal status to temporarily reside and work in the United States. Spouses and minor children are often able to seek this relief through your application. If you maintain status and certain qualifications, you may also be eligible to eventually adjust status to a Legal Permanent Resident. You may also qualify for a U Visa if you were the victim of a crime in the United States but now reside in another country.
If you are married to, or recently divorced from, a United States Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident and are also the victim of domestic violence, you may qualify to petition for lawful status. VAWA was created to protect you from a spouse who attempts to control you by threatening to call immigration if you tell authorities about the abuse. This benefit is available for individuals who entered the United States legally OR illegally. VAWA allows you to “self-petition” for Lawful Permanent Residence instead of depending upon your abusive spouse to apply on your behalf. You can also apply on behalf of your children. Your abusive spouse cannot be a part of the process and does not have to know you are applying. The approval of the petition depends on your ability to document the abuse that occurred. Once your petition is approved you are eligible to adjust status to a Legal Permanent Resident.
Adjustment of status is the process of becoming a lawful permanent resident without having to leave the United States. The benefit is available to family members including spouses, parents, children (married and unmarried), and siblings. Adjusting your status to residency is available based on the approval of an I-130 petition that may have been filed previously or filed in conjunction with an application for residency and depends on the relationship you have with the person filing on your behalf. It is also dependent on how and when you entered the United States. If you entered illegally you may still qualify if you have an approved petition filed before April 30th, 2001 under 245(i).
The ability to adjust your status depends on who is applying for you and when. You may qualify for a green card immediately through a relative if they are your United States Citizen spouse, United Stated Citizen parent (and you are under 21 years of age), or if your child is a United States Citizen and over the age of 21. If you fall into one of these categories and you entered the United States with permission, you have an immigrant visa immediately available to you and you may be able to adjust your status by filing your I-130 petition and application for residence at the same time. If your residency is based on a marriage of less than two years, you must file an additional application to remove conditions on your residence.
If you do not find yourself in this category you still may qualify to adjust status through a “preference relative”. You can qualify through a preference relative if you are:
If you qualify through one of these relationships you may be eligible to adjust status through your relative. They may file an I-130 petition on your behalf. Unfortunately, visas based on these relationships are not immediately available and can be subject to long processing times that depend on their priority dates which can be found in the monthly updated Visa Bulletin.
If you entered legally OR illegally, you may be allowed to adjust your status if you meet certain requirements under Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. A preference relative must have filed a petition for you and filed the application on or before April 30, 2001. You must also be willing to pay a $1000.00 fine for either overstaying your visa or entering illegally. If your parent had a petition filed on their behalf and it included your name, you may be eligible to use their application to adjust status as well. Another benefit of 245(i) is that you do not have to rely on the original petition to apply for adjustment of status as long as the original application was properly filed and approvable when filed.
If you are a fiance of a United States Citizen you may be eligible to apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa. Your fiance must file an I-129F Petition on your behalf based on evidence that your intended marriage is honest. Based on the approval of the petition, a K-1 visa permits you to travel to the United States and marry your U.S. citizen fiance within 90 days of arrival. You will then become an immediately relative thus eligible to apply for adjustment of status to a Legal Permanent Resident. Applying for a K-2 visa will allow your unmarried children under 21 years of age to join you.
The K-3 nonimmigrant visa is for the spouse of United States Citizens. Your spouse must file an I-129F Petition and an I-130 immigrant visa petition simultaneously. This visa category is intended to shorten the physical separation between you and your spouse by having the option to obtain a K-3 visa in your country of residence and enter the United States to await approval of the immigrant visa petition. Upon approval, you may apply to adjust status to a permanent resident. Applying for a K-4 visa will allow your unmarried children less than 21 years of age to join you.
Because a large number of our clients visa process through the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez (CDJ), we have become experts on the protocol specific to this consulate. Every year we assist hundreds of clients navigate the complex and often times frustrating system. We prepare you for the challenges you may face during your medical exam and interview. In addition, we have mastered the difficult task of effective communication with the consulate. We are there every step of the way to ensure that you are comfortable and aware of procedure when obtaining your visa.
If you receive your residency through a recent marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident you will most likely receive conditional residence and a resident card that reflects this. Your residency is conditional and will be reflected through the fact that your card is only valid for a period of two years. Your conditional residency can be terminated if you do not file to remove the conditions within the 90 days before your card expires (2 years from the date of gaining residency). To remove conditions you and your spouse must file together and submit documentation of the continued marital relationship. Divorce and death of a spouse will both affect the procedure for removing conditions. Removing the conditions and tainting permanent residency is still possible if the marriage was bone fide and well documented. There are also opportunities for spouses to continue living in the United States who are unable to file jointly due to abuse in the marriage. Please see VAWA/U-visa section for more information on this.
If you are outside the United States or do not qualify to adjust status to Legal Permanent Residency in the United States, you may be able to receive a green card through consular processing. In order to do this, you must be a beneficiary of an approved I-130 petition and have an immigrant visa number immediately available. Consular processing means you will interview at a U.S. consulate abroad for an immigrant visa in order to come to the United States as permanent resident.
If you are not already the beneficiary of an approved, valid and active I-130 petition, you will need to have an immigrant petition filed on your behalf by a qualifying family member. Depending on the type of family relationship, you may either have a visa number immediately available when the petition is approved, or have to wait for visa numbers in yourcategory to become available. This may take a few months or many years.
Once a visa is available, you can submit an application for the visa and the U.S. consulate will schedule you for an interview. The consular office will complete processing of your application and decide if you qualify for the immigrant visa. In order for your visa application to be approved, you will need to show that you are eligible. When the consular officer approves your application, you will receive a visa packet that enables you to enter the United States and immediately have Legal Permanent Resident status.
If your immigrant visa application is based on a marriage that took place less than two years before your application is approved, you will be given Conditional Permanent Resident status. During the three months before your two-year anniversary of becoming a conditional resident, you will need to remove the conditional status by proving that your marriage was in good faith and filing a an I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.
If the consular officer finds that you are ineligible to receive an immigrant visa at your consular interview, you may qualify to submit a waiver of your ineligibility. Common reasons for being ineligible include medical problems that may pose a threat to the general public, certain types of crimes, and immigration violations like previous unlawful presence in the U.S., deportation, or fraudulent attempts at entering the country.
Lawit Law can assists in applying for waivers of inadmissibility that require Forms I-601 and I-212.
You might be eligible to become permanent resident if you are an individual of extraordinary ability in certain professions, an investor/entrepreneur, a multi-national manager, an outstanding researcher/professor, an individual holding an advanced degree or an individual of exceptional ability, an individual working in the national interest, a professional or skilled worker and a religious worker. All the employment-based groups are subject to an overall numerical limitation.
The First Employment-Based Preferences (EB-1) classification comprises of the following:
An individual of “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business and athletes. Extraordinary ability if you have sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation. You will have to document that you will work in the US in the area of your expertise. Your employer can petition for you as a worker of extraordinary ability or you can self-petition without a job offer or petitioning employer.
An outstanding professor and researcher if you are recognized internationally for your outstanding achievements in an academic area. You need to have a minimum of three years of experience in teaching and/or research in your field. You also need and an offer of employment for a tenure-track teaching position or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education or a comparable position with a private employer who employs at least three full-time persons in research positions and has achieved documented accomplishments in the field.
A multinational executive or manager of a foreign company who is being transferred to an affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch in the US in an executive or managerial capacity. You will to have been employed outside the US in the managerial or executive capacity for at least one year of the three years immediately preceding the filing of the petition. The petitioning US employer must have been doing business in the US for at least one year.
The Second Employment-Based preferences (EB-2) classification comprises of the following:
A member who because of your exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, if you have a degree of expertise is significantly above that ordinarily encountered in your field. You will need to submit significant evidence establishing your exceptional abilities. You do need to have a job offer and a labor certification approved by the U.S. Department of Labor or documentation that you qualify under Schedule A, Group II labor certification.
National Interest Waivers - You can seek exemption of the job and labor certification requirement if you are an individual of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business who will substantially benefit to the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare in the United States. The standards for obtaining a national interest waiver is one (1) you must seek work in an area of “substantial intrinsic merit”; (2) you will provide benefit that is national in scope; and (3) the benefit derived from your participation in the “national interest” field of endeavor must “considerably” outweigh the “inherent” national interest in protecting U.S. workers through a labor certification process.
A member of the professions holding advanced degree and you possess such a degree or the equivalent through a combination of education or experience and be offered a position which must require at a minimum an advanced degree or the equivalent. You do need a job offer and a labor certification
The Third Preference Employment-Based Preferences (EB-3) classification comprises of professionals with a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in their field, skilled workers requiring at least two years of training or experience and other (unskilled) workers requiring less than two years of training or experience. Petitions filed under the (EB-3) classification are employer-based which requires a job offer, and underlying certified labor certification application from the U.S. Department of Labor.
PERM Labor Certifications
If you are an individual seeking to obtain U.S. permanent residence through your employment, you need to be the beneficiary of a certified labor condition application from the U.S. Department of Labor. This application requires the petitioning employer to test the labor market by conducting a pattern of recruitment to determine that there are not sufficient U. S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and immediately available to accept the offered position at the prevailing (or average) wage for the geographic area.
The Fourth Employment-Based preference (EB-4) classification comprises of the following:
Religious Ministers or Religious Workers
As a Religious Minister or Religious Worker you are eligible to seek to obtain U.S. permanent residency if you have two years immediately preceding the filing of the petition have been a member and have been working continuously (either abroad or in the United States) for a religious denomination which has a bona fide nonprofit religious organization.
The Fifth Employment-Based preference (EB-5) classification comprises of the following:
You are eligible to seek to obtain U.S. permanent residency if you are an individual who has invested capital in the creation of a new business, purchased an existing business, expands an existing business, or joins with a pool of investors who have already invested in an existing business. You must invest at least $???? in capital to the US. The purpose of the EB-5 investor visa is to benefit the U.S. economy and enhance the employment opportunities of US workers through the creation of 10 new jobs in addition to the employees already employed in a purchased company. As the investor, you must be engaged in the management of the business by exercising managerial control of the day- to-day operations of the business or through policy formulation.