Frequently Asked Questions

It's normal to have plenty of questions for a legal professional, especially considering that most of our clients will be dealing with individualized legal issues for the first time.  Below are the most common questions asked, but feel free to call us if you need clarification on anything.  

I entered the country without papers/a visa, can I still obtain a Greencard? ​

 The short answer is YES.  You may be able to qualify for 245(i) if you filed an immigration petition on or before April 30, 2001; or a law called "Parole in Place," if you have a family member who has served in the US military; or you may be eligible for a waiver.  Contact Us, we will gladly walk you through your options! 

Why do I need the help of a lawyer when I can do it myself?

 In our many years of experience we have come to learn that even the most simple case can quickly turn into a nightmare. Whether the nightmare is because of incompetent/rude government workers, or because of certain hidden or complicated facts is irrelevant.  The purpose of having an immigration attorney is that the (a) attorney will know the correct people/agency to contact to receive the answers you need; (b) having an attorney gives you more "power" in the eyes of Immigration; and most importantly (c) when you have a GOOD attorney, that attorney will do the stressing for you, leaving you worry free. 

You should remember that although having an attorney may not speed up the case process, the ease in which the case is approved is worth the price.  

How long will it take to get my greencard or citizenship?

Processing times will vary, depending on how backed up immigration is, the category you are filing under, and the Immigration Service Center that is adjudicating your file.  The best thing to do is to click on this link:  Immigration Processing Times, this will give you a general idea of how long your application will take.

I have a criminal record, can I still get a greencard/papers ?

It depends.  There are many factors to be taken into consideration, including but not limited to:

  1. How long ago was the conviction?
  2. Was it a misdemeanor or felony?
  3. Did you serve jail time? if yes, how long?
  4. How many convictions total do you have / how many arrests do you have; and 
  5. Is your crime considered a crime of moral turpitude under the Immigration & Nationality Act? 

When you have the answer to the first five questions, call us - we'll be happy to determine whether or not you are eligible for benefits. Remember there are options. You can always try "post-conviction relief," which means that we would open up your previous criminal record and try to amend the charges so that you can receive immigration benefits. 

I came to the United States as a visitor, can I stay here?

 There are many ways that you can stay in the United States after arriving as a visitor.  Among them are the following:

  1. Apply to extend your visitor's visa.
  2. Apply for an employment based visa.
  3. Apply for certain family based immigration petitions.  

The one thing to keep in mind is that you cannot change your status from a visitor to another category without first waiting ninety (90) days from your date of entry.  The process of changing your status is complicated and riddled with pitfalls and is best handled by a qualified immigration attorney who can help walk you through the process.  

What is the difference between a Greencard & Citizenship?

  1. Your right to vote.  In order to vote in the United States you must be at least eighteen years of age and a citizen.  If the government finds that you have voted without holding the proper immigration paperwork, it is a deportable offense. 
  2. It is near impossible to deport a citizen of the United States, however, holding a Greencard does not protect you from being deported or removed in the event that you have committed a crime of moral turpitude.  Citizens also receive greater public benefits than permanent residents. 

If you need assistance in filing your citizenship paperwork or preparing for the civics test at the interview, call us, we will be happy to help. 

I would like to invest in the United States, does that help me get permanent residence?

i.e. Can my kids go to school and can I work in the USA? 

 There are multiple programs for investors, each with different benefits: 

  1. L1/L2 - A program in which if one owns or is a high executive of a business abroad, one can obtain a working visa to the United States, in which they can bring their spouse and all children under the age of 21, so that they may work to establish the parent company's branch office in the United States. 
    1. Requires minimal investment
    2. Must be working for the parent company for a minimum of 1 year immediately preceeding the filing of an immigration application
    3. NO max on number of years issued, but will require the beneficiary to apply for renewals every few years
    4. L1/L2 can lead to a Greencard/Permanent Residency
  2. E1/E2 - Treaty Traders or Treaty Investors. This is for investors who intend to generate 50% of their revenue trading goods and services to the investor's home country; OR for investors that will invest somehow in the United States by either purchasing an existing business or creating a new business venture.
    1. Requires minimal investment
    2. Does NOT lead to a greencard/permanent residence
    3. Beneficiary may bring spouse and children under the age of 21
    4. Must be a citizen of a "treaty country" (click here to see if your country qualifies)
  3. EB-5 - Million Dollar or Half Million Investment
    1. Invest $1 Million in a new enterprise; OR
    2. Invest $ 500,000 in an "underdeveloped area"; OR
    3. Investment $ 550,000 in a government bond, which will be returned in full in six years.
    4. Leads to a direct greencard for beneficiary, spouse and all children under the age of 21
    5. Government only requires that at the end of two years, if using option 1 or 2, that the investor hire 10 fulltime employees.

Investment visas can be tricky, call us, we'll be happy to discuss the ins and outs with you! 

I, or my family member, don't speak English well. How can we pass the required exam for citizenship?

Not to worry, our office staff is trained at preparing people of all races and ages on how pass the civics test.  For a small fee we offer one on one tutoring, teaching the applicant how to answer interview questions, how to read and write the commonly asked questions, and the required amount of American history.  Attorney Sungina J. Vachhani will then accompany the Applicant to the interview, making sure that all goes smoothly.   Our office staff speaks Hindi, Gujurati, Urdu and Sindhi.  We also have the availability to reach Spanish translators in the event that such is needed.