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Itasca immigration lawyerPeople from foreign countries come to the United States for a variety of reasons, and in many cases, they may wish to become permanent residents. Those who are currently living in the U.S. may apply for an adjustment of status, and if their request is granted, they will receive a Green Card and be designated as a lawful permanent resident.

However, the ability to receive an adjustment of status will depend on the type of visa available to a person and multiple other factors. By understanding the options for immigration, a person can make sure they will be able to take the correct steps to live permanently in the United States.

Adjustment of Status for Different Types of Immigrants

A person who is currently present in the United States and who is eligible for a Green Card may apply for an adjustment of status by filing Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Situations where adjustment of status may be available include:

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Itasca immigration lawyerDuring the administration of President Donald Trump, the government put a number of policies in place that affected immigration. In addition to its efforts to build a wall along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, the administration implemented rules that allowed for the detainment and deportation of many immigrants. President Joe Biden has pledged to relax some of these rules and take steps to address the issues affecting immigrants. However, his administration has had trouble doing so due to some recent rulings in federal courts.

Rulings Affecting Title 42 and Prosecutorial Discretion

During the Trump administration, a rule known as Title 42 was put in place, allowing for the expulsion of immigrants without going through many of the standard deportation procedures. This rule was implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its stated purpose was to reduce the possibility of infections being spread by immigrants entering the United States. 

The Biden administration has attempted to lift Title 42, and officials have stated that because the threat of COVID-19 infections has been reduced, the rule is no longer necessary to protect public safety. However, a group of 24 states filed a lawsuit challenging the lifting of this rule, and they have claimed that without Title 42 in place, illegal immigration will increase and place a financial burden on the states due to increased health care and education costs. In May of 2022, a federal judge ruled in the states’ favor, requiring Title 42 to remain in place. 

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DuPage County immigration lawyerThere are many cases where immigrants to the United States may be at risk of harm, but they may be hesitant to report a crime or seek protection because they are concerned about their immigration status. In cases where immigrants are undocumented, entered the United States illegally, or stayed in the U.S. after the expiration of a temporary visa, they may worry that if they report domestic abuse or seek protection for themselves or their family members, they could face deportation. Fortunately, the United States has laws that provide protection in these situations. Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a victim of domestic violence or abuse may not only receive protection against deportation, but they may also qualify for a Green Card that will allow them to remain in the United States permanently.

Eligibility for Protection as a VAWA Self-Petitioner

Most of the time, immigrants who are seeking a visa or Green Card will need to be sponsored by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who will file a petition on their behalf with immigration authorities. However, the Violence Against Women Act allows a person to file a petition for themselves in certain situations.

To qualify for protections under VAWA, a person will need to meet the following requirements:

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Illinois immigration lawyerThere are multiple situations where immigrants may be the victims of crime. Unfortunately, this often puts people in a difficult position, since they may be concerned that if they report these crimes or attempt to leave a situation where they or their family members are in danger, they could be detained by immigration officials and deported. However, the laws in the United States provide some protection for immigrants who are the victims of crimes, and depending on a person’s situation, different options for obtaining a visa or Green Card may be available.

U Visas for Crime Victims

Immigrants in the United States who have been the victims of certain types of crimes may apply for a U visa that will protect them from deportation. A person will need to show that they have been the victim of qualifying criminal activity and that these crimes have caused them to suffer significant abuse of a physical or mental nature. Qualifying crimes include murder, manslaughter, domestic violence, stalking, felony assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, sexual assault, prostitution, and incest, and these crimes must have taken place in the United States or violated U.S. laws. An applicant must cooperate with law enforcement officials during a criminal investigation or the prosecution of a crime. 

Up to 10,000 U visas can be issued each year. Derivative U visas may also be available for an applicant’s immediate family members, including their spouse and children, or if they are under the age of 21, their parents and unmarried siblings. A U visa will allow a person to stay in the U.S. for four years. After three years of living in the U.S. with U nonimmigrant status, a person can apply for a Green Card.

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Itasca family immigration attorneySome of the most common avenues for immigration involve sponsorship by a person who is already living in the United States. Family-based immigration allows U.S. citizens or permanent residents with valid Green Cards to sponsor family members for immigrant visas. However, certain types of visas are also available that will allow U.S. citizens to establish family relationships and provide others with immigration benefits. Fiancé visas are one common way of doing so, and this type of visa will provide a foreign-born person with the right to enter the United States for the purpose of getting married to a U.S citizen. Couples who are planning to get married will need to understand the procedures that will be followed as they work to complete the immigration process.

Steps Followed When Bringing a Foreign Fiancé to the U.S.

K-1 visas provide a person with the authorization to enter the United States and get married to a U.S. citizen. These are technically non-immigrant visas, and they do not authorize a person to stay in the U.S. permanently. Instead, they provide temporary authorization to come to the U.S., and after a couple gets married, the foreign-born spouse can then apply for adjustment of status based on their legal relationship to their U.S. citizen spouse. 

A couple will need to proceed through the following steps when they apply for a K-1 visa:

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