Immigration law is complicated and difficult to navigate without a knowledgeable and experienced legal team on your side. Whether you are seeking to immigrate, start your own business, bring a family member, or fight against deportation, Yevoli and Malayev, PLLC can provide the guidance you need for success. In order to assist you, we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions our firm has received. If you have any further question please call our office at 212-634-6322 to schedule your free initial consultation.
What is the difference between naturalization and citizenship?
Naturalization is the legal process of obtaining citizenship in the United States. Citizenship, on the other hand, can either be obtained through birth – if you were born in the U.S. or had parents who were citizens at the time of your birth – or through the process of naturalization. While the two terms are closely related, they are mistakenly used interchangeably. If you are applying for citizenship as an immigrant, you will need to complete the naturalization process.
How do I become a naturalized citizen in the United States?
The first step to becoming a naturalized citizen is by determining eligibility for citizenship. An individual may be eligible for naturalization if s/he is:
- 18 or older;
- A permanent resident for a specific amount of time (usually five years, but can be less for some individuals);
- A person of good moral character;
- Has basic knowledge of U.S. history and government;
- Has a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the U.S., and
- Able to read, write, and speak English. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
What happens if my request for naturalization is denied?
If your request for naturalization is denied not all hope is lost. You can appeal the decision with USCIS. You may also petition a federal judge to review your denied application. If your Naturalization application has been denied, please contact the Yevoli and Malayev, PLLC. Our attorneys have years of experience with immigration law and can help you understand your options.
How can I determine if I am eligible for citizenship through my parents?
There are two general ways to obtain citizenship through U.S. citizen parents, one at birth and one after birth but before the age of 18. As immigration law is complex and ever-changing, consultation with an experienced lawyer from Yevoli and Malayev, PLLC is advised.
How do I determine if I’m eligible to apply and obtain a green card through a family member?
An individual may be eligible to obtain a green card if the applicant is:
- An immediate relative (Spouse, Child under 21 or Parent) of a U.S. citizen
- A family member of a U.S. citizen fitting into a preference category, which includes children over 21 years old married or unmarried and sibling.
- A family member (Spouse or Child) of a green card holder,
What happens to my immigration status if I get divorced?
If your immigration status was based on a fiancé(e) or marriage visa, then your residency status may be in jeopardy if you later get divorced. One option to consider would be filing an I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence as a way to maintain permanent residence. We can help you with this and other family-based immigration matters.
Am I eligible for a green card through my employer?
The four methods of obtaining a green card through an employer are as follows:
- Job Offer
- Self Petition
- Special Categories of Jobs
What types of visas are available if I want to come to the U.S. for a visit or temporary stay?
If you wish to visit the United States temporarily or be granted entry for a very specific period of time, you will need a non-immigrant visa. Some of the most common types of non-immigrant visas are a student visa (should you be looking to further your education and skills), business investor visas (if you are planning on coming to the U.S. to invest in a business), or a Tourist visa (if you wish to do some traveling in the U.S.).
I am in the United States on a temporary visit and wish to obtain a permanent visa, what can I do?
Changing immigration status while in the United States can be difficult, and there is no guarantee it can be done. If it is possible, and what you will be required to do, vary from person to person. That is why this kind of question can only be answered after consulting with an experienced immigration attorney. Our firm will take the time to review your status and case, analyze the situation at hand, and help you map out the course of action best geared to accomplish your immigration objectives.
What are the options for immigration for my fiancé(e) living abroad?
You can sponsor the individual for a Fiance(e) Visa Petition or you can marry them in that country or a third country and file a spousal petition. Each of these options has different impacts on the application to be filed, evidence to be compiled and when the person can enter the U.S.
What are the options for immigration if I would like to sponsor a family member to come to the United States?
The person may either come to the United States on a permanent basis or a temporary basis. How the family member can immigrate or visit the United States depends upon your specific circumstances, which can be examined by our Firm.
I am the victim of a crime in the U.S. but do not have status. Should I report the crime?
Yes, as a person living in the United States you should report criminal activity to the appropriate authorities. Often by cooperating with the police you may become eligible for a visa based upon your victimization and cooperation. Please contact our Firm to discuss eligibility.
How do I employ a foreign worker?
Whether you can employ a foreign worker depends on the type of employment and the alien’s status and qualifications. Please contact our Firm to discuss your company’s sponsorship of employment immigration visas for the temporary hiring of professional/skilled workers and unskilled workers.
Can my employee start working after I file my petition?
You must wait for approval of the petition. Exclusion may apply in the special case if you are petitioning for an H-1B non-immigrant and the employee is already in the United States under H-1B classification.
My visa has expired, what can I do?
If your visa has expired, the first thing you need to do is contact an immigration attorney from our firm at 212.634.6322. We will sit down with you, review your current status and situation, and then help you determine the best course of action to pursue. Time is of the essence when it comes to expired visas, so we advise you do no delay.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
What Is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals?
Deferred action is not permanent residency and it is not citizenship. Deferred Action is a discretionary act of prosecutorial discretion that defers a removal action of an immigrant. While the immigrant is in deferred action, the immigrant will not be removed (deported) from the U.S.
What are the requirements to be eligible for deferred action?
- The immigrant must have come to the U.S. under the age of sixteen;
- Have continuously resided in the U.S. for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012, and must be present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012;
- Currently in school, a graduate from high school or GED recipient, or is honorably discharged as a veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S.;
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and
- Not above the age of 30.
How long will a period of Deferred Action last?
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, deferred action will only be granted for two year periods. When the two-year period expires, the immigrant will need to renew the deferred action and have his or her case reviewed.
What if I have a pending removal (Deportation) Case against me or I have a final order of removal (Deportation) Against me?
The new directive applies to those individuals who have pending removal cases against them and those who have final orders of removal against them. Regardless of pending removal proceedings or a final order of removal, an individual who meets all the criteria may request a review of his or her case for deferred action.
Does Deferred Action apply to individuals who are not in removal (Deportation) Proceedings or have a final order of removal against them?
Yes. However, those individuals who meet the criteria must request a review by the USCIS.
Does deferred action provide individuals with a path to citizenship or permanent legal status?
No, deferred action does not grant any further permanent legal status or citizenship.
If I’m approved for Deferred Action can I apply for Employment Authorization?
Yes, those individuals who meet the criteria and are approved for deferred action may apply for employment authorization.
How will the recent news affect the Dream Act?
Based on the information we have received, Congress is still considering the DREAM Act and how best to provide certainty to young immigrants living in the U.S.
What should I do if I have received a Notice to Appear (NTA) from Immigration and Customs Enforcement?
You must attend all court hearings or risk an order of deportation. If you do not already have an attorney, you should contact our Firm to determine what relief you may have available to you and to do a review of your documentation.
How does my criminal charge or conviction affect my status?
Criminal charges or convictions that may appear minor could have dire consequences on your status and you should contact our Firm to discuss how this issue may affect your status.
If I apply for government benefits, will I be deported as a “public charge?”
Not necessarily. A “public charge” is an alien who has become or is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, which can include receiving government financial assistance or being institutionalized for long-term care at government expense. Being a “public charge” is grounds for deportation or inadmissibility. However, not all assistance makes you a public charge. This is a complicated area, and you are encouraged to seek the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer if you think you may be inadmissible or deported based on your receipt of government benefits.
What do I need to do if I was told I need an immigration waiver?
Waivers are often necessary due to Unlawful Presence or criminal activity. Often the government gives very short deadlines for the submission of the waiver, thus it is important to hire the right immigration attorney. Our Firm has experience in the preparation of I-601, I-601A, I-602, and I-212 Waivers.
Who qualifies for a Provisional Waiver under I-601A?
If you have a relative in the United States who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident, and this person would suffer extreme hardship should you be found inadmissible or removed from the country, you might qualify for this waiver.
How does a National Interest Waiver work?
Not to be confused with a waiver of inadmissibility sometimes granted for family-based visas, a National Interest Waiver involves an employment-based EB-2 visa. A National Interest Waiver waives the requirement that an EB-2 visa applicant first have a permanent job offer and labor certification. With the waiver, an individual can self-petition for a visa without having a specific job offer. A National Interest Waiver may be granted to a researcher or professional with an advanced degree or exceptional ability who can prove that granting the waiver would benefit the U.S. and be in the “national interest of the United States.”
What alternatives, do I have if I am afraid to return to my country of nationality?
Asylum and Temporary Protected Status are two examples of the protection that the United States offers those in fear of returning to their home country. By consulting with our firm, you will have an attorney who is experienced in immigration law and will provide you an honest assessment of your eligibility for relief and who will personally handle your immigration case.
What is Temporary Protected Status?
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security has the authority to create and extend temporary protected status to foreign nationals who are unable to return to their home countries for a temporary period of time due to war or other conflict, an environmental disaster, or some other extraordinary circumstances that are temporary in nature.
Temporary protected status is not automatically awarded to all residents from one of these countries. To be eligible, a foreign national must apply for the status with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which administers the program from the Department of Homeland Security. Certain preconditions exist. Please check with our Firm for a list of Countries that currently qualify for TPS.
How can I check on the status of my case?
If you have an application receipt number (usually this is sent in the mail by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sometime after they have received your application) and your case is pending at an Immigration Service Center, you can check the status of your application online at Case Status Online or by calling USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 and following the automated instructions.
If your case is pending at Immigration Court or the Board of Immigration Appeals, you may check the status of your case over the telephone by calling: 1-800-898-7180, with your alien number (starts with an A and you will find it in your immigration documentation), and following the automated instructions. There are options to hear your status in Spanish or English.
Do I have to notify immigration if I change my address?
Yes. The immigration regulations require that all persons who are not U.S. citizens (including LPRs) inform USCIS of any change in their address within 10 days of moving by completing Form AR-11, Change of Address.
I have an attorney, but I am not sure my case is being handled correctly. Am I allowed to ask other attorneys for a second opinion on my case?
Yes. You have the right to the attorney of your choice, and you may change attorneys at any time even if you have signed a contract with a particular attorney. Keep in mind that you should ask about what, if any, impact changing attorneys could have on your case. Furthermore, you must end representation with one attorney before beginning with another – make sure your intentions are clear when speaking to your current attorney as well as any potential future attorney.
Contact an immigration law attorney
If you have additional questions about immigration law or would like to consult with an attorney about your eligibility, contact the Yevoli and Malayev, PLLC. Our experienced immigration attorneys look forward to helping you with your case and answering your questions. Complete an online contact form or call us at (212) 634-6322 for a consultation.