I-751 Green card removal of conditions

A conditional permanent resident (CPR) must file Form 1-751 with supporting evidence and the correct filing fee to remove the conditions on his or her residence within the 90-day period immediately before two (2) year anniversary of the date on which he or she obtained permanent residence. USCIS may waive the need to file within 90 days under certain rare circumstances. Normally the CPR and the CPR’s spouse who filed the original immigrant visa petition Form I-130 or fiancé (é) petition Form I-129F through which the CPR obtained permanent residence will file a Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence Form I-751 with USCIS. Both the CPR and the CPR’s spouse must sign the form.

Who is a conditional permanent resident?

Conditional permanent resident (CPR) status is the immigration status given to an immigrant who has applied for their green card within two years of getting married to a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident. The immigrant spouse will be a conditional resident for two years from the time he or she receives conditional residence. A conditional resident has the same rights as a lawful permanent resident. A conditional resident can live and work freely in the United States, and can travel in and out of the United States.

How are the conditions on residence removed?

A conditional permanent resident (CPR) must file Form 1-751 with supporting evidence and the correct filing fee to remove the conditions on his or her residence within the 90-day period immediately before two (2) year anniversary of the date on which he or she obtained permanent residence. USCIS may waive the need to file within 90 days under certain rare circumstances.

Normally the CPR and the CPR’s spouse who filed the original immigrant visa petition Form I-130 or fiancé (e) petition Form I-129F through which the CPR obtained permanent residence will file a Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence Form I-751 with USCIS. Both the CPR and the CPR’s spouse must sign the form unless the CPR can get an I-751 waiver.

If USCIS Service Center Director is satisfied from the petition and supporting documents that the marriage is in good faith and not for the purpose of evading U.S. immigration laws, he or she may waive an interview with the couple. If not the Director may schedule an I-751 interview or start a marriage fraud investigation if he or she believes the marriage was for the purpose of getting a green card.

If the director approves the joint petition he or she will give written notice of the decision (I-797C, Notice of Action) to the CPR and an appointment notice (I-797C, Notice of Action) to with a specific time, date and place to capture your fingerprints, photo and signature at a local USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) for processing of a new Permanent Resident Card (the 10 year green card). The CPR must  then surrender any Permanent Resident Card previously issued.

Can I include my dependent children on the I-751 petition?

Dependent children of a conditional permanent resident granted conditional permanent resident status on the same date or within 90 days after their immigrant parent received CPR status (Form I-485 approved or admission using the Immigrant Visa) may be included in the joint petition filed by the parent and the parent’s petitioning spouse.

Children who cannot be included in a joint petition filed by their CPR parent and the parent’s petitioning spouse due to the child’s not having acquired conditional resident status on the same date or within 90 days after the parent received CPR status, the death of the parent, or other reasons may file a separate Form I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence.

To make sure each conditional resident child receives an I-751 fee receipt (I-797C, Notice of Action) documenting an extension of conditional resident status for one year, there is no bar on filing Form I-751 for each child if the parent wishes. But the Form I-751 filing fee will apply, unless a fee waiver is granted.

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The marriage green card interview – what you need to know

After you have filed your adjustment of status package including the marital petition, form I-130, form I-485 application to adjust status and form I-765 application for employment authorization document, USCIS will send you a biometrics notice to take fingerprints followed by a notice in the mail telling you when and where to attend a green card interview. To be sure you get the interview notice you must change your address with USCIS while your applications are pending by mailing a completed and signed form AR-11 Change of Address form or completing a Change of Address online.

After you have filed your adjustment of status package including the marital petition, form I-130, form I-485 application to adjust status and form I-765 application for employment authorization document, USCIS will send you a biometrics notice to take fingerprints followed by a notice in the mail telling you when and where to attend a green card interview. To be sure you get the interview notice you must change your address with USCIS while your applications are pending by mailing a completed and signed form AR-11 Change of Address form or completing a Change of Address online.

Purpose of the marriage green card interview

The purpose of the interview is to verify your eligibility for adjustment of status, the good faith of your marriage and the financial status of the petitioner. While you should stay calm and stay confident in your marriage you should also prepare for this interview. An immigration officer may deny even people in legitimate marriages who do not convince him or her that their marriage is in good faith and not solely for gaining immigration benefits.

What to do before the interview

You must attend all interviews when you receive a notice. In the very rare event, you cannot attend because of an emergency you must contact the USCIS service office as soon as possible to ask that it re-schedules the interview. Please be aware that requests to re-schedule an interview are often not well received. If you do not know the exact location of the USCIS office and the parking arrangements you should do a test drive to make sure you can get there on time. Collect and organize green card interview documents

Before the interview you must make sure that originals of all documentation submitted with your application including birth certificates, marriage certificates and passports, official travel documents, and Form I-94 (even if they have expired) are well-organized in a file for easy access when requested by the immigration officer. In addition you should include up to date copies of bills and statements that show joint responsibility for living expenses of your home as well as commingling of funds (e.g. joint bank statement). If you have had any child(ren) together you should bring along the birth certificate(s) of the child(ren) and photos of the two of you with the child(ren).

The green card interview - married couple and baby at home

 

In the weeks before the interview: Communicate with your spouse and pay attention to the minor details of your marriage

In addition to organizing the green card interview documents in an orderly file, you should communicate with your spouse about the details or her live (current and past) and the details of yours, when you met and how your relationship developed. You should also pay particular attention to the layout of your house and life together (e.g. who pays what bill). If you are not living together you probably will be found out and you application will most likely be denied. The USCIS is looking for evidence that you are actually living together as husband and wife and trust each other. Remember that it is your responsibility to prove that your marriage is genuine and was not entered into to get around immigration laws.

On the day of the interview

On the day of the interview be sure to carry the interview documents and the USCIS interview notice. Make sure that you and your spouse dress appropriately and arrive for the interview on time. If you do not speak English you should bring along an interpreter with you who is not your spouse. You may also be accompanied by your attorney.

After you have passed security at the USCIS office you will hand in the interview notice at a reception window and wait to be called. When the immigration officer is ready he or she will call you and lead you to his or her office.

The interview

The immigration officer will ask you to raise your right hand and swear (affirm) to tell the truth. If you have a translator, the immigration officer will also swear in him or her to give exact translations. It is important that the translator translate each question and each answer sentence by sentence. The translator must not explain things or answer questions on your behalf.

As you are under oath be sure to tell the truth. Giving false testimony under oath will not just result in denial of your green card but it is also a crime.  You should listen carefully to the officer and only answer the questions that the immigration officer directs to you personally. Do not answer any questions addressed to your spouse without first asking permission from the immigration officer if you may do so. If you do not know the answer to a question, say you do not know.  If you did not hear the question, ask the immigration officer to repeat the question.

  • The immigration officer will ask to see the original documents based on your application. These include your original passport, I-94 and proof that your spouse is a U.S. citizen or LPR.
  • The officer will then test whether your marriage is in good faith by asking you questions that a married couple are expected to answer. Be ready to answer private questions about yourself, your spouse, how you met and your relationship – your living arrangements. Typical questions for green card interviews are about how you met, where you were you living at the time, what were each of you doing when you met, the day-to-day activities of your spouse and the physical arrangement of your house or apartment. You should know the name of spouse’s parents, workplace and supervisor and all the basic things about your spouse. The interviewer wants to find out how comfortable and trusting you are with each other. For a marriage relationship the key words are ‘trust’ and ‘communication with each other.’
  • The immigration officer may then ask about the financial status of your spouse.

The green card interview decision

A lot depends on the particular immigration officer but if the immigration officer decides that you have a bona fide marriage he or she will approve your application. It is likely that he or she will give you a decision on the spot and you will get a green card in the mail in a few weeks. Alternatively he or she may tell you to await a decision by mail.

Stokes Interview

If you fail to convince the immigration officer that your marriage is a bona fide marriage, it is very likely that USCIS will schedule you for a follow-up Stokes interview. The Stokes interview is similar to the first interview except that you and your spouse will be separated and asked more in-depth and personal questions. The immigration officer will  compare your answers to those of your spouse and if there are any discrepancies  you will be given an opportunity to explain the discrepancies.

Gary Goodin, Immigration Attorney

Copyright © 2011, the Immigration NavigatorTM

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K1 Visa Petition and supporting documents

The petition is the first step in the k1 visa process before the foreign fiancé applies for a k1 visa at a United States consulate. A U.S. citizen petitioner must first file a K1 visa petition for her foreign fiancé, the beneficiary. The petitioner will complete and sign form I-129F providing USCIS information about her including her criminal history, if any. She will also provide information about her foreign fiancé and child (ren), if any. The petitioner must send I-129F petition and supporting documents to USCIS. If the petitioner has not yet met her foreign fiancé she should plan her trip or their meeting with the supporting evidence in mind and gather the proper evidence of the relationship.

What is the K1 Visa Petition and how is it different from the K1 Visa Application?

The petition is the first step in the k1 visa process. A U.S. citizen petitioner must first file a K1 visa petition for her foreign fiancé, the beneficiary, at a USCIS office in the United States. The petitioner must complete and sign form I-129F providing USCIS information about her including her criminal history, if any. She will also provide information about her foreign fiancé and his child (ren), if any. The petitioner must send I-129F petition and supporting documents to USCIS. If the petitioner has not yet met her foreign fiancé she should plan her trip or their meeting with the supporting evidence in mind and gather the proper evidence of the relationship.

If USCIS approves the K1 visa petition of the U.S. citizen the beneficiary can then apply for a K1 visa at a U.S. consulate where he lives.

K1 visa petition – photo of a couple’s second meeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Documents for a persuasive K1 visa petition

  1. Evidence of Petitioner’s U.S. Citizenship – front and back of U.S. Birth Certificate, Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship or Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Form FS-240 or all pages of a valid unexpired U.S. Passport.
  2. Copy of evidence that the petitioner and fiancé have met in the past two (2) years.
  3. Relationship letter – how the relationship started and developed and the circumstances of your face to face meeting within the last two (2) years.
  4. Petitioner’s Letter of Intent to Marry“Dear Sir/Madam, I [petitioner’s name], state that I am legally able and willing to marry [beneficiary’s name] and intend to do so within 90 days of her (his) arrival in the United States. Yours truly, Signature, Print Name and Date.
  5. Beneficiary’s Letter of Intent to Marry“Dear Sir/Madam, I [beneficiary’s name], state that I am legally able and willing to marry [petitioner’s  name] and intend to do so within 90 days of my arrival in the United States. Yours truly, Signature, Print Name and Date.”
  6. Divorce decree if either petitioner or beneficiary had earlier marriages.
  7. Form G-325A and passport-style photograph for petitioner. Print name lightly on back of photograph.
  8. Form G-325A and passport-style photograph for beneficiary. Print name lightly on back of photograph.
  9. If the petitioner has ever been convicted any of any crimes specified in Form I-129F Part C she must give certified copies of court and police records showing the charge and disposition (e.g. sentence, community service, probation, dismissal).The petitioner must do this even if her records are sealed or she was told that she no longer has a record.
  10. Evidence of an ongoing relationship. These include
    1. Affidavits of persons with personal knowledge of the relationship (e.g. parents of the petitioner or beneficiary)
    2. Photographs (dated) showing the couple together that tells the story of their relationship using pictures.
    3. Correspondence between the parties – copies of e-mails, letters, telephone bills to prove an ongoing relationship
    4. Receipts for engagement ring or major gift between the parties. An engagement ring is not required but it maybe more persuasive to prove that the relationship is genuine and that the couple intends to marry.
    5. Receipt of money transfers to or from fiancé, if any
    6. Receipts for hotel stays in both names
    7. Flight itinerary to met or visit fiancé – circle the dates. They must show that a meeting occurred within the last two (2) years of the petition date.
    8. Copies of boarding passes (save these)
    9. Passport entry and exist stamps for the country where your fiancé lives
    10. Documentation of wedding plans (invitations and receipt for deposit on a reception hall)
    11. Adoption record, court order, adoption record as evidence of any name change or use of multiple names. An explanation letter may also be proper where the use of different names by the same party could be confusing.

A petitioner must send I-129F filing fees and exact photocopies of unaltered documents. Any documents containing a foreign language are to be accompanied by a full English translation which the translator has certified as complete and correct.

Notice of Action

The USCIS will create an “A” file for the foreign fiancé once they receive the petition. A first Notice of Action is sent to the U.S. citizen acknowledging receipt. Then USCIS will next send a second Notice of Action indicating that it has approved the petition.

Approved K1 Petition sent to the U.S. consulate where the  fiancé can apply for a K1 visa

USCIS will send the approved petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing. The NVC will send it to the U.S. embassy or consulate where the fiancé will apply for a K-1 visa. An approved K1 visa petition is valid for four months from USCIS action. The k1 visa application by the fiancé can now begin.

If you want to know how to get a fiancé visa or have issues with a fiance visa for the United States commonly called the k 1 fiance visa please give my law firm a call at 1-888-747-1108 or contact us through the Contact Us form

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Adjustment of status based on marriage

Adjustment of status is the process of applying for a green card (become a lawful permanent resident) by non-immigrants who are already in the United States. The applicants are not required to leave the United States and go through the hassle and delay of applying abroad.
An adjustment of status by USCIS is discretionary. Obtaining a green card is a privilege, not a right. USCIS will check the applicant’s immigration and criminal history carefully to decide if there are any obstacles (in-admissibility factors) that could prevent issuance of a green card. However, applicants married to a United States citizen may have some obstacles waved such as overstaying or earlier unauthorized work. Even if the applicant has a criminal history that could be an obstacle, he may be able to able to apply for a waiver. A waiver is a request that the immigration service “forgive” past criminal convictions or other obstacles.

What is adjustment of status?

Adjustment of status is the process of applying for a green card (become a lawful permanent resident) by non-immigrants who are already in the United States. The applicants are not required to leave the United States and go through the hassle and delay of applying abroad. An applicant seeking adjustment of status must have made lawful entry into the United States which means admission into the United States after inspection by an immigration officer.

Green card Petition

An adjustment of status application usually does not stand alone (except in diversity visa, asylum or refugee cases). It is based on a petition for an immigrant visa that is immediately available or a prior approved petition for an immigrant visa. The person who does this petition is usually an employer or a family member such as a spouse or parent. For applicants who have married a United States citizen, the green card application and the immediate relative petition can be filed at the same time and they do not need to await the approval of the petition.

Obtaining a green card is discretionary

An adjustment of status by USCIS is discretionary. Obtaining a green card is a privilege, not a right. USCIS will check the applicant’s immigration and criminal history carefully to decide if there are any obstacles (in-admissibility factors) that could prevent issuance of a green card.  However, applicants married to a United States citizen may have some obstacles waved such as overstaying or earlier unauthorized work. Even if the applicant has a criminal history that could be an obstacle, he may be able to able to apply for a waiver. A waiver is a request that the immigration service “forgive” past criminal convictions or other obstacles.

Is the marriage true and real?

The immigration services will also test (using the documents you send and the adjustment of status interview) whether there is a level of trust between the applicant and the United States citizen spouse that would be expected in a marriage. To prove trust in the application process the applicant and spouse must prepare documentary evidence of their marriage. To prove trust at the adjustment of status interview it is important that communication between husband and wife is open enough for them to answer questions about each other (spouse’s date of birth and income, the details of how the couple met) that an immigration officer may ask of the couple.

Adjustment of Status by marriage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Card Checklist – Documents you need to get

Documents that carry a lot of weight and credibility with the immigration services in proving a marriage follow. Any documents not in English must be translated into English for proper submission to the USCIS.

  1. Birth Certificate of both parties
  2. Marriage Certificates (If the marriage took place abroad, give a copy of the foreign law relied on to prove the marriage is valid in the foreign country.) 
  3. Divorce Decrees for any earlier marriages
  4. Passport – of the applicant
  5. AR-11, Arrival Departure Document
  6. Joint Obligations – Receipts showing join obligations for living expenses (lease, cable, utility bills, auto insurance) – applicant should make sure that accounts have both names.
  7. Joint Ownership of Property – Title that shows joint ownership of property – car title, deed
  8. Joint Management of Finances – Evidence of joint management of finances – joint bank account, life insurance, pension with spouse named as beneficiary. This is very important because it clearly indicates trust (people tend not to trust their money to strangers.)
  9. Photos of the Couple
  10. Wedding Invitations, wedding gift cards
  11. Wedding Photos – also photos from honeymoon, if any
  12. Correspondence addressed to either or both spouses at the same address
  13. Join Tax Returns and W-2s (last two)
  14. Spouse as Emergency Contact – Employment Letters from applicant and spouse on company letterhead and signed by an official of the firm, stating when employment began, salary, marital status, dependents claimed and whom to notify in case of emergency.
  15. The latest two pay stubs/statements.

This is merely an overview of adjustment of status. Please discuss the specifics of your case with a competent immigration attorney as complex legal issues may arise during adjustment of status.

Gary Goodin, Immigration Attorney

Copyright © 2011, the Immigration NavigatorTM

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K1 Visa Process – For K1 Visa Applicants

Once the USCIS approves the k1 visa petition it will then send it to the National Visa Center for forwarding to the proper consular post. Once the consulate receives the petition it will issue a letter to you stating that the consulate is ready to begin processing your k 1 visa application.

The Consulate will send you a set of document often called Packet 3 in order it to process your case. Sometimes the Consulate will not include the above forms. Rather it will send a letter with the applicant’s case number and a visa sheet with step by step instructions on how to go ahead. If this is the case the applicant can download the forms from the consulate website and return them to the Consulate.

A k-1 visa is a single entry visa that permits admission of the fiancé (e) of a U.S. citizen, as a non-immigrant for 90 days to marry that U.S. Citizen and apply for adjustment of status (a green card).  The minor unmarried children of the k1 beneficiary who go with or follow to join her are typically granted K2 visa status.

Wedding Bands

 

Approved Petition

Your K-1 process begins when your U.S. Citizen  fiancé(e) files Form I-129F on your behalf with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) district office responsible for where he or she lives or intends to live (if U.S. citizen is abroad).

Notice of Action

Once your fiancé (e) has received a notice of action you should begin assembling the relevant documents to support your application as some documents may take much time to get.

Documentary Preparation

You should assemble the following documents in support of your application as some may take much time to get.

  1. Passport(s) valid for travel to the United States – for you and any dependent children accompanying or following to join you.
  2. Birth Certificate(s) – Obtain the original, certified copy of the birth record, or secondary evidence for each family member (yourself and all minor unmarried children) even if the children are not immigrating with you.
  3. Evidence of the end of earlier marriages – final divorce decree, annulment or death certificate.
  4. Police Certificates for each applicant aged 16 year and over. Obtain police certificates from the police authority where you live or any place where you have lived for 6 months since you have reached 16 years old.
  5. Proof of relationship to the petitioner – gather your letters, dated photographs showing you together as a couple, affidavits from people with person knowledge of the relationship, e-mails, telephone bills, documentation of wedding plans and invitations. Airline tickets, visa stamps and receipt for the engagement ring may also be used

You should give accompanying certified English translations of all documents not in English, or in the official language of the country in which application for a visa is made. The translation must include a statement signed by the translator that states that the:

(i)                 Translation is correct, and

(ii)               Translator is competent to translate.

Packet 3

Once the USCIS approves the petition it will then send it to the National Visa Center for forwarding to the proper consular post. Once the consulate receives the petition it will issue a letter to you stating that the consulate is ready to begin processing your k 1 visa application.

The Consulate will send you a set of document often called Packet 3 in order it to process your case. Sometimes the Consulate will not include the above forms. Rather it will send a letter with the applicant’s case number and a visa sheet with step by step instructions on how to go ahead. If this is the case the applicant can download the forms from the consulate website and return them to the Consulate. In Packet 3 should find:

  • K1 Visa Checklist Form IV-15
  • Form DS-230 Part I (Biographic Data) – You must complete and return this form immediately for the Consulate to process your case. Each person applying for a visa must complete biographic data Form DS-230- Part I, regardless of age. You may photocopy the form you received insufficient copies for each family member.
  • Form DS-156 in duplicate (non-immigrant visa application). If your unmarried children under 21 are accompanying you, two copies of Each Child must complete Form DS-156. Please do not sign this form. You must sign it in front of the consular officer on the day of your formal interview.
  • Form DS-156K in duplicate (Non-immigrant Fiancé (e) Visa Application). Please do not sign this form. You must sign it in front of the consular officer on the day of your formal interview.
  • Form DS-157 in duplicate (Supplemental Non-Immigrant Visa Application) – only required for men aged 16-45
  • Information sheet DS-2000 (Lists evidence which you or your fiancé (e) may present to meet the public charge provision of the law). Your fiancé (e) may file Form I-134 with supporting documentation.
  • Sometimes the Consulate will send information about scheduling a Medical Examination at this time.

Complete and send back the following forms to the Consulate:

  • Form DS-230-I (Part I only) for each person applying for a visa, regardless of age
  • Leave unsigned Forms DS-156
  • Leave unsigned Forms DS-156K
  • Form DS-157 (if applicable)
  • Form IV-15 -if required documents are already prepared.

If not already done so, assemble the relevant documents required in support of your application, and mark the documents off on Form IV-15 as you collect them. Do not send these documents to the Consulate.

Sign and date Form IV-15 and forward to the Consulate.

Packet 4

Upon receipt of the above documents, the Consulate will continue any extra processing and tell you about the scheduling of the medical interview and the appointment for the formal visa interview.

Schedule and have the Medical Examination. Arrange for a medical examination with one of the physicians listed on the attached visa instruction. You are responsible for the cost of the examination. A medical examination is also required for each child who will go with you.

Photographs – take Two (2) 2 x 2 Photographs for each applicant according to the specifications on the visa instruction sheet.

Attend scheduled interview with all your unmarried children under 21. Bring supporting documents such as evidence of your relationship to your U.S. citizen fiancé (e), two photographs for each applicant, birth certificates and final divorce decree if any to the k1 visa interview.

If approved, the Consulate may need you to pick up the passport with the visa from the Consulate later.

Sealed Packet – Do Not Open

Consular Officer will give you your passport(s) containing the K-1 visa (K-2) and a sealed packet containing the civil documents you provided, plus other documents prepared by the U.S. Consulate. It is important that you do not open the sealed packet. Only the DHS immigration official should open this packet when you enter the United States.

K1 Visa Validity

Do not finish arrangements for travel to the United States, dispose of properties, or quit your job until the consulate delivers the passport(s) with the k 1/k2 visas to you. A k1 visa is generally valid for six months. You must travel and apply for admission to the United States within that six month window.

After admission on your k1 visa you have 90 days to get married to your U.S. citizen  fiancé (e) or leave the United States. The DHS will issue an entry document (Form I-94) to you (the  k1 fiancé(e)) valid for 90 days. If you marry within 90 days, you can can apply to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) through the filing of a Form I-485.

Gary Goodin, Immigration Attorney

Copyright © 2011, the Immigration NavigatorTM

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Certificate of non availability – Birth Marriage certificate not available

The US Consulate or USCIS will presume that an applicant who fails to produce or send required documents is ineligible for a visa or other benefit (e.g. a green card). The good news however is that the applicant still prove eligibility using secondary evidence.

If a birth or marriage certificate is unavailable, an applicant must offer proof by obtaining a certificate of unavailability from the government agency where such documents originate. The State Department Country Reciprocity Schedule indicates what type of country documents are unavailable for applicants from particular countries.

In addition to obtaining a certificate of non-availability (also called certificate of unavailability) the applicant must also bring or send secondary evidence of the event such as; a passport,
church records, baptismal records, adoption decrees, hospital records, school records, and affidavits.

A visa applicant is responsible for bringing the original or certified copies of required documents to a visa interview to prove his or her eligibility for a visa. The USCIS may need a petitioner or beneficiary to send photocopies of the original or certified copies with a petition or application. Sometimes however birth or marriage certificates or other required documents (e.g. court documents, police records) are non-existent or cannot be obtained from a government agency in certain countries.

Reasons for non-availability

Sometimes a marriage or a birth is never registered. Registration of births was voluntary in India before 1970. War and civil unrest may destroy government archives (e.g. Liberia). In countries such as Cambodia, some birth and marriage records for certain periods are simply unavailable.

Proving birth and marriage by certificate of non-availability and affidavits

The US Consulate or USCIS will presume that an applicant who fails to produce or send required documents is ineligible for a visa or other benefit (e.g. a green card). The good news however is that the applicant can still prove eligibility using secondary evidence.

Certificate of non-availability or “no record certificate”

If a birth or marriage certificate is unavailable, an applicant must offer proof by obtaining a certificate of unavailability from the government agency where such documents originate. The State Department Country Reciprocity Schedule indicates what type of required country documents are unavailable for particular countries.

 
Baptismal Record - Unavailable Birth Certificate


 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secondary evidence of birth or marriage including affidavit

In addition to obtaining a certificate of non-availability (also called certificate of unavailability) the applicant must also bring or send secondary evidence of the event such as;

  • a passport,
  • church records,
  • baptismal records,
  • adoption decrees,
  • hospital records,
  • school records, and
  • affidavits.

The applicant should offer two separate affidavits to prove a birth or marriage.  The affiant, preferably a parent, is a person who was alive at the time of the birth or marriage.

The contents of affidavit

The affidavit of birth or marriage should state

  1. The full name of the affiant
  2. The date and place of birth of the affiant
  3. The affiant’s relationship to the applicant
  4. Full information about the event – when and where it took place
  5. How the affiant is familiar with the event (e.g. birth or marriage).

Additionally the affiant must sign the affidavit before a notary. For foreign language documents submitted to USCIS a certified translation into English must also be submitted.

I hope this helps to get your visa approved when supporting documents are unobtainable.

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U Visas, Application Information (Part 1 of 2)

Any non-citizen of the United States – Green card holders, those with non-immigrant status, in or out of status, and undocumented persons may apply for a U Visa provided they are victims of qualifying criminal activity and meet other qualifying requirements. The applicant need not be present in the United States at the time he or she applies. But the non-citizen must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of qualifying criminal activity.

What is a U Visa?

A U Visa is a non-immigrant visa available to non-citizens who are victims of certain qualifying criminal activity including domestic violence in the United States.They must have been helpful or are likely to be helpful to investigators or prosecutors of criminal activity. It is not enough to be a helpful witness the applicant must be the victim of certain qualifying criminal activity.

What are the benefits of U Visas?

U Visa holders are granted Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) allowing them to work legally in the United States.

For those green card holders who find themselves in removal proceedings, a U visa may allow them to remain in the United States. This potential benefit is a very important one that may be overlooked.

U Visas are normally issued for four years. The spouse (at the time of application) and children of the principal applicant (even unborn at the time of application) may be eligible for derivative U visa status.

Who qualifies for a U visa?

Any non-citizen of the United States – Green card holders, those with non-immigrant status, in or out of status, and undocumented persons may apply for a U Visa provided they are victims of qualifying criminal activity and meet other qualifying requirements. The applicant need not be present in the United States at the time he or she applies. But the non-citizen must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of qualifying criminal activity.

What is qualifying criminal activity?

  1. rape;
  2. torture;
  3. trafficking;
  4. incest;
  5. domestic violence;
  6. sexual assault;
  7. abusive sexual contact;
  8. prostitution;
  9. sexual exploitation;

10.  female genital mutilation;

11.  being held hostage;

12.  peonage;

13.  involuntary servitude;

14.  slave trade; kidnapping;

15.  abduction;

16.  unlawful criminal restraint;

17.  false imprisonment;

18.  blackmail;

19.  extortion;

20.  manslaughter;

21.  murder;

22.  felonious assault;

23.  witness tampering;

24.  obstruction of justice;

25.  perjury;

26.  attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above mentioned crimes, or

27.  any similar criminal activity.

There is no requirement that the criminal activity of which the non-citizen is a victim be the same one as that being investigated by law enforcement. In the midst of an investigation into embezzlement (a non-qualifying criminal activity), for example, the non-citizen witness may become the victim of threats intended to force her not to cooperate with investigators – obstruction of justice (a qualifying criminal activity).

What should I do if I suspect I qualify for a U Visa?

Any non-citizen who suspects that he qualifies for a U visa should consult an Immigration Attorney for legal advice based on his specific circumstances.

A non-citizen  with a pending removal proceeding who suspects that she qualifies for a U visa based on being a victim of qualifying criminal activity should bring this information to her immigration attorney at once.

U Visas, Application Information (Part 2 of 2) will deal with the Certification Requirement and the application procedure for a U-Visa.

Attorney Gary Goodin, for Immigration Navigator ™

Copyright © 2011, the Immigration Navigator

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US deportation rate skyrockets; Information-sharing boosts US deportation levels

Some criminal illegal immigrants in the custody of local law enforcement face quicker identification and immigration deportation under a growing biometric-information sharing program between local law enforcement and ICE, the agency of the Department of Homeland Security charged with the enforcement of immigration and deportation laws, and the investigation and prosecution of immigration violations.

Some criminal illegal immigrants in the custody of local law enforcement face quicker identification and deportation under a growing biometric-information sharing program between local law enforcement and ICE, the agency of the Department of Homeland Security charged with enforcement of immigration and deportation laws, and the investigation and prosecution of immigration violations. The program is known as Secure Communities.

What is Secure Communities

Secure Communities is a program that allows ICE to quickly find criminal illegal immigrants in local police custody and begin the deportation process for those who pose a danger to public safety. Under the program DHS can automatically verify the immigration status of aliens taken into the custody of local police and find the most dangerous criminal aliens using the records in its databases.  If the alien has potentially violated immigration laws DHS may issue a detainer against the alien. A detainer is a request to local law enforcement not to release the person before notifying DHS so that DHS may decide if it wants to transfer the person to the custody of ICE during deportation proceedings.

Where Secure Communities exists

As of December 6, 2011 Secure Communities is fully or partially activated in 44 jurisdictions. The fully activated jurisdictions on this date were;

1.  Arizona,

2. California,

3. Delaware,

4. Florida,

5. Georgia

6. Hawaii,

7. Idaho,

8. Michigan

9. Mississippi

10. Missouri

11. New Mexico,

12. North Carolina,

13. Ohio,

14. Oklahoma,

15. Oregon,

16. Rhode Island,

17. South Carolina,

18. Texas,

19. Virginia,

20. West Virginia,

21. Wisconsin, and

22. Puerto Rico.

The jurisdictions that have no active Secure Communities program included Alaska, Washington D.C., Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Vermont, and the United States Virgin Islands. All other jurisdictions were partially activated. In New York, for example, 31 of 62 counties participated in Secure Communities while in Nevada 14 of 17 counties participated. In Maryland and Ohio, the number of active counties were 22 of 24  and 77 of 88 respectively.

 
ICE Deportation of Illegal Immigrants
ICE Deportation of a young woman in error?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Secure Communities targeting dangerous aliens or is it a broad dragnet?

U.S. Immigration and deportation law experts have expressed mounting concern that the program unintentionally encourages local police to engage in racial and ethnic profiling. Though ICE has a priority system for deportation of criminal aliens and not mere immigration violators, some immigration lawyers and activists argue that the priority system is confusing. Furthermore they argue that ICE has no clear mechanism for ensuring that its agents act according to its priorities. As a result, some non-violent offenders (nannies and gardeners) convicted of minor crimes such as traffic violations are deported. There may also be mistakes in criminal records that lead to deportation of green card holders and other aliens in error. Some of the foreign nationals affected by these errors may choose to leave the United States rather than stay in ICE detention while fighting deportation.

Record level of US deportations and contribution of Secure Communities

Through Oct. 31, 2011, ICE removed more than 110,000 immigrants convicted of crimes, including more than 39,500 convicted of aggravated felony (level 1) offenses like murder, rape and the sexual abuse of children from the United States after identification through Secure Communities.

In Fiscal Year 2011, ICE deported a record-breaking 396,906 people. Fifty five percent of those deported in Fiscal Year 2011—216,698 —were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, an increase of 89 percent since 2008. This includes 1,119 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,848 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 44,653 aliens convicted of drug related crimes; and 35,927 aliens convicted of driving under the influence. The number of aliens deported as a result of Secure Communities in Fiscal Year 2010 alone was 35,910.

Want to know if your county participates?  ICE listing of Secure Communities.

Useful Resources:

1. US Immigration and Customs News Release October 18, 2011

2. Secure Communities: Get the Facts

3. Activated Jurisdictions – Is Secure Communities active in your county?

4. Deported teen returns to US. How many Americans are mistakenly banished? – The Christian Science Monitor

This post was last updated on January 08, 2012

 

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