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Immigration Law Baltimore

General questions and information pertaining to Immigration Law.

I have a two-year conditional green card and I am separated or about to be divorced from my petitioning spouse. What do I do?

A conditional permanent resident who obtained his/her status through marriage to a US citizen must file a petition to remove the conditions on their residence. Normally, the petition to remove the conditions on residence is signed by both husband and wife and is filed within the 90-day period preceding the expiration date of the permanent resident’s two-year green card. But what if the couple is separated or about to be divorced and the expiration date on the two-year conditional resident card is coming up? Read More>>

I entered the country illegally. Is there any hope for me to gain legal status in the United States?

Yes, there is hope. Hopefully, a comprehensive immigration reform bill will be enacted into law soon, but in the meantime there are still options available. For long-time undocumented residents of the United States, the possibility exists for individuals to obtain lawful permanent resident status under section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Read More>>


I am overseas and want to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the United States

To become a lawful permanent resident (or green card holder) from abroad, you must first be admitted as an immigrant after being approved by a US consular office overseas. The most common avenues for obtaining an immigrant visa overseas are: 1) through a qualifying family member who is in the United States as a US citizen or permanent resident, or 2) through employment.


My fiance(e) has had his/her K-1 visa approved by a US consular office overseas. Will he/she automatically become a US citizen upon entry into the United States?

No. After the marriage takes place in the United States within 90 days of entry as a K-1 visa holder, your fiance(e) must apply for adjustment of status to have his/her status adjusted from K-1 to that of lawful permanent resident. The adjustment of status application must be based on marriage to the same US citizen fiance(e) petitioner through which the K-1 visa was granted.


What if am Late in Applying to Remove the Conditions on Residence?

If you fail to properly file the Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence) within the 90-day period before your second anniversary as a conditional resident, your conditional resident status will automatically be terminated and the USCIS will order removal proceedings against you. Notification of the onset of removal proceedings does not normally occur immediately after failure to file Form I-751 in a timely manner. If you are placed in removal proceedings, you will receive a notice from the USCIS telling you that you have failed to remove the conditions, and you will also receive a Notice to Appear at a hearing. At the hearing you may review and rebut the evidence against you. You are responsible for proving that you complied with the requirements (the USCIS is not responsible for proving that you did not comply with the requirements). The Form I-751 can be filed after the 90-day period if you can prove in writing to the director of the Service Center that there was good cause for failing to file the petition on time. The director has the discretion to approve the petition and restore your permanent resident status.


What if I Am in Divorce Proceedings, But Am Not Yet Divorced?

If you and your spouse are currently in divorce or annulment proceedings and your two-year green card has expired, you are not yet eligible to apply for an exception (good faith marriage terminated through divorce or annulment) to the joint filing requirement of Form I-751. After the marriage has been judicially terminated, and even in some cases well after the expiration date of your two-year lawful permanent resident card, you may apply (without your spouse signing the petition) for a waiver of the joint filing requirement by requesting that the petition be approved under the exception of a good faith marriage terminated through divorce or annulment.


My spouse has overstayed his/her period of authorized stay as indicated on his/her I-94. Can he/she still adjust status on the basis of marriage to me?

In most cases, yes. As long as your spouse can prove that he/she was lawfully inspected and admitted to the U.S. (with certain exceptions relating to certain kinds of visas), the fact the he/she overstayed his/her period of authorized stay and/or worked without authorization in the US is no bar to adjustment of status under section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.


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Baltimore Immigration Attorney James E. Elliott

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be either formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.