Immigration

Immigration

US Immigration laws are constantly changing and having an experienced Immigration Attorney is extremely important to ensure that the correct forms, necessary information and corresponding evidence are submitted with each immigration application, to allow the immigration officers make prompt decisions.
Attorney Karina Herhusky assists with:

  • Naturalization and US Citizenship
  • Removal of conditions of permanent residence
  • Green card renewal or replacement
  • Green card filings based on spouses, parents, and children
  • Consular processing and I 601/I-601A hardship waiver
  • AAO Appeals from immigration Filing Denials
  • Deportation and Removal Defense

In order to meet our community’s needs, Herhusky Law Office has brought together a team of Attorneys with extensive knowledge and experience in specific areas of immigration, the following Of Counsels joined our team:

  • Attorney Chia-Hsuan Chien assists with employment immigration, such as EB Green Cards, E, H, L, O, P, R Visas, and figuring out the best business staffing solutions.
  • Attorney Francesco Fickey Martinez assists with family-based immigration, J1 waivers, and military immigration, such as naturalization through military service, military parole in place, and military deferred action.

Family-Based Immigration

One of the most common means of immigration to the U.S. is family-based immigration. This process appears to be very simple, as it’s based on a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen. However, this process entails more than just proving the close family relationship between the immigrant and the U.S. citizen, but also, the U.S. citizen’s ability to financially sponsor the immigrant.

The eligibility for family based immigration is divided two:
Immediate relatives:

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens;
  • Unmarried children of U.S. citizens, who are under 21 years of age;
  • Parents of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years of age;
  • Orphan children adopted abroad;

Family preference category:

  • Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens;
  • Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
  • Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, with their spouses and minor children;

Below are common immigration services our office handles:

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. citizen, 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 because it requires several applications that can be filed simultaneously by the immigrant, and the U.S. citizen family relative. It’s recommended that you seek the guidance of an experienced attorney in order to evaluate your eligibility, as well as the U.S. citizen immediate relative’s ability to sponsor you.
Our office frequently assists with adjustment of status filings at the following USCIS field office:

  • Durham, NC
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Charleston, SC
  • Norfolk, VA

More information found here:
https://www.herhuskylawoffice.com/practice-areas/immigration/adjustment-of-status/

Naturalization and Citizenship

Lawful permanent residents who wish to become naturalized American Citizens will need to go through the process of naturalization. This process requires the filing of a lengthy immigration application, this application will need to be submitted to USCIS, together with all required supporting evidence as well as its corresponding filing fee.

The majority of our clients have received a denial, or a request for evidence from USCIS due to misapplication of the law, improper processing, or undisclosed criminal history. Showing that a candidate is of good moral character is important, past criminal convictions can affect an applicant’s ability to show that he/she is of good moral character.

Applicants do not only have to show that they are eligible to become U.S. citizens based on the eligibility requirements, but also will have to show that they are of good character. There are many criminal charges that can affect a person’s moral character, regardless of whether the person’s criminal charge was dismissed.

A very common misconception is that the worst thing that can happen is that the application for naturalization is denied by USCIS and that the person can refile the application at a later time, but unfortunately, the consequences of filing for naturalization can be far worse than a simple denial, but also the risk of losing your status as a lawful permanent resident.

More information found here:
https://www.herhuskylawoffice.com/practice-areas/immigration/naturalization-and-citizenship/

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.

The applicants need to show that they continue to live together as husband and wife for the purpose of sharing their lives together. In order to prove that, the applicants have to submit an extensive amount of evidence to show that they live together as a married couple since the immigrant was issued the conditional lawful permanent residence card.

The processing time for the removal of the condition on residence is long. Applicants tend to feel that there is no need to provide a lot of evidence with their application to have the condition removed, as they know their marriage is in fact real, but the applicant’s knowledge of the legitimacy of their marriage is not enough, they still have to prove to USCIS the genuineness of the marriage.

Consulting an experienced attorney can take the guesswork out of this process.
More Information found here:
https://www.herhuskylawoffice.com/practice-areas/immigration/removal-of-condition-on-residence/

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.
The Fiance visa visa process is divided into three steps:

  1. The U.S. citizen fiance files a I-129F petition with USCIS on behalf of the fiance located abroad;
  2. After the I-129F petition is approved by USCIS, the DS-160 K1 Fiance visa application process starts with the U.S. Embassy in the country of the Fiance;
  3. After the Fiance’s arrival to the U.S., and the couple gets married, the I-485 adjustment of status process starts with USCIS

The above three step process of the Fiance visa is designed to recognize that there is a fiance relationship between the U.S. citizen and the fiancee who is located abroad, that the fiancee who is located abroad meet the requirements to obtain an nonimmigrant visa to enter the U.S. and that the couple got married, within the allotted time after the fiancee entered the U.S. That the couple got married to start a life together because they love each other and not for the sole purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit.

More Information found here: >
https://www.herhuskylawoffice.com/practice-areas/immigration/fiance-visa/

Consular processing

Consular processing, also known as the green card visa process, is a two-step process with the first step being the petition for the family relative to receive a green card, and the second step being the actual immigrant visa application process.

Generally, this process can take anywhere between one and three years Depending on the type of immediate family member wishing to immigrate to the United States. However, it is important to note that there are some family relationships that can take up to 25 years to process.

Time is important, and it is generally best to speak with a local immigration attorney, to understand the timetable, and to also forecast any possible delays specific to the embassy or consulate your family member would need to attend in step two of the consular process.

I 601/I 601A extreme hardship waiver

For many immigration violations and criminal violations, there is a waiver process that assesses the extreme hardships experienced by a US citizen or lawful permanent resident. Waiver requests can take around one year to process. It is always recommended To seek assistance from an immigration attorney.

A denial of a waiver means a green card application will either be rejected in the future or denied if currently pending.

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

Undocumented Immigrant Children who entered the United States under the age of 21 may be able to quaify for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). This is a complex process that involves several steps in order to meet the eligibility requirements.

In order to qualify for SIJS you must be:

  • Under the age of 21;
  • Be unmarried;
  • Be in the United States;
  • Have a court order issued in the U.S. that allows you to live with one of your parents, or a guardian because one or both of your parents hurt you, abandoned you, or neglected you;

In order to obtain a court order determining custody of the immigrant child, a custody complaint must be submitted in the local family court and the matter must be heard in front of a judge.

Benefits of having SIJS:

  • If the child is in deportation proceedings, he will now have a defense against deportation, and a way to obtaining a green card;
  • If the child is not in deportation proceedings, he will have a way to obtaining a green card;

After the SIJS application is submitted, the USCIS officer may request more evidence and either approve it or deny the application. If the petition is approved, the applicant will have to wait until the priority date becomes current, in order to apply for a green card, this can be done either in court, if the child is in deportation proceedings, or with USCIS if the child is not in deportation proceedings.

An immigration attorney can help throughout the process. Do not hesitate to contact our office if you believe you or someone you know may qualify for SIJS.

U Visas

This type of visa is available to victims of crimes that occurred in the United States, the victim must have reported the crime to law enforcement and assisted the authorities, regardless of whether the person who committed the crime was actually convicted. The victim of the crime most have been hurt either physically, or mentally, or both.

Benefits of having a U visa:

  • Live in the U.S. legally;
  • Have a work authorization;
  • Some of your family members can get a U visa;
  • Be able to apply for a green card;

Family members of the victim who could also benefit:

  • Your spouse (legally married);
  • Your parents, if you are under 21 years of age;
  • Children who are unmarried and under 21 years of age;
  • Unmarried brothers and sisters who are under 18 years of age;

A person’s current immigration status will not preclude him/her from applying for a U visa, if the person has entered the United States without documents, has no immigration status or has immigration violations, the person will have the opportunity to ask for a waiver in order to qualify for a U visa.

The main purpose of granting this type of visa is to encourage people who have been victims of a crime to report it to law enforcement and not be afraid to do so, due to fear that if they seek help from the authorities their current immigration situation would come to light and they may be deported.

Do not hesitate to contact our office and schedule an appointment with our attorney if you think you, or a loved one can qualify for a U visa.

Administrative Appeals Office and Motions to reopen or reconsider

AAO-Administrative Appeals Office
If you have received a negative decision from USCIS you may want to consider appealing to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). This is basically a request for a review of the decision made by USCIS to a higher authority.
When an appeal is submitted, the AAO would assess the accuracy of the interpretation of the law that was applied to the USCIS decision on an immigration petition or application.
The decision to submit an appeal to the AAO typically depends on the type of application submitted to USCIS and the basis for the denial received by the applicant.
It is very important to consult with an attorney to review the case and evaluate it before considering appealing it to the AAO. Depending on the case and basis for the denial, an appeal may not be the best way to combat the denial.
Motion to reopen or motion to reconsider
There are some immigration applications that once USCIS has denied them, the applicant cannot refile them again and the only remedy or way to obtain a different result is to submit a motion to reopen the USCIS previously made decision on the case.
USCIS has a filing fee for a motion to reopen, thus it’s important that your motion is filed correctly and with all the necessary evidence and information that was not previously submitted with your application..
Do not risk getting another denial, call our office to schedule an appointment with our attorney, so that you can discuss your options.

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.
More information found here:
https://www.herhuskylawoffice.com/practice-areas/immigration/daca-deferred-action-for-childhood-arrival/

Employment-based immigration

Businesses benefit from amazing employees, and it is a frequent issue trying to navigate through the immigration system. If an employee is amazing, and the employer is willing to pursue immigration options.

Our of counsel, Attorney Chien, handles such immigration filings as follows, and more:
H-1B employment visa
The H1B visa is a specialty occupation visa that requires a certain level of education in a profession or field where a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required. H-1B can come in the forms of Cap-subject (aka lottery) or Cap-exempt. Speaking with an experienced immigration attorney is highly recommended.
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.
L visa
The L-1A and L-1B Visas allow for the intra-company transfer of employees of foreign entities to U.S. parent, affiliate, and subsidiary companies. These key employees contribute executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge skills to the U.S. business. This visa option also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the U.S. with the purpose of establishing a new office.
Employment based green card
A green card based on employment can range from EB-1 to EB-5, with each immigration category containing extremely different and complex procedures for obtaining lawful permanent residence.

Deportation or Removal Proceedings

 

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and FBI Investigations