Immigration FAQGENERAL QUESTIONS

1. What is a notario and how are they different from an immigration attorney?

Notarios” or “Immigration Consultants” are individuals who offer legal advice or services on immigration matters. Notarios advertise themselves as being qualified in the area of immigration and able to represent individuals before the various immigration agencies. Notarios have no such qualification and routinely victimize and scam immigrants out of their hard earned money. An attorney is a licensed and trained practitioner who is authorized to act your behalf with all immigration related agencies. An attorney also has the authority to give legal advice with respect to your immigration documents and can represent you in court.

2. Can you handle an immigration matter that is not in Florida?

Yes. Immigration matters are governed by federal law and as a licensed Florida attorney, I can practice in any immigration court nationwide or before any immigration related agency in any state.

IMMIGRATION QUESTIONS

1. How can I become a permanent resident of the US?

There are 3 main avenues to permanent residency: family, employment or investment. An individual seeking permanent residency may be sponsored by a US citizen spouse, parent, adult child or sibling. While a lawful permanent resident may sponsor a spouse or child under 21. Employers may sponsor various types of employees including, but not limited to, advanced degree holders, management, skilled and unskilled labor, and seasonal employees, however not all employment qualifies for permanent residency.

The permanent residency process can be quite complex and you should always consult an attorney as to your options.

2. Why do I need a lawyer for my immigration matter?

Handling an immigration matter, like almost all other areas of the law, does not require you to be represented by an attorney. However, immigration is by far one of the most complex areas of the law, both in substance and procedure. As such, it can be difficult navigate without the assistance of an attorney. Further, it has been statistically proven that persons represented by an attorney have a greater probability of a successful outcome.

3. Can I just prepare my immigration documents and have an attorney review them?

There are attorney’s that conduct document review. However, at HAWM we pride ourselves on developing effective legal strategies that lead to successful results. In order to this, we conduct a thorough review of your personal history and family history to determine what immigration benefits you may be entitled. As such, we only conduct document review in very limited circumstances.

4. My loved one was arrested for a crime, will he or she be deported?

Whether or not your loved one may be deported will depend on the specific facts of the case, including his/her immigration status, criminal history and the availability of different avenues of relief.

If you or a loved one has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you should contact an immigration immediately to discuss the immigration consequences of the criminal offence.

5. What does adjustment of status mean?

Adjustment of status is the process whereby an individual currently in the US changes status to that of a lawful permanent resident.

To determine if you qualify for adjustment of status please contact our office for a free consultation.

6. What types of questions will I be asked at my adjustment of status / marriage fraud interview?

If your adjustment of status is based on your marriage to a US citizen, then you will be scheduled to attend a marriage fraud interview. During that interview, you will be asked questions about your personal, family and relationship history.

When you retain our firm, we ensure that you are thoroughly prepared by providing you with sample questions and by conducting an in office mock interview that will simulate the USCIS marriage fraud interview.

7. I am married to an American, can I put my minor children on the petition?

If you are married to a US citizen, your spouse will have to petition for your minor children, as his /her step-children, on a separate petition, which requires separate filing fees. You will be required to list all your children on your petition but they will not obtain lawful status through that petition.

8. I want to visit the US to marry a citizen, can I?

There is a fiancé visa that can be applied for that will allow you to enter the US for the purposes of marrying your US citizen fiancé.

9. I have been in the US since a child, but I do not have legal status what can I do?

If you entered the US before your 16th birthday and were under 31 as of June 15, 2012, you may qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In addition to the age requirement, DACA requires, among other things, that individuals have completed high school, two years of college or two years of military service.

Please contact our office to determine whether you meet the eligibility requirements for DACA.

10. Is deferred action, the DREAM Act?

Deferred Action is not the DREAM Act, but has provisions that are designed to give lawful status to persons who would benefit from the DREAM ACT. As of October 2013, the DREAM Act has not been passed by the US congress and is therefore not current law.

11. Can I travel if I have been granted deferred action?

If you have been approved for deferred action, you may apply for travel authorization. This is not automatically granted with DACA approval and is a separate application.

If you are uncertain whether you have been given travel authorization, you should contact an attorney, prior to your overseas travel.

12. How can I sponsor a family member?

In order to sponsor a family member, you must first determine there is a qualifying familial relationship. US citizens may petition for their spouse, parent, children under 21, adult children or siblings. Lawful permanent residents may sponsor a spouse, child under 21 or an unmarried son or daughter over 21. The process begins with the filing of the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, supporting documents and applicable fees.

If you need assistance with the family petition process, please contact our office and schedule a consultation.

13. I don’t have a US ID or valid visa, can I travel within the United States on public transportation (planes, trains, greyhound) without being detained?

Travel within the United States has become more difficult for undocumented aliens and immigrants you have overstayed their lawful stay. If you have a valid passport or country issued identification document, you may be able to board planes and interstate buses or trains. However, there have been documented cases of Customs & Border Patrol or Immigration & Customs Enforcement conducting checks for illegal immigrants using various modes of transportation within the country.

If you are currently out of status or undocumented, you should contact an attorney to determine what options are available to legalize your status.

14. Can I apply for an unlawful presence waiver in the US?

Persons who are unlawfully present in the US, now have the option of applying for an I-601A, provisional waiver to wave the 3 or 10 year bar. Individuals who have been in the US without lawful status for more than 180 days are subject to a 3 year bar. If the period of unlawful presence exceeds 1 year then the individual becomes subject to a 10 year bar on admission.

Our office routinely represents individuals seeking waivers of inadmissibility.

15. What does prosecutorial discretion mean?

Prosecutorial discretion is the discretion or leeway that the Department of Homeland Security and its various immigration agencies have to initiate removal proceedings; to terminate or close existing removal proceedings; to stay, or not carry out existing removal orders; and to join in or not contest motions to reopen removal and terminate removal proceedings.

16. I am a lawful permanent resident, however I have been convicted of a crime, can I travel outside the US?

If you are a lawful permanent resident and you have a criminal history, you should always consult an attorney prior to your departure as certain criminal offences may make you inadmissible into the US and subject to removal.

17. What immigration benefits I am I eligible for if I am in a same-sex marriage?

Same-sex couples are now entitled to the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples. As such, LGBT couples may petition for their spouses and step-children as well as be able to establish qualifying relative status for certain waivers.

18. What are the types of ways I can become a US citizen?

There are avenues to US citizenship: birth, derivative (automatic) or naturalization. Naturalization is the process whereby lawful permanent residents apply after a statutory period of residence to become a citizen. During this process they will undergo a background check and be required to pass a US history and civics exam as well as a test of their ability to read and write English.

19. My spouse died before he could petition for me, what can I do?

If you were married to a US citizen who died within the last 2 years, you may self-petition for yourself as a widow or widower of a US citizen.

For assistance with the these types of petitions, please contact our office for a free consultation.

20. My family member filed for me a long time ago but I haven’t heard anything what can I do?
For assistance with the these types of petitions, please contact our office for a free consultation.

21. My friend has been detained is he eligible for bond?
For assistance with the these types of petitions, please contact our office for a free consultation.

22. What is the difference between inadmissibility and deportability?
For assistance with the these types of petitions, please contact our office for a free consultation.

23. What is an ICE hold?

An ICE hold or detainer is a notice that the Department of Homeland Security issues to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to inform the agency that ICE intends to assume custody of an individual in the agencie’s custody.

An immigration detainer serves three key functions: 1) to notify an local law enforcement that ICE intends to assume custody of an alien in the agencies’s custody once the alien is no longer subject to state detention; 2) to request information from the agency about an alien’s impending release so ICE may assume custody before the alien is released from state custody; and 3) to request that the agency maintain custody of an alien who would otherwise be released for a period not to exceed 48 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) to provide ICE time to assume custody.

24. My family is arrested for a criminal offence but he is an illegal alien should we post bond?

The issue of whether or not to post bond is a complex one that will depend on several factors including the charges being faced by the detained alien, the possibility / eligibility for immigration bond once bond is posted in the state court case and the nature of the immigration law violations.

You should always contact an immigration lawyer for advice with respect to the immigration consequences of state or federal criminal proceedings.

25. I was told I need a waiver, what is a waiver?

Individuals may be inadmissible for various reasons including, unlawful presence, misrepresentation, fraud, criminal grounds or immigration violations. In certain situations an individual may be eligible for a waiver to overcome those grounds of inadmissibility and become eligible for certain immigration benefits.

If you have been advised to seek a waiver of a ground of inadmissibility you should consult an immigration attorney immediately to discuss your options.