Immigration FAQ

1. I am from another country, but I recently got married to a U.S. Citizen. Do I qualify to get my green card in the U.S.?
As long as you entered the U.S. legally, such as a visitor or some type of other visa, you typically qualify to remain in the U.S. and get your permanent residency. There are exceptions, but if your U.S. Spouse qualifies to sponsor you, you typically can get your residency in about 4 – 6 months.


2. Do I need an attorney to file my immigration papers.
The law does not require you to be represented by an attorney throughout the immigration process; however, it is always a good idea to retain one. Some people do it all on their own and do not have any probems, but if you do encounter a problem, you will be sorry you do not have an attorney. Very simple and minor mistakes can cost you time, delays, and a lot of extra money to fix them afterwards. Hiring an attorney is like purchasing insurance for your legal matter. While we can never guarantee anything, the hiring of an attorney gives you peace of mind, satisfaction of knowing it is being done correctly, and significantly reduces the possibilities of any problems on your case.


3. Do I qualify to become a U.S. Citizen?
In most cases, you qualify to file for Naturalization after being a U.S. Legal Permanent Residence for 5 years. If you have been married to a U.S. Citizen for 3 years, then you qualify to file after 3 years. Additionally, there are other requirements. The more common ones require physical presence in the U.S. for a specified period of time. If you have ever been arrested, you should definitely consult with an attorney before filing.


4.  I am not here with any proper legal status.  How can I get a driver’s license?
The answer to this questions depends on many different things.  If you are here without any status, if you have no immediate relatives, and if you have never filed or no one has ever filed for you before with CIS, there is a strong likelihood that you will have a difficult time getting your license.  However, if something has been filed for you before, or if you have an immediate relative, it is best to consult with us to help determine if there is a way we can help get your license.


5.  Can I get U.S. residency by purchasing a house or several houses?
In most cases, purchasing a home or investment properties does not qualify one to get residency.  Residency through investment typically requires a substantial investment, a long term business plan showing income growth, and the ability to hire at least ten employees over time.  In some instances, purchasing investment properties can qualify, but it would need to be created as a business with the intent of hiring employees.  There are other possibilities for getting residency, and you should give us a call to discuss them in more detail.


6.  What type of business visas are available?
There are many different business visas.  The more common ones include an H1B, where an employer sponsors a worker who holds a degree.


An L visa is also a very common visa.  This is known as the Intracompany Transfer.  A business overseas who is opening a business in the U.S. can sponsor the owner or some other management position for the L visa.  Eventually, a holder of an L visa can also apply for residency.


An E visa is also common.  This is known as an Investment visa.  There are certain countries that qualify, and if you are from one of those countries, you can invest in a business to get a temporary E visa.


An R visa is a Religious visa, if you are going to be working for a religious organization.


There are also other visas available for athletes, musicians, actors, and other specially talented people and it is best to contact us to help determine which visa you may qualify for.


7.  What is the 3/10 year ban, and what exactly does it mean?
The ban rule is actually very simple in meaning . . . If you are in the U.S. for more than 6 months out of legal status, but less than 1 year, and you leave the country, you are automatically banned from re-entering the U.S. for a period of 1 year.  This applies even if you have another legal basis for coming to the U.S.
If you are in the U.S. for more than 1 year and you leave the country, you are automatically banned from re-entereing for a perioud of 10 years.
There are certain waivers available, and if you are in this situation or think that you may be in the future, it is best to consult with us first to ensure you follow the most appropriate course of action for your situation.


8.  I heard that if my sister files for me, I have to wait over 10 years.  Is this true, and if so, why is it so long of a wait?
This is true.  To explain, it is best to first understand that there are 5 different categories that one family member can sponsor another.  The first category is referred to as “Immediate Relative”.  This categor is for spouses, minor children, and parents of U.S. Citizens.  Under this cateogry, there are no limits as to how many people can come in each year, and there is no waiting period.  You can come in immediately, pending the processing time.
Each of the other four categories is based on different relationships.  However, for each, there is a limit as to how many people can enter the U.S. each year.  Once that limit is reached, all the others have to wait until next year.
As an example, let’s say we start at YEAR 1.  Let’s also say that under a particular category, 10,000 people are alloed in each year.  Now, supposed that you have 30,000 people apply and get approved for that year.  Only the first 10,000 can come in.  The other 20,000 have to wait until next year.
When YEAR 2 comes around, we already have 20,000 people waiting.  Let’s say another 30,000 apply and get approved.  Now we have 50,000 waiting.  But only 10,000 get in, so we now have 40,000 waiting for YEAR 3.  Don’t forget that the first 10,000 in line for YEAR 3 were part of the 30,000 that originally applied in YEAR 1.  So they are now waiting 2 years for their time to come up.
As they years go on, the backlog of waiting gets longer and longer.  This is exactly what the situation is for the brother / sister category.  By far, there are a lot more people applying each year than are allowed in, which creates what is now about a 12 year wait!
It is best to speak with us to discuss other possible options to getting you here quicker.