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Frequently Asked Questions


How do I get a work permit?

In order to be eligible for a work permit, you must have a pending application with immigration, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or be reporting to Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) or have a pending application with the immigration court, have a visa to work in the United States, or in the process a family adjustment, inside the US, or approved for a U visa, and for asylum seekers, their application must be pending for 150 days to apply, and 180 days to be approved. Most work permits arrive 4 to 6 months after application is submitted.

Can my 21 year old son or daughter who is a citizen petition for me?

Yes, but only under certain circumstances, if it is an adjustment of status and a person has had another application filed for them prior to April 30, 2001, or entered the United States legally on a visa or granted a legal entry from TPS or parole in place, or they can be petitioned and go through the consular process but you will need a qualifying relative to adjust status in their home country, using a I601A waiver. A spouse who is a legal permanent resident or citizen will qualify to waive unlawful presence or parent as well that is a citizen or legal permanent resident.

I am the victim of a crime, can I get a green card?

Yes, if he or she is the victim of a qualifying crime, like domestic violence, robbery, assault, and you either help the prosecution or law enforcement with the case providing information that aids them in prosecuting the perpetrator. The first step is to get a certification from law enforcement or a district attorney.

My spouse passed away in the middle of our process, can I still obtain legal permanent residency?

The application is still valid but converts into a widower petition and under certain criteria you can complete the process. The bottom line is proving that you and your spouse had a good faith bona fide marriage.

How do I become a citizen?

If you are still married to the United States citizen that petitioned you for your green card, you can apply 3 years after you obtained legal permanent residency. If there has been a divorce or you obtained your green card by any other means, you can apply once you have held your green card for 5 years.

My child is in the military, can they help me become legal with parole in place?

Yes, parole in place provides an I-94, which is a legal admission to the United States, which in turn allows you to do your adjustment in the United States without having to leave. After the parole in place is granted, the petition and adjustment must be filed thereafter. Keep in mind that adjustments are discretionary to the extent that you need to show good moral character.

Am I eligible for a fee waiver?

You can apply if you are able to demonstrate that you live below poverty guidelines or receive social security or disability and you are unable to work or if you are detained by immigration.

I am afraid to return to my country, what do I do?

You can file an I–589 asylum application, but it must be filed within the first year of entering the United States. You can file after that but without qualifying for an exception, you will only be eligible for categories under asylum, including withholding and convention against torture (cat). Asylum is a pathway for residency but with withholding you cannot leave the country but are eligible for a work permit. With CAT, you can qualify for a work permit if you are reporting to ICE.

How do I get my immigration file?

Under the law, you are entitled to your file by filing form I-639, called a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act). You can request that immigration provide a copy of your file digitally.

I have someone detained, how do I get a bond?

An attorney can send a motion to Court requesting bond or a parole request to ICE. Important to show that you are not a flight risk or a danger to the community.

Are they any pardons or waivers for my crimes or my unlawful presence?

Yes there are waivers for many crimes and for unlawful presence.

Can I still apply for the dream act (daca)?

Only renewals are being accepted at this time.

How do I get Temporary Protected Status(TPS) ? DO I have to renew my TPS?

No you can no longer apply but those who have it now are getting extensions due to pending case law considering the legal validity.

What is consular processing?

It is adjusting your status to a lawful permanent resident that occurs outside the United States. When you enter illegally, you can still get a green card with a waiver for the unlawful presence but when the waiver is approved and the interview is scheduled, you must go to the embassy in your home country, which typically takes about a month

What is humanitarian parole?

You are given legal permission to remain in the United States for a longer period of time than initially given or you are allowed to enter the United States due to humanitarian reasons such as seeking specialized treatment for a cancer illness or other extreme circumstances.

How do I get my fingerprints checked?

You can do a background check through the FBI or the California Department of Justice, the FBI looking at all 50 states, which can be done at a live scan location near you. Or, if in conjunction with an application for relief, you will receive a biometrics notice in the mail.

I missed my court date, what do I do?

If you missed a court date, an inabsentia removal order is usually issued in your absence. You need to hire an attorney that can submit a Motion to Reopen to the Immigration Court. Nothing short of extreme illness or exceptional circumstances will excuse this but if you didn’t get notice for a court date, then you have another basis to reopen the case.

How do I appeal?

Most appeals are due within 30 days of the issued decision and appeals are directed to USCIS, the Board of Immigration Appeal or the 9th circuit.

What is a request for evidence?

You can receive a notice in the mail when Immigration requires more information to process your application or render a decision.

What if I don’t speak English, can I have an interpreter?

Yes, the Immigration court will provide an interpreter but for any appointment with USCIS, you must bring your own interpreter.

How do I get a social security number?

Social security cards now come automatically when you receive a work permit.

How do I get a driver’s license?

As an undocumented person, you are entitled to go the DMW and apply for a license but keep in mind that the DMW shares your personal information like your address with the federal government and if you have ever been arrested, it does pose a risk to being picked up by ICE.

Can I get medical benefits if I am illegal?

Emergency Medicaid is something you can apply for but frowned upon under this presidential administration and could jeopardize relief.

What are FAMU cases?

In order to limit the immigration backlog of cases, the Department of Justice now requires Immigration Judges to complete all FAMU cases within 365 days or less.

The family unity group of cases are families that have entered the United States within the last 2 years. They are now a priority to complete before any other type of case. Other immigration cases will take a back seat so FAMU cases can be assigned trial dates as soon as possible.

The end result is that these families have less time to prepare their case. This policy was intentionally enacted as a deterrent to get families to stop showing up at the border with asylum claims.

Our firm will take on your case as one family, one case, no matter how many applicants are included in the claim.

I am no longer married, can I still keep my green card?

If your initial green card was a provisional green card, you must apply to remove the conditions of the green card 90 days before the second anniversary of the card. If you are no longer married, you can apply as a divorced person and must provide evidence to demonstrate it was a real marriage. If the green card that was issued was a 10 year card, getting divorced does not change your status and there are no consequences.

Can I get a travel document to travel in and out of the United States?

Yes, you can apply under form I-131 which is referred to as advance parole. You are eligible to apply if you have an adjustment pending or valid temporary status in the United States, or if you are a dream act (daca) recipient. It usually takes 3 to 4 months unless you have evidence to demonstrate an emergency which can expedite the request. You cannot leave the United States if you are in removal proceedings.

Can I get a visa to come to work here in United States?

Yes, you can have an employer sponsor you or a religious nonprofit organization like a temple or church for a religious visa, or a business visa or investor visa.

Do you offer payment plans?

Yes we offer flexible payment plans for every budget customized to your individual needs.

How do I win my case?

Good preparation and the proper documentation to establish that you merits a favorable grant.

I was caught at border, can I still apply for relief?

Yes, as an arriving alien you can still apply for asylum but must pass a credible fear interview with the asylum officer.

Will my criminal history hurt me?

Your past is a factor to be considered as it’s important to establish good moral character but rehabilitation efforts are valued, like paying taxes, post conviction relief, and a demonstrated period of time to show good conduct.

How do I pay the bond?

In Los Angeles, you can go to 300 North Los Angeles street to the federal building room 7621 and bring money orders or a cashiers check or hire a company to post the bond if you need assistance with financing.

What if I entered illegally but I was just a child and my parents brought me?

You can apply to renew your Dream Act (daca) status.

I picked up a DUI, how does that affect me?

As a legal permanent resident, you cannot be deported for a DUI but as a daca holder or for someone undocumented, it can put you on the radar for ICE to place you in removal proceedings for entering without inspections.

Will having Temporary Protected Status (TPS) allow me to adjust in the United States without having to leave?

Yes, TPS is considered an admission into the United States in the western part of  the United States under 9th circuit case law, so if you have a qualifying relative to petition you, adjustment of status to a green card is available.

Can I expedite my filing?

With some applications this possible but it must be under the category of urgent need and humanitarian efforts.

How do I get a certification for my U visa?

You must notify the law enforcement agency or district or city attorney’s office and request it with the form.

Is a medical exam required to become a resident?

Yes a civil surgeon exam which is a type of physical is required when adjusting here in the United States.

What if I miss an immigration appointment?

USCIS deems a missed appointment to be the equivalent to abandoning your case. If you cannot make it to an interview, send an attorney or a friend to provide documentation like a letter from your doctor as to why you could not attend. Or if you wish to withdraw your application or petition, you must mail that request in ahead of time.

How do I qualify to be a sponsor?

Your most recent tax return must be above the poverty guidelines.

Can I reopen my case due to changed circumstances?

Yes, if you can show changed circumstances pertaining to the form of relief you were applying for, the Court and other appellate bodies have the sua sponte power to reopen at anytime.

Do I have to file taxes if I am undocumented?

 Yes, you apply online to get a Temporary Identification Number and file taxes. It’s best to file taxes as it demonstrates good moral character, as does owing property, like a house or a car.

Can I still get a green card if I accept aid like welfare?

Receiving any type of aid can bar you from becoming a legal permanent resident.

What is a stay of deportation?

 The government will not remove you with a stay in place. You can obtain a stay by filing form I-246 directly with ICE for different lengths of time or when you file an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeal or a motion to reopen with the immigration court based on lack of notice, an automatic stay is in place for the period of time that it takes to render a decision.

Can ICE pick me up at my house?

Yes, ICE can show up to your home to pick you up but you are not obligated to open the door without a warrant. Be aware of your rights. Under the 5th amendment, you do not have to speak with ICE or answer any questions. You do not have to give them permission to enter your home based on your 4th amendment rights under the United States constitution unless they have a warrant to enter. Typically, ICE agents do not possess a warrant.

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