Law Offices Jon E. Jessen - US Immigration Attorney
Immigration FAQs
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US Immigration FAQs

Green Card Petitions

Petitions in this FAQ section are broken up into the following categories:
  • Family
  • Fiancee / Fiance K1 Visas
  • Marriage
  • Adoption

Family Based Green Card Petitions - U.S. Citizen

I am a US Citizen and I want to help my child, parents and/or siblings get a green card. What do I need to do?

  • File a relative petition (I-130) with Immigration establishing that you are a US Citizen and that the person you are petitioning is in fact your child, parent or sibling. Depending on your country of origin, a DNA test may be required.
  • If you are sponsoring your child, the child must be unmarried and under the age of 21 years at the time that the immigration petition is filed.
  • Once the I-130 petition is approved by Immigration the next step depends on whether the person sponsored lives in the U.S. or outside the U.S.
  • If your family member resides outside of the US your relative will Consular Process and be approved for the Green Card prior to entering the United States. This can be a very arduous and time-consuming process.
  • If your family member resides in the US, it is important to remember that many factors may affect the successful outcome of a case. Despite having an approved family petition other factors such as illegal presence in the US, or a criminal history, may mean that your relative is not entitled to continue the process and apply for the Green Card.
  • The length of time it will take for your relative to enter the U.S. depends on whether the priority date on the approved I-130 petition is current (some relative visa categories can take 12 years or more to become current, such as a sibling sponsoring a sibling).


Family Based Green Card Petitions - Lawful Permanent Resident

I am a Lawful Permanent Resident and I want to help my child, parents and/or siblings get a green card. What do I need to do?

  • Only a US Citizen can petition for a parent or sibling.
  • A Lawful Permanent Resident can however file an I-130 Petition with Immigration on behalf of a spouse and or child under the age of 21 years.
  • Once the I-130 Petition is approved by Immigration the next step depends on whether the person sponsored resides in the U.S. or outside the U.S.
  • If your family member resides outside of the U.S. your relative will Consular Process and be approved for the Green Card prior to entering the United States. This can be very arduous and time-consuming process.
  • If your family member resides in the U.S. it is important to remember that many factors may affect the successful outcome of a case. Despite having an approved family petition other factors such as illegal presence in the U.S., or a criminal history, may mean that your relative is not entitled to continue the process and apply for the Green Card.
  • In addition, the length of time it will take for your relative to enter the U.S. depends on whether the priority date on the approved I-130 petition is current.


Fiancee \ Fiance Petitions (K1 Visas)

If you are a U.S. Citizen and engaged or considering becoming engaged to a non-U.S. Citizen, filing a K-1 visa is probably the best option to legally bring your fiancee or fiance to the U.S.

The K-1 Visa allows you to invite your fiancé(e) to the United States for a period of 90 days, during which time your fiancé(e) must either marry you or return to his or her home country. No extensions of time will be granted after the 90 days and no change of status is permitted.

If the relationship does not work out, you decide not to marry, and your fiancé(e) returns home, you are both independently eligible to file a subsequent fiancé(e) visa application if you so desire. You will have to file an IMBRA (International Marriage Broker Regulation) waiver if you file within two years of the first petition’s approval.

Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States are not eligible to file for a K-1 visa.

You are eligible to apply for a K-1 Visa if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are a U.S. citizen
  • You have personally met your fiancé(e) within the previous two years, if culturally acceptable and does not violate long-established customs, or would create extreme hardship for you or your fiancé(e)
  • You and your fiancé(e) are both legally free to marry under the laws of your fiancé(e)’s country as well as the laws of the U.S.
  • Proof of permission to marry if you or your fiancé(e) are subject to any age restrictions
  • You marry each other within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s arrival in the U.S.

Once the Immigration Service Center approves the K1 petition, the appropriate U.S. Consulate will receive the paperwork in order to schedule your fiancé(e)’s interview.


My fiance is a foreign national and has a criminal issue? Will this cause the denial of our application?

It depends on the type of criminal conviction and the sentence imposed. Law Offices Jon E. Jessen, LLC recommends you determine the potential consequences of the conviction prior to filing an application.

I am a U.S Citizen and wish to file a Fiancee Visa, however I have a criminal record. Is this a problem?

Possibly. You are required to disclose any current or past protection or restraining orders issued against you. Criminal arrests, convictions, domestic violence, sexual offenses, multiple convictions for substance and or alcohol abuse could create problems with your application. Law Offices Jon E. Jessen, LLC recommends you determine the potential consequences of the conviction prior to filing an application.


What are some of the common reasons for a K1 denial?

Some common issues that can lead to a denial include:
  • Missing documents or incorrect paperwork
  • U.S. Citizen Spouse does not show sufficient income, under the US Government Poverty Guidelines.
  • Significant age difference between the couple
  • Fiancé(e) cannot obtain written consent from the ex-spouse for their child to leave the country
  • Spouse and fiancé(e) are unable to communicate in a common language
  • Couple has not spent enough time together in person, or in contact, if culturally permitted.
  • Fiancé(e) interviews poorly and fraud is suspected.
  • Fiancée was previously in the U.S. and overstayed the visa
  • The U.S. Citizen has previously sponsored a foreign national for a green card and the U.S. Citizen cannot prove that the foreign citizen maintained lawful status
  • Fiancée or US Citizen has a criminal record
  • Fiancée has a serious, contagious illness
  • Fiancée commits a misrepresentation during the interview
  • Petition includes a document that is deemed to be fraudulent


My fiancée has young children. Can the children come to the United States with my fiancée?

Yes. If your fiancée children are under 21 years of age they are eligible for a K-2 Visa. The same restrictions and privileges that apply to the K-1 visa also apply to K-2 visa holders.


My fiancé(e) is currently living in the United States, should I file for a K-1 fiancée visa?

No, a K-1 fiancé(e) visa may only be filed if your fiancée resides outside the U.S.

If you are a U.S. Citizen and your fiancé(e) last entered the U.S. legally, or is 245i protected, it may be possible to apply for a green card after the marriage.

We recommend you contact Law Offices Jon E. Jessen, LLC before deciding how to proceed. To schedule a one hour consultation call us at 203-348-3262 or via our online contact form.


How does my fiancé(e) obtain a Green Card?

  • If your fiancé(e) entered on a K-1 Visa, the marriage must take place within ninety days of your fiancé(e)’s arrival in the U.S.
  • Once married, your spouse will be eligible to apply for Lawful Permanent Residence. File an I-485 (adjustment of status) application with Immigration. The adjudication of ‘marriage adjustment’ cases can vary from several months to several years depending on various factors.
  • Both you and your spouse will be required to attend an interview with Immigration. At the time of interview, you will need to show proof that the marriage is bona-fide (legitimate). Immigration will review documents, such as address displayed on driver’s licenses, joint bank accounts, tax returns and utility bills.
  • If you have been married less than two years at the time of interview and the application is approved the immigrant spouse will be issued a temporary/conditional two year green card. After two years, the immigrant is required to file an I-751 to lift the conditional status on the green card and must continue to prove the bona fides of the marriage.
  • If you are married more than two years at the time of interview a permanent green card is issued.


Marriage Based Petitions - US Citizen

I am a US Citizen and my spouse is illegal. We live in the U.S. Can we file for a Green card?

If your spouse last entered the U.S. legally, or is 245i protected, and you are a U.S. Citizen, it may be possible to immediately apply for a green card.
  • File an I 130 (family petition) and I 485 (adjustment of status) with the appropriate Immigration Service Center. The adjudication of marriage adjustment cases can vary from several months to several years depending on various factors.
  • Both you and your spouse will be required to attend an interview with Immigration. At the time of interview, you will need to show proof that the marriage is bona-fide (legitimate). Immigration will review documents, such as address displayed on driver’s licenses, joint bank accounts, tax returns and utility bills.
  • If you have been married less than two years at the time of interview and the application is approved, the Immigrant will be issued a temporary/conditional two year green card. After two years, the Immigrant is required to file an I-751 petition to lift the conditional status on the green card and must continue to prove the bona fides of the marriage.
  • If you are married more than two years at time of interview, the applicant or beneficiary will receive a permanent green card.
Law Offices Jon E. Jessen, LLC can assist you in determining if your spouse is eligible to apply for adjustment of status (green card). Call us today at 1-203-348-3262 to schedule your consultation.


On the I-864 Affidavit of Support, in accordance with the U.S Government Poverty Guidelines, my income level is too low to sponsor my spouse. Can I overcome this?

Yes. You can find a financial co-sponsor. The co-sponsor must be a U.S Citizen or Green card holder and show sufficient income to overcome the poverty guidelines. You must submit your tax returns and all other requested documents as well, even if your income is below the poverty guidelines.
View the US Department of State 2007 Poverty Guidelines


I am a U.S. Citizen and married my foreign spouse abroad. My spouse now wishes to enter the United States. What do I need to do?

  • File an I-130 petition with the appropriate Immigration Service Center. Once this application is pending file a K-3 Visa (I-129f) with the appropriate Service Center. Your spouse may then enter the US and then file for adjustment of status once the I-130 petition is approved.
  • File an I-485 (adjustment of status) with Immigration after entry into the US and upon approval of the I-130 petition. The adjudication of marriage adjustment cases can vary from several months to several years depending on various factors.
  • Both you and your spouse will be required to attend an interview with Immigration. At the time of interview, you will need to show proof that the marriage is bona-fide (legitimate). Immigration will review documents such as address displayed on driver’s licenses, joint bank accounts, tax returns and utility bills.
  • If you have been married less than two years at the time of interview and the application is approved the Immigrant will be issued a temporary/conditional two year green card. After two years the Immigrant is required to file an I-751 petition to lift the conditional status on the green card and must continue to prove the bona fides of the marriage.
  • If you are married more than two years at time of interview a permanent green card is issued to the Immigrant.


Marriage Based Petitions - Lawful Permanent Resident

I am a Lawful Permanent Resident, my spouse is illegal and we live in the U.S Do we have options?

You have limited options. If you last entered legally, and your spouse is a Lawful Permanent Resident, or if you entered illegally but you are 245i protected, you can start the immigration process by doing the following:
  • File an I-130 relative petition with the applicable Immigration Service Center.
  • You cannot file for the green card until the priority date on the approved I-130 becomes current (i.e., the date that you filed the relative petition is current based on the Department of State Visa Bulletin)
  • There is currently a long wait period, up to five years or longer, before the visa number will become current. There is a longer wait if you are a citizen of Mexico.
If you entered illegally, contact an immigration attorney, as you may not be eligible to receive an immigration benefit. Law Offices Jon E. Jessen, LLC can assist you in determining your best course of action. Call us today at 1-203-348-3262 to schedule your consultation.


Adoption

I want to adopt a child who is not a US Citizen. What do I need to know so the child can gain an immigration benefit?

  • You need to be a U.S. Citizen over 21 years of age and you must have legally adopted the child prior to the child's 16th birthday.
  • If the child is already in the U.S., legally entered, but is currently undocumented you must be able to prove that the child has physically lived with you, and that you had legal custody of the child for at least two years prior to filing the Immigration petition. If the child is outside the U.S. you must also prove that the child has physically lived with you, and that you had legal custody of the child for at least two years prior to filing the Immigration petition.
  • If the child is not currently in the U.S and the child is an orphan you must prove that the child’s parents are deceased, have abandoned the child or have terminated their parental rights to the child. An orphan petition does not require that the child physically resided with you and that you had legal custody of the child prior to the filing of the petition. In addition, any child under the age of 18 who is adopted by a U.S. Citizen and enters the United States automatically becomes a U.S. Citizen.
  • If the child entered illegally or with a false passport you should contact an immigration attorney to see if any relief applies under the law.
  • Gaining Immigration papers for an adopted child can be a very complicated process, particularly if you are trying to adopt a niece, nephew or other family member.

Ensure you meet all of the criteria before entering into this process.


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Attorney Jon Jessen and his staff have helped hundreds of clients over the past fifteen years with their family based green card petitions to Immigration.

Schedule your consultation today. Call 1-203-348-3262 or schedule online


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