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Stamford, CT immigration and visa lawyer

Obtaining an Immediate Relative (IR) visa for your foreign spouse can be a challenging process. Typically, the waiting time to receive an IR visa is very short, but there is the potential for something to go wrong. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) scrutinizes every spousal application, requiring both partners to provide a great deal of personal information. If the application or documents are not filled out correctly, this can put the visa application and your future happiness in jeopardy. To avoid any bumps in your road to marital bliss, be sure to follow these straightforward tips:

1. Provide Clear Proof That Your Marriage Is Legitimate.

Unfortunately, foreign nationals sometimes do use marriage as a pretense to gain entry to the United States. As such, the U.S. State Department sets a high standard for documents that authenticate your marriage. Among the most trusted documents to use as validation of your wedding is an official marriage certificate from the United States, Canada, the Commonwealth of countries that are former territories of the British Empire, or the European Union. Many couples, if they are married in a foreign country, will get a marriage license in the United States before beginning the application process for the visa.

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Am I Eligible to Remain in the U.S. Under Temporary Protected Status?Millions of people lawfully enter the U.S. each year to stay for a limited time on a student, work, or visitor visa. When it is time to return home, most go willingly so as not to overstay their visa and risk being denied an immigration visa in the future. But what if their home country has changed dramatically for the worse in their absence? Armed conflict, a natural disaster such as a hurricane, or some other type of danger such as an Ebola outbreak could make it unsafe for a person to return. If this happens to you, you may be eligible for Temporary Protected Status.

Who Qualifies for Temporary Protected Status?

You can apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) if your home country has been designated “unsafe for return” by the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. As of April 2019, the following countries are on the list:

  • El Salvador - due to a series of earthquakes beginning March 2001.
  • Haiti - due to a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in January 2010.
  • Honduras - due to Hurricane Mitch since January 1999.
  • Nepal - due to a devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake in April 2015.
  • Nicaragua - due to Hurricane Mitch since January 1999.
  • Somalia - due to extreme violence since September 2012.
  • Sudan - due to ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary conditions since November 1997.
  • South Sudan - due to political instability and armed conflict which began when the country gained independence from Sudan in 2011 and which continues to cause severe food shortages.
  • Syria - due to armed conflict since August 2016.
  • Yemen - due to armed conflict and food shortages since March 2017.

To be eligible for TPS, you must have entered the U.S. prior to the TPS start date for your country and maintained a continuous residence in the U.S. since the most recent TPS designation date. 

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How Does a Visitor Visa Overstay Affect Future Immigration?Most U.S. immigrants have family members who come to the U.S. on temporary visas for vacation or to attend school. However, if those family members overstay their required departure date, they could find themselves in trouble with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Some visa overstays can render a person legally inadmissible to the U.S. for several years and unable to qualify for an immigration visa, although a waiver of inadmissibility may be possible in some cases. 

How Do I Know If I Overstayed a Visitor or Student Visa?

If you arrive in the U.S. by airplane or ship, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official will stamp your passport with your admission date and required departure date, shown as the “admitted until” date. If you arrive by land, Customs will issue you a paper Form I-94/Arrival/Departure Record showing your required departure date. You can also look up your arrival/departure information online by your passport number, name, and birthdate.

Students with F1 visas will see “D/S” — duration of status — on their passport or I-94 form instead of a date. This means you can stay in the U.S. as long as you remain enrolled as a full-time student in an approved school that has submitted the required documents to Customs. When you graduate or otherwise complete your program of study, you must depart the U.S. within 60 days.

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Darien family immigration lawyer immediate relative visaCaring for one’s parents is a commitment from the heart for many people, and a moral duty for others. In any case, most people want to have their parents close to them throughout their lives. If you have chosen to make the United States your permanent home, you may wish to sponsor your parents for immigration through an immediate relative visa.

One of the stated goals of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is “to secure America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by uniting families.” USCIS makes it relatively easy for you to bring your spouse and children to join you in the U.S., and bringing parents over is also fairly easy.

Who Can Sponsor Parents for an Immediate Relative Visa (IR-5)?

If you are a U.S. citizen currently living in the United States, and you are at least 21 years of age, you can sponsor your mother and father for immigration using the IR-5 visa category. You will need to demonstrate that you have enough income and/or assets to support the immigrant(s) you are sponsoring. You will be required to accept legal responsibility for their financial support by signing an Affidavit of Support. You will also need your birth certificate proving your parent-child relationship.

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Posted on in Visas

New Canaan immigration visa enforcement lawyerAccording to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in August 2018, more than 700,000 foreign visitors remained in the US beyond their required exit date in fiscal year 2017. This figure represents 1.3% of the 52.7 million individuals who entered the US via an airport or seaport and were expected to depart by September 30, 2017 (excluding land crossings from Canada and Mexico).

DHS defines an overstay as a nonimmigrant who was lawfully admitted to the United States for an authorized period but remained in the U.S. beyond his or her authorized period of admission. When a nonimmigrant arrives in the U.S., their allowed length of stay will be specified on their Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.

Overstay Rates Vary Significantly by Country and Type of Visa

Countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) had an overall overstay rate of 0.5% compared to 1.9% for non-VWP countries. 

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