Immigration

Green Card:
1. I do not have a green card, but I am married to US citizen, can I obtain one?

Answer: Yes, you can certainly obtain a green card through your citizen spouse. There are certain applications and documents that have to be submitted to USCIS along with the required filing fees. After this you will be required to submit fingerprints for background check. Thereafter, you will be required to attend an interview with your spouse conducted by the USCIS officer, where authenticity of your marriage must be proven. Upon conclusion of the interview, the USCIS will make a decision whether you will be given a conditional green card. Please know that a conditional green card is given to you for two (2) years and you will be required to submit another application along with document to obtain your permanent green card. It is always advisable to consult an attorney prior to submitting any documents to USCIS.

2. I attended the interview, but no decision was rendered in my case, what should I do?

Answer: Most likely you were advised by the officer that the decision would be rendered within 30 days from the date of the interview because either they require additional evidence (documents) be submitted or your background check was not completed. You cannot do anything until the decision is rendered by the USCIS. If it has been more than 30 days from the date of your interview and no decision was rendered, you should contact an attorney to discuss your future recourse in this case.

3. I attended the interview, but the officer requested that we attend the 2nd interview, what should I do?

Answer: The officer requested that you attend Stokes Interview (named after NY caselaw) meaning that the officer that not convinced that your marriage was authentic. This is interview is very serious as you and your spouse will be questioned separately and then your answers would be compared and discrepancies examine. It is highly suggested that couples who are scheduled for Stokes Interview hire an attorney even if they did not have one for their initial interview as the attorney can protect their rights during the interview and provide necessary assistance to the couple if the questions go beyond the scope of what is allowed. Therefore, you need to contact an attorney in order to adequately protect your rights and preserve your chances to become a legal permanent resident in this country.

4. I went to my second interview, but my application was still denied, what should I do?

Answer: Your need to contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss the future recourse in your case. You have only limited time to appeal the decision of the USCIS and if you miss the deadline, you will loose the opportunity forever. Moreover, if your marriage was deemed fraudulent by USCIS and you do not appeal the case, you will jeopardize your chances to obtain green card and become a legal permanent resident.

5. I was previously married and my spouse submitted an application for my benefit to USCIS, but we did not attend the interview, should I disclose this fact on my current application? Would it harm my changes to obtain a green card through my current marriage?

Answer: You absolutely must disclose the fact that previous application was filed. USCIS is in possession of this information and it is in your file, under your alien number. You will be required to answer questions about your previous application and the outcome during your initial interview with your current spouse. However, it does not mean that you would not be able to obtain a green card in this case. You have to contact the attorney to discuss this case as each case is unique and certain aspects should be fully considered by the legal professional prior than fully answering this question.

6. I entered this country illegally, but now I am married to US citizen, what are my chances to obtain a green card?

Answer: The answer to this question will depend on how long have you been in this country after you last entry. The law allows, after significant time period, for the alien who entered this country illegally to obtain legal permanent residence, provided that the spouse will file a waiver along with other applications and documentations required by USCIS. You have to contact the attorney to discuss this case as each case is unique and certain aspects should be fully considered by the legal professional prior than fully answering this question.

7. I have filed an application to remove conditions from my residency, but now USCIS requested that my spouse and I appear for the interview, does that mean that I would not get my permanent green card?

Answer: In certain number of cases, USCIS can recall the couple for the interview after the application for the removal of conditions was filed. That does not mean that you would not get your green card, however you should contact an attorney to further discuss possibilities and ramifications in this situation.

8. How soon can I become a US citizen after I receive my green card through my marriage?

Answer: Law allows permanent residence, who obtained their green card through marriage to become US citizens three (3) years from date when the green card was given.

9. I have submitted application to adjust my status to permanent resident, can I leave the country while my application is pending?

Answer: You cannot leave the country without first obtaining advanced parole document from the USCIS. If you leave the country while you application to adjust your status is pending and then attempt to reenter the country without first obtaining advanced parole documents, you application will be deemed abandoned.

10. I am in deportation proceedings and I just got married to a US citizen, can I adjust my status?

Answer: Your case is not an easy one, but you can adjust your status through your US citizen. You will automatically be scheduled to a second interview, even if you have “passed” your first interview because there is a presumption that you had entered into marriage to circumvent the immigration laws of this country. You should contact an attorney who will be able to properly advise you on the steps that are needed to adjust your status if you are already in the deportation proceedings.

11. My asylum was granted years ago, but then I applied for my green card, it was denied because I had a criminal conviction on my record. Does that mean I would never be able to adjust my status?

Answer: The answer to this question will depend on how recent was your conviction. If you were convicted of the crime years ago and you were a person of good moral character thereafter you might be able to obtain our green card by filing a waiver. Your criminal conviction may be waived at the discretion of the USCIS officer. In order to obtain a waiver, an applicant must prove that a qualifying relative will suffer extreme hardship if the applicant is not allowed to stay in this country.

Asylum:

12. I came to this country as a tourist, but I am afraid to return to my country because of current political situation, is there a way for me to stay legally in the United States?

Answer: Yes, you can file an application for political asylum based on the fact that you are being persecuted by the government of you native country either because of your nationality, political views, sexual orientation and the like. Along with the application you will be required to submit documents supporting your allegations that you are afraid for your health and safety if you return to your native country. You have one year from the date of your last entry to the United States to file for an asylum application and it is suggested that you contact an attorney prior to filing the application.

13. I have my initial asylum interview with USCIS, who do I need to bring with me?

Answer: You can bright an interpreter with you in the event that you indicated on your application that you speak language other than English. You may wish to bring an attorney with you also.

14. I went to the initial interview and I was not given a decision, what should I do?

Answer: Most likely, USCIS officer had advise you of the date and time when you can come back to pick the decision. You cannot do anything until the date specified by the officer.

15. My application for asylum was denied by the USCIS, what can I do now?

Answer: You were probably given a notice to appear for a Master Hearing to one of the immigration courts along with the notice of denial of your application and charges against you. You must appear on the date and time specified in that notice before the immigration court otherwise the judge will issue an order deporting you in abstentia. You may also wish to contact an attorney to discuss your options at this stage of your application.

16. What is a Master Hearing?

Answer: It is a hearing during which the court will give you a date and time for your individual hearing?

17. What is an Individual Hearing? When would my Individual Hearing be?

Answer: Individual hearing is a hearing before the immigration judge where you get to present your asylum case. During this hearing your attorney and attorney for US government would examine you and the judge will render its decision whether your application for asylum should be granted or not. The timing of the hearing is really depend on the individual judge’s schedules, however most of the judges will adjourn (postpone) your hearing for at least a year.

18. My Individual Hearing was scheduled 2 years from now, can I move it to a closer date?

Answer: In order to answer this question we should have a little more information about your case. Generally speaking the ability to move your case to an earlier date would depend on whether your initial application was offensive (filed before you were in removal proceedings) or defensive (filed after you were already placed on deportation) in nature. You should contact an attorney to see whether the motion can be made in your case to advance your hearing. However, the motion to advance the hearing should have compelling reasons for such advancement.

19. Can I travel outside the country while my asylum case is pending?

Answer: If you wish to travel while your application is pending, you will need to obtain travel document allowing you to reenter into this country. Before obtaining said document you should contact an attorney to discuss limitations on your traveling while your asylum case is pending.

20. Can I obtain work authorization after I filed my asylum application?

Answer: Yes, you can obtain work authorization if you win your asylum application (including favorable decision during your initial interview or a favorable decision from the judge) or if there have been 150 days from the date of filing and no decision on your application have been made. However, often 150-day period is stopped by the immigration for numerous reasons. To be sure that you have a right to file for work authorization you should contact an attorney who will help you to determine whether you can file application for work authorization.

21. Can I withdraw my asylum application?

Answer: Yes, you can. However, you need to understand that if you withdraw your asylum application and you are already in deportation proceedings, you will be deported, unless there is an intervening cause for your withdrawal such as marriage to a US citizen or some other causes that qualify. Before you decide to withdraw your application you should discuss this decision with a knowledgeable attorney who would be able to advise you depending on nuances of your case.

22. I have entered this country more than a year ago, but I am afraid to return to my native country because I fear prosecution on the part of the government, is there any legal way for me to remain in this country?

Answer: You are certainly not qualified to file an asylum application as the time has run. However, you may consider filing what is called a petition for withholding of removal. You will have to pass essentially the same steps as with asylum application, however, approval of withholding of removal would not give you the right to adjust your status to permanent resident unlike approval of the asylum application. You should contact an attorney to further discuss your situation.