Denver Family Immigration Lawyer
Honest ♦ Transparent ♦ Accessible
Specialists in Family Immigration Law w/ Custom Technology
We are specialists in family-based immigration cases and assist families in all 50 states process their family-based green card applications. We have developed a proprietary software platform to help us prepare your case for an affordable price wherever you live.
Fundamental Beliefs and Values
We believe in family unity, and we are proud to fight to keep families together in the United States. Unfortunately, many feel obligated to file their case without the assistance of an attorney because of the high legal fees quoted to them by other immigration firms. Our mission is to provide critical legal representation at reasonable rates everyone can afford. We enjoy sharing in the celebration of a successful outcome. Because we specialize in family-based immigration cases, we are uniquely suited to represent families during this critical legal process.
Adjustment of Status
“Adjustment of status” is the process of becoming a legal resident of the United States while already in the United States. For most people, this is the best option to immigrate available if they qualify.
Consular processing is the way of obtaining US legal resident status after an interview at a US embassy abroad. It may be required for family members who do not qualify for adjustment of status.
The fiancé(e) visa is obtained after an interview at a US embassy abroad. The immigrant fiancé(e) must marry the US citizen within 90 days of entry to the United States, and then apply for adjustment of status.
Petition to Remove Conditions
Conditional permanent residents are required to apply to remove the conditions on their status or they face removal.
Asylum One Year Filing Deadline
Asylum cases must generally be filed within one year of last entry to the United States. Otherwise, they may be denied for late filing. Unless you tell us you “fear” returning to your country, we will not discuss this option with you.
90 Day Presumption of Fraud
Actions taken within 90 days of entry to the United States, such as marrying a US citizen and starting to reside with that person, or taking a job, etc., may be viewed as potential evidence of fraud at the time of entry to the United States. This could cause problems for your case, and may ultimately result in the denial of your case and removal from the United States.
Aging Out of Children
If you have a child or children who may need to immigrate to the US, you should discuss options with the attorney immediately. There are several deadlines that may prevent a child from immigrating, and it is important to be aware of your options. For example, when a child turns twenty one years old or marries, the US citizen parent can no longer petition for that child as an “immediate relative” – therefore, it is said that the child “ages out” when the child turns twenty one and a petition has not been filed. In such a case, there may be no other ways to legally immigrate available to the child. Also, stepchild/stepparent relationships do count for immigration purposes in most cases, however, the relationship will not be considered legally sufficient unless the marriage establishing the stepparent/ stepchild relationship is entered into prior to the eighteenth birthday of the child.
An immigrant starts to accrue unlawful presence in the United States if the person is over 18 years old and remains in the United States past the period of authorized stay. If the person accrues 180 days or more of unlawful presence and then departs from the United States, the person triggers the 3 year bar to admission. If the person accrues one year or more of unlawful presence and then departs from the United States, the person triggers the 10 year bar to admission. If the person accrues a total period of unlawful presence in the aggregate (meaning during multiple trips) of one year or more of unlawful presence and then departs from the United States, the person also triggers the 10 year bar to admission. If the adjustment of status application is properly filed, the period of unlawful presence generally will be tolled during the time the application is pending. You should attempt to file your case prior to accruing 180 days of unlawful presence, or one year of unlawful presence in the aggregate, if you already have 180 days of unlawful presence. That way, if your case is denied, and you must leave the United States, you will avoid bars to readmission for unlawful presence. Please provide us all necessary information and documents well in advance of any deadlines in your case to ensure your case is timely filed. Keep in mind that we may require several weeks to prepare your case after we receive everything required to file from you.
90 Day Window to File Petition to Remove Conditions
If you receive a two year green card, you have “conditional” residence. In such a case, you must file for permanent residence within the 90 day window prior to the expiration of the two year card, or you may be deported. We will not remind you of this date and the renewal is not included in our services. If you are considering hiring us to help you with the required application, please contact us six months before the expiration of the two year card.
Responsibilities of a Permanent Resident
There are several important responsibilities a lawful permanent resident must be aware of. Also, there are several risk factors for losing permanent resident status and being deported. Post approval obligations/ information can be found below.
Renewal Work Authorization Requests
For lengthly cases, renewal work permits/ advance parole requests should be requested well in advance of the expiration date. Otherwise, there may be a gap in travel and employment authorization, and you may be terminated. We charge $250 for renewal work permits ($350 for a renewal work permit/ advance parole request for pending adjustment of status cases before USCIS). If you would like our assistance, you should contact us six months in advance of the expiration date.
NVC Termination Proceedings and Loss of Filing Fees
For consular processing cases, once a case is at the National Visa Center and there is an available visa, it is important to quickly submit all required documents and communicate with the NVC. If a year passes, filing fess paid for the DS-260 and Affidavit of Support will be lost, and you will need to repay them. Also, once a year passes, the NVC will initiate termination proceedings to terminate the approval of the Form I-130. If that happens, the I-130 will need to be filed again, if still possible. We encourage all clients to quickly work with us to process their cases without delay. We do not assist clients to respond to NVC termination letters.
POST APPROVAL OBLIGATIONS
So you have become a permanent resident. Now what? What are your post approval obligations?
There are several important considerations for any lawful permanent resident of the United States.
Conditional Permanent Residency
If you were granted a two year permanent resident card, your status as a lawful permanent resident is conditional. This means that you must file a Form I – 751 petition for removal of conditions in the period beginning 90 days prior to the two year card expiring. It must not be filed early, and must not be filed late – i.e., after the card expires, or you risk termination of status and removal from the United States.
- Jointly Filed Petitions: Form I – 751 is considered jointly filed when, at the time of filing, the US citizen and conditional resident are still married and both sign the petition. The couple should also be living together, or it is strongly recommended that an attorney is retained to help with the filing. Frequently, in jointly-filed cases, particularly when a sufficient amount of evidence is submitted with the filing, the couple does not have to appear for an interview.
- Widows/ Widowers: Form I -751 may be filed by the widow(er) of the US citizen if the marriage was entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading immigration laws. The widow(er) will be required to show proof that the US citizen petitioner has deceased and evidence of the good faith marriage.
- Divorce or Annulment: Form I – 751 may be filed by a permanent resident who has since divorced the US citizen spouse. The divorce must be final and the permanent resident will be required to demonstrate that he or she entered the marriage in good faith and not for the purposes of committing immigration fraud. It is strongly recommended that an attorney is retained to help file this case type.
- Battery or Extreme Cruelty: Form I – 751 may be filed by a lawful permanent resident who was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by his or her US citizen spouse. Divorce is not require to meet this standard. It is strongly recommended that an attorney is retained to help file this case type.
- Form I – 751 may be filed if the conditional permanent resident can demonstrate that he or she will suffer an “extreme hardship” if he or she is removed. There are many complex issues surrounding this waiver. It is strongly recommended that an attorney is retained to help file this case type.
Selective Service Registration
If you are a male between the ages of 18 and 26, you must register for the Selective Service within 30 days of becoming a permanent resident. Visit www.sss.gov.
Change of Address for Immigrant or Sponsor
As a permanent resident, you are required to notify USCIS of a change of address within 10 days of moving using Form AR-11. This is important as you could technically face removal from the United States if this is not done. Willful failure to update your address is also a misdemeanor crime. The financial sponsor(s) must also notify USCIS of any change in address using Form I – 865. Both forms can be found at www.uscis.gov.
Travel Outside of the United States
You should never travel outside of the United States without your passport and your permanent resident card.
If you plan on traveling outside of the United States for six months or more (or if you will be taking several extended trips outside of the United States, or establishing employment or a place of residence outside of the United States), you should apply for a reentry permit before leaving the United States. The reentry permit must be requested, and the fingerprinting requirements fulfilled, while you are in the United States. If you do not obtain a reentry permit, you are at a higher risk of loosing your status as a permanent legal resident of the United States for “abandonment.”
Prolonged travel is risky. It also can disrupt the period it takes for you to be eligible to apply for naturalization to become a US citizen.
Filing Taxes as a”Resident”
You should file taxes as advised by your accountant or tax attorney as a “resident” of the United States so that your intention to maintain status as a lawful permanent resident cannot be challenged.
Criminal Arrests & Charges
If you are ever arrested or cited for any criminal violation (whether misdemeanor or felony), you must speak with an experienced immigration lawyer prior to accepting any plea agreement, including a deferred judgement agreement. You may be removed from the United States and lose your status as a lawful permanent resident for even minor charges.
You are NOT a citizen and NOT allowed to vote
You may be eligible to apply for citizenship after 5 years of being a permanent resident – or 3 years if married to a US citizen and living in marital union. Early filing (90 days in advance) may be possible.
However, until if and when you do become a US citizen, you are NOT permitted to vote, register to vote or otherwise claim you are a US citizen. If you vote in a federal, state or local election, you may never be able to become a US citizen, and you may be removed from the United States. It is also a crime to vote as a lawful permanent resident.
Special care should be taken at the DMV (or online when renewing a license) not to inadvertently check a box that you are a citizen. This has caused many people to be deported from the United States.
Possession of Firearms and Concealed Weapons Permits
Immigrants in the United States with non-immigrant visas (i.e., tourist visa, work visa, etc.) are not allowed to possess firearms in most cases. This is generally considered a crime. However, lawful permanent residents of the United States are able to possess firearms. Be careful though, a “firearms offence” regardless of how minor – i.e., accidental discharge – may result in removal from the United States.