Frequently Asked Questions
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I want to become a Permanent Resident of the U.S. How do I get my Green Card?
Typically, you can adjust status to becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) through either a family member or an employer. The process through a family member will depend on whether your family member is a US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, whether you are considered an immediate relative, or whether you fall into another family “preference immigrant” category. The category of family preference can significantly affect your ability to become a Permanent Resident as well as the timeline for doing so.
To adjust status through your employer will usually involve filing for labor certification, requiring the employer to show that it cannot get the qualified workers it needs domestically.
I am applying for Naturalization, but never registered for selective service. Will my application be denied?
How USCIS addresses failure to register for selective service depends on a number of factors, most significant being your age at the time you established permanent residency and your age at the time you apply for naturalization.
A man between the ages of 18 and 26 is expected to register for the Selective Services within 30 days of his 18th birthday. This requirement applies to any male residing in the United States from the time the immigrant establishes permanent residency. Those in the United States on non-immigrant visas are not required to register, nor are women.
If you established permanent residency after the age of 26, there is no requirement for you to have registered and it will not be an issue in the naturalization process. If you are under the age of 26 at the time you apply for naturalization, you can correct the problem by registering for Selective Service, now.
If you established permanent residency between the ages of 18-26, but failed to register for Selective Service and you are now between the ages of 26 and 31, you are now too old to correct the problem by registering late. If you “knowingly and willfully failed to register” or refused to register for Selective Service, you should expect to have your application for Naturalization denied. If the omission was innocent or unknowingly, then you now bear the burden of proving that to USCIS with a showing of good moral character. An immigration attorney can help you present the best evidence of this or may advise you to wait on filing until you are able to establish stronger evidence of good moral character in an effort to avoid a denial.
If you were between the ages of 18 and 26 when you established permanent residency, but are now over the age of 31 when applying for naturalization, the failure to register, alone, likely will not result in a denial. This is because the USCIS looks to a statutory five-year period prior to the application being submitted and approved when establishing good moral character. Because you are now five or more years outside of the age range in which registration for selective service is possible, the failure to register should no longer be counted against you.
I came to the U.S. on a B2 Visa. Can I get married while I am here and then become a permanent resident of the U.S.?
It depends. Entering the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa with the intention of getting married and applying for permanent residency is visa fraud. This will typically result in the foreign national being placed in removal proceedings.
If the visitor entered the U.S. and later, after entering, decided to get married, then you may be able to adjust status (apply for a Green Card). Your likelihood of success will depend on numerous factors, such as how long after entry you got married and what evidence you have to prove that your intention on entry was to remain in the U.S. only as a visitor and depart prior to expiration of your visa. An experienced immigration attorney can advise you on the shifting burdens of proof you face depending on the facts of your situation as well as what evidence you will need to overcome that burden.
What is required to sponsor my family member to immigrate to the United States?
Family-based immigrants fall into one of two categories: immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or relatives eligible through the family preference system. Immediate relatives are: 1) spouses of U.S. citizens; 2) unmarried minor children of U.S. citizens (under 21 years-old); and 3) parents of U.S. citizens (petitioner must be at least 21 years-old to petition for a parent).
To be admitted through the family-based immigration system, a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident must petition for an eligible individual relative, establish the legitimacy of the relationship, meet minimum income requirements, and sign an affidavit of support stating that the sponsor will be financially responsible for the family member(s) upon arrival in the United States. The preference system includes: 1) adult children (married and unmarried) and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (petitioner must be at least 21 years-old to petition for a sibling), and 2) spouses and unmarried children (minor and adult) of Lawful Permanent Residents.
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Law Office of Rebecca L. Bartlett
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Disclaimer: The information on this web site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should contact an attorney for advice on your individual situation. Contacting the Law Office of Rebecca L. Bartlett does not create an attorney-client relationship.