Questions That Often Arise From Immigration Clients
The immigration process in the United States is complex and requires the insight of a highly skilled, experienced immigration attorney. Our lawyers at Ware | Immigration in Metairie have decades of experience and an abundance of passion in the practice of immigration law. We utilize both of these assets, as well as numerous others, when helping clients navigate immigration issues.
When can the government revoke your naturalized citizenship?
It is very rare, but possible, for citizenship to be revoked once it is granted permanently. Situations that can lead to revocation involve misconduct or transgressions that are considered damaging to the United States and therefore will not be tolerated. Examples of cases in which citizenship may be revoked include:
- Falsifying information in order to obtain citizenship illegally
- The joining of an incendiary or terrorist organization, such as ISIS, Al Qaeda or the American Nazi Party, within five years of being naturalized
- Refusing to testify before the federal government about your involvement in inflammatory or terrorist activities within 10 years of becoming a naturalized citizen
- Being dishonorably discharged from the military after a court-martial when citizenship was obtained through your military service
How long is a green card valid?
Since a green card does not guarantee unlimited permanent residency or citizenship, a green card is only valid for a certain amount of time, depending on your residency status. Time constraints on green cards are:
- Regular permanent resident: 10 years
- Conditional permanent resident: Two years
Near the end of the 10-year period, a regular permanent resident can go through a process that will renew their green card and give them another 10 years. However, conditional permanent residents are unable to have their green cards renewed when the two-year period expires. There is the possibility though of having the conditions removed from their residency status, granting them regular permanent resident status and a 10-year green card.
Can a U.S. citizen petition for a green card for a sibling?
Yes. As a naturalized citizen, it is possible to sponsor visas and green cards for specific types of relatives. This includes siblings who are full biological siblings, as well as adoptive siblings, step-siblings and half-siblings in many cases.
There are many documents that need to be completed and submitted, but a citizen can petition for a sibling to be granted a green card and regular permanent resident status. The petitioning citizen must be 21 years of age to sponsor a sibling.
Can you self-petition for an employment-based green card?
Yes, but only in rare situations. Typically, an employment-related visa or green card must be sponsored by the employer of the individual who will be working in the U.S.
You may be able to self-petition for an employment-based green card if you fall into the extraordinary ability immigration classification. This category includes certain scientists, researchers, actors, athletes and other individuals in the business, education, science, arts or athletic fields. Individuals who hold a National Interest Waiver can also self-petition.
Anyone not classified as such must have their employer sponsor a work-based green card.
What are the reasons that a green card application may be denied?
The immigration authorities in the U.S. are inundated with applications for green cards. While a green card application may be denied in error due to mistakes on the part of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the U.S. consulate overseas, applications are typically denied due to factors on the side of the applicant, including:
- Application requirements were not met and green card-related appointments were not attended
- Health examination was not passed
- Past criminal history, crimes of “moral turpitude” or seeking residency in the U.S. to commit crimes
- Possibility of relying on the U.S. government for financial support or long-term care
- Potential security risks to the country
The falsification or omission of any documentation related to a green card application will result in a denial of the application. This type of fraud may also lead to the inability to reapply or seek reconsideration in the future.
Are you allowed to work in the U.S. while waiting for a green card?
Yes, in many cases. While your green card application is pending, you may be granted a work permit through a process called the “adjustment of status.” You may move through this process in one of three ways:
- Adjustment of status through the LIFE Act: This special policy (245[i]) allows people who entered the country or worked in the U.S. illegally to apply for a green card.
- Adjustment of status through a lawful entry into the U.S.: This is a path to a green card for people who presented themselves at the border, were inspected and allowed to enter the country legally.
- Adjustment of status via a military relative: If a relative is a member of the United States military, a green card may be pursued even if the nonmilitary member is living in the U.S. without a legal immigration status.