If you are a
permanent resident alien, or a US Citizen and you want to petition for
one of your family members, I can handle your
petition. I can also help you prepare your application for
Naturalization, or to renew TPS, or to renew your "Green Card". I
don't handle employment-based petitions or removal cases, but you may
email me and I can recommend other excellent attorneys.
Q. If I am a Legal Permanent
Resident, can I apply for my parents or
brothers or sisters?
A. No. You must be a US Citizen to petition for parents or
Q. If I am a US Citizen and I am
married to an illegal immigrant, can I
apply for him to receive permanent residency?
A. Maybe. If your alien spouse entered with some type of visa or
under the Visa Waiver Program or with a Border Crosser card or as a
Canadian, then your spouse may be eligible to adjust status, even if
they have overstayed their stay or even if they have worked
illegally. If, however, your alien spouse entered "illegally",
then they cannot adjust status (unless they qualify for an exception,
most common of which is having an application pending since before
April 30th, 2001). However, you can still apply for them to
receive their residency, but they must leave the country and make final
application at a consulate abroad. If they have been present for
more than one year "out of status", then they will need to have an
approved hardship waiver to return. This waiver is the I-601
waiver. I can help you with this waiver and the process.
However, if your spouse was present for more than one year out of
status after 1997, and then left the US, and then returned again, then
the waiver is not available, and under current law your spouse may not
be able to receive residency. I welcome you to contact me if you
are in this situation and I will help you understand your options.
Q. Is there going to be a change
in the law soon?
A. Immigration laws change *every single day*. However it is
difficult to say when the next major immigration reform will be.
On the one hand there is much agreement that our current system is
unworkable, but there is a lot of opposition to giving any type of
relief to those who are present illegally. I personally believe
that because it is such a big issue that something will happen soon (in
the next couple of years), but it is impossible to predict what form
the changes will take. However almost every reform plan proposed
includes requisites of a clean criminal record and history of paying
Q. Is it possible for me to get
a green card through my children who were born here?
A. Not until they are 21 years old. If they are already
over 21 than they can petition for you if you entered the United States
"with inspection" (legally).
Q. What is the 601 Waiver?
A. The I-601 is a waiver of bars of inadmissibility. There
are many people that at this moment have a way that they can apply for
residency or a visa, except for the fact that they have been here
illegally in the past, or they are here illegally now. Another
type of bar is when someone has been "convicted" of a crime (which
might not necessarily mean a conviction according to the court
system). But the I-601 waiver allows a person to apply for the
bar to be waived. For example, if a US Citizen wife is married to
an illegal alien who entered illegally (without inspection or a visa),
then the alien can apply for residency, and would qualify if it were
not for the bar of inadmissibility caused by his having been in
the US illegally. However, if the alien was in the US for more
than 6 months illegally after 1996 and after turning 18, then he cannot
receive residency, and he cannot return to the US. That is when
he can apply for a 601 waiver. If approved, he could then return
to the US with his residency.
Q. How do they decide
whether or not to approve a 601 waiver?
A. If the waiver is requested for an overstay, than the decision
to approve would be based on hardship to a US Citizen spouse or
parent. One must include a letter with evidence supporting that
the spouse or parent would suffer an exceptional hardship if the alien
could not return to the United States. It is not sufficient to
describe how difficult it would be for the citizen to live in the
foreign country, but also why it would be hard for the citizen to live
apart from the alien by remaining in the US.
Q. If my spouse needs a
601 waiver- is it likely to get approved?
A. It depends. Some consulates will approve most applicants as
long as they have a clean criminal record. Others hardly approve
anybody. Luckily the consulate in Ciudad Juarez approves the
highest percentage of its applicants compared to any other consulate,
and Ciudad Juarez also processes the most 601 waivers of any
consulate. One important exception, though, is that the waiver
CAN NOT be approved for any person that was in the US illegally for
more than one year after 1997, and then left, and then returned
again. There is no way at present for such people to get their
residency. Perhaps a change in the law will someday help such
Q. Does the alien need to stay
outside the US while the 601 waiver is being decided?
A. There will soon be a new process where we can apply for the 601 waiver before the applicant leaves the country so that it will only be necessary to leave the country for a few days. This will be a huge change and make the process much easier on families by greatly reducing the amount of time, if any, that they need to be separated.
Q. Is it really necessary
for a spouse to leave the country to get his/her residency?
A. If that spouse entered illegally, then almost definitely
he/she will have to leave the US to get residency. Exceptions
would be for certain nationalities, or for people that had some time of
application grandfathered under 245(i) by being filed before April 30,
2001, or for those present over 10 years applying for Cancellation of
Removal, or for people that are still under 18 1/2 years old. But
the grand majority of applicants that entered illegally will need to
leave the country to get their residency.
Q. How do I apply for my
spouse if they did enter the country with a visa or other type of
inspection (Border Crosser Card, or as a Canadian, or under VWP)?
If your spouse entered with some type of inspection, he or she will
probably be able to apply for Adjustment of Status. That means
that they will not need to leave the country, and will not need to file
a Hardship Waiver. This is true even if your spouse has
overstayed their visa, even for many years. We will need to file
forms I-130, I-485, I-864, a G-325A for each of you, and I-765 for work
permission. You may or may not have to complete a medical exam
before submitting your application depending on where you live.
The supporting documents I will need from you are: Birth
Certificates for both of you, the marriage certificate, proof of income
and tax forms for the last three years, any prior divorces, 5 photos of
immigrant and one of the citizen, and copy of bio page and visa from
immigrant's passport. I will also need a list of all addresses,
work places, and children for each of you.