Articles Posted in Adjustment of Status

The filing fees for various Family Based Visas have increased as of April, 1, 2024.

The new USCIS filing fees are as follows:

The USCIS filing fee for a K1 Fiance Visa, form I-129 is now $675.

Today, many Immigration clients search for and hire an Attorney from the internet. In my case, I would say that many if not most of my clients don’t ever meet me in person. They live or work all over the United States and around the world. Use of the internet has made the process of searching for and hiring an attorney so much easier and efficient, but in some unfortunate cases, it could lead to Fraud. Of course, I hope that everyone who contacts my office for a Fiance Visa, Marriage Visa or Family Based Green Card, ultimately chooses my law practice, but if not me, then I want you to find somebody else that is also honest and will do a good job for you.
There are some simple steps that you can take to make sure you are hiring a reputable and honest Lawyer:
1. Call and discuss your case with the Lawyer who will be doing the work. If you can’t speak to the Attorney, without charge, move on.
2. Make sure the Attorney you choose has an office address.
3. Check for length of service and years of practice on the internet. Google or the Attorney’s website should identify the number of years of practice and length of presence on the internet.
4. Check for your Attorney’s Bar Number and Good standing.  This can be done by asking for your lawyer’s Bar Number and contacting the State that he or she is licensed in. Immigration Attorneys only need to be licensed in one state to practice throughout the county. So check with the Attorney’s state of license. My Bar number is on my Home page and there is a link directly to The Ohio Supreme Court. I welcome checks.
5. Be wary of service providers who claim they can speed up the Governmental approval process. Once done correctly and filed, the Attorney does not have special influence over USCIS or the State Department during the approval process.
6. Your lawyer should never guarantee a result. Making a guarantee that your Fiance Visa, Marriage Visa or Adjustment of Status will be approved is in my opinion, unethical. Sharing past successes or promoting a general success rate is fine.
7. Memberships in Immigration organizations or being recognized for good service in your area of practice is always a good thing to look for.
These simple steps can be very helpful when choosing an Attorney for assistance with your application for a  K1 Fiance Visa, a CR1 or IR1 Marriage Visa or Adjusting Status to obtain a family based Green Card. 
You are always welcome to call me if you have any questions or would like to discuss your Immigration matter. I can be reached toll free at 1-888-515-3529.
Attorney Jeff Pettys

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Covid continues to impact the processing times for spouses who are in the US and apply for an Adjustment Of Status to Legal Permanent Residency. Processing times for Adjusting Status (AOS) have always varied depending on your location in the United States and the USCIS Service Center assigned to review your case. Covid has caused delays in the overall processing times for AOS applications, but the work has continued and Legal Permanent Residency continues to be granted for spouses of US Citizens without too much interruption or delay. At this time, I think you can reasonably expect it to take anywhere from 3-6 months to obtain your Work Authorization and another 6-12 months to obtain your Green Card.
My advice is to file as soon as you get married and get the process underway. Once filed, you have Temporary Protective Status (TPS) which allows you to remain in the US while your application is pending. You may also wish to file for an Advance Parole so you can leave the US and return while your application is pending as well.
If you have any questions about adjusting your status as a spouse of a US Citizen to become a Legal Permanent Resident of the US or wish to discuss your matter with me, you are always welcome to call me toll free at 1-888-515-3529.

As best as I can tell, with the various Embassy and USCIS office closures, I expect processing times for K1 Fiance Visas, Marriage Visas, Adjustment of Status to Legal Permanent Residency and other Family Immigration matters to increase by at least a few months.  At this time, some Embassy interviews have been canceled, but those interviews will be rescheduled as soon as possible. For those who have visas issued, but cant travel to the US because of a travel ban, that too will pass.
Our office is still working every day to help our clients and we are continuing to work on and file all Visa applications. As always, you are welcome to call me with questions. You can reach me toll free at 888-515-3529.
Stay safe and healthy for your loved ones and family.

Once your fiancé enters the US on a K1 Fiance Visa, you have 90 days to get married.  After getting married on the K1 Fiance Visa, your new spouse must take steps to apply for his or her Legal Permanent Residency. This is also referred to sometimes as getting your “Green Card”. It is at this time that I also recommend that you apply for your work authorization as well.

When your fiancé enters the United States, US Customs will stamp your fiance’s visa and passport for a period of 90 days. In years past, I have always advised my clients not to be too concerned with the 90 day period so long as they get married within the 90 days. And then, as soon as conveniently possible, apply for your Green Card and Work Authorization. So long as you didn’t put it off for months after getting married, there really wouldn’t be a problem. Recently however, I have had two K1 Fiance Visa clients visited by ICE after getting married because they did not file their Adjustment of Status within 90 days of arriving in the US. In both cases, once the Adjustment of Status was filed, there was no more issue with ICE. Nevertheless, there appears to be a much more careful review of fiances coming into the US on a Fiance Visa and for that reason, I now recommend that you take quick steps after getting married to file for your Adjustment of Status and Work Authorization. There is no need to panic, nor do I think a Fiance would ever be removed from the US after getting married for simply failing to file their Adjustment of Status within 90 days after entering the US. But, its is clear that the US Government is watching some of these cases much more closely than ever before.

If you have any questions about the Fiance Visa or Adjusting Status to obtain legal permanent residency after getting married, please don’t hesitate to call me toll free at 1-888-515-3529.

To begin with, a prenuptial agreement is a contract made between a couple getting married which typically sets forth how they will divide assets, property and income in the event the marriage breaks up. Many couples elect to enter into a prenuptial agreement before getting married.
The I-864 Affidavit of Support is a contract between the Sponsor of an Immigrant Visa and the US Government that requires the sponsor promise to provide whatever amount of financial support is needed to insure that the immigrant is financially taken care of by the Sponsor and that the Immigrant will not require government support.  It is required for all CR1 Marriage Visas and when applying for an Adjustment of Status to become a Legal Permanent Resident of the US. Pursuant to the terms of the I-864 Affidavit of Support, if the sponsor fails to support the immigrant as required and the immigrant incurs debt or seeks financial assistance from the government, the sponsor can be held liable for the debt or the government’s assistance. In other wards, the government can sue the sponsor for reimbursement of any funds or expenses it incurs on behalf of the Immigrant.
The existence of a pre nuptial agreement does not affect or invalidate the terms of the I-864 Affidavit of Support. This is because the I-864 Affidavit is an agreement between the Sponsor and the US Government. It is seperate and distinct agreement from any contract the parties to a marriage may have entered into on their own.
In fact, the I-864 remains in affect until one of these factors occurs:
  • The Immigrant is no longer a Legal Permanent Resident and has departed the US;
  • The immigrant becomes a US Citizen;
  • The Immigrant has worked for 40 quarters (10 years) of coverage under the Social Security Act.
  • The Immigrant Dies

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There are various sources of income and assets that can be used to meet the requirements of an I-864 Affidavit of Support for a CR1 Marriage Visa or Adjustment of Status to LPR.
The easiest and most commonly used source is income. The I-864 Affidavit of Support requires the petitioner to earn at least 125% above the Federal Poverty Guideline for your family size.  When your income meets or exceeds the required amount, you qualify. There is no need to provide any further sources of income or assets. However, when the petitioners income does not meet the required level, you will need to provide other sources of income and/or assets to make up any differences.  In lieu of the petitioners income, you may also submit evidence of:
  • Sponsor’s assets

Students from all over the world come to the United States to study. They typically enter the US on either a J-1 or F-1 Student Visa. They study and then sometimes fall in love. Many times the relationship develops to such a point that that student wishes to get married and stay in the US. The good news is that in most cases, the student can get married and stay in the US and become a legal Permanent Resident of the United States. There are a few options that a student can choose from depending on the type of visa the student was originally granted. In this article, we will focus on students with an F1 Student Visa.  Students with J1 Visa will be discussed in a separate and following article. In some limited cases, students with a J1 Visa must obtain a waiver to stay in the US after getting married and this topic will be fully discussed. For now, lets just focus on the F1 Student visas.
F1 Visas are granted to students who plan to study in the US. They are valid for the duration of the course work and for a brief period of time after the completion of the student’s course of study. In some cases, the student is given time to gain work experience after completing their studies and this is called OPT. Then once the OPT time expires, the F1 student is required to return home.  However, if the student falls in love while in the US and gets married to a US citizen, the student/spouse can apply for an Adjustment of Status to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) and likely stay in the US to live and work without returning home first.

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Students who travel to the United States on an F1 or J1 visa to study, often times fall in love with somebody they meet while in school. These relationships sometimes evolve into marriages. Fortunately, and in the vast majority of cases, US Immigration law allows the foreign student to adjust status and become a US Legal Permanent Resident and stay in the United States. The complicity of the process depends on whether the married student’s visa is an F1 or J1 with a 2 year foreign residency restriction.
For the married students here on an F1 visa, the process is fairly straight forward. After getting married, the couple first need to file an I-130 Petition for Alien Spouse and an I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. The same process is used for married students on a J1 visa without the two year foreign residency restriction. In some cases, a J1 visa will be issued, but with a two residency restriction. This means that at the expiration of the students class work and possible subsequent occupational training, unless a waiver is granted, the student has to return home to their country of origin for two years before they can apply for an adjustment of status and become a US legal permanent resident as the spouse of a US citizen. In those cases where the married student is here on a J1 with a two year foreign residency restriction, the process of obtaining a waiver to avoid having to return home for two years can be difficult.

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Immigration benefits for same sex couples are now legal and our office is getting Fiance Visas and Marriage Visas approved for same sex couples from around the world!

As you may have heard, same sex marriages are now legal in all 50 states and this makes getting married to a same sex partner much easier than before. No longer do you have to travel to a state that allows for same sex marriages after your fiancé enters the US on his or her Fiance Visa to get married.  Also, you no longer have to worry about the religious or legal impediments in the foreign fiancés country. All Fiance Visa applications are processed by a local US Embassy who applies only US law. So even if your fiancé comes from a country that does not recognize same sex marriages or has strong religious opposition to same sex marriages, the application will be processed and approved in accordance with US law.

If you are already married and you were married in the US, you can now apply for a Marriage Visa without issue or your foreign spouse can adjust status to become a Legal Permanent Resident depending on your circumstances.

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