Legal Help for Making Application for Post Conviction Relief

Those who have criminal conviction record need to opt for conviction relief. This is a legal procedure which requires assistance of competent lawyer.

 

Frequently the non citizens of the USA face deportation due to criminal conviction. The number of deportation has increased recently. It has happened due to the growing threat of terror attacks. Now, the US government provides the citizenship with caution. If you are considering immigration in the USA, you need to make sure that your record is clean. A competent immigration lawyer will be able to provide you detailed information regarding this.

Often a criminal conviction banishes the opportunity of getting a permanent residency in the USA. Also, a criminal record makes it difficult for the immigrants to travel in and out of the USA. Therefore, it is important to seek relief from the conviction as early as possible.

Sometimes the waiver is not possible to obtain. In such a case, you can make an application for post conviction relief Miami. This is a legal process. By using this process, it is possible to reduce the conviction. There are some processes of conviction relief that are not applicable for the immigrants. Expunging the criminal record may not be applicable for the immigrants. A lawyer specialized in immigration law will be able to provide you the proper suggestion.

If you think that by lowering the conviction will help in immigration process, you are wrong. There are some important factors that come to consideration. First thing your lawyer must consider is the previous lawsuit. It is important to find whether there is any mistake in the previous lawsuit. In case of any constitutional error, the criminal record will not affect the process of immigration.

Criminal record is a major factor when it comes to deportation. There are a huge numbers of immigrants who have faced the deportation charge because they have criminal records. If you do not have any hope to fight the deportation, obtaining conviction relief will be your only option to stay in the USA. You will find several arguments about what kind of criminal record results in deportation. However, it is important that you seek to obtain relief without taking any chances.

You need to consider the expense of the lawsuit. It is important to remember that the conviction relief lawsuit is expensive. Moreover, you will have to appoint the lawyer the state will not appoint one for you. That is the right of the citizen. Therefore, try to gather fund if you are seeking for the relief.

This legal process is complicated. You need to understand that the section of immigration law is dense. Only an expert lawyer will be able to provide you proper guidance and suggestion. Therefore, you need to find the right lawyer to handle your lawsuit.

There are many lawyers who handle such lawsuits. Make sure to hire one with proper track record. It is also important to understand that every lawyer specializes in different sections. You need to find the lawyer who is experienced in handling conviction relief lawsuits. If you have a criminal record and you fear facing deportation, it is important to seek immediate legal counsel to avoid the extreme charges.

UK Spouse Visa: Explanatory Comment on Financial Requirements

UK Spouse visa rules changed dramatically in July 2012. A new set of financial requirements for the British sponsor are a challenge to immigration officers, let alone practitioners and lay clients. The author explains how the new financial requirements work.

 

From July 2012, applicants for a spouse visa to the UK have to demonstrate that they are coming to join their sponsor in the UK, a British citizen or a person with indefinite leave to remain, who has sufficient income or savings in order to meet the new “maintenance requirements” under the immigration rules.

The required income for the sponsor is £18,600 gross a year. If any non British children are coming to the UK with the non-British spouse, there is an additional requirement of £3800 a year for the first child and £2400 for each further child.

It should be emphasised that only the sponsor’s earnings are taken into the calculation, earnings of the non British spouse are ignored, except where the couple have been living and working lawfully in the UK prior to the application by the non-British partner to change their immigration status.

There are five ways of meeting the maintenance requirement:

* British partner’s income from employment;
* British partner’s income from self-employment;
* non-employment income, for example dividends from shares, property rental, etc, of either of the partners;
* state or private pension of either partner;
* cash savings of either partner in excess of £16,000 held for at least six months.

Income from employment can be relied on when the applicant’s partner is in salaried employment at the date of the application and has been with the same employer for at least 6 months. If there was a salary rise in the six months preceding the application, it is the lowest salary that is taken into the calculation.

In addition to the income from salary, reliance can be made on gross amount of non-employment income in the 12 months preceding the application, provided the asset from which this income derives is still owned by the applicant or the British partner.

Cash savings in excess of £16,000 are also taken into calculation: any amount of savings above £16,000 is divided by 2.5. Thus where the couple holds savings of £21,000, the amount they can rely on for the purpose of the application is £21,000-£16,000 = £5,000/2.5 = £2,000.

Where the British partner has not been with the same employer for the last six months, the salary at the date of the application should be sufficiently high to meet the threshold (if necessary topped up by other forms of income), plus gross income in the 12 months preceding the application should also meet the threshold requirement. Thus, if the applicant’s partner finds employment upon completion of studies (assuming he was not working when studying), his salary is £16,600 and he has savings of £21,000, and the applicant applies for spouse visa two months after the British partner commences employment, the calculation is as follows: annual salary of £16,600 plus £2000 (applicable figure on the basis of £21000 cash savings) meets only the first limb of the requirement – that on the date of the application their income is not less then £18,600.

If the applicant’s partner had been in paid employment prior to taking up his current employment, his income from this employment counts towards the second limb of the maintenance test – he needs to demonstrate that the amount of money he received in 12 months prior to the application was not less than £18600 in gross terms.

British partners repatriating to the UK with their non-British partners need to demonstrate sufficient income in a similar fashion. Where this income is derived from employment outside the UK, the British partner has to have a job offer in the UK with proposed commencement date not later than three months after the date of the application for spouse visa.

Immigration: How Do I Extend My Visitor’s Visa Beyond Six Months?

Millions of foreign nationals enter the U.S. to visit family and friends every year. If you are visiting and want to legally extend your stay here in the U.S. beyond the time permitted on your I-94 card, this article gives tips to help you maintain your status in the U.S.

 

As every foreign national who enters the U.S. on a visitor visa knows, there is an expiration date for each foreign national by which time he or she must depart the U.S. If the foreign national stays beyond that time period without permission from USCIS, that foreign national’s visa in his or her passport becomes null and void. That foreign national then becomes an overstay and harsh immigration laws will become applicable to that foreign national, including becoming removable, etc.

As a result, many people who want to remain in the U.S. beyond the time allotted (usually six months but can be less than six months) must file an extension request with USCIS. The extension request must be received by USCIS on or before the expiration date of the foreign national’s visa.

If the foreign national is physically in the U.S. on a B-2 visa (visitor for pleasure classification) or a B-1 visa (visitor for business classification), they should file form I-539, Application to Extend Nonimmigrant status, with USCIS to request their extension. There is an accompanying filing fee that must also be attached to the form. The following should also be included in the filing with USCIS:

• Statement from the applicant to explain why he or she is seeking an extension of their visa

• Copy of the applicant’s passport and I-94 card / or stamp in passport to show entry date

• Copy of the applicant’s birth certificate and translation, if applicable

• Letter from the bank and / or bank statement for the applicant showing the applicant has funds to maintain his or her stay in the U.S. without having to work

• Optional: If the applicant is staying in the U.S. temporarily with friends or family, the applicant’s friend or family member can also provide a letter stating that the applicant will remain with them during their stay, that they will (hopefully) provide transportation, lodging, food etc.

• Optional: Bank account for the family member or friend of the applicant to show sufficient funds to help take care of the foreign national

• Other relevant documentation, as specified by your immigration lawyer, which may include a copy of the future return flight ticket

If the applicant has his or her spouse or children also in the U.S. visiting, be sure to include their information on the form and attach the necessary paperwork for each person, i.e. marriage certificate, birth certificates, etc. All documents must be translated.

I cannot stress enough that the visa petition package must be properly signed, assembled, include all required documentation, and must be timely received before the expiration of the visa as noted on the I-94 card or stamp in the passport for each applicant.

Also, merely filing the extension request does Not guarantee approval, and that is why I strongly urge you to retain an immigration lawyer to handle the process on your behalf.

If the applicant wishes to file the application online, there is an ELIS system now set up by USCIS that will allow the applicant to file the form electronically.

Please note that the above is general information and other factors may apply. Immigration law is very complex and nothing can take the place of seeking the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer. The above information is not to be considered as legal advice.

Is It Legal to Visit America to Have a Baby in Order to Create Citizenship?

Once known pejoratively as “anchor babies,” the children of foreign nationals born on American soil have traditionally had a right to automatic citizenship. As a result, immediate family members would seek their own citizenship by virtue of the close relationship. But, after years of debate on the topic of immigration reform, are anchor babies still legal?

 

Where Did It Start?

Following the Civil War, America enacted the 14th Amendment to ensure fair and equal treatment for recently freed black slaves that had been denied rights of citizenship under the Constitution. It states, in relevant part, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” The nation lacked an immigration policy at the time, so no provision was made in the language of the Amendment to clarify whether it applied to immigrants or only African slaves. Although a number of court decisions held that the latter was the case, the issue resurfaced in the 1960s with the Immigration Act.

In 1965, the US Congress passed the Immigration Act. Under a loophole in its provisions, when read in conjunction with the 14th Amendment, any babies born on US soil have automatic American citizenship, whether or not their parents were in the country illegally. This led to illegal alien parents crossing the border to give birth to a child who could act as an “anchor” to keep them in the country and provide them with permanent US residency.

Is It Still Legal?

What may surprise many is that the citizenship birthright remains available to any person born on US soil, regardless of the circumstances of his or her birth. A number of attempts have been made, particularly in the last 20 years, to reform this situation. However, these reforms have remained unsuccessful. Most opposition points out that laws eliminating this practice will most likely harm the child more than the parents, making it an unpopular law to try to pass.

What many do not realize is that an “anchor baby” does not guarantee immediate citizenship for the parents or ensure continued residency in the US for the child. In most instances, while the child will have US citizenship, the child would not be able to live alone in the US until reaching the age of majority. Thus, in most cases, the parent(s) and child are returned to their country of origin, and the child has the right to return to the US as a citizen after turning 18 (or can visit anytime before that).

Thus, while it is still legal to have a child in the US for the purpose of establishing the child’s citizenship and then allowing other family members to immigrate, such a plan is a long investment at best. There is no guarantee that the child and parents would be allowed to remain in the US after birth, meaning that this “anchoring” effect might not become effective for 18 years when the child is able to return to the US on his or her own.
Impact of “Anchoring” on US

The myth of “anchoring” is so deeply ingrained in some populations (particularly Mexico) that an entire industry of medical tourism has sprung up around the practice. Services will help expectant mothers from other countries arrange for transportation, accommodations, and hospital arrangements to ensure the nationality of their child upon birth. Unfortunately, many of these parents will ultimately leave the country disappointed that their stay cannot become indefinite as they had hoped.

At the other end of the spectrum are parents who cross the border illegally (or remain in the country long past the expiration of their visas) to have a child. Because of American emergency care laws, hospitals cannot turn these people away, regardless of nationality or ability to pay. This has the medical industry to absorb a large block of expenses associated with giving birth to the children of illegal immigrants. Some estimate the drain on the American medical and insurance industry at several billion dollars per year.

Extreme Hardship and the Hardship Waiver

Extreme Hardship,” for immigration purposes is hardship caused to the qualifying family member that is directly or indirectly caused by the inadmissibility of the alien from the USA. The qualifying family member must be a United States Citizen or Permanent Resident of the United States.

 

Certain grounds of inadmissibility may be waived at the discretion of the attorney general if extreme hardship is shown to the qualifying family member. Hardship to the alien is not relevant. Only the hardship caused to the qualifying family member is relevant.

The U.S. Code as it addresses waivers may be found at INA 212 and INA 237. The U.S. Code does not provide the possibility of a waiver under some circumstances such as when the alien has been convicted of drug trafficking, a weapons charge or a number of other aggravated felonies.

When requesting a waiver an application is required to be filed with the appropriate administrative body; the U.S. consulate where the alien resides, the immigration court if the person is in removal proceedings, or the USCIS.

The Attorney General in his discretion does not consider the common effects of deportation to be extreme hardship. The attorney general assumes the deportation of a family member will result in typical or normal hardship such as the separation of parents from their children, reduced income, loss of employment and loss of property.

How ironic that the government is harsh in the evidence required in demonstrating that an arriving alien will not become a public charge but shows no mercy when a family becomes a burden on the tax payer because the Attorney General deported their bread winner.

Below is a quote from the Board of Immigration Appeals, (BIA):

“U.S. court decisions have repeatedly held that the common results of deportation or exclusion are insufficient to prove extreme hardship. See Hassan v. INS, 927 F.2d 465, 468 (9th Cir. 1991). For example, Matter of Pilch, 21 I&N December 627 (BIA 1996), held that emotional hardship caused by severing family and community ties is a common result of deportation and does not constitute extreme hardship. In addition, Perez v. INS, 96 F.3d 390 (9th Cir. 1996), held that the common results of deportation are insufficient to prove extreme hardship and defined extreme hardship as hardship that was unusual or beyond that which would normally be expected upon deportation. Hassan v. INS, supra, held further that the uprooting of family and separation from friends does not necessarily amount to extreme hardship but rather represents the type of inconvenience and hardship experienced by the families of most aliens being deported. The AAO recognizes that the applicant’s spouse and/or children would likely endure hardship as a result of separation from the applicant…”

At least for now, we must work within the system that we currently have in place. This means that the qualifying relative must demonstrate extreme hardship for his or her family member to remain or return to the United States. The hardship must be more than the normal hardship suffered when a loved one is deported – as set forth above.

There is no set formula for determining whether a situation qualifies for a waiver. Each situation is unique. Consult with an experienced immigration attorney who handles waivers to determine if you may qualify.

Give More Rights to H4 Visa Holders

Unlike the L2 visas, the spouses of H1B visa holders are not allowed to work. Speaking to many of the spouses on such visas, the Shah Peerally Law Group PC has decided to start a campaign to advocate for the spouses (H4 holders) to be able to work and be more independent. As such we are looking for testimonials of those suffering from the “unfortunate” conditions of being on H4 visa. Examples of the hardships can be:

 

Although the H4 visa allows the spouses to stay in the United States, it has very negative psychological effects on the visa holders especially on the women and children who feel over dependent on the H1B holder’s income.

Often, the spouses are very qualified and willing to contribute financially to the household income, yet unless they themselves change status, they are unable to do so and the couple goes into horrible financial difficulties.

H4 visa holders also find themselves at the mercy of the H1B visa holders regarding mental abuses from their spouses. Unfortunately they are unable to get a VAWA or a U Visa solely based on mental abuses.

Last year there was a move in Congress on the matter but it failed. We actually believe with the right support and getting enough testimonies on the matter, we shall be able to gather enough momentum to revive the movement. We are also starting a new petition to this effect. This petition will request that Congress and the Obama Administration to:

a. Allow H4 holders to contribute to this economy instead of just being dependents; and
b. Allow H4 to self petition in case of a divorce or separation to stay in the United States and be able to continue their lives peacefully.

Having seen and worked on hundreds of cases regarding H4 holders, our law firm believes that we need to start a campaign to bring to light the difficulties which many of the H4 holders are facing and hopefully change the momentum in their favor. As such we are looking for help and assistance from the community to support this cause. Note that any assistance is welcome including spreading the word and gathering signatures.

More about the EB-5 Visa

When you are thinking of applying for an EB-5 visa, you would first need to learn about the different aspects of a particular visa.

 

If you want to live in the United States as a permanent resident and work there, you would need to obtain a green card. However, being a foreign citizen, you would first need to obtain a visa in order to enter into the country. Obtaining a visa may require some effort on your part. You would need to learn about the different categories of visas in order to figure out which particular visa you want to apply for.

If you are an investor looking to start a business in the US, you may opt for the EB-5 visas that are specifically designed keeping the investors in mind. This particular category of visa makes it possible for you and your family (spouse and child/children below the age of 21) to gain permanent residency in the United States. You may even be able to apply for citizenship after 5 years of being a permanent resident.

Once you obtain the green card, you will be able to run a business, take a job or retire and reside in the United States. Being a green card holder, you will be entitled to many rights that the citizens of the country are and in specific states, you may be allowed to have savings in property tax.

Like an US citizen, your children will have the right to go to any school and university of their choice and they won’t have to leave the country when they become 21 years old. After completing 5 years of being a permanent resident, every member in your family might apply for legal citizenship.

The term Regional Center refers to areas that are designated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as areas that are eligible for the job creation projects. Some of the Regional Centers seem as if they have the Government’s approval, mainly because these areas are designated by the Government. However, you must know that not all of these areas are approved by the Government. These areas are designated for the main purpose of immigration. However, this does not guarantee that the project will be successful.

There are mainly three types of Regional Centers. Once you have decided to apply for the EB-5 visa, you will need to choose a Regional Center that-

• Will protect your investment
• Will have an established success record with the visa applications
• Will not keep your investment tied up for longer than required
• Will not see you as the source of easy money and will be focused on what you need as an immigrant

Before you can think about applying for this visa, you would need to learn about the costs that are associated such visa programs. You will need to pay a minimum amount of $500,000 as investment. Apart from that, you may also need to pay a regional center administration fee that may start from $25,000 and can go up to $60,000. There may be other fees and expenses involved. Make you sure you gather all the information before you apply for the visa.

How Do I Extend My Visitor’s Visa Beyond Six Months?

Millions of foreign nationals enter the U.S. to visit family and friends every year. If you are visiting and want to legally extend your stay here in the U.S. beyond the time permitted on your I-94 card, this article gives tips to help you maintain your status in the U.S.

 

As every foreign national who enters the U.S. on a visitor visa knows, there is an expiration date for each foreign national by which time he or she must depart the U.S. If the foreign national stays beyond that time period without permission from USCIS, that foreign national’s visa in his or her passport becomes null and void. That foreign national then becomes an overstay and harsh immigration laws will become applicable to that foreign national, including becoming removable, etc.

As a result, many people who want to remain in the U.S. beyond the time allotted (usually six months but can be less than six months) must file an extension request with USCIS. The extension request must be received by USCIS on or before the expiration date of the foreign national’s visa.

If the foreign national is physically in the U.S. on a B-2 visa (visitor for pleasure classification) or a B-1 visa (visitor for business classification), they should file form I-539, Application to Extend Nonimmigrant status, with USCIS to request their extension. There is an accompanying filing fee that must also be attached to the form. The following should also be included in the filing with USCIS:

• Statement from the applicant to explain why he or she is seeking an extension of their visa

• Copy of the applicant’s passport and I-94 card / or stamp in passport to show entry date

• Copy of the applicant’s birth certificate and translation, if applicable

• Letter from the bank and / or bank statement for the applicant showing the applicant has funds to maintain his or her stay in the U.S. without having to work

• Optional: If the applicant is staying in the U.S. temporarily with friends or family, the applicant’s friend or family member can also provide a letter stating that the applicant will remain with them during their stay, that they will (hopefully) provide transportation, lodging, food etc.

• Optional: Bank account for the family member or friend of the applicant to show sufficient funds to help take care of the foreign national

• Other relevant documentation, as specified by your immigration lawyer, which may include a copy of the future return flight ticket

If the applicant has his or her spouse or children also in the U.S. visiting, be sure to include their information on the form and attach the necessary paperwork for each person, i.e. marriage certificate, birth certificates, etc. All documents must be translated.

I cannot stress enough that the visa petition package must be properly signed, assembled, include all required documentation, and must be timely received before the expiration of the visa as noted on the I-94 card or stamp in the passport for each applicant.

Also, merely filing the extension request does Not guarantee approval, and that is why I strongly urge you to retain an immigration lawyer to handle the process on your behalf.

If the applicant wishes to file the application online, there is an ELIS system now set up by USCIS that will allow the applicant to file the form electronically.

Please note that the above is general information and other factors may apply. Immigration law is very complex and nothing can take the place of seeking the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer. The above information is not to be considered as legal advice.

Tourist Visa to the US

Tourists arriving in the US must have a valid tourist visa. Unless your country participates in the visa waiver program (VWP) wherein you can arrive in the US for 90 days or less without applying for a visa in advance. The tourist visa has certain requirements: strong ties in the country as to compel the person to return home after the short stay, a valid purpose for the trip, and the funding source to pay for the trip.

 

Visitors traveling to the United States temporarily for business or pleasure typically arrive on a tourist visa. For specific purposes that are legitimate, such as for medical treatment, attend a business conference, an expo or fair, or certain types of training. Visitors can request a notation on their tourist visa indicating the purpose of their trip in the event that a visa extension or visa change is required later on.

Tourists from certain countries and who meet certain visa requirements may not have to apply for a visa in advance if they are a national from a country that is party to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP.) The VWP enables nationals of 36 participating countries to travel to the US for tourism or business (visitor B visa purposes only) for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The program was established to eliminate unnecessary barriers to travel, stimulating the tourism industry, and permitting the Department of State to focus consular resources in other areas.

For individuals who are from countries not participating in the VWP, they will have to apply for a tourist visa at the US Embassy or Consulate in their country and request an interview appointment. Prospective visitor has to show strong ties, and a steady employment history, consistent income, and a valid and legitimate purpose for the trip.

The consular officer has a very short time to decide on whether the tourist applicant is qualified for the visa. The visa applicant will be questioned as to the intent and purpose of the trip, whether the applicant has violated any laws or visa violation in the past, and most importantly, the consular officer will determine based on the evidence submitted whether the applicant has strong ties to their home country.

The most frequent basis for refusal concerns the requirement that the prospective visitor possess a residence abroad he/she has no intention of abandoning. Applicants prove the existence of such residence by demonstrating that they have ties abroad that would compel them to leave the US at the end of the temporary stay. The law places this burden of proof on the applicant.

 

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K1 Fiance Visa and the In Person Meeting Requirement and a Look at Whether One Meeting Is Enough

The INA requires K1 fiance visa applicants meet in person at least once to approve the fiance visa. May be waived if meeting would violate cultural norms, customs or some religious tenet. Extreme hardship waiver is available to the US petitioner. Approval of the waiver will depend on whether the extreme hardship factors are established. Meeting 1 time fulfill this requirement however whether it creates a bona fide relationship will depend on if there are red flag issues involved.

 

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires K1 fiance visa applicants to have physically met the US citizen petitioner in person before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will grant the I-129F. This is simply one factor used to prove the bona fide or sincerity of the relationship between the fiancee visa applicant and the US citizen petitioner.

This in person meeting mandate flies in the face of modern time and high technology where couples meet on dating websites, online chats, and social network sites. With the advent of online dating, couples utilize video chat and instant chat, and Skype calls wherein it’s genuinely plausible that couples fall in love and have a bona fide relationship. Saying that though, virtual meetings do not meet the US law that mandates that the couple are in physical presence of each other at least 1 time.

US law does allow for extenuating circumstances where an in person meeting may be waived. This waiver is permitted when it is established that a meeting would be an extreme hardship for the US citizen petitioner, or it is not permitted due to cultural or religious traditions. As long as the religious belief is recognized, or the cultural tradition is sincere, then USCIS will waive the meeting requirement.

For the extreme hardship method, this is a waiver that the US petitioner submit indicating that visa denial based on meeting the fiancee in person mandate would place extreme hardship to the US citizen petitioner. Extreme hardship to the petitioner exists where the petitioner may have an extenuating medical disability or circumstances that warrants a waiver of the meeting in person requirement.

Oftentimes, couples have met and can fulfill the 1 in person meeting requirement, but whether it is sufficient to create a genuine and caring relationship with the visa applicant will depend on the couple’s unique sets of facts. For instance, the consular officers may scrutinize extensively whether a couple who spent 1 day together would be able to establish a bona fide relationship as oppose to 1 month. The 1 day visit may also contradict the traditional notion of a relationship where there’s sincerity and genuine care and affection if the couple commenced their relationship 1-2 months prior to filing the Fiance Visa Application. Nonetheless, a 1 month long visit may also be scrutinized if there are other red flag issues such as a wide age gap or multiple filings for the same applicant.

The US consular officers can glean from the meeting(s) and the evidence submitted whether it rise to the level of of creating a sincere and bona fide relationship.