Immigration – Frequently Asked Questions

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What factors are considered by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in granting an individual immigration status?

Factors considered by the USCIS include whether the applicant has an immediate relative who is a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident; whether the applicant has a permanent employment opportunity in the US and whether that employment fits under one of the five eligible employment categories; and whether the applicant qualifies for refugee status.

What is the purpose of the Diversity (DV) Lottery Program?

The purpose of the DV Lottery Program is to annually award immigrant visas to applicants whose country of origin has low (not more than 50,000 in the last five years) immigration rates to the US The program is called a lottery because there are more applicants than visas, and the visas are granted randomly among qualified applicants.

What is the basis for being deported? What are the consequences of deportation?

Deportation occurs when an alien has been found to have violated certain immigration laws and results in the alien forfeiting his or her right to remain in the US The immigration authorities will physically remove the deportee from the country.

How is the deportation process initiated?

The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement issues a Notice to Appear (NTA) containing the reason why the alien should be deported. The NTA is served to the alien and filed with the immigration court. A hearing is scheduled, and at that hearing, an immigration judge will determine if the information in the NTA is correct. If it is, deportation of the alien will be ordered.

Can a deportation order be appealed?

Yes. The alien has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration (BIA). If the BIA decides against the alien, the matter can be appealed to the US Court of Appeals. If the Court of Appeals also finds against the alien, the matter can be appealed to the US Supreme Court.

Under what circumstance will a foreign spouse’s permanent resident status in the US be conditional?

A spouse’s permanent resident status will be conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old from the day the permanent resident status was granted. To remove the conditions, the spouse must establish that the purpose of the marriage was not to evade the US immigration laws.

Under what circumstance will a foreign fiance(e), who has been admitted into the US for the purpose of getting married, be required to leave the US?

If the marriage to the US citizen who filed the petition to permit the fiance(e) into the US does not take place within 90 days of entering the US, the fiance(e) will be required to leave the country.

Can a U.S citizen file an application to adopt a foreign-born child before the citizen has identified a child to adopt?

Yes. A married US citizen, or an unmarried citizen who is at least 24 years of age and will be at least 25 when the petition is actually filed, may file an Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, to speed up the adoption process.

What is the basic law that governs immigration?

The federal Immigration and Nationality Act provides the basis for US immigration law.

Can a fee for immigration related services be waived?

Yes. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has discretion to waive a filing fee if the applicant can establish that he or she is unable to pay. In order to have the USCIS consider waiving a fee, the applicant must follow specific instructions, including completion of a form for review by the USCIS.

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Texas Immigration Attorney : Michael Spychalski

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