How do you become a green card holder? Part One

A person who has a green card has legal permanent resident status. If you are a legal permanent resident or LPR, that means that you can potentially apply for citizenship after a certain period of time. But how do you get a green card?

One of the most common ways is through a family member who is a US citizen. If you are the spouse, an unmarried child under the age of 21, or a parent of a US citizen you are deemed an ‘immediate relative.’ If you are an immediate relative you do not have to wait for a visa, because there are an unlimited number of visas for immediate relatives.

If you are a child of a US citizen who is over 21 and unmarried (first preference), a child of a US citizen who is over 21 and MARRIED (third preference), or a sibling of a US citizen (fourth preference), you will have to wait for your visa, which could potentially take years. If you fit into one of these three preferences, there are only a certain number of visas available and currently the system is backlogged. So although you may be approved for a visa, you have to wait for your visa number to become current in the country you are from before you actually receive it. You can check online for the wait times for these types of visas.

Whether you are an immediate relative or fit into one of the four preferences, you will have to file an I-130 which is a petition to show how you are related to the US citizen, and then at some point you will file an I-485, which is the application for your green card. If you are an immediate relative, it may be possible to file the I-130 and I-485 at the same time.

If you have any questions about the process or want to apply for a green card for a family member, please call our office at 508-438-1198.

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

#greencard #lpr #legalpermanentresident #immigration #visa #uscitizen

Immigration Law + Criminal Law = ?

If you are NOT a US citizen, there is ALWAYS a chance that you can be deported! Being a legal permanent resident for 20 years or more does not protect you from deportation, IF you commit a crime!

Criminal law and immigration law are two distinct fields of law, but the problem is that committing certain crimes can lead to triggers in immigration law. The other problem is committing a crime in criminal law has a different name and different definition in immigration law. For instance, in immigration law you can be deported for committing an “aggravated felony” or committing two or more “crimes involving moral turpitude.” But if you look at the criminal statutes in Massachusetts there are no aggravated felonies or crimes involving moral turpitude.

What does “aggravated felony” and a “crime involving moral turpitude” (CIMT) mean? The answer is tricky. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the term aggravated felony includes acts of murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug trafficking, trafficking firearms or other destructive devices, theft or burglary where term of imprisonment is at least one year, child pornography, treason, and more. As you can see the list is pretty serious and extensive.

The term “crime involving moral turpitude” is even trickier. The Board of Immigration Appeals defined it as “conduct that shocks the public conscience as being inherently base, vile, or depraved, contrary to the rules of morality and the duties owed between man and man, either one’s fellow man or society in general.” Well what does that mean you ask? The immigration courts have determined that it generally includes: spousal abuse, child abuse, robbery, aggravated assault, animal fighting, theft, fraud, driving under the influence, and more. Crimes involving moral turpitude are much broader and can have serious consequences!

Those who are not US citizens should definitely hire an attorney if they are charged with ANY crime to ensure that it does NOT affect their immigration status!

Also if you are legal permanent resident and it is possible for you to naturalize, DO IT! You never know what can happen in the future and if for whatever reason you are charged with a crime, at least you will be assured that you cannot be deported if you are a citizen!

 

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

The “90-Day Fiancee” Visa

There is a show called ’90 Day Fiancee,’ where people fall in love with people abroad, propose, and their fiancées come into the U.S. with a K-1 visa. The K-1 visa allows the non-U.S. citizen to enter the United States, but they must get married within 90 days after they enter the U.S. The show details their journey in the United States while adapting to the culture, missing their families and the problems that go along with having to get married in 3 months.

Although the show is all kinds of crazy, the K-1 visa is a real visa that many people use to bring their significant other into the United States before they are married. After the couple is married, the non-U.S. citizen will adjust their status to become a legal permanent resident. And then if they choose, 3 years later they can apply for naturalization.

One of the requirements for a K-1 visa is that the couple must have met in person within 2 years of filing for the visa. (Although there is an exception for cases of extreme hardship.) Next the US citizen will petition for his or her fiancée with the I-129, once it is approved, he or she will apply for the visa with form DS-160. After the visa is approved, your fiancée has 6 months from the date the visa is issued to enter the United States. Then the next step is to get married within 3 months (no big deal!)

As a side note, if your foreign fiancée has children, make sure to include them in the I-129 petition so that you can apply for a K-2 visa for them!

90-day fiancée may be a reality show on TV, but it’s based on a visa that you can use to bring your fiancée to the United States! If you have any questions about the K-1 or K-2 visa, please contact our office!

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.