Green Card Approved for Same Sex Marriage Adjustment of Status for Laguna Client
We recently received an approval for a marriage-based adjustment of status for a Laguna Beach client. He had been in the US for almost ten years. He was the victim of attorney fraud in another state and he pursued a U visa based on extortion among other crimes. He moved to California and hired another immigration attorney to handle the U visa, but he did not fulfill his promises and the U visa case languished for several years.
Originally, he hired me to take over the U visa case. While I was representing him in the U visa case, the laws on same sex marriage changed when the Windsor decision was announced. At that point, I advised that my client and his long-time partner could marry and he could adjust his status to lawful permanent resident. The couple married (as they had wanted to do for some time), and we started the adjustment of status process. A few months later, we attended an interview at the Santa Ana office of USCIS. I was afraid that the age difference between the two men would be problematic, but the officer did not raise serious objections in that regard. She asked my clients standard questions which they were prepared to answer. At the close of the interview the officer advised that she was inclined to approve the case, but she needed to receive the U visa file from the Vermont Service Center of USCIS. She told me Vermont would not transfer an open file, so we should withdraw the U visa case on our own. My client was initially reluctant to withdraw the U visa case, because we did not have any guarantee that USCIS would approve the marriage-based green card. I explained that I trusted the officer not to sabotage us like that and we really did not have many options for keeping the U visa pending while we awaited a decision on the adjustment of status.
We withdrew the U visa case, and within 60 days the USCIS officer in Santa Ana approved the green card. My client received his conditional resident card this week. Now, he and his husband can live in Laguna Beach and know they do not need to worry about deportation. He can work legally in the US and even visit his family in his home country for the first time in many years. He can introduce his spouse to his family in person as well.
If you are in a same-sex marriage and considering the adjustment of status process, contact Nelson & Nuñez to schedule a consultation. Nelson & Nuñez will personally meet with you privately to discuss your options and how we can help. We have worked with many LGBT clients with many different types of immigration cases such as U visas, marriage, domestic violence and asylum.
Categories: adjustment of status, green card, I-130, I-485, immigraton attorney, Laguna Beach, LGBT, Orange County, same sex marriage, U visa, visa petition, Windsor
I recently attended an adjustment of status interview for one of my Mission Viejo clients. He entered the US on a visitor visa more than ten years ago. Then, he changed status to an F-1 student visa. In 2009, he met his future wife while registering for classes. The couple dated for almost a year before deciding to get married. Four years later they came to see me seeking help with the adjustment of status process.
We collected documentation to prove that their relationship was entered into in good faith. Three months after we filed the I-130 visa petition and I-485 application to adjust status packet with USCIS, our interview went forward. The interview was handled by a veteran officer that I’ve worked with on several occasions. He was friendly and efficient and asked a handful of questions about how the couple met and how the relationship progressed. Everything went smooth, and, by the end, we received an approval notice. Our client should receive his green card within the next few weeks.
Because the couple had been married for over two years at the time of the interview, the husband will receive a permanent resident card without conditions. This means he will not need to file an I-751 petition to remove conditions in two years. He will be eligible to naturalize in three years.
If you are considering a marriage-based green card case, contact Nelson & Nuñez to schedule a consultation. Every year we help a dozen or more couples navigate the complicated marriage-based visa process whether the foreign-born spouse lives in the US or abroad. Nelson & Nuñez will personally meet with you to help you better understand the process and how we can help.
Categories: adjustment of status, green card, I-130, I-485, immigration lawyer, marriage to US citizen, Mission Viejo, Orange County, USCIS, visa petition
Immediate Relatives of Armed Services Members (Active and Veterans) May Be Eligible for Adjustment of Status Despite Illegal Entry Into The United States
The Military Parole in Place process has been in effect for many years. Under the MPIP system, the spouses, children and parents of active duty armed forces members were eligible to adjust status to lawful permanent residency despite illegal entry into the US. As a general rule, any individual who illegally entered the US is ineligible for adjustment of status unless he is 245i eligible. The MPIP program was put in place to help active duty military members keep their families united.
For years the MPIP program was limited to active duty armed forces, selected reserve and ready reserve; however, in November 2013 the program was expanded to veterans as well. The USCIS memo states that “our veterans, who have served and sacrificed for our nation, can face stress and anxiety because of the immigration status of their family members in the United States. We as a nation have made a commitment to our veterans, to support and care for them. It is a commitment that begins at enlistment, and continues as they become veterans.”
This is a huge change that could effect many undocumented aliens. If you entered the US illegally and your parent, child or spouse is a veteran of the armed forces, selected reserve or ready reserve, you might be eligible to adjust status to lawful permanent resident (assuming you are otherwise eligible for a green card). “Absent a criminal conviction or other serious adverse factors, parole in place would generally be an appropriate exercise of discretion for such an individual.”
The parole in place program can help an alien avoid the I-601 or I-601A extreme hardship waiver process which can be more expensive and require travel to the alien’s home country for consular processing. If you are in the US illegally and are married to an active duty or veteran armed forces member, or if your son or daughter is an active duty or veteran armed forces member, contact Nelson & Nuñez to discuss the possibility of parole in place and adjustment of status. The process is complicated and we will need more information before we can assess your eligibility, but Nelson & Nuñez will meet with you during a confidential one-on-one consultation to evaluate your position.
Categories: 245i, adjustment of status, I-485, i-601, immigration lawyer, marriage, Military, military parole in place, spouse, waiver
We just received an approval for one of our VAWA domestic violence cases. This was the fastest approval I’ve received in the last several (maybe five) years. We filed the VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) I-360 with the Vermont Service Center in late March 2014, and we received the approval less than four months later. In most cases, it takes USCIS a year to adjudicate an I-360 case.
For a VAWA case, the self-petitioner must prove that she was marred a US citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse in good faith and she was the victim of domestic violence or extreme emotional abuse.
In this case, our client had a child with her ex-husband, so we felt confident that good faith marriage would not be an issue. The abuse was more difficult to prove. The ex-husband was never arrested for his abuse, and she did not get a restraining order against him. He had a history of domestic abuse with a previous wife, so we used that as probative evidence. We also had written statements from our client’s co-workers explaining that the ex-husband would often spy on her while she was at work. He would get drunk at her work as well. She filed one police report regarding his abuse, but the report did not say much. The ex-husband also used her immigration status as leverage as a way to manipulate her into obeying his demands.
We helped her draft a written statement explaining how they met, when the abuse started, and how it progressed. We also had her evaluated by a psychiatrist and he issued a report on how the abuse has affected her.
I was surprised we received the approval so soon. The client, who resides in Mission Viejo, was thrilled by the good news. The next step will be an adjustment of status interview in Santa Ana. Because we filed the I-485 adjustment of status application concurrently with the I-360, USCIS should transfer the file to Santa Ana soon. The interview should be rather straightforward because my client does not have any inadmissibility bars that would prevent her from obtaining a green card. Even though she entered the US without inspection or admission, that will not bar her from obtaining a green card because this is a VAWA case. I expect the interview to move forward in the next 2-4 months.
If you are the victim of domestic violence, contact Nelson & Nuñez to schedule a consultation. Nelson & Nuñez works with male and female victims of domestic violence so they can secure their immigration status in the United States, and we would be happy to help you better understand the process.
Categories: adjustment of status, domestic abuse, domestic violence, good faith marriage, I-360, I-485, Mission Viejo, Santa Ana, USCIS, VAWA, Vermont Service Center
I recently attended an interview for a marriage-based adjustment of status for an Irvine client. He entered the US on an F-1 student visa in 2008. He graduated and received his Bachelor’s degree, then pursued a Master’s degree. In 2012, he met his future wife and the couple began dating. They moved in eight months later. Earlier this year, the couple married and came to see me about the adjustment of status process.
We helped them collect the necessary evidence to prove good faith marriage including utility bills, apartment leases and joint insurance among other things. We filed the I-130 visa petition and I-485 adjustment of status application concurrently along with the other required forms and evidence. Within four months, the interview in Santa Ana was scheduled. I prepared them for the interview beforehand and advised them on what to expect. We brought additional evidence to prove good faith marriage when we attended the interview. Everything went smoothly at the interview. My clients knew which questions would be asked and they were calm and prepared. At the conclusion of the interview, the USCIS officer approved the case.
Because the marriage was less than two years old at the time the green card was approved, my client will receive a conditional resident card that is valid for two years. He will need to file the I-751 petition to remove conditions in two years.
The couple was very pleased with the result. They plan to travel to my client’s home country and have a large wedding in the Catholic Church in a few months. They’re even more excited about the honeymoon.
If you are considering the marriage-based green card process, contact Nelson & Nuñez to schedule a consultation. Every year we represent more than a dozen marriage-based green card cases at the Santa Ana, Los Angeles and San Bernardino offices of USCIS. Nelson & Nuñez will personally meet with you to assess whether your case is eligible for adjustment of status or consular processing.
Categories: : adjustment of status, good faith marriage, green card, I-130, I-485, Irvine, marriage, Santa Ana, USCIS, visa petition
Jay authors these blog postings. Please contact Jay with any questions.