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Q: The construction company that filed my I-140 has problems due to the economy. If I get a job with another employer while my residency case is pending, will that be a problem?
A: Residency is filed on a different application and is processed differently than the I-140 petition. Residency is based on the foreigner’s eligibility, not the company’s. If the residency case has been filed and is pending more than 180 days, the I-140 will still be valid if the foreigner finds a same or similar job. If the residency case has not been filed, however, that is probably because the priority date is not yet current. Fortunately, there is no requirement in the immigration laws that a foreigner be employed be either the former or the second employer until the legal permanent resident case is approved.
Q. The employer who filed the petition for me last year has gone bankrupt. Does that mean that my residency case will be denied?
A. Not necessarily. An employer’s petition is automatically revoked if the business terminates. However, if the residency case was pending more than 180 days, you can still become a legal permanent resident. What you will need to present at the residency interview is evidence of an offer of employment from a new employer in a same or similar occupation.
Q. Is it true that a foreigner must apply for asylum within one year of arriving or else not at all?
A. No, that’s not true. While a one year deadline exists, the beauty of the law is that there are always exceptions. If changed circumstances or extraordinary circumstances excuse the filing delay, the foreigner can still obtain asylum. In one case, this author represented a foreigner who received asylum 19 years after she entered the country.
Q. I became a resident through marriage to a U.S. citizen. At the interview, the Immigration Officer told us that 90 days before my green card expires I have to file a form with my spouse to remove the conditions or I will be deported. My marriage has soured terribly and he does not wish to sign. What can I do?
A. It depends on what you mean by your marriage “souring." If you mean a divorce is imminent, go ahead and do that. Then you can file without his signature. If you mean he is (just) being incredibly mentally abusive, but both of you want to work this through and remain married, there is an exception to joint filing based on extreme mental cruelty.