Overview of The Removal (Deportation) Hearings Process

Learn about the various hearings you’ll need to attend, and what will happen, when your facing removal from the United States. Once referred to as “deportation”, removal is the process of the U.S. government determining that an alien — that is, a non-U.S. citizen, whether in the U.S. illegally or with a green card — must be removed from the United States. The removal or deportation process is complicated, and the stakes are high. Legal representation is essential to develop

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U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks Gets Free Speech Very Wrong

Yesterday Chancellor Dirks sent an email about free speech to Berkeley students, faculty, and staff. In today’s competitive publishing environment it is astonishingly difficult to distinguish yourself as an academic by being wrong about free speech, but Chancellor Dirks is equal to the challenge. His email is so very bad on every level — legally, logically, rhetorically, and philosophically — that it deserves scrutiny.   Let’s take Chancellor Dirks’ email bit by bit. Dear Campus Community, This Fall marks the

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Can an Undocumented Immigrant Marry a U.S. Citizen?

There’s no law preventing an undocumented (illegal) immigrant from marrying a U.S. citizen, but getting a green card (permanent residence) is not quite so simple. If you are an undocumented immigrant in the United States (sometimes referred to as an “illegal immigrant”), nothing stops you from marrying a U.S. citizen, or most anyone else you wish to marry. U.S. citizens marry illegal immigrants on a regular basis. (The main limitations on marriage in the U.S. have to do with your age and

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How to Assemble an Immigration Application Package

When mailing an immigration application to the USCIS, properly organizing your documents and assembling your package is critical to minimize handling errors. Below is a list of general tips that apply to most cases. However, if USCIS has published specific instructions (FY 2010 H-1B petitions, for example), or is asking you for further information, always follow their exact instructions. Enclose a cover letter describing what you are sending: original application, response to RFE, Motion to Re-open, etc. Attach correct fee

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Stokes Interview and Marriage Based Immigration

A Stokes Interview in a marriage based green card application process is referring to an interview when the husband and wife are questioned separately, and their answers are compared by an immigration officer to determine whether the marriage was entered into in good faith. A stokes interview (also known as “marriage fraud interview”) is usually a second interview, after the first one when the husband and wife were interviewed together raised some questions about the bona fide of their marriage.

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Family-Based Immigration I-130

Foreign nationals may apply for permanent residency through a family member who is either a US citizen or lawful permanent resident. While a permanent resident may only sponsor a spouse and unmarried children, a citizen can petition for parents, brothers, sisters, and married children as well. Relatives are classified into two main categories, then assigned preference levels, based on their relationship to the sponsors. Category I: Unlimited Family-Based (does NOT need a visa number) Spouse and unmarried children under 21

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Employment Authorization Document and Travel Document

Anyone who is not a US citizen or permanent resident may need to apply for a work permit (Employment Authorization Document – EAD) before they can start working in the United States. Below is a partial list: Who must apply for an EAD? Beneficiary of a pending I-485 Adjustment of Status; F-1 student seeking optional practical training; F-1 student seeking off-campus employment due to severe economic hardship; M-1 student seeking practical training after completing studies; Spouse or minor child of

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How the United States Immigration System Works

U.S. immigration law is very complex, and there is much confusion as to how it works. The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), the body of law governing current immigration policy, provides for an annual worldwide limit of 675,000 permanent immigrants, with certain exceptions for close family members. Congress and the President determine a separate number for refugee admissions. Immigration to the United States is based upon the following principles: the reunification of families, admitting immigrants with skills that are valuable

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Consular Processing

Similar to filing for adjustment of status, consular processing is another way to become a legal permanent resident of the US. It is the final step before a green card is issued and can be used in both employment-based and family-based immigration processes. Consular processing requires an in-person interview at a US consulate overseas. An immigration petition (e.g. I-140) must have been approved, and a visa number must be available, before consular processing can take place. Who Should Use Consular

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U.S. Immigration Forms

Frequently Used USCIS Forms All USCIS forms (formerly INS forms) are FREE of charge on the official USCIS.gov website (linked from the table below). If you visit any website and are asked to pay a fee for downloading or using an immigration form, be very careful! Also forms obtained from non-official web sites may be outdated, and using such old forms may result in your application or petition being delayed or even denied. My advice: Always download immigration forms directly

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