personal injury lawyer logo for ssd law firm pc

SSD Law Firm PC

Green Card Lawyer Costa Mesa

Attorney Dhanjan in front of court

Things to Know Now

Attorney Dhanjan in front of court

Does a Loved One Need Immigration Help in the Costa Mesa area?

Costa Mesa is a city with a population of approximately 107245 people. Many people in Costa Mesa are illegal but can get their Green Cards with a little assistance. Our law firm can help with all types of Green Card cases in the Costa Mesa area. Additionally, we can also assist you with Green Cards throughout every state in America.

Evidence Checklist: Applying for a Green Card in Costa Mesa

For an Adjustment of Status (AOS) to be successful, applicants must demonstrate bona fides, or good faith, in various aspects of their application. These are some of the key bona fides required:

Valid Entry and Continuous Residence

  • Proof of Lawful Entry: Applicants must provide evidence that they were lawfully admitted to the United States. This can include a visa stamp, Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record), or other entry documentation.
  • Continuous Residence: Applicants must demonstrate that they have continuously resided in the U.S. since their entry and during the required period preceding the application.

Eligibility Under an Immigration Category

  • Family-Based Petitions: If applying based on a family relationship, such as through a U.S. citizen spouse or parent, applicants must provide documentation of the relationship, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, or proof of a bona fide marriage. Evidence of a bona fide marriage can include joint bank accounts, leases, mortgages, and photographs.
  • Employment-Based Petitions: For employment-based applications, applicants need a job offer and an approved labor certification. Documentation might include an employment contract, employer’s letter, and evidence of qualifications or skills.
  • Other Categories: Applicants under other categories (e.g., asylees, refugees) must provide relevant documentation supporting their status and eligibility.

Good Moral Character

  • Criminal Background Checks: Applicants must undergo background checks and provide police records, demonstrating they have no serious criminal history.
  • Personal Conduct: Evidence of good moral character can include affidavits from employers, community leaders, or others who can vouch for the applicant’s integrity and behavior.

Medical Examination

  • Form I-693: Applicants must undergo a medical examination by a USCIS-approved doctor. The results, documented on Form I-693, must be submitted as part of the AOS application to show they meet health-related standards.

Financial Support

  • Affidavit of Support (Form I-864): For family-based applications, sponsors must submit an Affidavit of Support, proving they can financially support the applicant to prevent them from becoming a public charge. Evidence might include tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements.

Immigration Status Documentation

  • Proof of Current Status: Applicants need to maintain valid non-immigrant status until their AOS application is filed. This includes providing documentation of current visas and any status changes.

Collecting and organizing these bona fides is crucial for a successful adjustment of status application. In Costa Mesa, our immigration attorneys can provide assistance in gathering the necessary documents and ensuring that all requirements are met.

Understanding the 90 Day Rule in Immigration Law

The 90-day rule in U.S. immigration is a guideline used by immigration officers to determine if an individual who entered the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa misrepresented their intentions when applying for the visa. According to this rule, if a non-immigrant engages in conduct inconsistent with their visa status within 90 days of entry, it is presumed that they willfully misrepresented their intentions.

Examples that Could Activate the 90 Day Rule

  • Marrying a U.S. citizen and applying for adjustment of status.
  • Enrolling in school without the proper visa.
  • Undertaking unauthorized employment.

If an individual engages in these activities within the first 90 days, immigration authorities may presume fraud or willful misrepresentation, which can lead to denial of the visa application and potentially severe immigration consequences.However, if such activities occur after the 90-day period, the presumption of misrepresentation is not automatic, although it may still be considered. It’s essential to provide evidence to counter any presumption of fraud if questioned by immigration officials.Understanding the 90-day rule is crucial for those on non-immigrant visas to avoid actions that could negatively impact their immigration status. Consulting with an immigration attorney can provide guidance tailored to specific circumstances and help navigate the complexities of U.S. immigration laws.

Pending Adjustment of Status: Can You Leave the Country?

Traveling abroad while your green card application is pending can be complex and requires careful planning. Here’s a detailed overview of what you need to know and the steps to take:

Understanding the Travel Restrictions

  1. Advance Parole Requirement: Generally, if you leave the U.S. while your green card application (Form I-485) is pending, your application may be considered abandoned unless you have obtained Advance Parole. Advance Parole is a travel document that allows you to re-enter the U.S. without jeopardizing your pending green card application.
  2. Applying for Advance Parole: To secure this document, you must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with USCIS. It is advisable to submit Form I-131 simultaneously with your I-485 application to avoid delays. The processing time can vary, so plan accordingly.
  3. Emergency Travel: If an emergency necessitates travel before you obtain Advance Parole, consult with an immigration lawyer. In some cases, it is possible to expedite the process by providing documentation of the emergency.

Practical Steps to Follow

  1. Check Your Eligibility: Confirm that you are eligible for Advance Parole. Certain applicants, such as those in removal proceedings or who have violated their immigration status, may face restrictions.
  2. Submit Form I-131: Fill out Form I-131 accurately and include supporting documents, such as a copy of your I-485 receipt notice, passport photos, and proof of the need to travel (if applicable).
  3. Await Approval: After submitting your application, wait for USCIS to process and approve it. Avoid making non-refundable travel arrangements until you have received your Advance Parole document.
  4. Travel with Documentation: If you receive Advance Parole, carry it along with your valid passport when traveling. Ensure you return to the U.S. within the validity period specified on the document.

Important Considerations

  • Non-immigrant Visa Holders: If you initially entered the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa (such as a tourist visa) and later applied for a green card, consult with a Green Card lawyer to navigate potential issues related to intent and visa compliance.
  • Timelines and Deadlines: Be mindful of the timelines for both your Advance Parole application and your green card process. Missing deadlines or being abroad when USCIS requests additional information or schedules an interview could complicate your case.
  • Legal Advice: Given the complexities involved, seeking legal advice tailored to your specific situation can prevent potential pitfalls and ensure that you remain compliant with immigration laws.

By following these steps and understanding the underlying reasons, you can manage your travel plans without jeopardizing your green card application.

What Happens During an Immigration Home Visit?

If Immigration Officers decide to do an in home inspection regarding your Green Card application, the following are your rights to keep yourself safe.

Right to Refuse Entry

Firstly, you have the right to refuse entry to immigration officers, unless they have a valid warrant signed by a judge. This warrant should specify your name and address. Ask the officers to slide the warrant under the door or show it through a window to verify its validity before allowing them inside.

Right to Remain Silent

You also have the right to remain silent. You are not obligated to answer questions or provide information without consulting with a Green Card lawyer. Politely inform the officers that you choose to exercise this right and request to speak with a Green Card attorney.

Right to Legal Representation

You have the right to consult with a Green Card lawyer before answering any questions. If you do not have a Green Card attorney, you can find one through local legal aid organizations or immigration advocacy groups in Costa Mesa. A lawyer can provide guidance on how to interact with the officers and protect your rights.

Right to Privacy

Immigration officers cannot search your home without your consent unless they have a valid search warrant. If they do have a warrant, ensure it is specific to your situation and covers the areas they wish to search. If the warrant is not valid or specific, you can deny them access.

Document Everything

Document the encounter by noting the officers’ names, badge numbers, and the time and date of the visit. If possible, record the interaction, as this can be useful for legal proceedings if necessary.Understanding and asserting your rights during an immigration home investigation can help protect you and your family from potential legal complications.

Understanding Wait Times for Citizenship After a Green Card in Costa Mesa?

Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through the process of naturalization, typically after five years of continuous residence in the United States, as outlined in Section 316 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) [8 U.S.C. § 1427]. This period is reduced to three years for those married to and living with a U.S. citizen, under Section 319(a) of the INA [8 U.S.C. § 1430(a)].

Continuous Residence and Physical Presence

To qualify, LPRs must demonstrate continuous residence and physical presence in the United States during the required period. Specifically, they must have been physically present for at least 30 months plus one day out of the five years, or 18 months plus one day out of the three years if married to a U.S. citizen. Additionally, they must have resided in the state or USCIS district where they apply for at least three months prior to filing.

Good Moral Character

Green Card holders must also show good moral character, a requirement detailed in Section 101(f) of the INA [8 U.S.C. § 1101(f)]. This includes adhering to the laws of the United States and demonstrating integrity and honesty in their dealings.

English Skills

Applicants must be able to read, write, and speak basic English, and possess knowledge of U.S. history and government. These requirements are waived for certain applicants, such as those who have been permanent residents for at least 20 years and are over 50 years old, or those who are over 55 years old and have been permanent residents for 15 years. Medical exemptions can also be warranted if your doctor is able to provide evidence that you cannot learn or speak English due to a mental or physical disability.

Oath of Allegiance

Applicants must take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States, affirming their commitment to the country’s principles and laws. Local resources in Costa Mesa, including legal aid organizations and immigration lawyers, can provide guidance and assistance in navigating the naturalization process, ensuring all requirements are met.

From Application to Approval: Green Card Processing Times

The timeframe to obtain a green card after applying varies significantly based on several factors, including the type of visa, the applicant’s country of origin, and the specific circumstances of the case. Generally, the process can take anywhere from several months to several years.

Family-Based Green Cards

For immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21), the process is typically faster, often taking about 10 to 16 months. However, for other family-sponsored categories, such as siblings of U.S. citizens or married children, the wait can be much longer due to annual visa caps and high demand, sometimes extending to several years.

Employment-Based Green Cards

The processing time for employment-based green cards also varies. Categories such as EB-1 (priority workers) usually have shorter wait times, often between 8 months to 1.5 years. In contrast, EB-3 (skilled workers) and EB-2 (professionals with advanced degrees) may face longer processing times, particularly if the applicant is from a country with high demand, such as India or China, where it can take several years.

Asylum or Refugee Green Cards

Applicants who have been granted asylum or refugee status can apply for a green card one year after their entry or status grant. The processing time for these applications typically ranges from 8 months to 2 years.

Diversity Visa Lottery

Winners of the Diversity Visa Lottery must complete their green card process within the fiscal year they are selected, which generally spans about one year.Overall, while the timeframe to get a green card can vary widely, applicants should prepare for a potentially lengthy process and seek guidance from our legal professionals to navigate the complexities involved.

injury and immigration attorney dhanjan

Call our Costa Mesa Green Card Attorneys Today

SSD Law Firm PC stands out as your go-to immigration attorneys in Costa Mesa, offering strategic legal guidance and support. Our Green Card immigration lawyers are dedicated to providing a seamless experience with a free consultation and thorough case evaluation tailored to your needs and within your own language (English, Espanol, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Lao). We understand the nuances of immigration law and are committed to helping you achieve your American dream with clear, informed, and compassionate legal representation. To get your case started, contact our Green Card Lawyer Costa Mesa Department now.