Immigration Chat Archive

Date: April 7, 2003
Host: Andrew Wilson and Rex Velasquez

View Transcript | Archive Index For All Legal Chats

The questions around immigration may be simple -- "How can I stay in the U.S.?," "How can I employ these people?" but getting the answers and the documents can eat up time and money. Learn more about immigration law with attorneys Wilson and Velasquez on April 7, 2 p.m. Eastern (1 Central, 11 Pacific).

Mr. Wilson graduated from Ridley College in St. Catherines, Ontario, received his B.A. degree from the University of New Hampshire and his J.D. degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law. He authored “TNs for Computer Professionals Under NAFTA” for the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) Immigration Practice & Procedure Under The North American Free Trade Agreement, 2nd Edition. He has also authored articles for Computerworld and been interviewed by CBS MarketWatch on the subject of H-1B legislation. Mr. Wilson is a member of the New York State Bar, AILA, and he is listed in the Best Lawyers Consumer Guide for immigration law.

Attorney Wilson's firm web site is:

Rolando Rex Velasquez is the Managing Partner with the immigration law firm of Jon Eric Garde and Associates. He was previously the professor for Immigration Law at the University at Buffalo School of Law. Mr. Velasquez received his J.D. from the University at Buffalo School of Law where he was the recipient of the Connelly Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy. He earned his Masters in Business Administration through the Executive MBA Program from the University at Buffalo School of Management. Mr. Velasquez has an extensive background in immigration matters. His immigration experience includes over nine years of government experience with the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, including seven years as an INS Trial Attorney (prosecutor). He was hired through the Attorney General's Honors Grad Program. He has traveled to other cities throughout the country on behalf of the INS litigating Immigration Court cases before leaving government service. Mr. Velasquez served as one of the designated Special Interest (High Profile and Anti-Terrorist) counsel for INS.

Live Chat Transcript

SandyScott: "Hello. I am a U.S. Citizen married to a Canadian Citizen living in Calgary, AB, Canada. We've been married for 4 years and just started filing my husbands visa paperwork. We did the I130 then were told we could speed things up with the I129F which we also filed. Should we have also filed the I485 with the I129F? Does my husband get to move to the States on a I485?? I'm anxious and want to move back to the States (with my husband)."

SandyScott: "Hello"

Andrew M. Wilson: "Hello Sandy. I am just reading your question."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Sandy: You cannot file the I-485 unless you are in the U.S. If you are in Canada now, your options are exactly what you did, going forward with the I-130 and I-129F. The only other way to come quicker would be if your husband had a job offer in the U.S. and came under a work status."

SandyScott: "Okay, we got the I129 approved. Now what?"

Andrew M. Wilson: "Sandy: After your husband comes as a Fiancee (K-3), you can then file the I-485 paperwork her in the US for his green card, or process for his immigrant visa out of Montreal."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Sweetness: Hello, do you have a question?"

vsweetness21: "I applied for the temporary protective status in November and I haven't heard from the BCIS ever since. Can I go ahead and apply for advance parole or do I have to wait until I get approved?"

Andrew M. Wilson: "Sandy: You should be receiving something from the U.S. Consulate regarding processing your husband for his visa."

SandyScott: "Thank you for that."

SandyScott: "Andrew you said it takes about 4 months for the K3? How accurate is that? They are only working on the I129f forms they received back in September."

Dan_Cutrer: "I filed an I-130 and I485 for a friend two weeks ago, still no formal acknowledgement from BCIS. How long does that take?"

Andrew M. Wilson: "Sandy: Usually it takes about 4-5 months. That seems to be the time frame we are seeing right now. That of course can go up and down depending on their resources. But 4-5 months is what we are seeing right now."

MBjers: "Hi, Mr. Wilson."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Sweetness: You are eligible to apply for your I-131, but cannot travel until you receive the approval. Also, if you have accrued unlawful presence, even though you are eligible to apply for your I-131, it may not be a good idea to travel. If you have accrued unlawful presence, and you travel on your I-131, you could be barred from coming back. Something to consider whenever you travel, even on an approved I-131."

MBjers: "My husband is currently filing an I-601 waiver due to committing a crime of moral turpitude."

SandyScott: "Does that come out of Montreal or Vancouver?"

Andrew M. Wilson: "Dan: It can take anywhere from 2-4, even 6 weeks to receive notification from immigration regarding and adjustment application. If it has only been two weeks, that is not unusual."

MBjers: "He is a Swedish citizen and I am a U.S. citizen and we are living in Sweden."

monicapmsf: "Hello Sir. Is it standard practice for INS officers to call the people they interviewed? I was interviewed for my naturalization and was approved. A week later, the INS officer who interviewed me calls me at work to say she made a mistake and is denying my application. She also said that I should not bother appealing to save money because she's sure that anyone who looks at my application will say the same thing. Are they allowed to do this?"

Andrew M. Wilson: "Sandy: Best place to do it is Montreal. Vancouver does it as well, but Montreal is better. What did you put on the I-129F?"

MBjers: "We were told we would have to show extreme hardship. Would him being laid off of his job as of the end of April be considered extreme hardship?"

SandyScott: "Vancouver can we change it to Montreal. will it speed it up?"

vsweetness21: "You mean if I overstayed my status, which I did. I wasn't traveling now any way. I was just wondering if I can go ahead and apply for it now.

Xero: "I'd like to ask a question."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Moni: If immigration is looking to deny your naturalization, you should consult with an immigration attorney to determine whether procedurally and substantively they are processing your case properly. I can't comment on their procedures or the facts, (I don't know them), but you should speak with an immigration attorney about your matter."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Sandy: It won't speed it up, I have just heard Montreal was a smoother process. Vancouver should work out fine though."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Hello MBJers. I see you're asking about extreme hardship. Your spouse being laid off in and of itself is not enough unless you can tie it to something more."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Xer: Please go ahead."

Xero: "My girlfriend lost her original copy of her I 95 form."

MBjers: "Well we have kids and we have NO money in the bank. Matter of fact, we have about 20 dollars left to last us till next payday."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Sweetness: You can apply for it. But before you travel, make sure you do not have an unlawful presence issue that could harm you if you did travel."

Xero: "How would she go about getting another copy?"

Xero: "Should she contact the Korean embassy?"

Andrew M. Wilson: "Xero: Do you mean the I-94? What is her status?"

MBjers: "I was told by the embassy if we get his waiver filed by mid-May then he would not have to do the final interview over or his doctor exam. She was really pressuring me to get it finished. We just didn't have the money and now with him being laid off … well … My mother has sent us the money."

Xero: "She's a student."

SandyScott: "If we have to fill out a financial report, we have no U.S. income. How does that work? I do have money here; does that count?"

MBjers: "What more do I need to tie in with it? We are trying to go financial and medical as well. Plus, our building isn't that safe for children."

vsweetness21: "Unlawful presence meaning overstaying my visa?"

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Mbjers: If true, one way to better convey the extreme hardship in your circumstance is to explain how your spouse's loss of job may lead to the family not being together assuming that you have to return to the U.S. to support yourself and children. In other words, you'll be split up if your husband can't return to the U.S. with you and the family needs him to be around as father/husband."

MBjers: "I just don't understand what they want as in terms of hardship because to me my life is pretty darn hard!"

Andrew M. Wilson: "Sweetness: Unlawful presence meaning many things
possibly, the most common being overstaying your I-94."

MBjers: "We were definitely thinking of doing that because it will probably happen."

vsweetness21: "Oh, well I did that by 12 years."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Mbjers: The best way to present your case is to be as thorough and honest/sincere as you can."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Xero: She should check with her foreign student office about the I-94. Does she have a photocopy? Where is she located now?"

Xero: "sweetness: The only solution is to find an American citizen boyfriend."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Sweetness: Then you may not want to travel because if you do have an unlawful presence issue and you travel, you could trigger a bar from coming back to the U.S."

Xero: "She's right here in Vegas, Mr. Wilson. and she's talking to her advisor right now."

vsweetness21: "Oh, okay, thanks."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Xero: What is your girlfriend's citizenship?"

MBjers: "We are going to. I just don't know what documents to show to prove to them that what I say is true. I know they want bank statements etc. I do have the letter my husband's boss wrote to my husband but it is in Swedish. I guess I would need to get that translated along with his court records."

Xero: "She does have the photocopy. She forgot the original copy in the xerox machine last Saturday."

Xero: "Mr. Velasquez, she's on student visa I think."

MBjers: "My mother's doctor is writing a letter about her declining health and the fact she is taking prozac."

SandyScott: "Can you please tell me what is a police certificate? I have a letter from the police here saying I have no criminal record but its dated Sept 20002, is it still good?"

MBjers: "Because I am her only child, I should clarify.."

Xero: "Mr. Velasquez her citizenship is Korean."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Mbjers: Bring it all out in your request for the waiver because it seems like you can make a case for extreme hardship given the totality of your circumstances."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Xero: If she has her I-20 and visa and other necessary paperwork, she should be able to get a new I-94 without issue. Maybe the first place to inquire would be the local immigration office there in Vegas to see if they can do a replacement I-94."

Xero: "Thank you sir. I-20. Check. I'll tell her that."

Xero: "I was just scared she might get kicked out."

MBjers: "Well I wrote you an email about that. I'd actually like to consult with you about that. The problem is I wont get the money for that until sometime next week. How long does it usually take to write a letter? Should I write it or should an attorney?"

Andrew M. Wilson: "Sandy: I believe you need an RCMP report."

Xero: "Thank your for your help. Good luck with the other people here."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Xero: No. She just need sot check with immigration if she can get her replacement I-94 there, or somewhere else."

Xero: "Thank you. I'll tell her that. As long as its not that serious."

MBjers: "There is also the fact there might be a slight possibility they say he committed fraud when he visited me. I need to know how to go about that as well since that was not his intention."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Mbjers: Yes, I recall the exchange of emails. Writing the letter will take as long as it takes for you to completely tell your story to make your case. You don't want to leave out details that will help your hardship, but you don't want to weigh it down with extraneous information either."

MBjers: "Is it better done with legal jargon or should I write it myself? I have tried but I just don't know how to do it right."

SandyScott: "Oh this letter says that it comes from the National Repository for Criminal Records of Canada is that the same."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Mbjers: In general, the waiver asks the question in your case, "What kind of hardship will you and your USC children experience if your husband (their father) is not allowed into the US? Why should the government let him into the US and excuse what he did?"

MBjers: "Yes, that's my problem - being articulate enough to prove my case."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Mbjers: My own personal point of view is to keep such statements as simple and plain as possible. Legalese gets tedious and does not often impress the adjudicating officers in a discretionary application, especially if the issue is not legally complicated."

MBjers: "I cant just say he's changed. I know they will want proof but I don't know how to show it."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Sandy: It should have an RCMP print on it somewhere. You just need an RCMP report based on a name check it takes 1-2 days to get. Did that report come from RCMP?"

SandyScott: "No, the city police."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Mbjers: Lack of any further criminal arrests/convictions is one way of showing that the criminal violation is an isolated incident. A candid statement from your husband explaining his embarrassment and remorse will also help."

SandyScott: "Oh, by the way, this "Scott" not "Sandy."

MBjers: "So he should write a letter as well?"

SandyScott: "It does have the city police seal on it."

Dan_Cutrer: "Green card holder asked if I could bring his parents over on an "L" Visa. Says they are frequent visitors. Last law I read was that only US Citizens could Petition for parents."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Scott: It needs to be an RCMP report based on a name check. You should be able to get that same day, or 1-2 days processing. You need to go to your local RCMP office."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Dan: An L-visa is for intra-company transfers and is a work visa. For example, a Canadian working for GM in Canada could obtain an L-1 to be transferred to work for GM in the U.S. Is one of the parents an employee of a company you are with?"

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Mbjers: Yes, he should. In it, (if true) he should not only accept responsibility for whatever he did as wrong, describe how he's learned his lesson and led an otherwise crime-free life, and focus on why he won't do something like that again in the future. His statement should go on to describe how important his family is to him."

SandyScott: "If we have to fill out a financial report we have no us income. How dose that work? I do have money here, does that count?"

Dan_Cutrer: "No, I just incorporated business for son. His request didn't make any sense, but I wanted to confirm. My 'pro bono' for the year, I hope! "

MBjers: "The letter should be notarized, correct?"

Andrew M. Wilson: "Dan: It does not make much sense to me either, unless he wants to bring his father or mother over on his own company, but the corporate relationship and employment relationship would have to exist. Everything would need to go through that company, but has a parent been employed for a year at a foreign office? Things like that would need to be addressed."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Mbjers: If possible to have it notarized, then yes. Not required, but strongly recommended."

MBjers: "As far as financial proof, how much is considered enough? Bank statements, phone bills, etc?"

Andrew M. Wilson: "Scott: You need to have the I-134 presented at the Consulate. You need to show enough income to meet the poverty guidelines. This can be between the two of you to show the necessary income."

MBjers: "Also my mother has to re-do the I-864 from his final interview. I know since the poverty guidelines have changed, will she have to include this year's tax information?"

SandyScott: "Thanks, will do."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Mbjers: Yes, your mother should include this years tax filings."

SandyScott: "Thank you for your time."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Hello, ac1607. Welcome to our chat! What's your immigration question?"

MBjers: "What about education matters? How do I word it I'd like to go back to school? Will they want some kind of proof of that? Like why I cant go to school here? I really can't understand the language much for that!"

ac1607: "Hello. I applied for citizenship and it was denied because of an issue of a continue without a finding back in 1987. I got a lawyer and had the CWOF vacated and dismissed in 2001."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Mbjers: Education is really not a hardship issue unless you are prevented from going to school where you are and need to go to school."

MBjers: "Well I cant anyway until the baby gets a year old. They don't have daycare for infants."

Andrew M. Wilson: "ac: When were you denied?"

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "ac1607: So what would you like to know at this point."

ac1607: "I reapplied through the lawyer in 2002 but have not heard from the INS yet. I am concerned because the lawyer has not sent me a copy of the application or anything."

ac1607: "In 2000."

Andrew M. Wilson: "ac: What was the basis of the denial? Was there a problem of a finding of "good moral character"?"

ac1607: "Yes."

MBjers: "What about student loan matters? I have some loans in deferment. Should I print out a statement?"

Andrew M. Wilson: "ac: How did your lawyer approach that issue in your present submission?"

ac1607: "I was not informed at the time of the CWOF that it could affect my chance of becoming a citizen."

MBjers: "I also need to know if the lady at the embassy was correct in that she said he would not have to another final interview since it has not been a year since the last one. His interview was June 27, 2002."

ac1607: "The CWOF was vacated and charge dismissed at the request of the victim."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Mbjers: How will student loan matters lead to hardship to you or your children if your husband is not allowed to come to the US to be with you? That's how you need to explain it for waiver purposes."

MBjers: "Well I guess it wouldn't be if I moved there without him but I don't want to have to resort to that."

Andrew M. Wilson: "ac: I would think the burden is on you to fully describe the background of the charges, fully describe what happened, that that it was vacated and the charges dropped. Everything needs to be put in the proper perspective or "best light" or else it is easy for immigration to deny base don not meeting the good moral character standard."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Mbjers: For example, if your personal circumstances force you to return to the US, and you will then be forced to start paying off student loans, and the lack of your husband's support may prevent you from doing that, then it's another log to throw onto the fire so to speak to add to your concerns/hardship."

MBjers: "See, I didn't think of that. This is what I am afraid of leaving an angle out."

Andrew M. Wilson: "Good afternoon everyone and good luck ac. We will be back next week."

ac1607: "This lawyer told me that I need to reapply and asked if I wanted him to apply for me. I said yes and paid him to do this that was 1 year ago this May. My concern is that I am unsure if he really filed a new application because I have not received anything. The lawyer keeps saying that they are backed up. Should I be starting over in the process?"

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "ac: Ask your new lawyer for a copy of the filing receipt notice. You are entitled to a copy of that at least to show he did file on your behalf. Most lawyers are happy to provide their clients with copies of the actual filing, so hopefully you should get a complete copy of the application from him/her."

ac1607: "Thank you for your time and information."

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "You're welcome and good luck!"

Rolando Rex Velasquez: "Feel free to check back with us in a few weeks!"

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