Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that is not answered here, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What is an “immediate relative” of a US citizen?

A spouse of a US citizen, an unmarried child under 21 of a US citizen, and a parent of a US citizen over 21.  We only accept cases for “immediate relatives” on this site.

Can I adjust status if I entered the US on the Visa Waiver Program ?

This has been allowed for some time for “immediate relatives.”  We handle these cases without issue.  Even if the period of the 90 day stay has expired.  However, in cases where the immigrant has some criminal history, or ICE is intent on deporting them, perhaps because they believe he or she is a drug trafficker, etc. – ICE has the legal authority to stop the adjustment proceedings and remove the immigrant.

Can I adjust status with an expired visa?

Yes, this is not a problem for “immediate relatives” who have overstayed their last entry to the United States.  Please note, however, that prior periods of overstay (i.e., before the last entry to the United States) could cause the immigrant to be inadmissible, preventing them from adjusting status without a waiver of inadmissibility.

Can I adjust status if I have worked without authorization ?

Yes, this is not a problem for “immediate relatives.”  Please do not try to cover up unlawful employment.  Lying to a US immigration official is a grounds to deny the adjustment of status case.

The only way that we see unlawful employment causing problems for an “immediate relative” when adjusting status is if the job was already lined up prior to the immigrant entering the United States with a visa that is not “dual intent.”  The reason is that the employment already secured by the immigrant prior to entry to the United States could be evidence of fraud on the part of the immigrant who likely was questioned about the intent of travel upon arrival to the US.

Does your firm handle LGBT cases?

At the Law Office of Michael J. McCarroll, we support the rights of the LGBT community and believe that everyone should be treated with dignity and equally under the law. It took way too long for the US government to begin to recognize the rights of LGBT families, and much more is needed to be accomplished. However, since the land breaking case of Obergefell v. Hodges, issued Friday, June 26, 2015, at least there is no question that LGBT citizens are legally guaranteed the right to marry and to petition for their spouses to obtain lawful permanent residency in any state.

We handle a large volume of family-based cases, including a large volume of LGBT family-based cases. We also have experience representing LGBT individuals in detention, facing removal, or fighting for asylum in the United States. Many countries throughout the world are very hostile to LGBT individuals who are the victims of widespread persecution globally. As a result, LGBT individuals are often good candidates for asylum or persecution-based defenses to deportation. Also, as in same-sex relationships, LGBT individuals are often the victims of domestic violence. We work with LGBT individuals who have been the victims of domestic violence and other crimes and, who therefore, may qualify for a victim-based visa or green card.

In theory, LGBT residency application cases should not be any different than same-sex cases. However, we believe that our experience handling LGBT immigration cases provides us unique perspective and insight that is beneficial to LGBT cases. Let our experience regularly handling marriage-based immigration cases be an asset to your family.

Do we need an attorney to attend the interview for adjustment of status cases?

We would not have created LegalResident.com if we thought you did.  We generally do not engage during interviews, but sit and observe.  The important part of the interview is the preparation beforehand – which is included with our program.

Our attendance at the interview is optional and subject to an additional payment in the discretion of the attorney based on availability.  We can also assist you to locate another qualified attorney to attend.

What is the adjustment of status interview like, and do we need to bring more proof of marriage?

USCIS will want to verify information contained in the forms we provided.  USCIS will also ask questions about any grounds for inadmissibility.  For example, USCIS may ask if the immigrant has smoked marijuana in the US.  If so, the immigrant will be permanently barred from the United States (even if the marijuana was used in Colorado or another state where it is legal).

In most all cases, the couple will be interviewed together and asked about how they met, asked about each other’s family, and asked what the like to do.  The immigrant will also be screened for fraud at entry, i.e., asked if the immigrant lied about his or her purpose of visiting the United States, and screened for other grounds of inadmissibility (e.g., criminal, security related, immoral activity).

Only in rare cases where USCIS already suspects marriage fraud is it a real likelihood that the couple will be separated and questioned individually. USCIS does this to compare answers of each spouse.

Sometimes the USCIS officer will give an indication that the case will be approved during the interview,  like when the officer says “everything looks good.”  In other cases, the officer might want to look everything over one more time before committing to approval.

If approved, the couple generally will receive the card within a few weeks of interview. However, it is also common for approval to take longer for a variety of reasons that are generally not a reason for concern.

Do I have to pay for professional translations or an interpreter?

You do not need to pay for professional translations of your documents, however, we recommend that the translator not be a family member or someone with a stake in the case.  A certificate of translation is available on our site for download once logged in.  The translator must complete a certificate of translation for each document translated, and you should include both the document in its original language and the English translation in your submission to USCIS.

USCIS will NOT provide you with an interpreter during the interview.  You can bring a professional or a non-professional as your interpreter.   The attorney can provide you with suggestions on picking the interpreter during your session to prepare for the interview.

How do I change my last name to the name of my spouse?

We generally recommend that the immigrant request the USCIS officer change the last name to that of a spouse during the interview for adjustment of status cases.  The USCIS officer has the authority to make the name change at that point. It is generally less problematic to change the name at the interview than at an earlier time because proof of any name change will be required and travel may be complicated.

Will Trump’s Travel Ban Affect My Case?

If you are a national of one of the six nation states covered under the travel ban recently upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court, then the travel ban may affect your ability to immigrate to the United States.  The countries covered are Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.  Note:  Venezuela is part of the travel ban, but immigrant visas (i.e., family of US citizens wanting to permanently immigrate) are not restricted.

If you are already in the United States and want to apply for adjustment of status, the travel ban will not effect you regardless of whether you are a national of the six countries mentioned above.  See Announcement from USCIS.

Also, if you are a dual national with a country not covered by the travel ban and are immigrating under a passport from that country, the travel ban will not bar you.

There are waivers available for individuals applying under the travel ban, however, if you are seeking a waiver of the travel ban, we are unable to help you through this website.

How do I calculate my period of unlawful presence?

Information about penalties from unlawful presence is presented at more detail on our Miscellaneous Warnings page.   Unlawful presence is an important consideration, so if you have any doubts about it at all, please contact us to speak with the attorney.

Will I be disqualified if my family or I receive public benefits of any kind?

The Trump administration is seeking to prevent the lawful immigration of family of US citizens and others in cases where the immigrant cannot show self sufficiency.  This is a new and rapidly changing are of the law, but it is critical to understand how this could affect you during an adjustment of status case in the US.

Please read our assessment of the the new proposed rule that will take effect in a substantially similar form soon and will be used by USCIS when deciding cases.

USCIS 2018 PUBLIC CHARGE RULE

For clients who are undergoing consular processing at US consulates around the world, you should know that the law has already changed and is in effect – seeking to prevent the lawful immigration of any immigrant family member who may not be self-reliant.  Similar to the public charge rule for USCIS that is undergoing public commenting, the Foreign Affairs Manual now requires that US officials abroad do not simply approve cases with a valid Form I-864; Affidavit of Support.  Rather, the immigrants age, health and job history will come under scrutiny.

A very helpful article discussing the current state of the Foreign Affairs Manual from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center can be downloaded by CLICKING HERE.

I received a letter indicating that my medical (I-693) was missing. Is this normal?

Note:  the below information is outdated.  USCIS is changing the 1 year/ 1 year policy in favor of a 60day/ 2 year policy.  Click here to view the announcement.

It is unfortunate but true that adjustment of status cases often take more than one year to adjudicate.  Therefore, we advise that our clients NOT submit a medical examination when their case is originally filed.   The reason is that the examination will expire one year after receipt by USCIS.  If the case takes more than one year, a new medical examination will be required that could cost several hundred dollars.

Therefore, our clients receive a “Courtesy Letter to Applicant” – generally on yellow or pink paper soon after the case is filed – indicating that the case is deficient (i.e., there is no medical examination).  There is nothing to worry about because this is not a Request for Evidence and no response is anticipated by the letter itself.  In fact, the letter will say not to mail anything and to bring the medical examination to the interview, if there is one.

In cases where there is no interview set, common for parents of US citizens, then USCIS will send a Request for Evidence (RFE) at a later date demanding the medical examination then.

However, until there is a RFE or interview scheduled, nothing is required by the “Courtesy Letter” and a medical examination should not be sent to USCIS as this could delay the case.

Will I get a two or ten year green card?

If you are filing adjustment of status or consular processing through a spouse, and your marriage is less than two years old when the case is approved, you will be given a two year card instead of a ten year card and will be required to file a Form I -751 to remove conditions on your legal resident status.  The Form I-751 is filed jointly with your spouse if still together, and can be filed by the immigrant alone if there has been a divorce/ death of the US citizen spouse, abuse in the relationship or if there would be hardship caused by the removal of the immigrant from the United States.