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Immigration Frequently Asked Questions

What types of visas are available if I want to come to the U.S. for a visit or temporary stay?

Immigration A Legal Permanent Resident is someone who resides in the United States with the permission of the US government, but is not a citizen.

However, if a legal permanent resident maintains his or her LPR status for a certain number of years, does not accrue a permanent record, and otherwise has good moral character, he or she could be eligible to naturalize.

There is no one way to obtain Legal Permanent Resident status, and it can be gotten through work, family, or refugee/asylees status. Each of these different kinds of ways to obtain LPR status is classified as a different visa category.

We here at Guest and Gray can assist you with your family or employee's application for LPR status no matter the category.

How long will my green card remain valid?

How long your green card remains valid depends on the kind of green card you get. If your green card is through marriage to a US citizen, for example, your green card will last for 2 years as a conditional green card, and then you will apply to remove the conditions. If your green card is conditional, and you apply to get the conditions removed and it’s granted, your green card can be extended for 2, 5, or 10 years. You can choose to apply to naturalization at the appropriate time, if you qualify, or you can choose to continue to extend green card.

Once I obtain a green card, what do I need in order to obtain citizenship through naturalization?

There are two ways to obtain citizenship through USCIS, to apply for a certificate of citizenship or to apply for naturalization. Both require the advice of a qualified and experienced immigration attorney. Citizenship for individuals on green card (Legal Permanent Residents) is known as naturalization, and is accomplished via a properly completed, executed, and submitted Form N-400. To be eligible, you must have maintained your green card without violating any of its terms for the number of years required for individuals in your particular category of green card holders, and you need to have maintained no serious criminal record and good moral character.

If you might not pass the moral character review USCIS will undertake, it is very important you contact an immigration attorney here at Guest & Gray before you submit any paperwork for naturalization. After all, after a consultation with one of our immigration attorneys can help you determine if it might be in your best interest not to file for citizenship, since a rejection on that ground might endanger your green card.

Here at Guest & Gray, our immigration attorneys help many individuals who hold green cards obtain citizenship through naturalization, and we can help advise you on the steps and timeline for your situation, and evaluate your qualifications and help you gauge your likelihood of success and when the best time to apply is for you.

My visa has expired, what can I do?

If your visa has expired, it’s important to get the situation remedied as swiftly as possible. Once your visa has expired, you could be accumulating illegal presence which might make you subject to deportation or removal, and could prevent you from obtaining a visa sometime later, depending on the type of visa. Depending on your type for visa, and whether or not your visa is able to be renewed, you could remedy your illegal presence if you obtain a receipt notice from an application for an extension or an adjustment of status.

If your visa has expired, you should speak with one of the qualified immigration lawyers at Guest & Gray as soon as possible, so that we may go over the options for someone with an expired visa, and advise you on the best steps for you.

I am in the United States on a temporary visit and wish to obtain a permanent visa, what can I do?

Obtaining a permanent visa or permanent residency (a green card) to the US can be a rather difficult and daunting task. Many people who want to immigrate permanently to the United States have a hard time finding a category of permanent or immigrant visa they qualify for. And even when you or your family member finds a category for permanent visa that you think you qualify for, the long wait times can be discouraging.

For this reason, a lot of people think the best way for them to go is to apply for and obtain a temporary visa first, or apply for a permanent visa when they are here on a temporary visa. If this is something you are considering, or if you are already in the US on a temporary visa and are considering applying for a permanent visa, we recommend you give one of our experienced immigration attorneys a call to help walk you through the pros and cons, and advise you whether or not applying for the particular permanent visa you want while on a temporary visa is right for you.

While it’s true that you the temporary visa can help you make a connection with the people here or get to know the country, most non-immigrant visas require you to state that you intend to return to your country of origin or home country when your visa time is up. And to support this contention, you must submit documents to evidence that you intend not to immigrate, but to return home. This might include evidence of bank accounts, property, employment, and family in your home country. Only certain visas will allow you to have what is called “dual intent,” meaning you are allowed to apply for a permanent visa while holding a temporary visa which required you to assert you intended to return home when you are done. Beyond those visas which permit dual intent, attempting to obtain a permanent visa while holding a temporary one can be a costly experiment that ends in disaster: a denial of your permanent visa application and a revocation of your temporary visa.

So before you start down a path of applying for multiple visas, or one at a time, please, contact an experienced immigration attorney at Guest & Gray, so we can help you find the best path to obtain a permanent visa for you and your family.

I have received a deportation order, is there anything I can do to avoid being deported?

Here at Guest & Gray, we know removal and deportation can be scary, and receiving a deportation order can be disconcerting. There may be steps you can take to undo or fight an order of removal.

It is very important to keep in mind that it could also be possible that what you have received is not a deportation order, but simply a notice to appear, which is the beginning of removal (or deportation) proceedings, not the final order of removal or deportation order. It is vitally important that in this circumstance you make arrangements to attend your court date provided on your notice to appear because if you do not attend, you will be deported or removed in absentia, or in your absence.

Here at Guest & Gray, we have attorneys experienced in removal and deportation, motions to reopen and motions to reconsider, so make sure and call us so we can go over your options in responding and fighting you or your family members’ order of deportation or removal.

Why would my green card application be denied?

Here at Guest & Gray, our experienced immigration attorneys know that there are few things more stressful than waiting on your green card application. So it can be extremely disheartening to get a denial or intent to deny letter. What led to your green card application being denied? Well, depending on the type of green card application you filed there could be many reasons your application was denied.

It could be that you and your spouse did not submit all the required evidence, or that you or your spouse failed the interview, and your relationship is suspected of being fraudulent. It could be your biometrics came back and your criminal history or other background produced something that makes you ineligible. It is possible you violated the terms of a visa you are on now, or were previously on. It’s also possible that you or your employer did not supply all the relevant evidence or do not meet the required criteria for your green card.

To deal with a green card application denial, and to prevent one from occurring, it’s important to speak with an attorney in filing your green card application, to make sure that your application has its best chance of approval. And if you have received notice that your green card application is being denied, a qualified and experienced immigration attorney like those at Guest & Gray can help you meet the appeal deadlines and fight for your green card.

What is Conditional Permanent Residence?

A conditional permanent resident is someone who receives permanent residence that is subject to expiration at the end of 2 years. Most common in situations of green cards awarded in new marriages, a person who holds a conditional permanent residence green card must apply to have the conditions removed on their residency within the 90 days before the end of the 2 years. If someone with a conditional permanent residence card fails to file to have the conditions on their permanent residence removed, then the individual will lose their green card.

If you or your family have conditional permanent residence, it’s important to see a qualified immigration attorney well before the last 90 days of your conditional permanent residence, so they can help you prepare and file your applications to lift the conditions on time. The experienced and qualified immigration attorneys here at Guest & Gray are waiting to help you with this and all your immigration issues.

What type of visa should I get if I want to become a permanent U.S. resident? What is Lawful Permanent Residence or a Green Card?

Individuals who are Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) or who have Lawful Permanent Residence here in the United States are non-citizen aliens who have been granted authorization from the US government to live permanently here in the United States. The colloquial term for having been granted such a status is a Green Card holder, and the visa type is commonly referred to as a “Green Card.”

There are several ways to apply for a green card or to be a lawful permanent resident. You can obtain one through family, such as a spouse, or a brother or sister, or mother or father. You can apply for one through your job, as a refugee or asylum, or even as an investor. Because of the variety of options, and the complications that can arise from notifying USCIS of your presence if your application is rejected, it is vitally important that you contact an attorney when deciding which of these choices is best for you. Here at Guest & Gray, we have immigration attorneys with experience who can help you make these difficult choices, and guide you to the best path to obtain legal permanent residence.

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