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Ashraf Sami Salem

Ashraf Salem’s Answers

166 total


  • When can I file for naturalization?

    My wife and I have been married for 5 years and I will have my GC for 3 years on March 2017 , there seems to be a lot of different information online as to when someone can file for citizenship , when is the earliest time I can submit my paperwork ?

    Ashraf’s Answer

    You may file Form N-400 ninety (90) calendar days before you complete your permanent residence requirement if your eligibility for naturalization is based upon being a: Permanent resident for at least 5 years; or. Permanent resident for at least 3 years if you are married to a US citizen.

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  • Can I get a permission for work for being here 10 years with a permanent job...I have no criminal records

    I am an illegal alien and I have been in the United States for 10 years with a permanent job...is there anything that qualifying me for being here for so long...can I get a permission to continue working without being deported

    Ashraf’s Answer

    There are numerous classes of other people who can (and must, if they wish to accept employment) apply for a special "work permit" from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They must submit their application before they start working. The categories include things like K-1 fiance visa holders, asylees, people with a pending application for adjustment of status (a green card) spouses of various visa holders, people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), F-1 students experiencing economic hardship or seeking optional practical training (OPT), and so on. The categories are too many to list here -- you can find a full list of them in the instructions that go with USCIS Form I-765 (the work permit application form). Notice, however, that there is no category for tourists (B-1 visa holders) or undocumented immigrants. USCIS will not grant these people permission to work in the United States, and indeed for them to do so (or for employers to hire them) is illegal.

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  • Which visa ( immigrant or non-immigrant ) I can apply for starting a business in USA ? I have never been to USA.

    I have never been to USA. But I plan to start business in USA. Say opening a restaurant and a salon. Any visa ( immigrant or non-immigrant ) which I can apply ?

    Ashraf’s Answer

    The four main options for a work visa:

    H1B:

    As mentioned, this is the standard professional working visa, but there’s only 65,000 issued a year and you must have at least a bachelor’s degree to apply. (Plus another 20,000 for those with Masters degrees from a US University). You can only apply from April 1st and if granted you can only begin work on October 1st of that year. For entrepreneurs there are two additional problems with the H1B. Firstly, the H1B is really designed for large established companies, and when assessing your application they will look at the strength of the company. If you’re a new startup with no funding, customers or revenue this could be a problem. The second issue is that your employment can’t be in your own control, otherwise you’ll be deemed as self-petitioning. So you’ll have to state your investors or board hired you, so it’s clear you could be fired in future. If you get this visa, it’s for 3 years initially, and can be renewed for a maximum stay of 6 years.

    L1:

    The L1 is for intra-company transfers, but to apply you’ll have to have been employed by a related company in a foreign country for at least one year before applying to be transferred to the US company. The initial period for this visa is 1 year if you setting up a new company in the US, but can be renewed for up to a maximum stay of 5-7 years. I’m told that the L1 is again designed for large established companies, and as an early stage startup you could run into problems on renewal if you haven’t significantly expanded in that first year. One nice thing about the L1 is that your spouse will be eligible to apply for a work visa.

    E2:

    This is the closest thing to a startup visa that exists; it’s meant for entrepreneurs setting up a new business in the US and investing a significant amount of money. However, you have to be from one of the countries the US has a treaty with. The amount of money you need to invest will vary according to the business, and there’s no hard and fast rules on this, but it must be substantial in relation to the overall costs of setting up the business. I’ve heard some people say you need to invest at least $100k, but I know someone who invested only $40k. There’s a couple of nice things about this visa; it can be indefinitely renewed, and your spouse is eligible for a work visa too. The big gotcha is that with an E2 there is no official path to a green card. That means you’ll permanently be regarded as a non-resident alien.
    O1:

    If you’re an alien of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics, then this one’s for you! Other than having the best name of all the visas, this is a great one to go for if you don’t fall into the other categories. However, you will need to prove your expertise, recognition and standing in a particular field. Although this visa includes nobel prize winners and PhD’s there is no formal qualifications or standard defined for this visa. You have to provide evidence of your extraordinary abilities in at least three of the eight categories which they consider, such as awards you’ve won, articles or books you’ve written, press cuttings, etc.

    Other visas:

    There’s almost as many visas as there are letters of the alphabet, but these are the main ones of interest to entrepreneurs.

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  • If we were to marry in a proxy marriage in Palestine, would the US recognize it? Re: his visa, do we need to change it? how?

    Hello, My fiancé is in Palestine. He already holds a US Visa, issued June 2015, it's a regular B1/B2 visa. In accordance with Islamic custom, we want to marry as soon as possible. If we were to marry in a proxy marriage in Palestine, would i...

    Ashraf’s Answer

    A proxy marriage is a marriage where the parties were not physically present during the marriage ceremony. In general, USCIS will not consider a marriage valid unless both people were present at the marriage ceremony or the marriage was subsequentlyconsummated. This is to prevent marriage by proxy and “mail-order” marriages. The petitioner must prove that the couple spent time together and that there was ongoing communication between the two prior to filing the petition. However, a party of an unconsummated proxy marriage may enjoy immigration benefits as a fiancé, such as applying for a K-1 visa, if the opposite party is a U.S. citizen.

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  • Can I become a USA citizen if I did PTI in Florida and charger were dropped.

    I was arrested for possession of cocaine & marihuana. My lawyer advice me to do PTI so my case is dismissed so that's what I did. I would like to know if I can become a USA citizen. I didn't plead guilty or anything. Because I am a green card hold...

    Ashraf’s Answer

    USCIS can deny citizenship if it has “reason to believe” that you have engaged in drug trafficking or prostitution, or are a habitual drunkard or a drug addict or abuser. An arrest for a related offense may, by itself, give USCIS such grounds for belief. The USCIS examiner would simply decide that you hadn’t shown the good moral character required for citizenship.

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  • Should I apply for citizenship because I didn't enter into a guilty plead ?

    I have a green card and I was arrested in 2011 for posesition of cocaine and marijuana. I entered into a PTI agreement but my lawyer didn't let me plead Guilty to enter into PTI because I was not a USA citizen and my charges were dismissed.

    Ashraf’s Answer

    USCIS can deny citizenship if it has “reason to believe” that you have engaged in drug trafficking or prostitution, or are a habitual drunkard or a drug addict or abuser. An arrest for a related offense may, by itself, give USCIS such grounds for belief. The USCIS examiner would simply decide that you hadn’t shown the good moral character required for citizenship.

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  • Now my question is what is the MAX fine i have to pay, and If I have a chance to win this case.

    Hello. The police officer stopped me, and I showed him my Valid Brazilian Driver's License ( I'm Visitor totally legal in the USA), but he gave me a criminal citation for driving without a valid driver's license - never had one issued. Then I h...

    Ashraf’s Answer

    I agree you have a good chance that you win.

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  • Can I travel with a Dominican passport as a USA citizen?

    I'm originally from the Dominican Republic, but I just became a citizen of the USA a few months ago through my dad. I have not applied for my American passport yet, and I would like to know if I can still travel to DR with my DR passport which is ...

    Ashraf’s Answer

    All U.S. citizens traveling outside of the United States are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter the United States.

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  • I am a resident alien. I have a felony charge that is being expunged. Once expunged. Would i be able to travel out the country a

    I am a resident alien. I have a felony charge that is being expunged. Once expunged. Would i be able to travel out the country and back without any immigration issues?

    Ashraf’s Answer

    An "expungement" is the deletion of a person’s entire criminal conviction record from any court, police record, or criminal justice agency. Different U.S. states take different approaches to expungement, but in general if the court expunges (or "seals") your criminal record, then within the context of the criminal justice system, you are considered to never have committed a crime at all.

    In the immigration context, it’s a different matter. Though expungement may seems like a blessing, given that a criminal conviction can prevent a foreign national from entering the United States or cause a foreign national to be deported from the United States, it doesn’t necessarily work the way you’d expect. For immigration purposes a criminal conviction will always exist, no matter whether a court expunges your record or not.

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  • Is it safe for my undocumented immigrant spouse to fly domestically within the United States using a mexico passport?

    -My spouse has a Mexico passport with no visa inside. They entered the United States without inspection over a decade ago. We are legally married and I am US citizen.

    Ashraf’s Answer

    When it comes to identification the TSA wants to ensure that:
    The name on your ID matches the name on your boarding pass
    Your face matches the picture on your ID
    Your ID is a genuine (not fake) and valid (not expired) government-issued document

    The TSA does not check for immigration status because it's not part of what they are authorized to do.

    A passport is good enough for most U.S. airports as long as you travel to and from U.S. cities. The exceptions are airports in border towns like McAllen, where the TSA works with the CBP to check the immigration status of every passenger. Because it has an immigration checkpoint.

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