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SSD Law Firm PC

Green Card Lawyer Santa Ynez

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Things to Know Now

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Does a Loved One Need Immigration Help in the Santa Ynez area?

Santa Ynez is a city with a population of approximately 4704 people. Many people in Santa Ynez 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 Santa Ynez area. Additionally, we can also assist you with Green Cards throughout every state in America.

Documentation Required to Apply for a Green Card in Santa Ynez

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 Santa Ynez, our immigration attorneys can provide assistance in gathering the necessary documents and ensuring that all requirements are met.

What is Green Card Status in Santa Ynez?

A Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), often called a “green card” holder, is an individual who has been granted the privilege to live and work in the United States permanently. This status allows the person to reside in the U.S., seek employment, and travel internationally, albeit with certain restrictions. LPRs must adhere to specific rules to maintain their status.Lawful Permanent Resident status is obtained one of two routes: either Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status. Consular Processing involves doing your immigration interview with an immigration officer from America while in another country abroad. Adjustment of Status on the other hand involves doing your immigration interview in the United States, usually without ever leaving the U.S..One of the significant advantages of being an LPR is the ability to work without needing employer sponsorship, which provides greater flexibility in job opportunities. Additionally, LPRs can travel outside the U.S. and re-enter, though extended absences may affect their residency status. It is crucial for LPRs to avoid actions that could jeopardize their status, such as committing certain crimes or failing to notify USCIS of a change of address.Moreover, LPRs have the opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship after meeting particular requirements, including continuous residence in the U.S. for a specified period, demonstrating good moral character, and passing English and civics tests. Becoming a U.S. citizen provides additional benefits, such as the right to vote and protection from deportation.

Green Card Application Costs: What to Expect in Santa Ynez

The immigration fees for Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) and Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) are essential costs to consider when applying for a green card.

Form I-485

The filing fee for Form I-485 varies based on the applicant’s age and circumstances. As of this writing:-For applicants aged 14 to 78, the fee is $1,440.-For applicants under 14, filing with at least one parent’s application, the fee is $950.-For applicants over 78, the fee is $1,440, as they are exempt from the biometric fee.-Refugees are exempt from the fee when adjusting status.

Form I-130

The filing fee for Form I-130 is $675 for paper filing and $625 for online filing. This form is used by U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents to establish their relationship to certain family members who wish to immigrate to the U.S.These fees are subject to change, so it’s important to check the latest updates from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website before filing.

What is the 90 Day Rule in Immigration?

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 lawyer can provide guidance tailored to specific circumstances and help navigate the complexities of U.S. immigration laws.

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 attorney. 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 attorney 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 Santa Ynez. 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.

Traveling With a Pending Green Card Application

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.

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Contact our Santa Ynez Green Card Attorneys Today

SSD Law Firm PC stands out as your go-to immigration attorneys in Santa Ynez, 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 Santa Ynez Department now.