Three Immigration Benefits for Same Sex Couples

The landmark decision of the US Supreme Court to scrap the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and allow same sex marriage in the entire country has repercussions even to the seemingly irrelevant domain of immigration.  If you are a person married to another person with the same sex as you, this article will shed light on what new rights you can enjoy in relation to immigration.

Know Your Rights

You should talk to your immigration lawyer about your rights as an immigrant if you are married to a person of the same sex so that the legal parts can be better explained to you.  Here are some new rights for same sex couples born after the Landmark decision.

  1. The ability to sponsor step children.

When DOMA was still a law, a member of the LGBT community will not be able to sponsor the children of his or her same sex spouse into the US. That is because DOMA prevents their marriage from being recognized by the law.  Because of that same sex couples are not allowed to enjoy the sponsorship benefits, which other heterosexual marriages enjoy.  The landmark decision to kick DOMA out now gives  same sex couples the same benefits and are now able to  sponsor the children of their spouses into the US.   If you need more information about this, you should talk to an immigration attorney.

  1. Protecting domestic violence survivors from deportation.

Unfortunately, even same sex marriage is not immune to domestic violence.  But what makes it worse for an immigrant same-sex spouse is the fact that because of DOMA , they could not do what heterosexual victims do, which is to self-petition for permanent residency in the US. That is because DOMA prevents him or her from being recognized as legally married.  When the Supreme Court decided to strike down DOMA, any same-sex immigrant spouse now can enjoy the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts and are now able to self-petition to void deportation if they leave their abusive partners.

  1. Admission of same sex fiancées and their children to US.

Before DOMA was buried to the grave, only heterosexual couples can take advantage of the K visa, which allows fiancés of US citizens along with their children to enter the US and stay there as long as the fiancé marries the petitioner within 90 days.  Thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision to scrap DOMA, even same-sex fiancés can now access this right. Now same sex families can be together and be given the respect and dignity they deserve as a real family in the US.

Consult an Immigration Lawyer

If any of these new rights is applicable to you and you want to take advantage of these, you should contact a reliable immigration attorney to help you.  These lawyers are experts in the fields of immigration so they know the twists and turns of the law.  Not only will immigration attorneys explain to you these new immigration rights, they can also help you with your application.  If you are in San Diego, you can contact the lawyers of San Diego Immigration Law Center.

Five Tips to Avoid Delays in Your Green Card Approval

Applying for a green card usually takes a very long time. There are many possible reasons why your green card approval may take longer than others.  Many of these reasons may also be your fault.  This article will tell you how you can avoid delays in your green card application so you can get approved as soon as possible.

Avoiding Green Card Application Delays

While you can’t do much to speed up your green card application process, you can avoid factors that can contribute to delays. Here are some tips to follow to prevent delaying your application:

  1. Hire a good immigration lawyer.

A good immigration lawyer is indispensable because the green card application process is laden with a lot of legal twists and turns that you as a regular person may not be very familiar with. Immigration lawyers on the other hand have been trained for years to handle all these types of issues and they already have experienced dealing with immigration officials.  Immigration lawyers can also help you with the confusing but necessary paper work .

  1. Be organized with your documents.

Green card application process requires a lot of documents. If you have a good immigration lawyer, he would surely tell you what they are.  However, knowing which papers to prepare is not enough. You have to organize them so that they can easily be found if immigration officers ask for them. Imagine how much delay it would be if the immigration asks you for one document and you have to spend days to look for it.

  1. Always have your communication line open.

Sometimes immigration officers will call you for some questions and if you can’t answer, they will not wait for a long time considering that there may be thousands more they have to call. You should be alert for calls from immigration officers or you may miss your chance.  Make sure your phone is always working or if you give them your mobile number, you must be contactable any time of day.

You should also check your e-mails constantly in case they have emailed some documents to you.  The point is that when the immigration officers contact you, you should be there to respond to their call or email.

  1. Always have money reserved for any trips.

There are times you will be called to the immigration office, which may not be very near where you live.  If that happens and you still have to panic and try to find someone to lend you money because you are broke, that may delay your green card approval.  Always have some money in the bank that you can withdraw easily in case you need to travel for your immigration application.

  1. Don’t do anything against the law.

Being caught doing a crime would surely land you on two situations, either you get denied right away or your application will be delayed. Always be careful not to get into trouble and always be in contact with your immigration attorney.

No Shortcuts to Approval

You can’t shorten the waiting time for your immigration or green card application, but you can avoid delays that prolong this process.  The tips above are practical ways to ensure that you can get approved as soon as possible. Call the experienced lawyers of U.S. Immigration Law Center for consultation and assistance.

Four Common US Citizenship Application Myths

When applying for US citizenship, you should be wary about some of the myths that fly around about it.  No one knows how these myths started or why people believe in them but they are dangerous since they provide wrong information, which can affect your chances of success.

Immigration Lawyers Separate Myths from Facts

A knowledgeable immigration lawyer can help you dispel many of these myths surrounding US citizenship application, so it is important to have one by your side every step of the way. Nevertheless, for your peace of mind, here are some of the USC citizenship application myths you have to watch out for.

  1. There is no additional benefit compared to permanent residency status.

This myth is very wrong and nefarious to say the least. There is a big difference between becoming a US citizen and just having a permanent residency.  For one thing, being a citizen ensures that you cannot be deported because you are after all now a citizen.  Second, if your family in your country of origin wishes to follow you in the US, they will be given priority assistance.  Aside from that, once you become a citizen, you can travel using an American passport and vote on elections. These benefits are massive and they are not available for people with a permanent residency status.

  1. It’s okay to stretch the truth a little during the interview.

False. When it comes to US citizenship interview, honesty is the best policy because if you commit even an innocent lie, that can be considered a ground for denying you of U.S. citizenship.  Make sure you answer all the questions as honestly as you can. After all, the questions immigration officers will ask you are fair and they will not delve into your personal life.  In order to avoid having to lie, you must do your best to be a law abiding citizen while you are applying for citizenship. Also, when filling out application forms, particularly the N-400 Application for Naturalization, answer as honestly and as accurately as possible. An innocent mistake of ticking the wrong box can lead to the denial of your citizenship.

  1. Someone online can give you the questions to the US citizenship interview.

There is a false story going around that you can pay someone online to give you the questions for the interview. This is completely false because no one knows what the questions will be, except the interviewer.  This can be a scam to cheat you out of your money. What is true though is that there are sample questions online that you can practice with in preparation and you can get them for free.

  1. You don’t need a lawyer when applying for US citizenship.

Applying for US citizenship without the aid of an immigration attorney is like going to a battlefield unprepared and alone. Without the guidance of a reliable immigration lawyer, your chances of success can be slim. You would be prone to commit mistakes, from failure to pay taxes to something as simple as not being able to clearly express your thoughts in English. Immigration procedure in the US can be very confusing especially the paper works.  Your immigration lawyer can help you make sense of the chaos so you can move forward to achieve your US citizenship goal with success.

Protect Yourself from Myths

Your strong desire to become a US citizen can sometimes make you blind to bogus promises and susceptible to hang on to false hope. Hire an immigration lawyer to enlighten you about the process and help you distinguish right from wrong when it comes to your application.  Let them guide you on the road to becoming a US citizen.  You can contact experienced immigration attorneys at San Diego Immigration Center.

Top Four Reasons Why US Immigration is Difficult

A lot people dream of becoming US citizens. They want their piece of the pie and they dream the American dream. Unfortunately, getting legal residency status is not a walk in the park.  US immigration procedure is probably one of the most difficult in the world. Brian Lyman of USA today writes that visa categories, expenses and processing times are a major reason why many newcomers to the US find it difficult to go through all the legal processes of immigration. Those who are brave enough to go through the process are also not assured of success.

Applying for US Citizenship is Not Easy

Here are some of the reasons why applying for US citizenship is no easy task.

  1. Strict rules and stricter immigration officers

One of the biggest reasons why many people fail their bid for US citizenship is that the rules for immigration are very strict and unbendable.  One misstep and you might have to go back to square one.  Even getting late on an interview appointment can cause you application to be rejected. Miss one paper work and you could be facing failure.  Answer one question wrong and you might be rejected.  Consulting an immigration attorney especially if you are facing conflicts with your application can help you lessen the pressure of US immigration application.

  1. Seas of paper work

Nobody likes to deal with paperwork as it’s stressful and time-consuming. However, if you want to become a US citizen, there is simply no other way around it.  You have to deal with your application papers, which are complicated and confusing. For those who are not fluent in the English language, this can be problem.

  1. Money matters

Applying for US citizenship can be costly. First, you have to pay $680 just to file for the application of citizenship. That fee is broken down as $595 for the application and $85 for finger printing. Now that amount maybe insignificant for some, but for the middle-income earners, $680 is a big amount which they need to shell out right at the beginning of the application process. The cost doesn’t stop there because you have to prepare all the necessary documents you need,  you may have to spend more for photocopying, travels and other related expenses—all while you don’t have any assurance of success.

  1. Take a lot of time

Immigration procedure takes a long time. It may take years. All that time you have to be careful not to be involved in any violation of the law because that will reduce your chance of success. A year is a long time to wait and a lot can happen that will make your application rejected such as minor misdemeanors, becoming dragged into an investigation, even you are not the suspect. Remember, you need to be an outstanding citizen for years while your application is being processed.  The good thing is that immigration lawyers can give you good advice on keeping yourself in good standing with the law.

Immigration Lawyers Can Guide You Through the Immigration Process

You must have an immigration attorney if you want to be successful in your US immigration bid. Having a good immigration attorney is like having a guardian angel on your side. They will help you with paperwork, provide guidance on everything you need to do to make your application easier, and they will be there to protect you from strict immigration officers.

Applying for US citizenship may be a hard long bumpy road, but with a good immigration lawyer, you just might pull it off easily. For those in San Diego, you may contact the experienced attorneys at San Diego Law Immigration Center.

Five Ways to Avoid Being a Victim to US Visa Scammers

Everybody wants to have the experience to live, visit, travel, study, and work in the US in any capacity. After all, it is the melting pot of every kind of culture and it can provide a variety of professional experience. However, the wealth of opportunity is also a two-edged sword as many people are also taking advantage of people who want nothing more than fulfill their dreams of a great life in the US.

Protecting Yourself from Scammers

If you are interested in going to US, you can protect yourself for US visa scammers by being extra vigilant. Here are some ways to prevent your travel plans from being sabotaged by unscrupulous persons:

  1. Follow the paper work requirements.

These illegal workers also thrive due to some people who choose to do shortcuts instead of following the protocol set by the country they are applying to. It is in some ways also about supply and demand – the more clients there are, the more they thrive. However, this has to stop. Faking documents have serious repercussions to the chances of the person entering the US and traveling anywhere in the long run.

Don’t be part of an underground economy that thrives in forgery. Immigration attorneys would advise you to follow the rules and provide the proper documents. This not only enable the person to travel but also enjoy the benefits of travelling like being able to apply for scholarships, look for jobs, get real estate, apply for credit cards, and eventually, set up a more permanent life in the US as a resident.

  1. Beware of questionable agencies that offer quick entry to the US.

Beware of questionable businesses that might ask you for exorbitant fees to file your application. Claims that these agencies process applications faster than going directly to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are false according to the USCIS website.

  1. Watch out for fraudulent or unreliable websites.

Allison Doyle writes on that all US government website URLs end with a “.gov” suffix. These are the only websites that can offer you complete, accurate, and updated information on how to apply for a visa to the US. On the same note, emails coming from the government also end with a “.gov” suffix.  Look for this before responding to any emails regarding your US visa application.

Also, beware of emails or phone calls asking for your personal information. Deceitful people can quickly steal your identity and use them for their personal gain.

  1. Don’t pay for government forms.

Any person or agency asking you to pay for government forms is a scammer. All government forms are given without fees.

  1. Ignore fake emails about visa lottery.

USCIS also warns against websites and emails that advertise DV lottery, visa lottery, and green card lottery. Any website that claims they can make it easier for you to enter the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is a scam.

Increasing Your Likelihood of Getting a US Visa

Follow the tips above to avoid becoming a victim to US visa scammers. To increase your chance of getting a US visa, the best persons to consult are the immigration attorneys who can give you professional advice, especially if there are complications that can affect your application.

Four Tips to Ace Your Immigration Interview

One of the most grueling interviews a person can go to is the US immigration interview because aside from not knowing what to expect, a high stake is also involved—your dream to become a US citizen. Many may make it through, but many more are going home with the sting of rejection and failure.  This article will help you increase your chance of passing your immigration interview.

Preparation is Key

Like any test or interview, the key to succeed is by preparing for it. One way to prepare is by anticipating questions that will be asked by the U.S. consular officer. Jason Gallagher, eHow contributor, writes four of the most common questions asked during the interview: Who’s sponsoring you? Where will you work? Can you tell me something about your family? Have you ever visited any other country?

Quick Tips to Ace Your US Immigration Interview

Aside from anticipating questions, here are the other tips that can help you prepare for your interview:

  1. Arrive at least 30 minutes early.

Immigration officers value their time because there are many people they have to interview every day. Coming late will definitely leave them with a bad impression, which might be a cause to deny your application. Arriving 30 minutes to an hour earlier than the appointment is the best way to ensure that when your name is called, you will be there right away.  You should also ask your Immigration lawyer  to arrive 30 minutes earlier .

  1. Wait for your attorney.

Some interviews might end earlier and your name might be called sooner than expected when your lawyer has not yet arrived.  Always wait for your immigration lawyer before going ahead with the interview. Sometimes immigration officials will try to persuade you to go to the interview even without an attorney. Never agree to that.  Your immigration attorney will be a big help in protecting you in case the immigration officers pull tricks on their sleeves to deny your applications. Always tell them respectfully that you will wait for your immigration lawyer.

  1. Dress appropriately.

Immigration interview is not just about knowledge, but also about impression.  Immigration officials expect you to wear clean, ironed formal wear for your interview–so you must.   Dressing well during the interview will also help you boost your confidence, which is important too if you want to be impressive.  Dress like it’s the most important day in your life. Dress to impress.

  1. Listen to the questions well and answer directly and honestly.

Stay focused during the interview. If there are other things bothering you, shake them off before going to the interview. Immigration officials will be asking you direct questions and expect your answer to be direct as well.  Don’t run around the bush with your answer or you will annoy the immigration official interviewing you.

Another thing to remember is do not lie. Never lie because immigration officials have ways to know whether you are lying or not.  Always stick to the truth. If you don’t know the answer to a question, tell them honestly that you don’t know. If you forgot the answer, tell them you forgot. Don’t make wild guesses and make up stories because if you do, the officer might sense you are lying and deny your application right away.

Getting Help from an Immigration Lawyer

There is nothing easy about an immigration interview, but there is always to increase the chance of getting your application approved.  Be prepared a month before the actual interview by having your immigration lawyer help you review the questions that might be asked. For professional immigration lawyers in San Diego, you can call U.S. Immigration Law Center.

The Most Common Reasons Why People Immigrate to US

Every year, thousands of people all over the world apply for a visa to enter the US. Many applications are accepted, yet many more are also rejected. Nonetheless, the people who have been rejected are sure to try again next year.  What is it about living in the US that attracts many people from other countries to immigrate here? There are many answers to that question, but this article will tell you about the most common reasons.

Better opportunities to find work

The US is still the number one destination for people who are looking to fulfill their dreams. Despite the economic slump the country faced years ago, it still has the most active economy in the world. Now that it is almost recovering, the number of job opportunities is set to jump back to normal. The US is still the place to chase the American dream.

Better living conditions

America is still the place that many people dream of living in, especially big cities like New York and L.A. The US offers the best the world has to offer in terms of entertainment, technology, nightlife and more. You’ll commonly hear people from the tropics say that they want to go to America to see some snow. The US also has a government that gives help to the poor through food stamps, and health care.

To be with their American spouses/families

It is undeniable that many American men meet and fall in love with their wives through the internet.  Many of those wives must first stay in their countries while their husbands prepare for their immigration to the US with the help of immigration lawyers.

There are also circumstances when parents from other countries both work in the US, leaving their children in their homeland. Soon, when these parents gain permanent residency status, they can petition their children to be with them in the United States with the help of an immigration attorney.

To escape their troubled country

In many parts or the world right now, there is chaos—the Middle East, countries in Africa and other continents. Naturally, people living in those countries would want to go far away to escape danger and dire conditions. The most preferred destination is still America, the land of the free.

Every year, the US becomes the promised land of people who are in their own exodus from their war- torn countries and they live and prosper here.  If they have an immigration lawyer on their side, they may even get permanent residency status and soon, citizenship.

To get the best education

The US has some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world. It is a dream of any ambitious man and woman to get their degrees from one of America’s top universities and colleges, so many students apply for a student visa every year.  They either go back to their countries armed with their diplomas or stay in the US to start a family here.

Whatever the reason may be for a person’s desire to move to the US, one thing is certain, it’s not going to be easy without the help of immigration attorneys.  From getting a visa to applying for a citizenship, the immigration attorney is your best friend.

Four Ways to Become an American Citizen

America is the land of opportunity and many people from around the world make it their goal in life that someday they would come here to become American Citizens. However, it’s not very simple to enter America, much less become a citizen. There are many stringent laws you have to wiggle through just to get a legal immigrant status.  Even having a green card does not guarantee that you will become a citizen. However, if you have help from a reliable immigration lawyer, you might be able to pull it off.  Now here are some shortcuts to get an American Citizenship.

Green Card Naturalization

If you already have a green card, it will be much easier for you to become a naturalized citizen of the United States.  All you have to do is make sure you have your green card for five years, be a good person without getting involved in any felony and learn the basics of American history.  If you have passed all these requirements, you should talk to an immigration lawyer who can guide you on the application process.

Marrying an American Citizen

If you have had your green card for three years and are married to a US citizen also for three years, you can apply for a citizenship status.  There are of course many requirements for this method, which you should discuss  with an immigration lawyer. Some of the eligibility requirements are that you have a green card for 3 years and have stayed in The US for a minimum time of 18 months.  Despite all the requirements, you can tell that this is an easier way to get naturalized than waiting for 5 years.

Marrying an American Citizen Working Abroad (where you are)

If you fall in love and get married to an American citizen who is working in your country as an employee of the US government, you are in luck. This is probably the easiest way to get a citizenship in the US. First there is no minimum time of being a green card holder needed.   Second, there is no minimum time of living in the US needed just as long as your spouse is a United States citizen.

Join the Military

America honors the service of the people who put their lives on the line to fight for the country.  If you are a legal resident, but has not been naturalized yet, you will have a good chance of becoming naturalized by joining the army.  You have to serve for one year and if you have been discharged from military service, you have to be discharged honorably and without tarnish to reputation.  You have to talk with your immigration lawyer for the requirements.

Becoming a naturalized US citizen will open a big door of opportunity for you. There are many methods whereby a person can be naturalized based on the situation.  But one thing is for sure, having a good immigration lawyer helps a lot.

Three Situations Where You Should Contact an Immigration Attorney

For millions of people around the world, setting foot in America is an enduring dream. This country is after all, the land of opportunities, where dreams come true.  If you think about it, you are lucky to be in the United States, and you can improve that luck by becoming documented if you haven’t already done so. While it’s true that the process of becoming a documented immigrant is difficult, it is not hopeless, especially if you have a good immigration lawyer to support you.  Many lawyers in San Diego even provide free consultation to help you.

While you may still be weighing if you are ready to tackle the process of becoming a documented immigrant, there may arise certain circumstances when you need to contact immigration lawyers immediately as a matter of emergency. Here are some of those situations:

When you are threatened with deportation

Deportation is probably the most dreaded word amongst undocumented immigrants. It means being sent back to your country of origin forcefully.  All the hard work and the life you have built in this great country all go to waste. The worst part is if the reason for the deportation is that you have committed a felony or violated immigration laws, you may never be allowed to come back again.

If you or any of your family members receive a notice from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, do not waste time and call an immigration lawyer right away so they can assist you and defend your right to be in the US.  Deportation lawyers know the ins and outs of immigration law and if you contact a good lawyer, you will have a good chance of winning.

If you get are involved in an incident where you might be suspected of illegal activities 

If you have been living in the country as undocumented, you should already know the danger of getting involved even indirectly with any felonious acts.  For example if  you didn’t know that one of your friends sleeps in your home one night and the next morning he is captured because he is involved in illegal trade, you are at risk of being suspected. When this situation happens to you, consult an immigration lawyer right away.

If you plan to marry an American citizen

If you fall in love and decide to marry an American citizen, it is a good idea to talk to an immigration lawyer about it. Marriage with someone with a different citizenship is a little complicated because you may be suspected of going through the marriage just to become a citizen.  Marriage to an American citizen will change the process how you get documented. Fortunately, immigration lawyers will be able to explain it very well to you.

Those mentioned above are just few of the many situations when immediately calling an immigration lawyer is necessary.  If you are in San Diego, call trusted immigration lawyers to help you with your visa, citizenship, green card, and immigration concerns.

When to Find an Immigration Lawyer

Immigration policies have been the subject of debate among top ranking government officials for many years now. Some want to ease the immigration laws while others want to tighten them. All the while, many non-citizen immigrants are caught in the middle of the foray not knowing whether they will still be allowed in the country or be sent back to the place they left.

Being deported is a big problem especially for those who have already built their new life in the US.  Naturally, everyone who comes to live here wants to become an American citizen. However, the immigration laws in the US are full of technical twists and turns and if you find yourself if you’re confused, it is always best to contact an immigration lawyer instead of applying for a VISA yourself.

If you find yourself in any of this situation, it’s a sign that you need to get help from an immigration lawyer to sort things out.

If You Are Inadmissible

If an immigration officer says you are inadmissible to be a citizen of the US, that’s a big problem. Sometimes their reasons are valid like if you had a previous run-in with the law or if there was a time you lied to the government. There are also times when the inadmissible status is the result of some mix-up, like if someone with the same first and last name as you is listed as a criminal. However, a big problem doesn’t mean it’s insurmountable.  Many immigration attorneys are willing to help you if you go to them. They have the expertise and perseverance to fight for your cause to the immigration department.

If You Are in Immigration Court Proceedings

Being in an immigration court deportation (removal) proceedings is not where you want to be if you are a non-citizen living unlawfully here, because it’s just a step away from being deported. If you haven’t contacted a deportation attorney yet, then it’s time you do it. You can’t defend yourself alone and you need a reliable counsel to fight alongside you in your quest to hurdle the immigration court proceedings.

If You Are Overwhelmed by the Paperwork 

The most dreaded immigration forms are one of the reasons many people choose to remain non-citizens. They’re just too complicated and full of details that they can make anyone nauseous by just looking at them for the first time. To make the problem worse, a single mistake can lead to outright rejection, which means you have to start again. On the other hand, lawyers working on immigration services are already used to these paper works. They are highly knowledgeable about these matters so they can fill them out for you with the information you provide them.

If You Are Encountering Delays

Delays not only waste your time, but also your energy especially when your continued stay in the country you have begun to love is at risk. More often than not, delays are not caused by valid reasons.They’re usually because of the inefficiency of the bureaucracy to get its act together.  Often, technicalities only serve to lengthen your agonizing wait. However, you can solve this problem by contacting a green card attorney who can help you sort things. They know the law and all the technicalities that can be causing the delays in processing your papers.

When it comes to immigration and deportation problems, non-citizen immigrants in the US should try to get hold of a lawyer to assist them. The law of immigration is unnecessarily complex and confusing for a regular person to tackle alone.