The complexities of immigration law can be overwhelming. At JC Law Firm, we believe in supporting our clients with transparency and clarity. We invite you to grow your understanding with our most commonly asked questions below.
What is a green card?
A “green card,” issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), provides proof of lawful permanent resident status, with authorization to live and work anywhere in the United States. Green cards can either be issued conditionally “conditional green card” or permanently “10 year green card.” Green cards can be issued to:
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What are biometrics?
Biometrics appointments are issued to anyone applying for an Immigration benefit. This appointment is for your fingerprints and are taken to ensure your identity and that you do not have a serious criminal record or prior immigration violation that may disqualify you from the benefit you are seeking.
What is USCIS?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is the government agency that oversees legal immigration to the United States. USCIS is primarily responsible for approving green cards, naturalization, work permits, travel permits, and other “immigration benefits.”
Can I work in the U.S. while waiting for my green card?
Anyone who already has a valid work visa (for example, an H-1B or L-1 visa) can usually continue working in the United States even while applying for a U.S. green card. Otherwise, green card applicants aren’t allowed to start working in the United States until they obtain a work permit by filing Form I-765*. For more information about working in the United States before, during or after obtaining lawful status, speak to a reputable immigration attorney.
What are my options if I would like to sponsor my spouse or family member to come to the United States?
Your family member may either come to the United States on a permanent basis or a temporary basis. How the family member can immigrate or visit the United States depends on your specific circumstances, which are best determined by an experienced immigration attorney. Different factors such as whether your family member is considered an “immediate relative” or when/what kind of marriage ceremony took place will have an impact on their ability to immigrate. Sometimes visa wait times for non-immediate relatives can be quite delayed (some for decades) and our attorneys will be able to assist in formulating what is best suited for you.
What is the Visa Bulletin?
The Visa Bulletin, issued every month by the U.S. Department of State, shows which green card applications can move forward, based on when the underlying petition that starts the green card process was originally filed. The visa bulletin exists because Congress caps the number of green cards that can be issued each year in certain categories, which has created several backlogs.
When am I eligible for citizenship?
Eligibility for U.S. citizenship depends upon a number of factors. Generally, a person will have had to be a lawful permanent resident for 5 years in order to apply (or 3 years based upon marriage to a U.S. Citizen). Schedule a consultation with us so we can assess your eligibility and if qualified, be sure to guide you straight through to your Oath ceremony!
I received a Notice to Appear (NTA), now what?
A notice to appear or “NTA” (see sample here) is a charging document that means the start of immigration proceedings against you. It is a notice for you to appear in court in front of an immigration judge at a specified date and time. You must attend all court hearings or risk an order of deportation. If you do not already have an attorney, you should contact us at JC Law so we can review your documents and immigration history to determine your eligibility for relief to remain in the U.S.
How does my criminal charge or conviction affect my status?
Criminal charges or convictions that may appear minor could have dire consequences on your current status or affect your eligibility to apply for certain immigration benefits. It is extremely important to be transparent with your attorney about any (even minor) interaction with the police or criminal justice system, in the U.S. or abroad.
I am a victim of abuse or a victim of a crime. Do I have any options?
Yes! If you fall within either of these categories, you should first seek shelter or safety (click here to find resources for your safety). Your well-being is what matters most. If you have been subjected to either, you should call the appropriate authorities. There is no penalty to you for making a report, but to the contrary, your cooperation may help you secure temporary status in the United States. Speak to a partner at JC Law for more information on this.
Does DACA ensure a pathway to a green card?
In short, no. Not as the law stands right now, although that can and may likely change. DACA eligible recipients obtain temporary status for a period of two years, the ability to work and travel on advance parole. For more information about DACA in today’s administration, please visit: DACA INFO
Why should I hire an immigration attorney?
U.S. immigration law is often complex. Having an immigration attorney can make the immigration process go more smoothly and give you peace of mind that you are correctly following all procedures (which can change at any given moment) properly. How you gather and present your evidence will often have a significant impact on the case. By hiring JC Law, you will have an advocate and experienced attorney who will personally handle your immigration case. We pride ourselves in providing you with quality service and open communication.
*Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Form I-765
A employment authorization document or “EAD” is a permit to work lawfully in the United States. A person may apply for this while their immigration applications are pending or when a certain number of days have elapsed after filing for an immigration benefit. Your eligibility to file for a work permit depends on different factors. It can give you peace of mind and the ability to support yourself and your family while you wait for your application to be decided. Note that an EAD does NOT confer status in the United States– it is simply a benefit to enjoy while you are in the U.S. See application processing times here: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/
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“I look at clients and think of my family; my grandmother in particular, who brought us here as an immigrant. I see some of our clients getting taken advantage of, getting false information because they don’t understand the complexities of the immigration process. In the end, we are all Human Beings. Trust the process and trust us, because we don’t abuse that.”
TIFFANY JAVIER, ESQ.
“We identify with our clients and can understand what they are going through. We are sensitive to our clients’ situations and advocate for them with passion and dedication. We hope to make the whole immigration process feel less daunting. When we see clients, we see ourselves.”
DISHA CHANDIRAMANI, ESQ.