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Stamford, CT United States green card lawyer

The U.S. immigration process to become a legal resident is among the most complicated in the world. Those people who want to come to the United States for education, health reasons, work, or to be with family have many hurdles to overcome. The process to become a lawful permanent resident and get a Green Card can be particularly tedious. When applying for a Green Card, many applicants feel left in the dark as to what stage their application is in. This can cause undue stress to honest people who want to come to the United States and contribute to American society. Thankfully, those immigrants who apply for a Green Card have a way to check on the progress of their application.

My Case Status System

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides an electronic system for checking on the status of a Green Card application called “My Case Status.” This is an online program that can be accessed from any personal computer or mobile device. By going to the My Case Status webpage and entering in the case receipt number (a number that includes three letters followed by 10 digits), a person can view the most recent notifications regarding his or her application. However, it is important to note there can be a delay in notifications shown on the system.

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What If I Get Divorced Before I Get My 10-Year Green Card?If you married a U.S. citizen and currently hold a conditional two-year green card, you and your spouse must file a joint petition for removal of conditions during the 90 days before your current status expires. If your petition is approved, you will be granted a 10-year green card. But what happens if you get divorced before the conditions are removed? You may still be able to get an unconditional 10-year green card if you meet certain qualifications.

Who Gets a Conditional Two-Year Green Card?

The main paths that lead to a two-year green card include:

  • You marry a U.S. citizen abroad and, while still living abroad, apply for an IR-1 immediate relative/spouse immigration. If your marriage is less than two years old when your visa is granted, you will receive a CR-1 conditional two-year visa. If your two-year wedding anniversary has passed by the time your visa is granted, you will receive an IR-1 visa good for 10 years;
  • You come to the U.S. on a K-1 fiancé visa, get married within the required 90-day period, and apply for adjustment of status to obtain a green card. If your green card is granted before your second wedding anniversary, it will be a conditional two-year green card; or
  • You come to the U.S. on an F-1 student visa or other temporary visa and get married while in the U.S. While still in the U.S., you apply for an adjustment of status to obtain a green card. If your green card is granted before your second wedding anniversary, it will be a conditional two-year green card. 

U.S. immigration authorities established the two-year conditional period to deter marriage-fraud schemes wherein people pay a U.S. citizen to marry them in order to immigrate to the U.S. 

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New Canaan immigration green card lawyerIf you are considering marriage as a way to obtain permanent resident status in the U.S., also known as getting a green card, you must be very careful to avoid being accused of fraud. Applications for marriage-based visas, which permit the immigration of fiancés and spouses of U.S. citizens, are closely examined by U.S. immigration officials because of the relatively high incidence of fraud. You would be wise to consult an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that you do not make any mistakes in the application process.

Avoiding Marriage Fraud

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been involved in the investigation and prosecution of numerous marriage fraud schemes in the past few years. It is instructional to review a few of these cases to understand what was done wrong:

In 2017, eleven people were found guilty of immigration-related marriage fraud in two separate but related schemes in Texas. They had been paying U.S. citizens to enter into fraudulent marriages with Nigerians who had entered the United States on tourist visas and then preparing fraudulent applications for the Nigerians to obtain permanent resident status. One of the ringleaders, an American citizen, was sentenced to two years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised parole. Other defendants were sentenced to 12 to 18 months in prison or a term of probation. Several of the defendants are not U.S. citizens and will face deportation proceedings upon their release from custody.

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Posted on in Green Cards

Westchester County NY green card application attorneyIf you have come to the U.S. on a temporary visa and want to remain here indefinitely, you may be eligible to apply for an adjustment of status and become a Lawful Permanent Resident. This will allow you to live and work in the U.S. for as long as you like, and you may eventually apply for citizenship through naturalization. The adjustment of status process can be convenient for those who already reside in the United States, as it does not require you to return to your home country for consular processing.

How to Ensure Your Adjustment of Status Is Approved

To improve your chances of approval, your written application must be accurate and thorough, and it must include all necessary supporting documentation. There are a number of documents that you must submit, including:

  • You must complete a Green Card application, Form I-485. Some of the supporting documents you must attach, along with English translations, include:
    • A copy of your government-issued identity document with photograph.
    • A copy of your birth certificate or other evidence of birth, such as church, school, or medical records.
    • Your inspection and admission documentation.
    • Certified police and court records documenting all criminal arrests, charges, or convictions, even if you were acquitted or your record was later cleared (as often happens with juvenile offenses).
    • Other documentation as needed for your specific immigration category.
  • You, or more commonly your sponsor, must file an immigrant petition. For example, if you are applying for family-based immigration, your sponsor would file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

Officials of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will review your application and most likely will ask you to appear for an in-person interview. Interviews are generally waived for children under the age of 14. During the interview, it is critical that you answer all questions honestly and completely. You will be under oath, and any false or misleading statements could result in your disqualification.

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Posted on in Green Cards

Stamford green card attorneyIf you are a foreign citizen currently living in the United States, you may be thinking about applying for an adjustment of status (AOS) using Form I-485. If your AOS application is approved, you will be given a green card, and you will be able to live and work in the U.S. for as long as you want.

In our last post, we explained the requirements to qualify for a green card. However, even if you meet all of the qualification criteria, your application could still be denied. In this post, we will explain some of the reasons why U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) might deny an AOS application. 

Reasons for Denial of an Adjustment of Status

Here are some of the common reasons that the USCIS might deny your AOS application:

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