Many of the recent changes to immigration law and enforcement have left families feeling unsure. From young parents who hope to bring their spouse and child over to the U.S. to college or graduate school students seeking admission to the U.S. through F1 or J1 visas, Herhusky Law Office can help. We’ll evaluate your unique situation and outline your path to a viable entry—whether you’re seeking to enter the U.S. as an immigrant or want to maintain nonimmigrant status.
One of the most common means of immigration to the U.S. is through the family-based immigration program. Under the philosophy that immigrants assimilate more quickly and enjoy a higher quality of life when they have the support and constant presence of their loved ones, family-based immigration allows one qualified immigrant to sponsor his or her immediate family members so that all can legally relocate to the U.S. After the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, family-based immigration also extends to same-sex couples now.
Adjustment of Status
If you’re already present in the U.S., you may be eligible to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident. If you’re an immediate relative of a U.S. resident, you may be able to apply for lawful permanent resident status through the “adjustment of status” process. This can allow you to receive a Green Card without having to go back to your home country. This is a complicated process, and it is recommended that you seek the guidance of an experienced attorney to evaluate your eligibility.
Naturalization and Citizenship
Lawful permanent residents who wish to become naturalized American citizens will need to go through the naturalization process. This requires a lengthy application to be submitted to the USCIS, complete with evidence of the applicant’s naturalization eligibility—including the length of time they have held lawful permanent resident status and a showing that the applicant is of good moral character. Good moral character can be affected by past criminal convictions, so if you’ve been accused or convicted of a crime in the past, make sure you speak with an experienced attorney.
K-1 Visa (or the “Fiancé(e) Visa”)
K-1 nonimmigrant visas are available to the fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens who want to come to the U.S. and who plan to get married within 90 days after arriving in the U.S. These visas are very popular and can seem simple, but depending on the individual situation, receiving one can be very complex.
Removal of Condition on Residence
Conditional permanent residents who entered the U.S. on a K-1 visa or through marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident are given a lawful permanent residence card that is conditional and only valid for two years. This condition must be removed before the conditional residence card expires. Otherwise, the lawful permanent resident will fall out of status, which can result in serious immigration consequences. The process of removing this condition can sound simple on its face, but those who apply must be certain to submit all the required supporting documents to support their request to remove the condition. Consulting an experienced attorney can take the guesswork out of this process.
R-1 Religious Worker Visa
Foreign nationals can enter the U.S. for employment as a minister (or another religious occupation) on an R-1 visa. But not all religious denominations (or employment positions) qualify for an R-1 visa, so to avoid rejection, it’s best to seek legal advice when completing your application.
A nonimmigrant F1 visa is designed for those who wish to enter the U.S. to attend a college or university, a high school, a private elementary school, or just about any other type of academic institution. As with most other visas, the application process can seem deceptively simple but may be very complex and time-consuming. Students who want to avoid potentially sidelining their studies should begin the process as early as possible.
DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival
Those who were illegally brought to the U.S. without documentation as children may be able to receive deferred action from deportation through the DACA program. Although the USCIS is no longer taking new DACA applications, those who have been granted DACA status can still renew their status to maintain deferred action under this program.
With ICE raids and deportations on the rise, it’s more important than ever for immigrants to have an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) on hand to prove that they are legally allowed to work in the U.S.
Affidavit of Support
This contract is essentially a sponsorship agreement, by which the person signing (who often doubles as the immigration petitioner) agrees to use their financial assets and resources to provide the immigrant with assistance once they enter the U.S. or adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident. It is important to consult with an attorney when it comes to this particular filing because the term of the commitment extends beyond the grant of lawful permanent residence to the intending immigrant.