I AM A US CITIZEN. WHO CAN I PETITION?
As Immediate Relatives, you can sponsor your spouse, parent, and children under the age of 21.
As Preference category relatives, you can sponsor your unmarried sons and daughters under the 1st preference category; your married sons and daughters under the 3rd preference category; and your siblings under the 4th preference category.
I AM A LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENT. WHO CAN I PETITION?
You may petition your spouse and children under 21 years old under the 2A preference family-based category. You may also petition your unmarried son or daughter over 21 years of age under the 2B family-based preference category.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE “IMMEDIATE RELATIVE” AND “PREFERENCE” CATEGORIES?
Immediate relative categories are not subject to any federal numerical limitations. Preference categories ARE subject to annual numerical limitations. These categories can be backlogged, leading to extensive delays in some cases. Other categories such as the children (under 21 years of age) and spouses of lawful permanent residents are not so delayed lately and can result in residency within 18 months.
DO I REALLY NEED A LAWYER FOR MY “MARRIAGE” CASE?
The simple “marriage” case could not be more complicated than it is now. The I-130 petition that for many years was a 3-page form is now 12 pages. As if that was not enough, an I-130A form was created, adding another 6 pages to the mix. And the new I-944 form is another 18 pages long and requires both you and your spouse to provide detailed information on all your assets, debts, proof of health insurance, and credit reports and scores. Even accountants would have trouble with that form.
Additionally, the USCIS interview can be challenging. The USCIS officer conducting the interview will likely presume that your marriage is fraudulent. We have handled hundreds of these cases over the past 25 years and are prepared to help you.
I MARRIED MY U.S. CITIZEN SPOUSE A FEW MONTHS AGO. WE DO NOT HAVE JOINT BANK ACCOUNTS, AND WE ONLY HAVE A FEW SHARED FINANCES. SHOULD I FILE FOR RESIDENCY?
Yes, why not? You must prove to USCIS that you entered your marriage in good faith and that the marriage is bona fide. That can be shown in many ways, which may include joint accounts, but that is not the only way to show that you are in a real marriage. At Estrella Law, we will thoroughly interview you and your partner to determine what evidence you have, such as text or social media messages, trips, etc. that prove you are married for love. It is our job to help and to guide you. Not every marriage is alike, and thus the evidence for one marriage may look quite different from another, so it is our job to prove that to USCIS.
SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT THE NEW “PUBLIC CHARGE” REQUIREMENTS?
Yes. In early 2020, the Trump administration issued a new interpretation of who is a “public charge.” This new rule will result in a multitude of denials for unwary applicants who do not understand how the regulation affects them. Most cases now require a new form “I-944: Declaration of Self-Sufficiency” to proceed with residency in the United States. Your credit score, debts, assets, and level of education could all be factors in deciding whether you are likely to be deemed a public charge and denied residency. At Estrella Law, we want you to be informed and we want to help you to navigate these complex issues which can lead to denial.
I RECEIVED A REQUEST FOR EVIDENCE. WHAT DO I DO NOW?
A Request for Evidence (RFE) means that USCIS has decided that you have not established one or several elements of your case. This does not, however, necessarily mean that they are correct in that decision. We have seen many RFE’s improperly issued, asking for documents that you have already provided or documents that are irrelevant to your case.
Our job is to analyze the RFE, apply the law and applicable regulations to your situation, and find a way forward, strategizing so that the documents we provide USCIS will satisfy the statutory requirements and get your case approved. We are aggressive and think outside the box. Sometimes cases that seem un-winnable are won, and cases that seem lost are salvaged.