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Immigration laws regulate the ways in which people from other countries can come to the U.S. Each immigration process is lengthy and complex, so we assure you that your case will be handled by the most qualified professionals and we will put into practice all our experience and knowledge so that your situation is resolved.
Immigration law involves complex processes among the various laws, categories, deadlines, exceptions and waivers. A person who is exposed to detention, deportation, losing the benefit of living in the United States, losing the security of being in a country legally.
The consequences are serious when it comes to immigration, you should not put your case in the hands of someone inexperienced.
Advice out a professional who can guide you and represent you. Whether it is a consultation, reviewing documents, filling out forms, preparing motions or appeals, and representing you in an interview or in court.
There is no worse experience than deportation for a non-U.S. citizen. Having lawful permanent residence is a privilege and not a right.
This privilege can be revoked if you are convicted of a crime or charged with violating any other section of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Any non-U.S. citizen can be deported for certain criminal offenses, even if you enter the country legally on a visa, can be deported for overstaying a visa, or if you give fraudulent information on an application or passport.
You may be able to avoid deportation, depending on your immigration status and the crime you have been charged with. An immigration judge will consider granting a waiver, taking into account positive factors such as: family ties, work history and, if applicable, rehabilitation from a criminal conviction.
Asylum is for those individuals, considered refugees, who live in the United States and apply for asylum due to fear of returning to their country of origin because of their religion, race, political opinion or nationality.
It applies to any individual regardless of their country of origin. If an immigrant has entered the United States illegally, they are still eligible to apply for asylum and file their case.
Benefits for Asylum Applicants:
- Immigrants may apply for asylum at any port of entry into the United States.
- Applicants may apply for asylum even if they are in the United States illegally.
- Applicants may apply for asylum benefits for their spouse or children (unmarried, under 21 years of age) at the same time of their application if the dependents are already in the United States or once asylum is granted.
- Employment is possible if certain criteria are met.
- Immigrants may apply for a green card one year after being approved for asylum.
- Applications for asylum must be filed within one year after entering the U.S. (with some exceptions).
- Applicants must show proof that they qualify for asylum.
- Immigrants must apply for asylum even if they have a criminal conviction. However, asylum may not be granted depending on the crime committed.
The asylum process is a complicated and lengthy, time-consuming process, which is why it is essential that you have an immigration attorney.
Permanent residency is achieved in different ways, most likely family-based. If you have family members who are U.S. citizens, you are more likely to get your green card.
You can obtain lawful permanent residency based on a love marriage, after one year of approved asylum, by family petition of parents or a spouse, by labor petition, by domestic violence, among other ways.
Each category will have specific steps and procedures to follow. Immigrants in most categories will need someone to file an immigrant petition. A visa will always be available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens
U.S. citizenship and naturalization is a legal process that is given to the immigrant after living in the United States for a certain period of residence.
In order for the citizenship process to be done correctly, you need the experience of an attorney who can help you avoid delays or requests for evidence due to lack of documents, or for incorrectly filling out an application.
The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may designate a foreign country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) because of conditions in that country that prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely to their country temporarily. USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or portions thereof) who are already in the United States. Eligible non-citizens whose last residence was the designated country may also be granted TPS.
The secretary of DHS may designate a country to TPS because of the following temporary conditions:
- Ongoing armed conflict (such as a civil war).
- A natural disaster (such as an earthquake or hurricane) or an epidemic
- Other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
During he designated period, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or who have resulted in preliminary eligibility for TPS during the initial review of their cases (prima facie eligibles, or first-intention eligibles):
- Will not be removed from the United States.
- May obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
- They can obtain travel authorization.
Once granted TPS, a person also cannot be detained by DHS because of their immigration status in the United States.
TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or confer any other immigration status. However, registering for TPS does not prevent you:
- Applying for Nonimmigrant status
- Filing an Application for Adjustment of Status based on an immigrant petition.
- Applying for any other immigration benefit or protection for which you may be eligible.
It is the authorization granted to a foreigner to enter the national territory, as a non-resident, for a certain period of time and it is requested by those citizens of countries that for reasons of migratory policy require prior authorization from the National Immigration Service, to enter the country.
There are several types of Visa, among them are:
- Tourist: People who come to the United States for business or pleasure. The visa for business people has a short duration. Citizens of some countries may be eligible to visit the U.S. for 90 days without obtaining a visa.
- Investors and Traders: These individuals may receive visas to open businesses. They must come from a country that has a trade agreement with the United States.
- Student: People who want to study in the U.S. may be eligible for a student visa and an internship in the field of their studies.
- Professionals and Specialty Occupations: Professional workers with at least a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent experience) are eligible for a visa if they have an employer and will be paid the same as a U.S. worker in their category.
- Exchange: Persons coming to the U.S. on an approved exchange program may be eligible.
- Fiancé: For a fiancé of a U.S. citizen who is abroad and intends to marry within 90 days of arrival.
- Companies: These are available to executives, managers and some employees who are transferred to the U.S. by companies abroad. Individuals with this type of visa may apply for permanent residency without the need to obtain a labor certification.
- Artists and Athletes: This visa is for artists, models, athletes, coaches and trainers.
- Religious: Religious workers and missionaries may apply in this category.
The NACARA Act stands for the Nicaraguan and Central American Citizens Adjustment Assistance Act, a law that was enacted to help qualifying individuals obtain lawful permanent residence. If you need legal assistance in understanding this law, its requirements and how it relates to cancellation of removal, I encourage you to contact us directly at our offices to provide you with the advice you need.
Persons who qualify to apply for relief under NACARA are those persons who have not been convicted of an aggravated felony and qualify under specific date categories. These include persons from Guatemala, El Salvador, persons who are nationals of the former Soviet bloc such as Russia, Estonia, Latvia or Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia or Lithuania, a family member who qualifies in one of the above groups, a husband, wife, son or daughter. The requirements under NACARA are very specific.
Although the period for applying for Permanent Residency under NACARA has expired, the law can still be used to avoid deportation of eligible individuals.
Citizens of El Salvador are eligible under NACARA (and to withhold their deportation) under either of the following two categories:
Category 1. The applicant must prove that:
- Entered the United States prior to September 19, 1990.
- Registered under the “ABC” or TPS (Temporary Protected Status) program before October 31, 1991.
- You were not detained by Immigration when you entered the U.S. after December 19, 1990.
- Applied for asylum before February 16, 1996.
Category 2. The applicant must prove that:
Applied for asylum in the United States through the Immigration Service before April 1, 1990.
Citizens of Guatemala are eligible under NACARA (and for withholding of removal) under either of the following two categories:
Category 1. The applicant must prove that:
- Arrived in the United States before October 1, 1990.
- Registered for benefits under the ABC program before December 31, 1991.
- Was not detained by Immigration at the time of entry into the United States after December 19, 1990.
- Applied for asylum before January 3, 1995.
Category 2. The applicant must prove that:
- Applied for asylum in the United States through the Immigration Service before April 1, 1990.
- For citizens of both countries and for all categories: Under NACARA, the applicant must demonstrate seven (7) years of continuous presence and residence in the United States.
Is available to persons who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of criminal activity. The immigrant who is applying for the U-Visa must possess relevant information about the crime, cooperate with authorities in the investigation of the crime of which the immigrant has been a victim.
Designed to allow persons without status to speak out and report crimes without fear of retaliation, such as deportation.
To qualify for a U visa, the following four requirements must be met:
- The immigrant must have suffered physical or mental harm as a result of being a victim of criminal activity. The harm must have been substantial.
- The immigrant possesses information concerning the crime.
- The immigrant has been, is, or may possibly be able to provide some type of cooperation with the investigation, prosecution and/or conviction of the crime.
- The criminal activity described violates the laws of the United States or occurred within the United States.
If you sent a petition or application to USCIS and it was denied and you are wondering if you can appeal the decision, the answer is that you may be able to.
But when is it possible, to whom, and within what time frame?
How do I know that I can appeal the denial of a petition or application?
Because the document in which the USCIS itself denies the petition will say whether or not you can appeal and to whom the appeal must be filed.
It will also state the time limit, which is generally 30 days from the date the decision was issued, not from the date it was received. While it should be noted that the time limit may be shorter, the time limit means that the papers must reach the appealing authority before that date, not that they are sent.
To whom do I appeal a USCIS decision?
- You can appeal to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) or the Immigration Court, which is known as the BIA. You will decide one or the other depending on the type of USCIS decision you are appealing.
Who can appeal?
- Only the person who petitioned USCIS, not the beneficiary. For example, in cases where a U.S. citizen petitions for his or her sibling, if the petition is denied it is the U.S. citizen who can appeal, not the sibling.
The only exception is in cases where the petitioner and the beneficiary are the same person, such as VAWA for victims of violence.
This is one of the forms of discretionary relief from deportation. That is, either a court hearing or the immigration authorities are free to decide whether to grant it. It is very common and allows an immigrant, who has been found deportable, to leave the U.S. without the stigma of deportation.
But the great advantage is that it allows the immigrant, once back home or in his last country of residence, to apply for a visa to return to the U.S. The Embassy or consulate will decide whether he is eligible to receive it. On the other hand, deportees will have to allow a period of time ranging from one to 20 years depending on their case before they can legally attempt to return to the U.S. Even some deportees will not be able to return to the U.S. for life, as is the case for people who were convicted of aggravated felonies, also known as felonies.
The immigrant must pay the costs of leaving the country. If requested before the end of the deportation process, the alien will have 120 days to leave the U.S. and will not have to prove any special conditions. On the other hand, if requested at the end of the deportation proceedings, the alien must depart within 60 days and must also prove that he or she has resided in the U.S. for at least one year prior to receiving the Notice of Appearance, that he or she has been a person of good moral character for the five years prior to the commencement of the proceedings, that he or she has not committed any felony, and that he or she genuinely intends to leave the country.
These time limits may be shortened or lengthened by judicial decision. If the immigrant decides to remain in the country despite having been granted the benefit of voluntary departure, he or she may be fined and barred from receiving any form of immigration relief for 10 years.
This is the non-application of a general rule. It can take many different forms, from not imposing a punishment, in which case it is an immigration waiver, to not requiring compliance with a rule. In exceptional cases it can also be understood as the voluntary waiver of a right.
In U.S. immigration matters, the waiver refers, in many cases, to the first case: the non-application of a regulation to specific cases and implies a waiver.
It is essential to understand that the waiver is voluntary, in the sense that in cases where it is possible to apply for it, the final decision on whether or not to grant it depends on whether or not the waiver is granted.
The final decision on whether it is granted or not depends on the will of the agency with the capacity to make it.
Examples of waivers or exemptions allowed by U.S. immigration law:
- Waivers for ineligibility. Visas to travel to the United States may be denied for multiple reasons. For example, because the applicant has been convicted in the past of certain types of crimes.
- It is also possible to apply for a waiver in some cases where the visa is denied because the applicant is inadmissible. For example, a ban on entering the United States for a specified period of time, ranging from three to ten years, for prior unlawful stay.
- Another relatively common case of inadmissibility is in certain instances of immediate removal that occurs at Ports of Entry – airports, ports and land borders – the consequence can be a five-year bar from entering the United States.
In the above cases of inadmissibility, a waiver to enter the U.S. prior to the expiration of the bar can be requested on Form I-601, provided that the person is an alien who wishes to immigrate to the U.S. or adjust status or even certain cases of immigrants who do not wish to immigrate.
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