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Posted on May 17, 2010 by Robert A. Kraft

There is a wonderful, humorous article about an Australian’s frustrating passage through the immigration process at Cracked.com. Caution: the article contains some strong language. 

Posted on February 23, 2010 by Robert A. Kraft

Spouses of United States citizens may enter the U.S. with a non-immigrant K-3 visa while the immigrant visa petition is pending. It is important to note that the marriage must be valid in order to qualify and all previous marriages must be legally terminated. Thus, one will include either divorce or death documents (if applicable).

To obtain a K-3 visa, the U.S. citizen will file Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative along with supporting documentation and the filing fee of $355. Once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receive Form I-130, USCIS will issue a receipt notice indicating that they received the petition. The U.S. citizen will thereafter file Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé with USCIS and include the I-130 receipt notice, and other supporting documentation. There are no filing fees when filing Form I-129F in this second step.

If the Immigrant Petition (Form I-130) has not been decided, and Form I-129F has been approved by USCIS, the file will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will process the K-3 visa petition and send the K-3 petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the marriage took place or visa applicant’s country of nationality. The K-3 visa applicant will be instructed by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of further administrative processing.

If both Form I-129F (K-3) and Form I-130 (Immigrant Relative petition) have been approved by USCIS and both petitions were received by the NVC, the NVC will process the immigrant visa petition since there is no need to process the K-3 visa.

Please call us at (214)999-9999 for further information on K-3 visas or other immigration related questions.

Posted on November 25, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

The Chief of Staff of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s (USCIS) Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) office explained three different types of site visits being conducted by USCIS.
 

  • Risk Assessment Program Fraud Study: program is part of a study to help design profiles of potential fraud. Family-based petitions or employment-based petitions once approved are randomly selected. 
  • Targeted Site Visits: this visit is to ask questions when fraud is suspected. Advance notice of visit is given. 
  • Administrative Site Visits: for religious worker and H-1B programs. Specific questions generally regarding the beneficiary’s job duties as stated in the petition and whether the beneficiary is receiving the wage as stated on the petition.

 
More information on the site visits is available at www.uscis.gov.

Posted on October 28, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

In a long-overdue move, the Senate last week approved a law that would stop the so-called “widows penalty” in immigration situations. Until now, if an immigrant had an application for permanent residency on file based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, and the citizen died within the first two years of the marriage, the application was annulled and the immigrant was deported. This seems especially harsh treatment to an immigrant who has just lost his or her newlywed spouse to a tragic death. To have to deal not only with the personal loss but also with the trauma of having to leave the country is just too great a burden. The new law, expected to be approved by President Obama, would allow the immigrant to submit his or her own petition for residency within two years of the spouse’s death. The immigrant must not have remarried and must still prove that the marriage was entered into in good-faith.

The law would be retroactive, and would apply to any immigrant whose citizen spouse died less than two years after the marriage, regardless of the date. The immigrant would have two years from the law’s enactment to petition for residency.

Posted on August 31, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

Surviving spouses and their qualifying children, whose U.S. citizen spouses died before the second anniversary of marriage, are eligible to request deferred action. Deferred action is filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and once granted it allows surviving spouses and children to remain in the United States for a temporary authorized period of time (two years for this program) without being removed from the United States during that authorized time. Once granted deferred action, the applicant is also eligible to apply for employment authorization (filed on Form I-765) and travel authorization (filed on Form I-131).   Deferred action does not eliminate any period of unlawful presence that accrued before it was granted; it does not convey or imply any waivers of inadmissibility that may exist; and it does not confer or alter any immigration status. However, deferred action does allow the applicant to remain in the United States for two years under this program. During the two years that deferred action is in effect, no additional unlawful presence accrues.  

In order to qualify for this program, the surviving spouse must:

  • have been married less than two years to the U.S. citizen at the time of the U.S. spouses’ death;
  • did not remarry; and
  • be currently residing in the United States.

 
The qualifying children of the surviving spouses that qualify under the program must be:

  • younger than 21 years old (at the time the request for deferred action was submitted or Form I-130 was filed on their behalf as an immediate relative);
  • unmarried; and
  • residing in the United States.

  Deferred action is filed on Form I-360 at the Vermont Service Center. It is important to file Form I-360 with the appropriate filing fee of $375 and the supporting documentation.   If the U.S. citizen spouse died after being married for two years at the time of the U.S. citizen’s death, then the widow(er) of a U.S. citizen is not covered by the deferred action program. However, the widow(er) is eligible to self-petition as an immediate relative as long as Form I-360 is filed within two years after the date of death.  

For more information on Deferred Action for surviving spouses and qualifying children of deceased U.S. citizens, please call us at 214-999-9999

Posted on August 31, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

Attorney Eugenia Ponce of our firm attended an adjustment of status interview last week with our client, based on the client’s approved I-360 VAWA petition. A VAWA petition (Violence Against Women’s Act) allows the spouse, parent, or child of a U.S. citizen, or a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) who was battered or subject to extreme cruelty to self-petition independently of the abusive U.S. citizen or LPR. The VAWA self-petitioner must meet the statutory requirements which include:
 

  • she or he has resided with the U.S. citizen or LPR spouse/parent;
  • was subject to extreme cruelty or battery (or in the case of a child, the child was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty) during the marriage with U.S. Citizen or LPR;
  • the marriage was entered into in good faith;
  • she or he is otherwise eligible for immediate relative or preference status; and
  • is a person of good moral character.

 
We submitted many different kinds of evidence proving the VAWA case. We submitted reports and affidavits from the police, photos showing visible injuries, medical reports, affidavits from school officials, an order of protection against the abuser, and other supporting evidence to establish our client was subject to battery.

Because our client was married to a U.S. citizen, there was an immediate visa available, and Form I-360 VAWA and Form I-485 Adjustment of Status were filed concurrently. Although our client had entered the United States without inspection in 1996, an approved self-petitioner of Form I-360 VAWA is eligible to adjust even if he or she entered without inspection or parole.

Our client’s 16-year-old daughter was also eligible to adjust her status to permanent residence since the daughter was accorded derivative status based on her mother’s approved I-360 VAWA petition.

Both undocumented individuals are now permanent residents of the United States.

Posted on July 28, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

On July 24, 2009, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested an Ohio immigration attorney and a businessman on charges of marriage fraud. The Ohio-based immigration attorney and the businessman were alleged to have entered into separate sham marriages with two U.S. citizens in order to obtain citizenship. A marriage entered into for the purpose of gaining citizenship carries severe penalties of up to a $250,000 and/or five years imprisonment.   To convict a person of marriage fraud, the government must prove the following:   1)      the person knowingly entered into a marriage; 2)      the marriage was entered into for the purpose of evading immigration laws; and 3)      the person knew or had reason to know of the immigration laws.  

The above illustrates that anyone trying to evade the immigration laws by entering into sham marriages might not obtain citizenship, but rather might enjoy the harsh penalties that could be imposed.The article about this case is available at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Web site.

 

Posted on July 15, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

A frequent question that arises is whether a foreign national living in the United States for a certain number of years can obtain permanent residency based on the years of living in the United States. There is no law or regulation currently in place allowing foreign nationals to automatically obtain permanent residency based on the number of years residing in the United States. There are however, many ways foreign nationals can immigrate and obtain permanent resident status. Two ways to obtain permanent resident status are based on employment and family sponsorship.   One of the ways foreign nationals can obtain permanent residency is based on employment. The U.S. employer will sponsor the employee to qualify under a certain visa category. Specifically, the foreign national may qualify under one or more of the employment-based “EB” visa preference categories that are divided into four separate categories.   The four EB visa preference categories are:   EB-1: Extraordinary Ability, Professors, Researches, or Executives, filed on form I-140 EB-2: Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts or Business, filed on form I-140 EB-3: Skilled Worker, Professional, Or Unskilled Worker, filed on form I-140 EB-4: Immigrant Religious Worker, filed on form I-360

Another process to obtain lawful permanent residence in the U.S. is through family sponsorship. That is, either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident family member or as a fiancé to a U.S. citizen and subsequent marriage. The process begins by either the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative filing form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative or form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Just as in employment-based sponsorship, there are visa preference categories in family-based sponsorship. Family-based “FB” preference categories are divided into four categories.   FB-1: Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens FB-2A: Spouses and children of lawful permanent residents of the U.S. FB-2B: unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents of the U.S. FB-3: Married sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens. FB-4: Brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens who are at least 21 years old.  

The above preference categories are subject to a numerical limitation. More information on these visa categories is available at the U.S. Department of State’s visa bulletin at:  www.travel.state.gov

Posted on July 10, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

Certain immigration forms are used to petition U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to classify a foreign national for an immigrant or a non-immigrant visa based on either employment or family. Prior to submitting the forms to USCIS, there are 8 simple tips to follow for proper filing. They are:
 

  1. Use the most current edition of the form available on the USCIS Website;
  2. Follow instructions on the form to see who qualifies;
  3. If a question does not apply to you, make sure you write “NONE” or “N/A”;
  4. Type the information. If typing is not feasible, then print legibly;
  5. Don’t forget the appropriate filing fee. Make the check or money order payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Do not send cash;
  6. Make sure the Petitioner or Beneficiary signs and dates where appropriate;
  7. Do not forget the supporting documentation to support the petition or application;
  8. Send the petition to the correct mailing address. If the petition is sent to the wrong mailing address, the petition can be rejected for improper filing.

 
You can avoid a petition being rejected or a final decision being delayed by USCIS by following these eight simple tips.

Posted on July 7, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

Foreign nationals may obtain their green cards by marriage through a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR). If the marriage is less than two years old at the time residence is granted, the foreign national will receive conditional resident status. The actual conditional residence card will have a two year validity date. Individuals who obtained their resident status based on a marriage less than two years are required to file Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions 90 days prior to the expiration date on the conditional residence card. Once the conditions are removed, the conditional resident status becomes permanent.  

 The petition to remove conditions should be accompanied with evidence establishing the validity of the marriage since being granted conditional resident status. Supporting documentation of a valid marriage may include:

·        Birth certificates of children, ·        a copy of the rent/apartment lease, ·        mortgage payments, ·        joint filing of tax returns, ·        utility bills evidencing both names, ·        copies of pictures, ·        itineraries or boarding passes, ·        insurance coverage listing both names, ·        joint bank accounts, ·        driver’s licenses evidencing both names, ·        letters from family regarding knowledge of the marriage (including envelopes with postmarks), ·        receipts for items purchased together (ie: furniture), ·        cards written to both for a holiday, birthday, anniversary.   Other documents accompanying the Form I-751 include:   ·        A copy of the conditional residence card, ·        Two passport style photos for the applicant, ·        A certified copy of any arrest record and disposition of the case (for individuals who have been arrested or detained), ·        A money order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $545 for filing fees.   Kraft & Associates will answer your questions on conditional resident status and permanent residence. Call us at 214-999-9999.

Posted on June 14, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

On June 9, 2009, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano granted deferred action for two years to widows and widowers of U.S. citizens (and their unmarried children under 18 years old) who reside in the United States, and who were married for less than two years before their spouse’s death. Deferred action is a short-term act of prosecutorial discretion that suspends removal proceedings against an individual or group of individuals for a specific timeframe. The action is temporary and it will not resolve an individual’s underlying immigration status.   In addition to the deferred action, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will suspend all adjudications of visa petitions and adjustment applications filed by widow(er)s where the only reason for reassessment of immigration status was the death of a U.S. citizen spouse before the second anniversary of the marriage. Further, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will now defer initiating or continuing removal proceedings, or executing final orders of removal against qualified widow(er)s and their eligible children.   Secretary Napolitano states that the deferred action is a “common-sense and practical” solution that will grant “these individuals and their children an opportunity to stay in the country that has become their home while their legal status is resolved.”  

Additional information may be found at: www.dhs.gov.

Posted on May 30, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was originally introduced in the Senate by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in October of 2007, but was defeated on a cloture vote of 52 to 44.  However, the Act was re-introduced in the Senate by Senator Durbin on March 26, 2009. The Act is co-sponsored by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and so far shows promise as part of a new wave of immigration reform.   Currently, immigrant children are only able to obtain legal permanent residency through their parents. The DREAM Act would change this standard by paving a way to U.S. citizenship for undocumented immigrant children, on their own merits. These children would have to meet certain criteria, including living in the U.S. for five years and graduating from a U.S. high school before becoming eligible to apply for temporary citizenship. Upon acceptance, the applicant would obtain temporary citizenship for six years, followed by legal permanent residency after completion of a two-year college degree or two years of military service.   Senator Durbin has been fashioning the DREAM Act for the past eight years, and he does admit that he is “impatient” for the Act to become a reality.  Nevertheless, Senator Durbin admits that, while he might have enough votes to pass the DREAM Act by itself, he prefers to make the Act part of a larger, comprehensive immigration reform package – the first of its’ kind under the new Obama administration.  

For more information, please visit: TheHill.com. Additional information about Senator Durbin and the DREAM Act may also be found at: http://durbin.senate.gov.

Posted on April 22, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

Most of our immigration clients are understandably nervous before their visa interview. This interview will determine whether the visa petition will be granted or denied. We always spend time with our clients before the interview to explain the process and to give them an idea of the types of questions that may be asked. One other thing we do is make sure each client knows the importance of taking certain documents to the interview.

Once an immigrant visa applicant has been scheduled for a visa interview, a consular officer will require seeing specific documents for visa processing. Certain U.S. embassies and consulates have their own local requirements for processing immigrant visas. Generally however, all visa applicants should take the following documents to their interviews:  

1. Passport: Each visa applicant must take his or her original passport. This includes expired and unexpired passports.

 

2. Birth Certificate: A certified copy of each applicant’s birth certificate is required.

 

3. Marriage Certificate: If the visa applicant is married, a certified copy of the marriage certificate bearing the seal of official government authority.

 

4. Divorce Decree (or Death Certificate): If the visa applicant is divorced (or spouse died), a certified copy of every divorce decree (or death certificate, if applicable) bearing the seal of official government authority.

 

5. Police Certificate: Each visa applicant must apply for a police record clearance from every country in which the applicant lived for more than six months, since the age of 16. The police record clearance must be obtained for each applicant, even if the applicant has never been arrested. The police certificate must be obtained before attending the visa interview.

 

6. Medical Examination and Supplement (Immunization Records): A medical examination by a designated physician is required before attending the visa interview. The applicant will hand-deliver the sealed envelope to the consular officer at the interview.

 

7. Employment Letter or Proof of Financial Support: If the visa applicant was sponsored by a U.S. employer, an employment letter confirming a job offer is required. If the visa applicant was sponsored by a family member, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative must submit an Affidavit of Support on Form I-864.

 

8. Immigrant Visa Application: The visa applicant must complete Form DS-230, Part II and take the completed form to the interview. It is important that the applicant not sign the form because this particular form is to be signed only in the presence of the Consular Officer.

 

9. Approval Notices: Visa Applicants must take all approval notices they have ever received.

 

10. Waiver Applications (if applicable): For certain visa applicants who are ineligible to enter the United States, a waiver application is required.

Posted on December 8, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a new interim rule today allowing certain visas holders in “T” and “U” classification to adjust their status to lawful permanent residents. The rule also provides for adjustment of status for family members of a principle T or U visa holder.

Certain foreign nationals who are victims of a severe form of human trafficking are eligible for “T” visas. In order for individuals in “T” visa status to adjust their status to lawful permanent residence, the individual must have three years of continuous presence in the U.S. or a continuous period during an investigation or prosecution of the acts of trafficking.

The “U” visa classification is for victims of certain crimes who are willing to assist government officials in the investigation of the criminal activity. “U” visa holders must be physically present in the U.S. for a continuous period of at least three years since the date of admission to apply for lawful permanent residence. Evidence of continuous physical presence can be provided by college transcripts, employment records, utility bills or other supporting evidence during the requisite three year period.

Individuals with both “T” and “U” visas, must be in valid status at the time they seek to adjust their status. There is a 5,000 annual cap for “T” visa holders, and no numerical cap on adjustment of status for “U” non-immigrants.

The rule becomes effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Please stay tuned for the latest developments.

Posted on November 19, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

Recently, the U.S. Department of State launched a new Web site designed exclusively for intercountry adoption. The Web site, www.adoption.state.gov, provides information regarding the international adoption process, eligibility and requirements to adopt, the specific countries from which Americans can adopt children, the protections provided by the Hague Adoption Convention, and information about selecting an accredited adoption agency. Here is a statement from the site:

Posted on July 9, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

A foreign national who legally entered the United States, overstayed the authorized stay, and is married to a U.S. citizen does not derive automatic lawful permanent status. Yet, by filing the appropriate paperwork with the Immigration Service, the foreign national may be eligible to attain immigration benefits and become a lawful permanent resident, even if the foreign national overstayed the visa and is out of status. Generally, foreign nationals who enter with a visa (i.e., are inspected and admitted), overstay their permissible stay, and have a valid marriage to a U.S. citizen, are eligible to adjust their status in the U.S. based on marriage to a U.S. citizen.   The process changes if a foreign national unlawfully entered the U.S., and married a U.S. citizen.  The foreign national cannot adjust in the U.S. but will have to consular process.  Unlawful entry occurs when an individual enters the U.S. without inspection at a port of entry. If the foreign national accrues unlawful presence of more than a year, their departure from the U.S. will trigger a ten year bar on returning to the United States.  A waiver for the ten year bar must be filed to show “extreme hardship” to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse.  If planning on consular process, the foreign national should plan on being outside of the U.S. for more than a year.  

If you are married to a U.S. citizen and would like more information on how to obtain permanent residence, please call us at 214-999-9999.

Posted on May 15, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

Attorney Eugenia Ponce has written an important article for Texas Lawyer newspaper regarding the new rules governing international adoptions under the Hague Convention.

Posted on April 15, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

International adoptions are back in the headlines again, and it is not because a celebrity has adopted another international child. On April 1, 2008, the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Convention) became effective with respect to the United States. The Hague Convention is an international agreement between Convention member countries. Currently, there are 75 countries that have joined the Hague Convention. U.S. parents seeking to adopt overseas will see new adoption procedures. Some of the pertinent changes are: New forms must be used. Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, and Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative are required as of April 1, 2008. All Hague Convention intercountry applications will be processed at the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services National Benefits Center. U.S families will now be working with accredited, temporarily accredited, or approved adoption providers that provide adoption services; U.S. families will be able to initiate a public complaint related to the intercountry adoptions. New documents will be issued by consular officers overseas, The Hague Adoption Certificate or the Hague Custody Certificate. These documents will essentially state the requirements of the Convention have been met for an adoption or custody declaration completed overseas. It is important to note that the new regulations apply only to adoptions that transpire between two countries that have approved and implemented the Hague Convention.

For more information, please call us at 214-999-9999.

Posted on February 5, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

Foreign nationals who do not have a valid immigrant visa and wish to travel multiple times outside the United States will need permission to re-enter the United States. An individual who filed an adjustment of status (AOS) application will need a travel document (advance parole) to re-enter the United States. If the AOS application is pending, the foreign national should submit form I-131 Travel Document Application prior to departure. Otherwise, if the foreign national leaves the United States while the AOS application is pending, the application will be deemed abandoned and the AOS application will eventually be denied.

Be aware travelers, in order to avoid the termination of a pending AOS application, it is imperative to apply for Advance Parole prior to leaving the United States. An advance parole is approved within 90 days and is valid for multiple trips throughout one year. Of course, once the foreign national receives his or her green card, an advance parole is no longer needed.

Please note there are certain foreign nationals who may not apply for advance parole. An advance parole document is not available for individuals in the United States illegally, under removal proceedings, or who are exchange foreign nationals subject to the residency requirement.

Please contact us to learn more about Advance Parole and the information needed to apply for an Advance Parole.

Posted on January 22, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

U.S. citizens wishing to adopt an orphan from a foreign country may do so after meeting certain requirements. The child must first meet the definition of orphan. A child, who is under the age of 16, is an orphan due to the death or disappearance, abandonment, separation or loss of both parents, or if only one parent, then the one parent is unable to provide the proper care and in writing irrevocably releases the child for adoption. INA Section 101(b)(1)(F).

To begin the process of adopting an orphan, the U.S. citizen parents must first file I-600A, which is the advanced processing application that permits adopting parents to file the orphan application. Essentially, this application will determine whether the prospective adoptive parents will provide a proper home environment, and will determine whether they are suitable as parents. The process consists of home study and fingerprint checks. Home study includes an analysis of the prospective parents’ capabilities and living conditions.

Once the advanced processing application is approved, Form I-600 is filed with the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). Form I-600 is the form filed for the classification of an orphan and is accompanied with the approval of the advanced processing application, the orphan’s birth certificate, and evidence that the child is an orphan. Once CIS approves the I-600 Application, the application is then forwarded to the U.S. embassy in the country where the child resides. For orphan petitions, the U.S. citizen parents need only establish that the orphan is going to be adopted abroad, or coming to the U.S. for adoption. Once the child has been residing with his or her adoptive parents for two years, the parents may petition their child as an immediate relative so long as the child was adopted before his or her 16th birthday.

To learn more about the orphan petition process, please contact us.

Posted on January 21, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

Foreign nationals may obtain their green cards by marriage through a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR). If the marriage is less than two years old at the time residence is granted, the foreign national will receive conditional permanent resident status. Conditional residents and their spouses are required to remove those conditions two years after residency is granted by filing a Petition to Remove Conditions on Form I-751.

The most pressing question is whether divorce during the specified period affects the Petition to Remove Conditions. If the marriage falls apart during that two year window, it will be necessary to file for a waiver of the requirement that both spouses sign the petition.

However, the conditional resident requesting a waiver will have to show the marriage was entered into in good faith. In order to show the Immigration Service that the marriage was entered in good faith, the alien should provide documents such as birth certificates of the children, documents showing that the financial assets and liabilities were combined, and documents showing the length of time the parties lived together.

If you have questions regarding how to file a waiver of the requirement to file I-751 jointly, please call us.

Posted on January 17, 2008 by Robert A. Kraft

In this Internet era, individuals are now entering Internet chat rooms and meeting other individuals with similar interests. Often, the two individuals reside on different continents. Internet chatting often leads to more serious and frequent communication, and sometimes a relationship flourishes.

When a United States Citizen meets a foreign national, and a relationship develops with the individual, the couple will desire to unite their lives together. If the U.S. Citizen and his or her foreign national fianc want to live their lives together in the United States, the U.S. citizen may petition for the fianc to enter the US with a K-1 visa.

The K-1 visa allows the foreign national fianc to enter the United States solely for the purpose of getting married to the U.S. citizen petitioner. Once the foreign national enters the United States, he or she must get married to the U.S. citizen within 90 days. Of course, the petitioner (US citizen) and beneficiary (fianc) must meet certain requirements before applying for the visa.

The following requirements must be met in order to file a petition for the fianc to enter the U.S. on a K-1 visa: The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen; the U.S. citizen must have met with the fianc in person within the previous two years; both individuals must be legally free to marry; the fianc must not have violated any U.S. immigration laws; the fianc must not have a criminal record.

To learn more about the fianc visas, please contact us at 214-999-9999.

Posted on December 20, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

A spouse, child or parent who has been subject to extreme cruelty or battery by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or parent may file a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petition. VAWA petitions are available to the victims of domestic violence and may be either male or female victims. In order to qualify, a victim of domestic violence has to meet several requirements. The self-petitioner must establish that he or she is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or LPR; resides in the United States when the self-petition is filed; resided with the abuser in the United States in the past; has been battered or subject to extreme cruelty by the Citizen or LPR spouse during the marriage; is a person of good moral character; is a person whose deportation would result in extreme hardship to himself, herself, or his or her child; and the victim entered into a good faith marriage with the Citizen or LPR.

Before filing a VAWA case, evidence must be gathered to establish the above-mentioned requirements. For example, the petition must be accompanied by evidence of the marriage relationship, such as a marriage certificate. To satisfy the requirement that the abusive spouse or parent is a U.S. Citizen or LPR, a copy of their birth certificate or resident card should be provided. With respect to providing evidence of the abuse, the victim may include police reports, temporary restraining orders, affidavits from police and judges, medical reports, and letters from doctors. To satisfy a good faith marriage requirement and the requirement that the self-petitioner resided with the abuser, the self-petitioner must submit documentary proof which includes, but is not limited to, joint accounts, credit card bills evidencing both names, apartment leases, driver’s licenses showing the same address of both, insurance records held in both names, federal tax returns filed jointly, and birth certificates of children.  In order to show that the victim is a person of good moral character, the self-petition should provide an affidavit from the self-petitioner, accompanied by a local police clearance, and letters from individuals. Evidence of extreme hardship includes affidavits, birth certificates of children, etc.

Once the VAWA petition is approved, the next step will be to proceed with obtaining permanent resident status based on the approved self-petition. Please contact us if you have been or are subject to abuse by a U.S. citizen or LPR spouse, or parent.

Posted on December 10, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

The Dallas Morning News had an interesting story Sunday about the declining student population in Irving, Texas. Speculation is that the decrease, which will cost Irving money in state funding, is due to the city’s crackdown on illegal immigrants. As you know, Irving has been reporting to Immigration Services whenever an undocumented alien is stopped for a traffic ticket or for any other criminal offense. Hundreds of Irving residents have been deported recently. Here are excerpts from the story:

The Irving school district has lost 656 students since the end of September, and officials attribute the decline to a crackdown on illegal immigrants and the shutting down of aging apartment complexes.

School officials said they don’t know exactly why hundreds of students have disappeared since the district hit its peak enrollment of 33,189. But the losses outpace previous years. Last year, Irving schools lost 283 students during the same period.

Superintendent Jack Singley said a city code-enforcement crackdown on declining apartments where many low-income families live may have caused people to leave town. And some immigrants may have left Irving because they feared deportation.

“We’re watching our enrollment very carefully,” Mr. Singley said. “This probably will be the toughest year to predict future enrollment for many reasons. There are many changes in our community.”

School administrators are concerned because they stand to lose state funding, which is based on how many students attend school each day.

The superintendent and principals have tried to assure parents that their children are safe at school. Mr. Singley raised concerns early in the year that deportations were causing parents to go “on the run” and withdraw children from the schools.

“I think the reason is the climate in Irving,” school board president Michael Hill said. “If parents are pulling their kids out of school for fear of what they’re hearing throughout the city, my concern is: Are the kids in school at all?”

The school district’s students are about 73 percent economically disadvantaged and 67 percent Latino this year. Many of them are the children of immigrants.

About 39 percent of students are classified as limited English proficient, the highest in North Texas. The district continues to go through considerable change, losing white students as it gains Hispanics.

Mr. Singley reassured parents in a letter that the school district does not assist law-enforcement officials with deportations.

Posted on November 29, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

If a foreign national is married less than two years to a U.S. Citizen, the alien spouse may be granted conditional permanent resident status in the United States from the time residency is granted. Is there a difference between permanent residence and conditional permanent residence? No. Conditional permanent residents have the same rights, privileges and obligations as permanent residents. The only difference is that conditional permanent residents must file a petition to remove their conditions a year and nine months from the time their residencies are granted.

Alien spouses currently in conditional resident status must not forget to remove their conditions on Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions. Such petition should be accompanied with evidence that the alien spouse and U.S. Citizen spouse continue to reside together and have a valid marriage. Supporting documents include utility bills bearing both names, apartment leases showing joint tenancy, joint accounts, and birth certificates of children. The petition to remove the conditions must be filed one year and nine months from the date the alien spouse was granted conditional permanent resident status. Failure to file the petition removing the conditions may result in the termination of the alien spouse’s permanent resident status and removal proceedings may be initiated.

If the spouses are divorced before the second anniversary of the date the alien spouse was granted conditional permanent resident status, and the parties cannot file Form I-751 jointly, waivers are available. The alien spouse may be granted the waiver by showing proof that the marriage was entered in good faith, and it would result in extreme hardship if the alien were deported. So if an alien spouse has been granted conditional permanent residence, don’t forget to remove your conditions!

Posted on October 4, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

More and more frequently these days, we read of U.S. citizens adopting children from foreign countries. There was a story on CNN this morning about Guatemalan adoptions. Here is information from the USCIS Web site about inter-country adoptions:

Adopting children from all over the world has steadily increased in the past decade. Over 20,000 inter-country adoptions are taking place per year in addition to the more than 200,000 foreign-adopted children already living in the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is proud to play a key role in the inter-country adoption process.

Prospective adoptive parents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with inter-country adoption processes before they begin filing applications for a particular child. A good place to start is with the booklet, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adopted Children.

Prospective adoptive parents may find the services of an adoption agency helpful for guidance and assistance with the immigration of orphans and adopted children. While USCIS cannot recommend specific agencies, we strongly advise prospective adoptive parents to seek out a reputable agency with established foreign adoption experience and/or competent legal representation in their efforts to bring foreign-born orphans into the United States. One place to start looking for an agency is through the adoption advocacy community.

There are two legal ways to bring an adopted child into the country. Please review the differences, as they are important to your successful adoption.

  • Immigration/Adoption of child based on 2-years residence through submitting Form I-130: If you adopt a child before the child turns 16 (or 18, as described below), and you live with the child for two years as the child’s primary caregiver, then you may file an I-130 petition for an alien relative. The petition may be filed after the 16th (or 18th if a sibling) birthday, and the two years may culminate after the 16th (or 18th) birthday. (Please note that, generally, all qualifying criteria must be established BEFORE the child may enter the U.S.)
  • Immigration/Adoption of an orphan through submitting Form I-600: If you adopt or intend to adopt a child who meets the legal definition of an orphan, you may petition for that child at any time prior to the child’s 16th (or 18th, as described below) birthday, even if the adoption takes place subsequently (and in certain cases, the adoption does not occur until the child comes to the U.S.).

If you are interested in adopting a child from a particular country, we suggest that you consult the Department of State Website web pages addressing Country-Specific Adoption and Important Notices.

These materials alert prospective adoptive parents to conditions that may develop or already exist in foreign adoption cases. International adoption is essentially a private legal matter between a private individual (or couple) who wishes to adopt, and a foreign court, which operates under that country’s laws and regulations. U.S. authorities cannot intervene on behalf of prospective parents with the courts in the country where the adoption takes place. The adoption of a foreign-born orphan does not automatically guarantee the child’s eligibility to immigrate to the United States. Also, the adoptive parent needs to be aware of U.S. immigration law and legal regulatory procedures. An orphan cannot legally immigrate to the United States without USCIS processing.

Adopting Older Children – “Aging Out” of Eligibility to Immigrate Through Adoption.

If you are considering adopting an older child, you should be aware of the age limits on eligibility for adoptions and immigration, regardless of whether or not your state laws permit the adoption of older children (or even adults).

U.S. law allows the adoption and immigration of children who are under 16 years of age, with two exceptions:

  • Biological siblings of a child adopted by the same parents may be adopted if under 18 years of age; and
  • Orphans over the age of 16 may be adopted, as long as the I-600 petition was filed on their behalf before their 16th birthday (or in the case of an orphan who is the sibling of a child adopted by the same parents, before their 18th birthday).

Posted on June 20, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

We’ve written about the subject of updating addresses before, but we get this question asked so many times we’re going to revisit the situation.

On January 12, 2007, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a new program that allows U.S. immigrants to update their addresses online. Currently, all non-citizens in the U.S. are required to keep Immigration Services updated as to their most current addresses. Immigration Services must be notified within ten days of any change in address. Previously, this was done either by calling USCIS or completing a change of address card (Form AR-11), which was mailed to USCIS.

USCIS now accepts change of address information online. This new service reduced processing times, since Immigration Services typically receives over one million change of address requests each year. Additionally, this new service is convenient and easy to use.

It is vital that you continually notify Immigration Services of any change in address. This is particularly important when you have filed an application or petition for a benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act and expect notification of a decision on that application. In addition, the USCIS may need to contact you to provide other issued documents or return original copies of evidence you submitted.

You should include the following information in your change of address request:

* For the change of address Form AR-11, complete the information requested on the form, including present address, last address (most recent only), alien or registration number, country of citizenship, date of birth, and your signature.

* You do not need to include temporary addresses as long as you maintain your present address as your permanent residence and continue to receive mail there.

* When sending a change of address, you do not need to include numerous last addresses; only the most recent last address is needed.

* Be sure to also indicate in the appropriate block on the AR-11 your current employment and school, where applicable.

You can find and print the change of address form online at this USCIS page. If you would prefer to update your address automatically through the USCIS Eeb site, please visit this change of address page.

Posted on June 7, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

An article today on the Web site of the New York Times warns that the proposed immigration reform bill now pending in the U. S. Senate may be in trouble. Here are excerpts:

WASHINGTON, June 7 –The Senate refused at midday to shut off debate on the immigration overhaul bill and move toward a vote, leaving the fate of the legislation uncertain and setting up another, all-important procedural vote this evening.

The move to end debate was rejected by 63 to 33, so the bill’s backers fell 27 votes short of the 60 needed to invoke what is known as cloture and set up a yes-or-no vote on the legislation itself.

The result was a setback not only for the bill’s supporters but also for President Bush, who has made a comprehensive immigration bill one of his top legislative priorities.

Nevertheless, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, scheduled another, make-or-break cloture vote for this evening. If that vote also falls short, Mr. Reid is expected to shelve the bill, meaning that changes in immigration law might not be considered again for many months.

The midday move to end debate failed chiefly because a significant number of conservative Republicans wanted more time to offer amendments to make the measure more to their liking.

Some 12 hours before the noontime cloture vote, the bill’s supporters suffered a setback when the Senate voted to put a five-year limit on a new guest worker program that would be created under the legislation. By a vote of 49 to 48 shortly after midnight, the Senate approved the limit, in the form of an amendment by Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota.

The temporary worker program is an important element of the “grand bargain” on immigration forged in three months of negotiations by a small group of senators from both parties.

If the Senate votes this evening to end debate, the bill will have cleared a major hurdle — but by no means the last one. The House has yet to take up its version of the immigration legislation, and the issue has deeply divided the representatives. Many conservatives want to do more to restrict immigration and to toughen border enforcement. Many liberals, including members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, want to do more to protect immigrants’ rights and promote family-based immigration. The Senate bill, which embodies a fragile compromise strongly supported by the president, would offer most of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States the chance to obtain legal status. It calls for the biggest changes in immigration law in more than two decades.

Supporters contend that it would address the problem of millions of illegal aliens without giving them amnesty; that it will further secure the nation’s borders, and that through its guest-worker program it will help immigrants and American employers. Its opponents have argued that there are far too many deficiencies in its nearly 400 pages.

Posted on May 25, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

Number 106Volume VIII

Washington, D.C.

VISA BULLETIN FOR JUNE 2007

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS:

1. This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during June. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations, for the demand received by May 11th in the chronological order of the reported priority dates. If the demand could not be satisfied within the statutory or regulatory limits, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. Only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted a number. Immediately that it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new cut-off date. 2. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620. The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.

3. Section 203 of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of immigrant visas as follows:

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First : Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second : Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, and any unused first preference numbers:

A. Spouses and Children: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older): 23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third : Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth : Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First : Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second : Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Third : Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to “Other Workers”.

Fourth : Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth : Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of P.L. 102-395.

4. INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed. Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal. The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit. These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas: CHINA-mainland born, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.

5. On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); “C” means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and “U” means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available. (NOTE: Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)

Fam-ily All Charge- ability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPP-INES
1st 01JUN01 01JUN01 01JUN01 01JAN91 22APR92
2A 22APR02 22APR02 22APR02 01MAY01 22APR02
2B 01DEC97 01DEC97 01DEC97 08MAR92 01OCT96
3rd 15MAY99 15MAY99 15MAY99 08FEB88 01JAN85
4th 08JUN96 08JAN96 22JAN96 15JUL94 01MAR85

*NOTE: For June, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01MAY01. 2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT  MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01MAY01 and earlier than 22APR02. (All 2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no 2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.)

AllCharge-abilityAreasExceptThose

Listed

CHINA-
mainland born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIP-PINES
Employ-ment
-Based
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01JAN06 01APR04 C C
3rd 01JUN05 01JUN03 01JUN03 01JUN03 01JUN05
Other
Workers
01OCT01 01OCT01 01OCT01 01OCT01 01OCT01
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
Iraqi & Afghani Translators 18SEP06 18SEP06 18SEP06 18SEP06 18SEP06
5th C C C C C
Targeted Employ-ment Areas/
Regional Centers
C C C C C

The Department of State has available a recorded message with visa availability information which can be heard at: (area code 202) 663-1541. This recording will be updated in the middle of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category: Section 203(e) of the NACARA, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105 – 139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year. This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program. Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY

Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a maximum of up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit immigration opportunities for persons from countries other than the principal sources of current immigration to the United States. The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program. This reduction has resulted in the DV-2007 annual limit being reduced to 50,000. DV visas are divided among six geographic regions. No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.

For June, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2007 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately
AFRICA 27,000

Except:Egypt:21,800Ethiopia:18,900Nigeria:

14,600

ASIA 6,800
EUROPE 19,000 Except:Ukraine

11,850

NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 7
OCEANIA 1,100
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 1,750

Entitlement to immigrant status in the DV category lasts only through the end of the fiscal (visa) year for which the applicant is selected in the lottery. The year of entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2007 program ends as of September 30, 2007. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2007 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2007 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2007. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2007 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

C. ADVANCE NOTIFICATION OF THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN JULY

For July, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2007 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately
AFRICA 35,500

Except:Egypt:22,600Ethiopia 22,900

Nigeria 16,150

ASIA 7,750
EUROPE 23,000 Except:
Ukraine 13,000
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 12
OCEANIA 1,800
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 2,500

D. EMPLOYMENT THIRD PREFERENCE “OTHER WORKER” CATEGORY FOR JUNE

A few “Other Worker” numbers which had been allocated for April were returned unused at the end of the month. As a result, a very small June allocation has been possible, for applicants with priority dates before October 1, 2001. The category will become “Unavailable” once again beginning in July and will remain so for the remainder of FY-2007.

E. EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA AVAILABILITY DURING THE COMING MONTHS

The current level of demand in many of the Employment-based categories has been much lower than anticipated. As a result, the June cut-off dates have been advanced significantly in an effort to maximize number use under the annual numerical limits. At this time it appears likely that there will be additional advances during the coming months.

All readers should be aware that such cut-off date movements should allow for action to be finalized on a significant number of Citizenship and Immigration Services adjustment of status cases. Once that level of demand begins to exceed the supply of available numbers it will be necessary to make “adjustments” to the cut-off dates. At this time is in not possible to estimate when this is likely to occur, but it is expected.

Posted on January 27, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

The possibility of comprehensive immigration reform has been in the forefront of the news for the last several months. Thousands of people in the United States are currently waiting for developments in immigration law. Even more, who are in the United States illegally, believe the passing of new laws will lead to amnesty or eventual citizenship.

Waiting for a new law to pass, however, may prevent you from obtaining immigration benefits now, and may even lead to possible denials of immigration status in the future. Those who are hoping for “amnesty” may find it more productive to begin their immigration cases now, since there are many ways of obtaining a green card in the U.S., even for those here illegally.

If you are married to a U.S. citizen or have relatives who are citizens, there may be different avenues available to you today that would make you eligible to receive your permanent residency. If you have been a victim of persecution in your home country, you may be eligible for asylum. If you have been in the U.S. for a certain length of time, you may also be eligible for immigration status. These are just a few examples of the groups of people who can begin their immigration cases today so that they may obtain permanent residency.

More important, there are many people who are waiting for immigration reform to pass believing that this will provide them a clear and free path to citizenship. This is simply not the case. In fact, many people who have legal options available to them now, may lose those options should any immigration reform be passed in the future. Furthermore, while it is likely that one day immigration reform may pass, we have no idea what benefits, if any, it would provide.

Rather than wait for an amnesty that may never arrive, take steps today to obtain legal status in the United States. Meanwhile, if any immigration reform is passed before your case is completed, there will be less of a chance that your status will be compromised. Finally, simply waiting and not taking any action is almost never a good idea.

For more information about immigration news, immigration laws, immigration policies, proposed immigration laws, border enforcement, green cards, citizenship, employment visas, family visas, naturalization, and other immigration subjects, please visit Immigration Law Answers and DFW Immigration Law Blog.

Posted on December 6, 2006 by Robert A. Kraft

(For simplicity, we will use the word “fiance” whether speaking of a male or a female.)

Bringing your fiance to the U.S. for marriage will require some sort of visa for him or her. In the United States, the only visa available for the purpose of marriage is a fiance visa (K-1 visa). Unfortunately, there is no other visa available for those who want to enter the U.S. in order to get married.

In order to file a petition for your fiance to enter the U.S. on a K-1 visa, the following requirements must be met:

1. You must be a U.S. citizen.2. You must have met with your fiance in person within the previous two years.3. Both you and your fiance are legally free to marry.4. You meet certain minimum income requirements.5. Your fiance does not have a criminal record.

6. Your fiance has not violated certain U.S. immigration laws.

You may also apply (on the same petition) to bring your fiance’s unmarried children, who are under age 21, to the United States. Legal permanent residents may not file petitions for fiance visas, although they may petition for the immigration of their new spouse after the wedding

Once the visa petition is filed in the U.S., it takes approximately four to six months to obtain approval. Once the petition is approved, an interview will be scheduled for your fiance in his or her home country. If the case is approved, your fiance will be issued a K-1 visa in their passport.

Your fiance must remain unmarried until the arrival of the fiance in the United States. The marriage must take place within 90 days of your fiance entering the United States. If the marriage does not take place within 90 days or your fiance marries someone other than you (the U.S. citizen filing the petition), your fiance will be required to leave the United States.

Finally, many people who intend on marrying in the United States try to obtain a tourist visa to enter the U.S. since the time it takes to obtain a tourist visa may be much less than that of a fiance visa. However, if someone marries while visiting you on one of those visas, their legal status in the USA will be questionable, and they may be refused permanent resident status on the basis of visa fraud if Immigration Services believes that their aim of visiting United States was simply for marrying a U.S. Citizen.

The decision by the Supreme Court will certainly reduce the number of people who are deported from the United States each year for minor drug offenses. The Supreme Court also made it easier for some immigrants convicted of drug possession under state law to remain in the country.

For more information about immigration news, immigration laws, immigration policies, proposed immigration laws, border enforcement, green cards, citizenship, employment visas, family visas, naturalization, and other immigration subjects, please visit Immigration Law Answers and DFW Immigration Law Blog.

Posted on August 8, 2006 by Robert A. Kraft

According to a news report from Bloomberg, the Bush administration may change some immigration rules to make it easier for Cubans with relatives in the U.S. to enter the country. Quoting from the article:

The administration also is considering refusing visa applications from any Cuban caught trying to sneak into the U.S. by sea. Under the current policy, such people aren’t penalized if they later apply for a visa, the officials said.

The U.S. seeks to curb any surge of Cubans to the U.S. following Fidel Castro’s handoff of power. The 79-year-old dictator fell ill last week and temporarily turned control of the Caribbean nation over to his brother, Raul. President George W. Bush yesterday urged Cubans to pull away from Castro’s “tyrannical” grip and create a new government.

“The U.S. realizes that the unfolding events in Cuba might potentially lead to an immigration crisis,” said Paolo Spadoni, a professor at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, who specializes in Cuban issues.

White House spokesman Tony Snow confirmed today that the administration is thinking about “what might happen” in Cuba and how the U.S. should respond. Still, he said there’s been no change in policy, and the administration is urging Cubans “to stay put.”