MARRIED TO A US CITIZEN AND READY TO GET YOUR GREEN CARD? HERE'S A LIST OF DO'S AND DON'TS
THIS FREE REPORT EXPLAINS HOW TO GET YOUR GREEN CARD AND HOW TO AVOID MAKING MISTAKES, THAT CAN GET YOU THROWN OUT OF THE USA.
INTRODUCTIONA foreign national is entitled to permanent residency (a *green card*) in the United States based on marriage to a United States Citizen even if the foreign national came illegally, entered on a visa that*s now expired or has worked in the United States without authorization.
This report details what steps need to be taken when a foreign national entered legally on a visa, even when that visa has expired. This process can be done in a relatively streamlined way by following the steps we outline in this report. You can even get a work authorization card and travel permit while you wait for your green card simply by filling out and filing the required forms.
A foreign national who entered illegally can get still get pemenent residence if married to a United States Citizen as long as they file an *unlawful presence waiver*. This waiver acts will pardon and excuse the illegal entry. The process and procedure in this situation is detailed in our report *Marrying Someone Who Entered Illegally*, which you can get by clicking here.
And a word of caution ** you must make sure your application is perfect in every way or you could risk being placed in deportation proceedings by the US Government.
HOW THE GREEN CARD PROCESS WORKSA foreign national who wants to get a green card based on marriage to a US citizen can normally process their case easily ** usually within 6-18 months as long as you submit ALL of the required documentation and avoid certain pitfalls.
Here is what the typical process looks like:
* File application.
Gather and file required paperwork (see list in appendix, Exhibit 1, to this report for a list)
* Receive receipt.
In 3-4 weeks you should receive a receipt that your application has been received by the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS).
* Get fingerprinted.
In 4-6 weeks you should receive an appointment for fingerprinting ** also called *biometrics*.
* Get a work card and travel permit.
After about 3-4 you should receive a work card and a travel document that allows you to work and travel while waiting for your green card.
* Visit the immigration office for an interview.
After about 6-18 months you will be scheduled for a marriage interview at the nearest immigration office. The officer will make sure you are married for real. At that time, you should bring documents, pictures and other evidence showing that you and your spouse are really married and living together. A sample list of possible items to bring to the interview is attached as part of the appendix to this report as appendix Exhibit 2.
* Receive your GREEN CARD.
About 5-6 weeks after the interview you should receive your green card and you are now a lawful permanent resident of the United States of America.
THE FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO, PART 11. Fill out ALL needed forms for this type of case
Many people make the common mistake of filling out only the I-130 and filing only that form thinking they are doing the right thing. However, that is not the right thing to do when someone entered the US legally, is here in the US now -- even if their visa expired -- and needs to process their green card. You actually need to fill out the other forms below so the immigrant can work and travel while their green card is being processed by government. The forms needed for these types of cases include the following:
(A) I-130 -- the marriage petition. This form will need to be signed by the US Citizen
(B) I-130A -- biographic information * both the citizen and immigrant need to fill this out. The form is used so immigration can conduct a criminal background check. Certain crimes can disqualify the immigrant from getting green card. If the immigrant has any arrests or criminal history anywhere in the world, they should consult with us (888-439-4560) before sending in their paperwork.
(C) I-485 * Application for adjustment of status;
(D) I-765 application for employment authorization. This application will allow the immigrant to get a work card in 3-4 months allowing them to work anywhere in the United States while their green card application is being processed.
(E) I-131 * application for advance parole. This application allows the immigrant to travel outside the United States for up to 2 months while their green card application is being processed.
(F) I-864 this is the affidavit of support. It is the document that shows the US government that the US citizen is capable for supporting the immigrant. To determine whether the US Citizen sponsor*s income is high enough to sponsor an immigrant, click or see the Exhibit 3 to the appendix to this Report. If the sponsor*s income is not enough, they may get a co-sponsor or joint sponsor. The person need not have any special relationship to the sponsor or immigrant, but must be a US citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
It is important to fill out all these forms and fill them out correctly or they will either be sent back to you by mail resulting in delay or you will get a request for additional evidence, also resulting in delay.
2. Pay the Required Fees
Presently as of December, 2018 the required fees for this type of case total $1760. It is broken down as $1225 for the I-485 and $535 for the I-130. There are no extra fees for the I-765 (work card application) or I-131 (travel permit application) if filing these with the other forms.
3. Include the Necessary Backup Documentation
An updated list of the necessary documentation from each person, the US Citizen and the immigrant can be found on our website and also in the appendix 1 to this report. Please note that copies of much of the documentation are acceptable with the initial filing, although you will have to show the originals to the immigration officer at the time of the marriage interview.
THE FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO, PART 24. File the Paperwork in the Right Place
Presently, as of June 1, 2014 your package of documents will need to be sent to the following address:
For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) deliveries
PO Box 805887
Chicago, IL 60680-4120
For Express mail and courier deliveries:
131 South Dearborn - 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517
We highly recommend that you send your package by certified mail, FEDEX or other method which allows you to track your documents. Immigration has been known to lose or misplace documents as has the United States Postal Service.
5. Disclose, Disclose, Disclose
One thing we often see is that people fail to disclose negative items like arrests, convictions, supervision and any other encounters with the criminal authorities. In many cases, these encounters will not result in a denial of your green card or a deportation. It is very important to disclose all arrests and convictions, even if you think they are expunged and/or erased from your record. Immigration will find them all and failure to disclose these to immigration will result in denial of your application for lying to them and possible deportation. You should consult with an attorney for any arrests, supervisions, expungements, convictions or charges other than traffic violations.
FIVE THINGS TO AVOID: THE FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT DO, PART 11. Do not File a Fianc* Visa if the Immigrant is Inside the United States
A fianc* visa is for situations when the intending immigrant is outside the United States . Processing a fiance visa can take 9-12 months or more and one does not get a green card through a fianc* visa. Once the immigrant enters the United States they then have to marry within 90 days and then apply for a green card, which will take another 5-6 months, so this process is long and stressful. It does not make sense to file one for someone inside the United States when they can get their work card in 3-4 months and green card in just 5-6 months.
2. If you have Any Criminal Convictions other than Traffic Violations, do not Use Fill out the Forms Yourself
If you have a criminal record, immigration can deport you even if you are married to a United States Citizen. So you must be very careful in deciding to fill out and file for your green card if you have any arrests or convictions other than a traffic offense. The issue of whether someone is barred from getting a green card due to a conviction can be quite complicated. Often it takes hours and days for lawyers to research this issue and whether you can get a green card in spite of a conviction may be different depending on where in the country you live. If you have an arrest or conviction you should call 888-439-4560 to schedule a consultation in your case.
If you are unsure of whether you have an arrest or conviction, you can get your criminal background report from the FBI for $18. The information on how to do this is in Exhibit 4 of the appendix to this Report. It usually takes at least one month to get the results back from the FBI, but you can use services of an expediter to get the results faster. The appendix also lists the contact information for a very reliable expediter if you want or need the results quicker.
3. Do not File Just the I-130 alone when the Immigrant is here in the United States, It Can be Dangerous
I often see people make the mistake of filing the I-130 marriage petition without filing the I-485 and other documents above. The I-485 and other forms are absolutely necessary when filing for someone inside the United States. If you just file the I-130 alone it could result in the immigrant falling out of status and being subject to deportation.
FIVE THINGS TO AVOID: THE FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT DO, PART 24. After Filing Your Application, Don*t Leave the United States Without Getting Your Travel Document
As mentioned above, you are entitled to a travel document called an Advance Parole after you file your application. If you leave prior to getting this document immigration will deny your application due to abandonment. In addition, you may be denied entry back into the United States. The USC spouse will then have to file a petition for you and you may have to wait at least 9-12 months before you can return to the United States.
5. Do not File this Application if You are in Deportation/Removal Proceedings, Have a Prior Deportation/Removal Order or Were Stopped by Immigration at the Border
If you are in deportation proceedings (now called removal proceedings), the immigration judge, not the immigration service (formerly called INS, now called USCIS) has jurisdiction over your case and you will be wasting your money filing the packet mentioned above with immigration. Also, if you have a previous deportation order and file this packet, immigration will find you and deport you. They may also wait until the marriage interview when you are there and deport you on the spot. Prior to deporting you, immigration can also put you in an immigration detention center, like a prison, where you will be jailed along with people who have criminal records.
One important item to mention is that as of 1997, border patrol officers were given the ability to issue deportation orders for people entering the United States illegally or fraudulently. We often get cases of people who have border stops and they do not know whether the officer ordered them deported or not. In those case, prior to filing anything with immigration (USCIS, formerly INS), we have the client get a copy of their records from Customs and Border Patrol through a Freedom of Information Act Request. A form G-639 Request along with the Address where to send it is attached as part of the Appendix to this Report. There is no cost for filing this request.
CONCLUSIONFiling for permanent residency can be a simple process which takes 6-18 months without any complications. Most attorneys in the USA charge between $2000-$4000 to complete this process. As stated above, there is also a government fee of $1490 in addition to the lawyer*s fees. However, if done improperly the process can lead to problems including possible deportation so it*s important to get it right. If you have any questions about the process, please call The Law Offices of The Immigration Professor, at 888-439-4560.