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Yes, it is possible for your Green Card to expire before your request to become a naturalized U.S. citizen has received final approval. That’s not what you may want to hear, but it an unfortunate situation that has become more and more common.

It just doesn’t seem right. But, neither does the increasing number of people who accidentally drop their cell phones in a toilet.

Surprisingly the two problems share enough similarities that they are worthy of at least a cursory comparison.

  • Both situations happen accidentally.
  • Both situations create a lot of anxiety.
  • Neither situation is “the end of the world,” although they may feel like it.
  • Only one of the situations can be completely avoided. (Don’t take your cell phone into a bathroom!)

USCIS instructions for Green Card holders

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) instructions direct Green Card holders who wish to apply for U.S. Citizenship to do so “90 calendar days before you complete your permanent residence requirement.”

The problem isn’t you. It is the system. Ninety days may no longer be an adequate length of time to process your application for citizenship – even if you have been careful to follow instructions completely.

U.S. citizenship application backlog

For whatever reasons, the system has been unable to keep pace with the number of applications received.

  • In fiscal year 2010, some 710,544 applications for citizenship were received.
  • In fiscal year 2017, that number rose to 986,790. That’s an increase of 38.8%
  • In fiscal year 2010, some 676,054 applications were processed, leaving a backlog of 291,833 yet to be completed
  • In fiscal year 2017, that number rose to 799,483 an increase, but an increase of only 18.3% less than half the increase in applications.
  • As a result, there have been increasing backlogs at the end of every fiscal year since 2010 with the exception of 2013 and 2015.
  • The backlog alone at the end of Q2 2018 now stands at 753,325, 258% more than the backlog of 291,833 in fiscal 2010.

The bottom line is that, even though the USCIS has expanded several of its offices to help improve the process flow, the department currently cannot keep pace.

We cannot predict what the future will hold. However, if you are concerned that your Green Card may expire before your application for citizenship is approved, we may be able to help to eliminate your anxiety and even help move your application along more expeditiously.

Our ACS Immigration Attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience and expertise. We are available to review your personal situation, advise you on the best and right way to resolve your status, and guide you throughout the entire process to make your future in America secure.

Published in Immigration
Thursday, 14 June 2018 09:35

Immigrating? Tell the Truth

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on June 8, 2018, that it is expanding its efforts to find, denaturalize, and deport “a few thousand cases” of immigrants who fraudulently obtained their Green Cards and, in some cases, applied for and became naturalized.

Immigrating? Tell the Truth

As the federal government continues its crackdown on illegal immigration, L. Francis Cissna, the Director of the USCIS, explained that the department would be adding several dozen attorneys and officers who will be focused on one particular group of illegal immigrants of which the general public is largely unaware.

Those people are a select group Green Card holders and naturalized citizens who used a specific, fraudulent act to outwit the government. It is the same technique that some continue to use to gain employment fraudulently.

This group is comprised of people who, having been ordered for deportation, reapplied successfully by using fake identities. Poultry processors in the Midwest have experienced this same tactic for job applicants who have been turned away. They return days or weeks later with a new identity. If they are discovered, they are not hired. Or, if hired then discovered, they are terminated. When it comes to those who have used this practice to immigrate, they can expect to be charged with felony fraud and imprisoned prior to deportation.

The USCIS has been aware of this activity for years, but this will be the first time they will have an entire department focused on finding the miscreants. It will take about six months to get the Los Angeles office up and running. Nonetheless, the agency already has a process in place “to get to the bottom of all these bad cases and start denaturalizing people who should not have been naturalized in the first place.”

Why are we sharing this information?

  1. Immigrants who have legally obtained their Green Cards or have become naturalized should not be concerned. The government has a relatively good idea who the perpetrators are. Director Cissna said, “The people who are going to be targeted by this - they know full well who they are because they were ordered removal under a different identity and they intentionally lied about it when they applied for citizenship later on.”
  2. Some undocumented immigrants in the U.S. may be tempted to secure legal immigration using fraudulent activities. We urge these people to contact us to help gain immigrant status legally. We may be able to assist you with gaining asylum so that you can obtain legal status and peace of mind.

Our Immigration Attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience and expertise. We are available to review your situation and advise you on the best and right way to resolve your tenuous status.

Published in Immigration

I also wanted to talk a little bit abut complications of getting a green card and keeping a green card through marriage.

Let’s assume that you’ve been given a temporary green card through marriage, most of the green cards that you’ll be given will be for a two year period. If you’ve been married for less than two years when you apply for the green card then your green card will be temporary and you’ll have to apply at the two year mark or shortly before the two year mark for a removal of the temporary condition to get a permanent green card.

This means you have to be married with the same person who assisted you in getting your green card in the first place.

Sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn’t happen – generally the safest way is to remain married to your husband or wife and you can apply together for the removal of your green card.

However, there are certain times when the marriage isn’t working out. Not anybody’s fault, it just isn’t working out, but you can still get a green card. What you should remember is try and be together as long as you can for a minimum of 6 or 8 months or if not a year, a year and a half. You should be collecting documentation that will show that you have been living together. Suggested documentation that should continue to collect and save would be joint bank accounts that are used, joint credit cards that are used, drivers insurance covering two people, drivers license showing the same address, health insurance covering two people, income tax returns for a two year period.

Now, all of this goes part of the way towards indicating that the marriage, while it lasted, was a valid marriage.

Without this, you may have a difficult time convincing the immigration officials (who may be interviewing you when you apply for a removal of your conditional or temporary green card) you may have a difficult time convincing them that your marriage is a real marriage so it’s important to collect documents.

Now, let’s say the marriage is not working out and you want to apply for a removal of your conditional – if the marriage is not working out you should apply for divorce, and actually a divorce should be completed before you file. My own suggestion would be try and keep the marriage going but if it doesn’t go, don’t file until you’re divorced, don’t file while you’re filing for divorce – file when you’ve completed your divorce.

I don’t know what the logic of this is, but it is immigration law that states this.

In any case, the importance of marriage, maintaining the marriage during this period is extremely important and necessary.

Now, let’s say you marry somebody. Your husband or wife helps you get a green card. Three or four months later, you meet somebody else – maybe your marriage isn’t that firm. You fall in love with somebody else and you think, ‘well, I can divorce right away and my second husband or my second wife will assist me in getting a green card.’

This is a no-no because it is the fist marriage that counts. Not the second, the third marriage, it’s only the first marriage that counts.

The USCIS wants to be at least certain that your first marriage was valid, was a real marriage and… if it’s not, if it doesn’t last that long, you may have some problems.

In no case should you get divorced and marry somebody else too quickly with the expectation or the thought that its okay that the first marriage is not working out, the second marriage will be sufficient or will be enough to get me a green card. This is not the case.

Oh yes, another thing I wanted to mention was when should you marry?

Let’s say you come to the united states and you come on a visitors visa, a B1,B2 visa. Should you get married right away and apply for a green card? The answer is definitely no because if you come on a visitor visa, you get married too quickly, immigration department has the suspicion that you were lying – that your real intention was not to be a visitor, a tourist, but was just to get a visitor or a tourist visa to come over here with the intention of marrying somebody.

That’s considered dual intention and is considered to be a misrepresentation. So, if you are in the situation where you are coming over on a B1,B2 visa, and you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, my strategic advice would be don’t marry too weekly. Wait at least 60, even more, 75 days before you get married and then apply for a green card because if you get married too quickly before thirty days, the presumption is that you had intent to marry when you came over on a tourist visa.

More than thirty days is a lot safer but in my view not safe enough. My own advice to my clients is don’t get married before 60 or even better 75 days before you come. That would be the safest time to get married.

Now, how did you meet your husband or wife? There’s nothing wrong with meeting on the internet. Traditionally, the most common way you met your husband or wife was through parties, through friends, through church, synagogue, mosque but now the more common way most of my clients (I won’t say most, but many) meet on the internet and there is nothing wrong with this.

Immigration department officials know that this is the way people meet and get married so there is nothing wrong if you are on the internet looking for a Russian wife or a Chinese wife or a Russian or Chinese husband – absolutely nothing wrong with that.

They key thing when you do marry, however you meet your husband or your wife, the key thing is to make absolutely certain to try and make the marriage last as long as possible. These are the major difficult points which I think you should be aware of. I am happy when anyone consults with me to give them further advice or further information on specific situations but these are the key critical danger and difficult points.

Thank you very much.

Published in Immigration

One other possible way to get a green card is through employment and a common way to get a green card is to start off being transferred by your own company in China, Russia, or Ukraine to the United States.

They transfer you to open up a new branch or to open up a new office in the United States and you can apply for what’s called an L1 Visa. This can usually lead to a green card if the company is successful.

One of the things that you should always remember if you are applying or considering or an L1 Visa: you must be an employee in an executive position of your company in Russia or in China; the company must be transferring you to open up an office, to start an office, and the company must be a successful company. If you have a grocery store in China, that’s not going to get you an L1 Visa.

Your company in China or in Russia must be a large, successful company with many employees, with profits that can be indicated by bank accounts, money in the bank and by paying income taxes. If you’re thinking about opening your own company and applying for an L1 that probably will not work out. The best way to do it is if your large Chinese, Russian or Ukrainian company transfers you to the United States to open up an office.

If you succeed, you’ll usually be given an L1 for 1, 2 or 3 years. It will be a temporary L1 because USCIS wants to see how well your company is doing.

If your company is not succeeding very well, if it’s not increasing its income or its number of employees it has, generally the application for an extension of the L1, there’s a good chance it will be denied because the company has not thrived in the United States, so to speak.

If you’re thinking about an L1, think ahead and plan ahead – don’t just plan for 1 year or 2 years, plan ahead for the likelihood or the definite possibility that your company will be successful and that you will be hiring several or numerous other people. If you’re opening up your own company and there’s only one person, (you) or two people, (you and the secretary) plan ahead so that in one year or two years you’ll have 4 or 5 others that you’ll be supervising and your bank account for the company in the United States will be growing.

Once again, the important thing is that the company that transfers you must be a successful company – you must have had at least one years experience in an executive position or a technical position and the company must be transferring you to open up an office here in the United States. It helps if the company can be incorporated although partnerships or sole proprietorships can also sponsor the L1. In my experience, I usually encourage the Russian or Chinese company to set up a corporation – either in Delaware or in California so that the new company will be a corporate company.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017 07:56

The Easiest Way to Get Green Card: Marriage

Good afternoon. I’d like to introduce myself first. I am Allan Samson. I am an immigration attorney and I am also a professor in the San Francisco Bay Area. I do two things. I specialized in several aspects in immigration law and I’d like to talk about those aspects now.

First I am going to consider getting a green card. You can get a green card in several ways. The easiest way is through a job or through family relationship. Family relationship I mean marriage to a U.S. citizen; by getting a job I mean getting a job which is in generally short supply with another considered not being qualified Americans and the international business person, or international employee has a chance to get a green card in this way. So let’s take one step at a time.

First, immigration to family law. As I mentioned the easiest way perhaps marriage to an American citizen but it’s also the most dangerous way. If I am going to give you one piece of advice that you should remember is: Your marriage must be a valid bona fide marriage, must not be entered into only for immigration purpose to get a green card. Because if USCIS determines that your marriage is a false marriage or a fake marriage, this can permanently prevent you from ever coming into the United States again for the rest of your life. I know you are smart but the immigration officials are probably just as smart as you are. And they had years of experience learning how to interview you, learning for situations where hesitance is involved, where you are not too sure of your answer, and follow up with secondary questions which will further leading you into a trap. The trap in admission or they are feeling somehow your marriage is a fake marriage, this is probably a real marriage but it’s a fake marriage. Other things they are known to do is not to give you a decision right away, tell you this decision will be come later on. And call you in for a second interview which they separate you from your wife or from your husband.

They ask you the same questions only you don’t know the questions are asked to your husband or your wife. And they want to see if you answer them the same way. For example, what did you have for dinner the night before? Where do you sleep? Do you sleep in the same room? Do you sleep in one bed or two beds? If you sleep in one bed, what’s side the bed you are on? Where is your toothpaste located? Is there a television in your bedroom? If so where is the television set? Is there a nightstand next to your bed? If so is it on your husband’s side, your wife’s side, or both sides? All of those questions if the couple does not actually live together they are gonna make mistakes. They will not be able to answer the questions consistently. Other similar questions might be: What was the last movie you saw? What was the last restaurant you went to? Or who cooked dinner the night before the interview? What did you have for dinner? Who usually goes to bed first? So as you can see all these questions if you actually are married in a valid marriage and you actually are living together, you do not really have to think, the quick answers come naturally. Honesty is the best policy. Honesty is the policy which does not arise any suspicion. If you are not married or if it’s not a real marriage or if it’s a pretended marriage, you probably will not be able to answer these questions consistently. And this will call for usually a second interview. Sometimes before or after the second interview, USCIS will do a surprise visit to your house at 5 or 6 in the morning to see if you are really home, if you are really living together with your husband or wife. So you can see all these are dangerous points. Well if I can give you one single piece of advice: Do not marry just for immigration purpose. It’s likely that you will be caught. It’s likely that your answers will be inconsistent. And as I said before if UCISC determines that your marriage is a fraud marriage, it will probably prevent you from not only ever getting a green card but will probably prevent you from ever coming back to the United States. So that’s dangerous point.

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