Category Archives for Citizenship

Immigration Attorney in Los Angeles Received Public Benefits It Could Affect Your Ability to Immigrate to the US

Received Public Benefits? It Could Affect Your Ability to Immigrate to the U.S.

It’s long been the immigration policy of the United States to deny immigration applicants when they are determined to be a public charge or likely to become a public charge. However, the policy up until recently included a narrower definition of who was to be considered a “public charge” or “likely to become a public charge”. 

On August 14, 2019 the “final rule” on the public charge inadmissibility ground was made, severely limiting those who can immigrate to the U.S. based on income standards and the use of public benefits. If you have used public benefits or are determined likely to use them in the future, it could result in a denial of your immigration application.

What should you do?  

First read the below explanation of the rule. If you think you are likely to be determined inadmissible, then you should submit your immigration application before October 15, 2019 when the new rule goes into effect. Contact a qualified immigration attorney to help you with your case.

Who does this rule affect?

This rule affects pretty much anyone wishing to immigrate to the United States, permanently or temporarily.

  • People seeking immigrant (permanent) or nonimmigrant (temporary) visas abroad
  • People seeking admission to the United States on immigrant or nonimmigrant visas
  • People seeking to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident from within the United States

Which public benefits are included in the rule?

The following benefits are listed in the rule. If you have used or are likely to use any of the listed benefits, you might be considered inadmissible.

  • Any federal, state, local, or tribal cash assistance for income maintenance   
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) 
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) 
  • Federal, state or local cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called “General Assistance” in the state context, but which may exist under other names)  
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or formerly called “Food Stamps”) 
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program 
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (including Moderate Rehabilitation)  
  • Public Housing under section 9 the Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. 1437 et seq. 
  • Federally funded Medicaid (with certain exclusions) 

Are there exceptions to the rule?

Some classes of immigrants are exempt from the public charge ground of inadmissibility. These include:

  • Refugees
  • Asylees
  • Afghans and Iraqis with special immigrant visas 
  • People enlisted in the U.S. armed forces, serving on active duty, or in any of the Ready Reserve components of the U.S. armed forces, and the spouse and children of such service members. 

The rule also makes exceptions to benefits received under the following circumstances:

  • The receipt of Medicaid for the treatment of an emergency medical condition;  
  • Services or benefits funded by Medicaid but provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;  
  • School-based services or benefits provided to individuals who are at or below the oldest age eligible for secondary education as determined under state or local law;  
  • Medicaid benefits received by an applicant under 21 years of age; or  
  • Medicaid benefits received by a woman during pregnancy and during the 60-day period beginning on the last day of the pregnancy.  

How long must you have been using public benefits in order to be determined inadmissible?

If you received public benefits for a total of 12 months or more within a 36-month period, then you would be considered inadmissible. Note that the receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months.

However, the rule also states that any duration of public benefits can be considered.

How do they determine if you are “likely to become a public charge”?

Under the final rule, “likely at any time to become a public charge” means more likely than not at any time in the future. In other words, it’s determined that a person is more likely than not to receive one or more of the designated public benefits for more than 12 months within any 36-month period.

To make this determination, the USCIS officer will consider your: 

  • Age
  • Health 
  • Family status 
  • Assets, resources, and financial status 
  • Education and skills
  • Prospective immigration status 
  • Expected period of admission
  • Sufficient Form I-864, Affidavit of Support when required

You are “likely to become a public charge” if…

These factors weigh heavily in favor of a determination that someone is likely to become a public charge in the future.

  • You are not a full-time student and are authorized to work but cannot show current employment, recent employment history, or a reasonable prospect of future employment. 
  • You have received, or have been certified or approved to receive, one or more public benefits for more than 12 months within any 36-month period, beginning no earlier than 36 months before you applied for admission or adjustment of status. 
  • You have been diagnosed with a medical condition that is likely to require extensive medical treatment or institutionalization or that will interfere with your ability to provide for yourself, attend school, or work and you are uninsured and have neither the prospect of obtaining private health insurance nor the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs related to a medical condition. 
  • You have previously been found by an immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals to be inadmissible or deportable based on public charge grounds.  

You are NOT “likely to become a public charge” if…

The following factors would weigh heavily against a finding that a person is likely to become a public charge in the future.

  • You have household income, assets, resources, and support from a sponsor, excluding any income from illegal activities or from public benefits, of at least 250% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for your household size. 
  • You are authorized to work and are currently employed in a legal industry with an annual income of at least 250% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for a household of your household size. 
  • You have private health insurance appropriate for the expected period of admission, so long as you do not receive subsidies in the form of premium tax credits under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to pay for such health insurance. 

Immigration Help: Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds 

If you have any questions about your immigration application, 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 speaks Spanish very well and that helped us a lot!

Sharon is a very professional lawyer. She helped my mom with her Immigration process and everything went perfect! She also speaks Spanish very well and that helped us a lot! I highly recommend Her! Muchas gracias Sharon!

Cristina A. , Harbor City, CA
Immigration Attorney in Los Angeles Parole In Place Immigration Program for Military Family Ending Soon

Parole In Place: Immigration Program for Military Family Ending Soon

Parole in Place, a special immigration program for family of U.S. military, may be in its final days. If you were considering applying, now is the time.

What Is Parole in Place? 

Parole in Place allows relatives of U.S. military to apply for permanent residency without having to leave the United States—even if they entered the country illegally. 

It is not a waiver. It doesn't forgive crimes or other grounds of inadmissibility. All it does is give a fictitious lawful entry so that you can apply for permanent residency while remaining in the United States, eliminating the risk of travelling abroad and possibly not being let back in.  

It’s a way for someone with an otherwise clean background to immigrate within the United States and not have to leave the country.

Is Parole in Place Ending? 

There has been talk, beginning in June 2019, that the program would be ending in about a month. As of late September, nothing official has happened. However, there remains a leak saying that this is going to happen soon.

So what should you do? I strongly advise you to hurry up! If you are planning on filing for parole in place, apply now! Get it done as soon as possible. It looks like the program may be terminated any day.

But, before you apply, consult an immigration attorney. Make sure you don't have any other immigration issues and make sure that you have a case that will qualify.

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 do not need Parole in Place.

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:

  • Completed Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (without fee). 
  • Evidence of the family relationship, such as:
    • 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

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 Los Angeles area. Call (310) 803-3040 or visit https://abaudlegal.com/appointment/ to schedule an appointment.

Sharon speaks Spanish very well and that helped us a lot!

Sharon is a very professional lawyer. She helped my mom with her Immigration process and everything went perfect! She also speaks Spanish very well and that helped us a lot! I highly recommend Her! Muchas gracias Sharon!

Cristina A. , Harbor City, CA
Immigration Attorney in Los Angeles - Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident Through US Citizen Child

Can You Become a Lawful Permanent Resident Through Your US Citizen Child?

So, you think you can become a U.S. resident because your child is a U.S. citizen? Not so fast! Before you file any paperwork, be sure that you understand the entire process and all the requirements involved. 

If you have a U.S. citizen child who is 21 years old or older, this relationship does qualify your child to file a I-130 family-based petition.. But, having a qualifying relationship is by far not the only thing you need to qualify for a family-based green card

Green card applicants must also meet a set of requirements that deems them “admissible to the United States.” If you apply and you do not meet these requirements—if it’s determined that you are inadmissible to the United States—then you could face serious consequences. The worst one? A permanent bar from entering the country. 

Before you file any paperwork, it’s extremely important to understand all the requirements and potential consequences. 

Do You Really Qualify for a Green Card?

Qualifying for U.S. permanent residency is really a two-step process. Step one is a qualifying relationship for a family-based petition. Your son or daughter is a U.S. citizen 21 years of age or older? Great! You meet the requirement for step one. 

Step two is determining if you are admissible. To talk about this, let’s flip the question. What makes a person inadmissible to the United States

There are many ways a person can be inadmissible, so many in fact that you’d need a firm understanding of immigration law to know them all. Inadmissability is a very complex area of immigration law and even if you think you are not inadmissible, you should definitely speak to an immigration attorney before starting any paperwork. That being said, here are some common reasons a person would be determined inadmissible:

  • A criminal history with crimes involving violence, theft, or abuse
  • Violations of immigration law (including false claim to US citizenship which could result in a permanent bar)
  • Communicable diseases like tuberculosis
  • Mental disorders that could cause you to harm yourself or others
  • Drug abusers
  • Drug traffickers
  • A history of prostitution
  • Involvement in a terrorist organization or gang
  • Members of the Nazi party
  • People likely to become dependent on the U.S. government due to financial instability

A Common Scenario  

A common scenario for parents of U.S. citizen children is that leaving the country for their interview would trigger an unlawful presence bar. This bar is triggered when a person who entered the U.S. without inspection, accumulates 6 months to a year, or more than one year of unlawful presence, and then leaves the country. 

The 3-Year and 10-Year Bar 

A three-year bar occurs if the person spent more than six months but less than one year in the United States without legal status after having entered without inspection. A 10-year bar occurs if a person was unlawfully present for more than one year after having entered without inspection. 

What often happens is that this person leaves the U.S. to attend their visa interview in their home country thinking that they will only be gone a few weeks. Then, when they attend the visa interview, their immigrant visa is denied and only then do they learn of the 3-year or 10-year bar that was triggered when they left the United States to go to their interview.  This is a tragic occurrence for many families. 

The Waiver that Can Help You Avoid Being Barred from Entry to the U.S.   

There is a provisional waiver (I-601A) that if granted waives the 3-year or 10-year bar prior to leaving the U.S. for an immigrant visa interview. To qualify, the intending immigrant must have a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Spouse or Parent. Thus, unless they have a family member who qualifies them, parents immigrating through their U.S. citizen children do not qualify for this waiver.

Immigration Help 

If you have any questions about your visa application, I am happy to help. I’m Sharon Abaud, 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
Immigration Lawyer in Los Angeles - Immigration Through Family

Before You Immigrate through Family—Read this Ebook!

Michael is a U.S. citizen. Barbara is from Mexico but she has been living in the U.S. since she was 3 years old. She cannot remember being brought into the U.S. but she has been told she entered without status. Michael and Barbara have been married for 10 years and they have 3 U.S. citizen children, ages 9, 7, and 5. Michael and Barbara have been too scared to take any risks and so it took them a long time to decide to file for Barbara’s lawful permanent residency.

Finally, Michael and Barbara decided it was time and they wanted to save on a lawyer so decided to do it on their own. Michael filed an I-130 for Barbara. It was approved. Next, they just did what immigration told them to, which was to send paperwork and go to the interview in Mexico. Barbara went to the interview in Mexico promising her 5 year old she would make it back for her ballet recital. Unfortunately, in Mexico, Barbara learned she would not make it back to the recital or any of her kids’ events for several years. Barbara was told that since she had not filed for a waiver in the U.S. she would have to file for a waiver from outside the U.S. and wait for it abroad.

Only then did Barbara and Michael consult with an immigration attorney. There they learned that Barbara could not come to the U.S. until a waiver was filed and approved. Though she could ask for forgiveness from the 10 year punishment, she would still have to wait for the waiver to be prepared, filed, and approved, which could take years. Barbara didn’t even speak any Spanish and she didn’t have family in Mexico. Worst of all, she wasn’t going to be there for her young children.

This is a terrible situation to be in, especially if you did not see it coming. I strongly advise that you consult with an immigration attorney before you start and not just that—educate yourself.

People often come to me wanting to immigrate, thinking that simply because they have a qualifying U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative, they will be granted U.S. permanent residence. It is not that simple. There are many factors that can seriously complicate the process and it’s important to discuss your situation with an immigration attorney before you submit any application.

Before you begin the process of family immigration, it’s extremely important that you understand the risks. This article explains a huge consequence of family-based immigration when you’ve spent time unlawfully in the United States—and how to avoid it. 

There’s more to family based immigration than just having a U.S. relative.

There are two steps to family-based immigration. The first is having a qualifying relative petition for you. The second, an entirely separate process, is applying for lawful permanent residence based on this petition. It’s this second step that actually grants you a green card or permanent resident visa. It comes with its own set of qualifications, beyond your relationship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. This second step comes with a lot of risks too, especially if you’ve spent any time unlawfully in the United States.

The most important thing to consider before starting the immigration process is understanding if you have any “grounds of inadmissibility.” What exactly is a ground of inadmissibility? It’s any circumstance that would make you inadmissible to the United States. In other words, something that would cause you to be denied entry into the country. One of the most common is unlawful presence.

Immigrating if you’ve been unlawfully present in the U.S. has serious risks.

Unlawful presence is time spent in the U.S. without legal status. If you entered the U.S. without status and spent more than six months, but less than 1 year in the United States without status, you will trigger a 3 year bar upon leaving the U.S. This means that if you exit the country, you will not be allowed to reenter for 3 years and any application to immigrate will be automatically denied.

If you entered the U.S. without status and spent more than 1 year in the United States, you will trigger a  10-year bar upon leaving the U.S. This means, that if you leave the U.S. you will not be let back in for 10 years (unless you can apply for a waiver outside the U.S.). 

The issue arises when a person who doesn’t qualify to immigrate inside the U.S. (through a process called adjustment of status) travels abroad to their immigrant visa interview. They are typically unaware of this 3 year and 10-year punishment. So what happens? They go to their interview thinking they will return to the U.S. with a green card in a few weeks, only to learn that they will not be let back in for another 10 years. 

Unfortunately, Michael and Barbara’s story is a common one and to me, it’s especially sad because it’s something that could have been prevented! These risks can be prevented if you do things the right way.

It is possible to apply for a Provisional Waiver of Inadmissibility before you apply to immigrate to help you avoid these risks. If you know that you have unlawful presence or think that you may have any other ground of inadmissibility, it’s extremely important to talk with an immigration attorney before you start any paperwork. Having this waiver can will allow you to go to your interview abroad without having to wait years outside. This waiver is truly essential in getting your case approved, and an immigration attorney can help you get it. 

Find out whether you qualify to immigrate through adjustment of status or if you are required to travel abroad to immigrate (consular processing). Find out if you can file for a Waiver of Unlawful Presence from within in the United States, so that you only leave for a few weeks as opposed to months or years. The only people who qualify for this are the spouses of a U.S citizens or lawful permanent residents and the children of U.S citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Download this FREE Ebook before you start the process.

I prepared this very simple guide to help you understand if you qualify to immigrate here in the United States or if you are required to travel abroad. It is NOT a replacement for a legal consultation, but it is an important first step to understanding your options.

3 Ways to Immigrate in the US Without Having to Leave the US Ebook

Immigration Help 

If you have any questions about U.S. immigration through family, I am happy to help. I’m Sharon Abaud, 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.

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
Immigration Attorney in Los Angeles - How To Prove Our Long Distance Marraige Is Real

5 Ways to Prove Your Long-Distance Marriage is Real to Immigration

Proving to immigration that your marriage is real is difficult enough when you live together. When you’re long-distance, it’s even harder. Here are five tips to prove your marriage is real.

When you’re married to someone who lives abroad, you likely won’t be able to submit the “typical” documents that immigration asks for to prove your relationship is real. You can’t show a joint rental agreement because you’ve never lived in the same country, let alone the same house. You likely never had a joint bank account and you probably haven’t filed taxes together. Maybe the foreign spouse has never even stepped foot into the U.S. because they don’t have the proper visa documents. Nevertheless, there are plenty of ways to prove your relationship is real.

1. Photographs

Show them your pictures. You’ve likely been traveling to see each other A LOT and you probably have lots of wonderful photographs. This shows immigration: (1) that you value spending time together; (2) that you spend money to make that happen; and (3) that you are a part of each other's lives even though you live apart.

Photographs should ideally be presented with a description that includes the date, location, and who’s pictured. Here are some other pro tips:

  • Don’t send all selfies! Selfies’ major downfall is they don’t leave a lot of room for much beyond your faces. For these photographs, the location is important, whether it’s the Eiffel Tower on a romantic trip to Paris or your wife’s mother’s kitchen in Ecuador. While it’s okay to send a few good selfie pictures, keep them at a minimum.
  • A variety of places. When you’ve been to a lot of places together, it proves that you’ve spent a lot of time together just as a couple that lived in the same country would. It doesn’t have to be photos of adventurous vacations from all over the world, but it shouldn’t be the same 10 photos in your spouse’s apartment either. Shoot for somewhere in the middle.
  • A variety of faces. Photographs with different people show immigration that your relationship is public. Your spouse has met your friends and family, a big step in any relationship. Photos with family are especially good.

2. Text Messages

Text messages prove that you’ve been in communication, that you share your day to day lives with each other. Do you WhatsApp each other every evening? Print it out and present it with your green card application.

3. Travel

Proof of travel is excellent evidence of your commitment to each other. You took time off work, away from your home, and spent a lot of money to be able to have time with your partner. That’s shows just how important the relationship is to you. Print out plane tickets that show you’ve been traveling back and forth and present them to immigration.

4. Letters

You can include letters, one from you and one from your spouse, in your application that tell the story of your relationship and your devotion to one another. The letters should explain how you met, times you’ve spent together, your commitment to one another, and how you are planning a life together in the United States. Letters can be written in any language, so long as you also provide a certified English translation.

5. Proof of Financial Support

If one partner is sending the other partner money, you will also want to show proof of this. Offers of financial support are another way to show evidence of a serious, committed relationship.

That’s it! Five simple tips to prove your marriage is real, even if you have never lived together. 

Questions About Your Marriage-Based Green Card?

If you have any questions about your green card application, I am happy to help. I’m Sharon Abaud, 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
Immigration Attorney - Proofs of Real Marriage - Prove Your Marriage is Real

10 Ways to Prove Your Marriage Is Real to Immigration

You’re in the process of filing the I-130 immigration petition for your spouse and you’re stuck on one tricky part. Exactly how do you prove that your marriage is real? Here are 10 types of evidence you can submit that will help get your I-130 approved.

WARNING: If you’re considering entering into a marriage solely for the purpose of getting an immigration benefit, don’t do it. Marriage fraud has brutal consequences (including criminal consequences), for both the potential immigrant and the U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

1. Who Qualifies for a Family-Based Visa

Once you’re married, you’ll need to submit taxes together. Showing that your finances are intermingled is a great signal that your life is intertwined.

If your marriage is less than one year old, you might not have yet filed joint taxes. That’s fine, just keep it in mind for the future. Also, if your marriage is new, remember that you will need to file Form I-751 to remove the conditions on your residency.

2. Proof of Shared Living

Proving that you live together is another great signal that your marriage is real. Submit your lease if you’re renting. Submit your mortgage if you bought a home. In either case, it’s better if both names are on the document so keep that in mind if you’re searching for a place to live now.

Even if you are living with a relative or a friend and there is no formal agreement, you can still prove you are living together in other ways. For instance, you can submit proof that you each receive important mail at the same address, or a notarized statement from a landlord stating under penalty of perjury that to his knowledge you both live there together.

3. Joint Bank Accounts

Shared finances are a big sign of commitment. Joint bank accounts are excellent proof of this. Note that it’s not enough to simply have an account in both partners’ names if it’s just sitting there idly. You want to show that both partners are depositing money into the account and using money from the account to show that it’s active.

4. Insurance

Proof of insurance is another great form of evidence. This could be car insurance, life insurance or health insurance. For example, perhaps one partner is a beneficiary of the other’s life insurance. Or, one partner is on the other partner’s health insurance plan through their employer.

5. Joint Utility Bills

Utility bills in both partners’ names prove that you live together and that both partners contribute to household finances. Even if you split the utilities (for example one partner pays gas and the other electric), you can still submit those bills as proof of shared financial responsibility and shared living. It’s helpful to submit any official documents that show you have the same address.

6. Affidavits from Family & Friends

These affidavits from family and friends are essentially letters written under oath that testify to the validity of your relationship, shared life, and love for one another. These are especially great for new couples that may not have a lot of evidence otherwise.

Your friends and family can talk about how they know you, how they met you, how they see you together at events, and how they think about you as a couple. It’s really important that these letters are unique and from the heart. You don't want everyone saying the same thing; you want the letters to be personal. These letters should come from U.S. citizens and residents, and you should include proof of that person’s citizenship (ie copy of passport) or permanent residency (copy of green card) as well as contact information. Affidavits do not need to be notarized; however, notarizing an affidavit can add credibility which will allow the officer to give it more weight when looking at the entirety of the case.

7. Photographs

This is the fun part. Pictures, pictures, pictures of your relationship. Photographs should span the entirety of your relationship, from the beginning until now. Stay away from sending the same selfies in different clothes. Try to submit photographs that show where you are and that include other people to prove that you present yourselves as a couple to the world.

8. Social Media Posts

Another great way to prove that your relationship is public is to submit evidence from social media. This can be photographs (with the date posted and comments from friends), relationship status, or any other kind of communication that’s public.

Immigration often does look into applicants’ social media accounts. In this case, I think it's an asset. It shows that you are public with the nature of your relationship and love for one another.

9. Children

Kids! Proof of having children together is the strongest evidence of a real marriage. If you have a child together, definitely submit evidence of this (a birth certificate with both parents’ names listed).

If you don’t have a child together but one partner has a child from a previous relationship, this can still be an excellent sign of shared life. For example, if you partner has a strong relationship with the stepchild and you have photographs together, that’s a great signal of a happy, blended family.

10. This Is Not a Checklist

This is not a checklist and you shouldn’t use it like one. Every relationship is unique and you are going to have different evidence that proves your marriage is real. The bottom line is that you want to prove your relationship is loving, public and committed. Use any evidence that you think does this.

For example, if you don’t have a shared bank account but you have done a lot of travelling together, submit evidence of your trips. If you attended events together like weddings or conferences, submit evidence of that. If one partner is learning English to help them acclimate to their new, shared life in the U.S., submit evidence of English classes. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! If you're thinking of submitting any other type of evidence not mentioned here, please comment below.

What Happens After the I-130?

Now you know exactly what type of evidence you need to submit to prove that your marriage is bonafide. But what about immigrating? This family-based I-130 petition doesn’t get you an immigrant visa. You also need to know what immigration process you’ll take to become a lawful permanent resident. To help you figure this out, I've written a FREE guide just for you. Note that this ebook is not a substitute for a legal consultation, but it will give you a helpful overview of the process.

If you have any questions about your marriage-based visa, I'd be happy to help. I’m Sharon Abaud, 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 speaks Spanish very well and that helped us a lot!

Sharon is a very professional lawyer. She helped my mom with her Immigration process and everything went perfect! She also speaks Spanish very well and that helped us a lot! I highly recommend Her! Muchas gracias Sharon!

Cristina A. , Harbor City, CA

Adjustment of Status: What You Should Know about Immigrating from Inside the US

The process of applying for a U.S. green card can be overwhelming. This article walks you through seven necessary steps (including required forms) that all applicants must complete. The green card process explained here is for immigrants who are able to apply for an immigrant visa from within the United States, a process called “Adjustment of Status.”

Ready to start the green card process now? Before you file any paperwork, I highly recommend that you have your case reviewed by a licensed immigration attorney. Immigration is complicated and there may be aspects of your case that could lead to your application being rejected or denied. An immigration attorney can help.

#1 Form I-130, Family Petition

In my YouTube video, I discussed the family-based immigration petition Form I-130. As I explained, Form I-130 is not an application for a visa in and of itself, but rather it is a part of the family-based immigration process. If you want to immigrate based on a family, you will need to have the I-130 application approved.

The I-130 petition proves that you have a qualifying relationship with an individual who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. In some cases, it is possible to submit this application and be able to remain in the United States while it is being processed by the USCIS—a process called “adjustment of status.” Depending on your family relationship, you may be able to submit the I-130 application and I-485 application at the same time.

If you qualify for adjustment of status, I strongly advise that you immigrate this way. It’s preferable over the other option, “consular processing,” for a few very important reasons.

  1. First and foremost, adjustment of status allows you to remain in the U.S. with your family and provides you with a work permit while your case is being processed. Consular processing requires that you leave the U.S. and complete the process abroad.
  2. Adjustment of status can sometimes be less costly and faster than consular processing.
  3. Adjustment of status means you can become a permanent resident without having to leave the United States. Leaving the U.S. is always risky. There is always a chance that your application will be denied and you will be stuck abroad, potentially indefinitely.

Want to Know if YOU Qualify for Adjustment of Status?
Read this Ebook

I have created a FREE ebook resource to help you understand if you qualify for adjustment of status. Note that this ebook is not an alternative to seeking legal advice, but simply a resource to help you understand what immigration options are available to you.


#2 Form I-485, Adjustment of Status

The I-485 application is the application to change your immigration status to permanent residence. While the I-130 petition is filed by the U.S. relative, the I-485 application is filed by the person who is actually seeking a green card.

If you are applying for permanent residence through a U.S. citizen immediate relative, you have a big advantage. These applicants are allowed to file both the I-485 and the I-130 petition at the same time. This can save a lot of time! Immediate relatives are:

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens
  • Unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens
  • Parents of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old

If you are filing through a relative other than an immediate relative you will not have a visa immediately available. This means that you cannot file the I-130 at the same time as the I-485. However, you may be able to file the I-485 before your visa is available. See my video on this topic to learn more. You can also find information on your visa priority date by checking the visa bulletin.

WARNING: Travel with Pending I-485 Is Not Advised

I strongly advise my clients not to travel when they have a pending immigration application. As I said before, it is always a risk to exit the United States as there is a chance you will not be readmitted upon reentry. If you absolutely must travel, you should get permission from the USCIS before leaving. In order to do so, you should apply for a travel document (Form I-131). Do not travel without permission granted.

Another reason not to travel is that you may receive an appointment notice from the USCIS while you’re abroad. In most cases, the USCIS does not give you much time to appear for an appointment (a few weeks, not months) so it may be difficult to appear if you are abroad. Failure to appear for your interview can have devastating results. Worst case: your entire case gets denied and your case is referred to immigration court for removal proceedings.

#3 Apply for a Work Permit

It’s possible to apply for permission to work in the United States when you file your I-485 adjustment of status application. This is a big deal and one of the major advantages of filing for permanent residence within the United States. The application for a work permit is Form I-765.

#4 Form I-864, Affidavit of Support

One of the final steps in the green card process is finding a sponsor. In this case, I am talking specifically about a financial sponsor, someone who lives in the U.S. who promises to financially support you in case of difficult times. This is something the U.S. requires of all immigration applicants. The sponsor will have to make a minimum yearly income.

The I-130 petitioner in your case will need to fill out Form I-864, even if their income doesn’t qualify them to be a sponsor. If this is the case, you can request another person sponsor you (a “joint sponsor”), who will complete a separate Form I-864.

#5 Medical Exam

All permanent residence applicants are required to get a medical exam. In October 2018, the guidelines for this requirement changed. Now, all medical exams have a 2-month validity period. This means that you must get your medical exam no more than two months before your interview. If the exam took place more than two months before your interview, it is considered expired and the USCIS will not accept it.

You have the option to submit the medical exam with the initial filing OR present at interview. I highly recommend presenting the exam at interview. If you submit the medical exam with your initial application, it’s likely that it will expire before your interview and be invalid.

Note: It’s important that you keep the document sealed—don’t open the envelope!

#6 Pay USCIS Filing Fees

You will need to submit payment with each application you file. Here’s a breakdown:

  • I-130, Petition for Alien Relative                                                                            $535
  • I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status        $1,140 
  • I-765, Application for Employment Authorization                                              $410      

Note that immigration filing fees are always subject to change. Please check the USCIS website for the most up to date filing fees.

#7 Prove that You are Not Inadmissible to the United States

This is the most important step! You need to prove that you are not inadmissable to the United States for any reason. There are many reasons a person could be inadmissable, some they may not even be aware of. If it turns out you do have issues of inadmissibility, you certainly want to know about it before you present your case to immigration to ensure you are well prepared to address such matters. This is why I highly, highly recommend consulting with an immigration attorney before you proceed with your case so that they can screen you and make sure there are no issues of inadmissibility. There are many instances where an attorney can help you with these issues, for example by requesting a waiver, when possible.

Immigration Help: I-485 Green Card Application

If you have any questions about your I-485 application 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 Attorney - Green Card Application

The Fastest Way to File Your Green Card Application

It’s no secret that the green card process is long. Many applicants spend years waiting to file their adjustment of status (I-485) application. However, there is a faster way to file that many applicants don’t know about. It can give you a work permit and a social security number while you wait for your green card.

This process is only for applicants who are eligible to file from within the United States through the “adjustment of status” process (Form I-485). 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.

Why Filing Earlier Matters

When you file for residency, by virtue of having a pending I-485 application, you automatically qualify to have a work permit. A work permit gives you a social security number. With both of these documents, you can really start a life in the United States.

How To File Your I-485 Early

The trick to this process is all about when to file your I-485. It is for applicants who have already filed the immigration petition (Form I-130) and are waiting in line for their visa to become current.

Knowing when your visa is current requires you to check the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Bulletin. Below is the visa bulletin for October 2018. Note that there are two separate charts. Chart-A is the “Final Action Dates for Family-Sponsored Preference Cases” and Chart-B is the “Dates for Filing Family-Sponsored Visa Applications.” Most people only look at Chart-A, but if you can file according to Chart-B’s dates, you will get the benefits of a pending I-485 application sooner. 

The USCIS determines every month which chart you are allowed to file under, depending on the number of visas that are available for that filing year. While Chart-A indicates the actual date your visa is current, Chart-B often indicates an earlier date on which you are allowed to file. Find out if you can file under Chart-B by checking the USCIS website

Here’s an example. Let's pretend that I'm a U.S. permanent resident married to someone from Mexico, and I petitioned for him today. First, I would look under the visa category “F2A,” because I'm a resident married and I'm petitioning for my spouse. Second, I would look under “Mexico.” Looking at the first chart, the date is August 1, 2016. Going by this chart, we’d have to wait about two years before we could file the I-485 application. But, if you look at the second chart, the date is December 1, 2017. That’s only a 14 month wait until we can file the I-485. That’s a lot sooner and after we file my husband will be able to legally work in the United States and get a social security number.

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

     A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

     B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents:  23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

A.  FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES

Family-
Sponsored
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed

CHINA-mainland
born

INDIA
MEXICO
​PHILIPPINES
F1

01JUN11

01JUN11

01JUN11

01AUG97

22DEC06

F2A

22AUG16

22AUG16

22AUG16

01AUG16

22AUG16

F2B

22NOV11

22NOV11

22NOV11

15MAY97

15MAY07

F3

15JUN06

15JUN06

15JUN06

22DEC95

08JUN95

F4

15FEB05

15FEB05

01MAY04

22JAN98

08JUN95

B.  DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS

Family-
Sponsored
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed

CHINA-mainland
born

INDIA
MEXICO
​PHILIPPINES
F1

08MAR12

08MAR12

08MAR12

08OCT98

15FEB08

F2A

01DEC17

01DEC17

01DEC17

01DEC17

01DEC17

F2B

22MAR14

22MAR14

22MAR14

22JUN97

22JUN97

F3

08JAN07

08JAN07

08JAN07

22DEC98

01JUN97

F4

01JUN05

01JUN05

01MAY04

22JUN98

08APR96

Immigration Help: When to File Your I-485 Adjustment of Status Application

If you have any questions about when to file your adjustment of status application, 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 speaks Spanish very well and that helped us a lot!

Sharon is a very professional lawyer. She helped my mom with her Immigration process and everything went perfect! She also speaks Spanish very well and that helped us a lot! I highly recommend Her! Muchas gracias Sharon!

Cristina A. , Harbor City, CA
Los Angeles Immigration Attorney - Father and Child Proof of Relationship

Form I-130, Proof of Father-Child Relationship

Family-based green card applications require that you submit proof of the relationship. This article gives an overview of how to prove a father-child relationship for USCIS Form I-130, whether the father is petitioning for the child or the child is petitioning for the father. Evidence will vary depending on whether or not the petitioning father was married to the mother before the child’s 18th birthday.

If the Parents Were Married Before the Child’s 18th Birthday

The primary document immigration wants to see is a marriage certificate between the child's mother and the petitioning father. Ideally, the marriage took place before the child’s 18th birthday. If a marriage took place after the child’s 18th birthday or not at all, you will need to submit additional documentation.

If the Parents Were Not Married Before the Child’s 18th Birthday

If the petitioning father and mother were not married before the child’s 18th birthday or never married, you’ll need to submit other documents. The point is to show that there was a paternal relationship between the father and child. Examples of this type of evidence include:

  • Photographs
  • Proof of having lived together
  • School records
  • Money transfers
  • Joint savings account
  • Letters between father and child

You want to provide as much proof as possible that you publicly treated the child as your own or participated in the child’s life, specifically through financial or emotional support. Proof will vary depending on your situation.

I'll give you an example of a father I helped file a petition for his daughter. In this case, the father was never married to the mother. He had left his home country and became a United States citizen, but his daughter was still living abroad. They hadn't seen each other for years. They didn't have any pictures together or other physical proof of that sort to send to immigration. In this case, we sent copies of years worth of letters they had sent to one another. In addition, we submitted evidence of money wires sent from the father to his daughter abroad. 

Immigration Help: Proving a Father-Child Relationship

If you have any questions about proving a father-child relationship for Form I-130, 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 speaks Spanish very well and that helped us a lot!

Sharon is a very professional lawyer. She helped my mom with her Immigration process and everything went perfect! She also speaks Spanish very well and that helped us a lot! I highly recommend Her! Muchas gracias Sharon!

Cristina A. , Harbor City, CA
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