Immigration Attorney - Tourist Visa Application - Travel to USA

Can I Travel to the U.S. while Waiting for a Green Card?

Family-based green card applications can take years to be processed. While your I-130 application is pending, is it possible to travel to the United States? The straight answer is yes, but it’s important to understand what’s expected of you when you take these trips.. 

Visiting the U.S. on a Tourist Visa (B-1/ B-2)

Every time you enter the United States on a tourist visa, the B-1/B-2 visa, you are promising the United States that you intend to go back to your home country to live and that you have no intention of living in the United States. But, a pending I-130 petition contradicts this. A pending green card application shows that you do have the intention, at least eventually, to live permanently in the United States. It may cause the immigration officer to ask you questions about your visit and your intent to return to your home country. In some cases, people are even turned away. Here are some tips to prepare for this and avoid getting denied entry.

Come prepared. Bring evidence, documents, to the border that prove your intent to stay in your home country. If you're in college, bring proof of enrollment. If you own a home, bring the mortgage. If you have a good, stable job, bring pay stubs and a letter from your employer. Show proof that you have purchased a return ticket. You want to show that you have a steady reason to return to your home country. The more proof, the better. If the documents are in a foreign language, bring translations.

Many people think that by having an approved tourist visa they will avoid this problem. But, every time you go to a U.S. port of entry, you are inspected. The border patrol officer has the ultimate power to allow you entry into the United States or deny you. Every time you arrive, immigration's checking you out again, and if since your last arrival you now have a pending I-130, they may ask you questions at the border and they can turn you away. 

Immigration Help: Travelling with a Pending I-130

If you have any questions about travelling with a pending I-130 application, I'd be happy to help. I’m a dedicated and passionate immigration attorney, fluent in English and Spanish, located in the greater Los Angeles area. Call (310) 803-3040 or visit https://abaudlegal.com/appointment/ to schedule an appointment.

Sharon was very professional, knowledgeable and very informative...

My husband and I had the best experience working with Sharon. I HIGHLY recommend her. She helped us with our immigration process and made us feel at ease every step of the way. Sharon was very professional, knowledgeable and very informative whenever we needed questions answered she was there from the very beginning until the very end, making sure we were prepared. Words can't explain how grateful my husband and I are. We would definitely not hesitate to contact her for any future services.

Karem S. , Los Angeles, CA
Immigration Attorney - Work Permit - Working Visa

Can I Get a Work Permit While I Wait for a Green Card?

Want to work while your green card application is pending? Good news! Many permanent residence applicants qualify for a work permit while waiting for their green card.

If you are applying for a green card from within the United States, you likely qualify for a work permit while your permanent residency application is pending. This process, called “adjustment of status,” allows you stay in the U.S. throughout the green card application process and work. You are not required to leave the country to attend a visa interview. Below are three ways paths to get a green card through adjustment of status.

Applicants who are required to leave the U.S. to attend a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad, unfortunately, do not qualify for a work permit. 

3 Ways to Get a Family-Based Green Card without Having to Leave the Country (AKA Adjustment of Status)

How do you qualify to apply for a green card from within the United States? There are three basic ways. These paths are for people who otherwise qualify for a green card but may have entered the country illegally, illegally worked in the U.S., or have failed to maintain lawful status.

Adjustment of Status through the LIFE Act, 245(i) Adjustment

The LIFE Act or 245(i) is a special policy that allows people to apply for a green card even if they entered the U.S. illegally, illegally worked in the U.S., or have failed to maintain lawful status. To qualify, you must have been the beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition (Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative or I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) filed on or before April 30, 2001. You might have a 245(i) as a derivative applicant if an immediate relative such as a parent or former spouse was approved for an immigrant petition.

If you think you may have a 245(i), it’s a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney. Because that is a big golden ticket.

Adjustment of Status by Virtue of a Lawful Entry into the United States

Another way to immigrate in the US is through what's called “lawful entry.” If your last entry to the United States was lawful, you may qualify for a green card through adjustment of status. Lawful entry simply means that you were lawfully inspected and admitted into the United States at a U.S. port of entry.

It’s important to note that in some cases, your entry may be considered a “lawful inspection and admission” even if you entered with no documents or fake documents and were let in regardless. You may need a waiver to forgive any possible issues of fraud, but the fact that you presented yourself at the border for inspection and the officer admitted you may be enough to qualify you for adjustment of status. The tricky part to this process is finding sufficient evidence of such an entry and, in some cases, filing for additional waivers. If this applies to you, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of an immigration attorney.

Adjustment of Status through Military Relative

You may qualify for a U.S. green card if you have a relative in the U.S. military—even if you are currently living in the U.S. without legal status. This process is called “Parole in Place” this is a path to permanent residency for spouses, widows, parents and children of active or honorably discharged U.S. military.

How to Apply for a Work Permit

You can apply for a work permit at the same time you apply for your green card. Simply file both forms at the same time: Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. If you’ve already filed your I-485, you can still apply for a work permit by filing the I-765 separately. It usually takes about 90 days to receive your work permit.

Immigration Help: Get a Work Permit with Pending Green Card Application

If you have any questions about getting a work permit while waiting for a green card, I'd be happy to help. I’m a dedicated and passionate immigration attorney, fluent in English and Spanish, located in the Los Angeles area. Call (310) 803-3040 or visit https://abaudlegal.com/appointment/ to schedule an appointment.

Sharon was very professional, knowledgeable and very informative...

My husband and I had the best experience working with Sharon. I HIGHLY recommend her. She helped us with our immigration process and made us feel at ease every step of the way. Sharon was very professional, knowledgeable and very informative whenever we needed questions answered she was there from the very beginning until the very end, making sure we were prepared. Words can't explain how grateful my husband and I are. We would definitely not hesitate to contact her for any future services.

Karem S. , Los Angeles, CA
Los-Angeles-Immigration-Attorney-Unlawful-Presence-i601a

How to Get a Waiver for Unlawful Presence and Avoid the 10-year Bar

Time spent illegally in the U.S. can affect your green card application. If you accrued 180 days of unlawful presence or more, then you could be required to stay outside the United States for three to 10 years. Luckily, there is a solution. 

What Is the I-601A, Provisional Waiver for Unlawful Presence?

The Provisional Waiver for Unlawful Presence is available to certain immigrant visa applicants who are spouses or parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. This waiver is not necessary for individuals immigrating in the United States, or applying for adjustment of status (I-485).

The I-601A Provisional Waiver is for individuals who do not qualify to apply for a green card from within the United States (adjustment of status). These applicants are required to travel abroad to their country of birth, citizenship or origin, to attend an interview at a U.S. embassy or consular office.

The I-601A waiver becomes necessary if you entered the U.S. without inspection or admission, and have accumulated more than 6 months to one year of unlawful presence in the United States. If you leave the United States to go to your interview abroad without an approved provisional waiver in hand, your case will be denied and you may be at risk of having to spend, at best, a few years outside the U.S. while waiting for a waiver to be approved abroad. In the worst case, you may have to spend over 10 years abroad.

The I-601A Provisional Waiver is a waiver that you apply for INSIDE the United States. It allows you to stay in the United States until your unlawful presence is forgiven or waived. The I-601A Provisional waiver waives the unlawful presence bar, allowing immigrants to continue the immigrant visa process without having to spend years apart from their families.

Do I Have to Leave the U.S. if I’m Approved for a Waiver?

While you will be required to leave the country to attend your visa interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy, you only need to be gone for the interview and no longer. Without the waiver, you may be required to wait out an unlawful presence bar. The bar is three years if you depart the United States after having accrued more than 180 days but less than 1 year of unlawful presence during a single stay. The bar is 10 years if you depart the United States after having accrued one year or more of unlawful presence during a single stay.

The Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver doesn’t change the immigrant visa process. If you were not eligible to apply for a green card through adjustment of status (Form I-485) before the waiver was approved, it won’t change that fact. You will still be required to leave the country to process your immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

Who Is Eligible for a 601A Waiver?

To be eligible for an unlawful presence waiver, you must be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen and otherwise meet the qualifications to apply for a U.S. green card card (permanent residence). You must also meet the following requirements:

  • Be physically present in the United States to file your application and provide biometrics.
  • Be 17 years of age or older.
  • Be in the process of obtaining your immigrant visa and have an immigrant visa case pending with Department of State (DOS) because you:
  • Have an approved immigrant petition (Form I-130, I-140 or I-360) or are the “principal beneficiary” (spouse or child) of someone with an approved immigrant petition; OR
  • Have been selected to participate in the Diversity Visa Program (Green Card Lottery) or are the spouse or child or someone who has been selected.
  • Be able to demonstrate that refusal of your admission to the United States will cause extreme hardship to your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or child.
  • Believe you are or will be inadmissible only because of a period of unlawful presence in the United States.

Who Is NOT Eligible for a I-601A Waiver

Not all immediate relatives of U.S. citizens qualify for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver. If you are in removal proceedings, it may be difficult to get approved for a waiver (but it is still possible). You may not qualify if you have a final order of removal, exclusion, or deportation. If you have a final order of removal, exclusion, or deportation, you can only seek a provisional unlawful presence waiver if you applied and were approved for Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal.

Moreover, you are not eligible for a 601A waiver if you are deemed inadmissible for any other grounds other than that of having accumulated unlawful presence. (Examples: crimes that make you inadmissible; health grounds; fraud, etc.)

How To Apply for a 601A, Provisional Waiver

To apply for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, you must complete the USCIS Form I-601A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver. You will need to include certain evidence that proves you are eligible. The required evidence depends on your basis for eligibility and your particular circumstances. All applicants must show that they have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent (qualifying relative) who would experience extreme hardship if they are refused admission to the United States.

What Is “Extreme Hardship”?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that you prove your absence from the United States will cause your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent extreme hardship. To do this, you’ll need submit convincing evidence. A lawyer can help you compile this evidence and it’s good idea to get a lawyer’s advice due to the complexity and risk of this application.

Immigration Help: Applying for 601A, Provisional Waiver

If you have any questions about the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver or think you might be eligible, I'd be happy to help. I’m a dedicated and passionate immigration attorney, fluent in English and Spanish, located in the Los Angeles area. Call (310) 803-3040 or visit https://abaudlegal.com/appointment/ to schedule an appointment.

Sharon is an amazing immigration lawyer.

Sharon is an amazing immigration lawyer. I had her help me out with a couple of immigration issues. A couple of friends of mine have been able to establish residency because of her. She is very affordable and offers an incredible service to all of her clients. I'd recommend her to everybody!

Esteban , Los Angeles, CA
Immigration Lawyer - Parole In Place

Parole in Place | How To Get a Green Card through Military Family if You Entered the US Illegally

Parole in Place is a path to permanent residency for certain undocumented immigrants who have relatives in the U.S. military. Immigrants who entered the country illegally are given the opportunity to apply for a family-based green card without having to leave the country.

What Is Parole in Place? 

Parole in Place (PIP) is policy that gives people “fake entry.” Generally speaking, people who entered the country illegally and who don’t qualify for a green card through the LIFE Act 245(i) cannot apply for a green card or other valid immigration status in the United States—even if you meet all other requirements. PIP is an exception to this rule. PIP is a discretionary policy, meaning that government is not required to give it even if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Parole in Place gives you a valid I-94, Arrival/ Departure Record which allows you to then apply for a green card through the adjustment of status process. You don't have to file for a provisional waiver and you don’t have to leave the country, which is risky, costly and time consuming.

PIP is not a waiver. It does not forgive any other issues of inadmissibility. It does not forgive other immigration violations you've had or criminal violations. It is only a fake entry that allows you to apply to legally immigrate to the United States without having to leave the United States. All other rules apply to your case.

Who Is Eligible for Parole in Place?

Family of active U.S. military or military members that have been honorably discharged may be eligible for Parole in Place.

You may be eligible for Parole in Place if your military family member is:

  • An active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces
  • An individual in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve
  • An individual who (whether still living or deceased) previously served on active duty or in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve and was not dishonorably discharged

Eligible relatives for Parole in Place:

  • Spouse or widow(er)
  • Parent
  • Child under age 21

You must have entered the U.S. illegally to qualify for Parole in Place. If you entered the U.S. lawfully but overstayed your visa (or are otherwise in the U.S. past your period of authorized stay), you are not eligible for Parole in Place because you are not an applicant for admission.

Do Undocumented Immigrants Qualify for Parole in Place?

Yes! Parole in Place is a policy that specifically benefits undocumented immigrants.

I’ll give you an example of one of my recent clients. She entered the U.S. illegally over 21 years ago and has lived here since as an undocumented immigrant. She had her child here, who is a U.S. citizen. This entire time, she had no way of immigrating to the United States, no pathway to get a green card. She didn’t have other relatives here that could petition for her. However, she knew that when her son turned 21 years old, he could. Well, her son had just had his 21st birthday and he is now eligible to sponsor her for a green card. However, because she didn't have a lawful entry and she also didn't have 245(i), she didn’t meet the other eligibility requirements for a family-based green card. She needed lawful entry.

I asked her if she had a relative in the U.S. military. She replied that yes, her son was serving. Because of this, she is eligible to apply for Parole in Place (PIP). If it’s granted, then she can apply for a green card through the adjustment of status process.

How To Apply for Parole in Place

To apply for Parole in Place you need to prove that you’re a good, moral person and an asset to the community. To do this, you can submit documents from the community such as:

  • Letters from family saying they are dependent on you
  • Letters from family or friends proving you have strong community and support in the United States
  • Proof of any activities that show your good character such as church attendance, community service, etc. 

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also requires you submit:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Documentation of termination of previous marriage
  • Son or daughter’s birth certificate
  • Military member’s birth certificate with parent’s name
  • Proof of enrollment in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)
  • Evidence that your family member is a current or former member of the U.S. armed forces, such as a photocopy of the front and back of the service member’s military identification card or DD Form 214
  • Two identical, color passport style photographs

If you’re approved for Parole in Place, the USCIS will place a stamp in your passport and issue an I-94 number. That's like having a lawful entry, allowing you to then immigrate to the United States.

Immigration Help: Applying for Parole in Place

If you have any questions about Parole in Place or think you might be eligible, I'd be happy to help. I’m a dedicated and passionate immigration attorney, fluent in English and Spanish, located in the greater Los Angeles area. Call (310) 803-3040 or visit https://abaudlegal.com/appointment/ to schedule an appointment.

I have never met a person as determined and focused to help her community, as Attorney Abaud

I have never met a person as determined and focused to help her community, as Attorney Abaud. She cares about every single detail of any case. It was a pleasure and honor to work with her for many years. I learned a lot from her.

Angela P. , Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Immigration Attorney - Form I-751 -Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence Based on Marriage

Form I-751 | Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence Based on Marriage

While most green cards are issued for a period of 10 years, some are only issued for two. Conditional green cards are issued to certain residents who got their green card through marriage. Before your conditional green card expires, you will need to file Form I-751 to remove conditions on your residence.

What Is a Conditional Green Card? 

A conditional green card is a two-year, temporary green card issued in some marriage-based cases. Your green card is conditional if you were married for less than two years when you either arrived in the U.S. on an immigrant visa or were approved for a green card through adjustment of status.

Why? Essentially, it’s because immigration wants to make sure that your marriage is still legitimate and that you didn’t enter into the marriage simply to get a green card. If after two years the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines that your marriage is legitimate, then you will receive a non-conditional, 10-year green card. 

Form I-751 Filing Tips

Before your conditional green card expires, you’ll want to file Form I-751. Here are some tips to help you file successfully.

Submit More Evidence than Your Initial Green Card Application

Since you’ve been married an extra two years, you’ll want to submit more evidence than you did with your initial green card application. If you had kids during that time, you'll want to take birth certificates. Definitely show them the joint taxes you've been filing. If you bought a house or are renting a new apartment, bring your mortgage documents or your lease. Anything you've been doing jointly, you'll want to prove. 

File on Time, within the 90-Day Window

You're going to want to file within the 90-day window before your conditional green card expires. If you try to file before that, the case will be rejected and sent back to you. If you file too late, you are no longer permitted to use your green card for work purposes or travel. There is also a good chance that the USCIS will refer your case to Immigration Court.

If you did not file on time and have not yet been issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) in immigration court, I highly recommend that you file as soon as possible! Doing so may prevent your case from being decided before an Immigration Judge.

Exceptions to Form I-751: Divorce, Separation and Death

I get a lot of questions from individuals who married out of love but by the time the conditional resident had to apply to lift conditions on their residency, the couple for one reason or another had separated. It is crucial to know that there are ways to apply to lift conditions on residency, permitting you to keep your residency, even if you are no longer with your U.S. citizen spouse. If you apply to lift conditions alone, then you are filing for what is called a “waiver”.

You may be eligible to file a waiver of the joint filing requirement if your spouse is deceased, if you divorce, or if you were battered or suffered extreme hardship at the hands of your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse.

If you are a conditional resident who for some reason can no longer satisfy the requirement of joint filing with their U.S. citizen spouse, I recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney about your particular matter to make sure that your case is handled correctly.

Immigration Help: Removing Conditions on Residence

If you have any questions about Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, I'd be happy to help. I’m a dedicated and passionate immigration attorney, fluent in English and Spanish, located in the Los Angeles area. Call (310) 803-3040 or visit https://abaudlegal.com/appointment/ to schedule an appointment.

Sharon is the best lawyer I've had the pleasure to work with!

Sharon is the best lawyer I've had the pleasure to work with. She was very professional, but also offered emotional support during sometimes tough episodes and harsh deadlines. Indeed, I would definitely recommend her. Thanks Sharon! Mallory, the kiddos and I appreciate all your hard work!

Eloy F. , Los Angeles, CA
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