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The U.S. Immigration System: What You Need to Know

The U.S. immigration system is complex — leaving many immigrants confused about their rights under immigration law. Individuals who want to take their immigration case into their own hands could be putting themselves in jeopardy of a denial. While having an attorney is your best chance of a favorable decision in your immigration case, educating yourself on how the immigration process works will help you to exercise your rights.

Here are some facts to help you prepare for any obstacles that you may encounter in your immigration case.

Green Cards

There are many types of green cards and ways they can be obtained.

Marriage Green Cards (Family-Based)

If you are getting married, you can begin the marriage green card process at the start of your marriage. Here’s what you and your future spouse can expect:

  • Petition for Alien Relative - If your spouse is a permanent resident or U.S. citizen, the Petition for Alien Relative form needs to be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form confirms the relationship between you and your spouse and eligibility to apply.
  • The Green Card Application - Once the above petition has been filed, you can submit your application for a green card. It’s important to keep in mind that the application process is handled differently for those who live in and outside of the U.S. It is also important to note that the application process is different for those who have a green card and those who are citizens. If your spouse is a citizen, the petition for alien relative and green card application can be submitted at the same time, along with other application collectively called “adjustment of status.”
  • Affidavit of Support – If your spouse is petitioning you, he or she will need to prove that the household income is above the federal poverty guideline. This can be done by showing taxes or assets. If the application is based upon employment, then proof of current income for the intending immigrant is sufficient.
  • Other Documentation - You and your future spouse may also be asked to provide other documentation such as birth certificates and proof that any prior marriages have been dissolved, and proof that the current marriage is bona fide.

Married couples will also be required to participate in an interview conducted by the USCIS. The interview process could be stressful, so having an immigration attorney prepare you for the interview and attend can help ease fears.

Employment-Based Green Cards

Each individual who is applying for an employment-based green card must ensure the following criteria has been met:

  • Applicants must file a Form I-485 — Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status. When submitting this form, you must be physically present in the United States.
  • You have been inspected by the Department of Homeland Security and permitted entry into the United States.
  • You have been determined eligible to receive an immigrant visa, including at the time you file your Form I-485.
  • You have remained in lawful status the entire duration of your stay.
  • Your employer who has filed the Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, still exists and offers the employment.

Types of Employment-Based Green Cards

The type of green card you will need to apply for depends upon the work you will be performing while in the U.S. Work-based green cards fall into the following visa categories:

Priority Workers: EB-1 Visas - business executives and managers; professors and researchers; and those who have demonstrated expertise in art, business, science, and athletics.

Professionals with Advanced Degrees: EB-2 Visas - physicians and those with training in science, education, and other fields.

Skilled Workers: EB-3 Visas - professionals with a minimum degree of education equal to a bachelor's degree or two years of training.

Certain Immigrants: EB-4 Visas - foreign nationals who work for the U.S. government in another country and religious workers.

Investors: EB-5 Visas - foreign nationals who want to invest significant resources into a new business in the U.S.

The following are some other ways to obtain a green card:

Obtaining a green card is an arduous process and requires attention to detail. Missing information and not submitting proper documentation could result in a green card denial. Having an experienced immigration attorney to assist you in the process can make all the difference.

Common Reasons for Deportation

There are many situations in which an individual could face deportation. Grounds for deportation usually involve criminal activity or conviction, as well as the following:

  • Committing marriage fraud.
  • Attempting to bring anyone into the U.S. illegally.
  • Conviction of crimes.
  • Aggravated felony.
  • High-speed flight from an immigration checkpoint.
  • Failure to register as a sex offender.
  • Drug crimes or confession of drug use.
  • Illegally buying, selling, possessing, or engaging in transactions involving firearms, weapons, or dangerous devices.
  • Espionage, sabotage, treason, or sedition.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Human trafficking.
  • Terrorist activity.
  • False representation as a U.S. citizen to gain any benefit.

Asylum

Immigrants who fear harm and persecution in their country of origin have the right to seek asylum in the United States. An individual may be eligible for asylum based on the following grounds:

While the above criteria are grounds for an individual to seek asylum, the process of providing proof can be extraordinarily taxing.

Immigration Waivers

Immigration waivers is an intricate process and require a skilled attorney to assist with the process. The following are types of immigration waivers and reasons why they may be needed:

Section 212(i) - For individuals who have fraudulently or willfully misrepresented information during the visa process gave false information on immigration documents.

I-601 and I-601A waivers – These waivers are available for prior criminal convictions, unlawful presence, misrepresentation and other grounds of inadmissibility.

212(h)  waivers - Legal permanent residents with criminal convictions facing deportation may avoid deportation and keep their green card if they have been convicted of crimes such as prostitution, or moral turpitude.

212(c) Waivers - If you have been placed in a removal proceeding due to your conviction of criminal activity, yet you are a legal permanent resident, you can apply for a 212(c) waiver to avoid deportation.

A 212(c) waiver cannot be granted for the following reasons:

  • Individual has departed and is outside of the U.S.
  • Individual has as unlawfully returned after removal or deportation.
  • Individual is in the U.S. without admission or parole.

Hiring a skilled immigration attorney to assist you with your case is critical to a successful outcome.Contact Yekrangi & Associates at (949) 478-4963 today.We can help you avoid mistakes, explain your options, and advise you on the best strategy in your immigration case. immigrants. We are here to help you with all your immigration needs.