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  • Recent Posts

    Overstaying Your Visa in Chicago

    Chicago H1B Visa: 101

    Chicago Immigration Attorney: How We Can Help

    Chicago Fiancé Visa: What You Need to Know

    Adjusting Your Status After Divorce: You Can Still Become a Citizen With An Immigration Lawyer’s Help

    Adjustment of Status: You Deserve the Opportunity to Get Your Green Card

    Deportation Defense: You Have Options When Threatened With Deportation

    What You Can Expect In Your VAWA Interview

    Getting Your Green Card in Chicago with the Help of a Green Card Attorney

    The Facts on Asylum: Finding the Right Asylum Lawyer for You



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    Chicago Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

    Overstaying Your Visa in Chicago

    By admin, LLC on January 22, 2015

    The immigration climate in the United States is in a constant state of flux, and as a result it is incumbent upon anybody who is in the country on a visa to take steps to avoid overstaying the established expiration. Where at one time an overstay would simply be overlooked, today it can quickly attract attention and result in harsh penalties.

    There are four main consequences of overstaying your visa can be numerous.

    1. You may be forbidden from returning to the United States for a period of three or up to ten years, depending upon how long past the expiration of your visa you stayed.
    2. You may be forbidden from applying to extend your stay or for a change of status.
    3. Overstaying officially voids your existing visa.
    4. You will be unable to obtain a new visa except from your country of nationality.

    If your have overstayed your authorized stay by more than 180 days but less than a year and leave before removal proceedings begin, you will be barred from re-entering the United States for three years. If your overstay has been a year or more past your visa’s expiration date, you will be prevented from re-enter the United States for ten years. In all cases, if your visa has expired than it is automatically voided, and you will not be readmitted unless you have a new nonimmigrant visa. This visa will have to be obtained by returning to your country of nationality. Allowing your visa to expire precludes you from the convenience of using a consulate that is closer or more convenient.

    There are certain things that you can do to prevent this from happening. If you file for an Extension of Stay or Change of Status prior to your expiration, then even if you have passed the expiration date you will be considered as maintaining status until the decision is made. However, if you have not applied and you pass your authorized period of stay, you will no longer be admitted to apply. For this reason it is essential that you pay close attention to your visa’s expiration date and either fill out appropriate paperwork or leave on or before its expiration. Maintain all documents of your departure in order to prove that you are in compliance.

    There are certain circumstances in which waivers are provided for the three or ten-year ban on returning to the United States. These are specifically offered to foreign nationals who can show that their spouse or parents will suffer extreme hardship if they are not permitted to return to the United States. This only applies for those who are the spouse, son or daughter of a citizen – it does not apply to those who have children who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

    If you have overstayed your visa, it is essential that you put yourself in the hands of an experienced immigration attorney who can advise you as to your best legal options. The Chicago immigration attorneys at Din Law are available to help. Call us today.

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    Chicago H1B Visa: 101

    By admin, LLC on

    An H1B Visa is a special type of non-immigrant visa that enables companies in the United States to hire workers from other countries for highly technical positions. The idea behind the H1B visa is that certain occupations need employees who have specialized training and education, and that a company wants to hire a specific worker who has this background. Occupations that are commonly referenced in H1B applications include the areas of science, medicine, mathematics and engineering.

    It is important to remember that an H-1B visa is not an application for citizenship. It is designed to accommodate a long-term assignment, and those in the country on an H1B Visa are limited to a six-year stay. Individuals who are the subject of an H1B Vis are not permitted to apply for an H1B visa for themselves – the application must be submitted on behalf of the worker by an American company.

    Limits on H1B Visas

    Despite the fact that H1B Visas are requested by American companies, the federal government does impose strict rules and limits on the way that these applications can be submitted and on how many H1B Visas will be granted during the course of each year. There is a limit of 85,000 new visas made available each year, and those are broken down into two different categories: 65,000 visas are provided for overseas workers in professional or specialty occupations and 20,000 are reserved for those with an advanced degree from an American academic institution.  Once each of these categories is filled and the visas have been exhausted, no more applications will be taken until the following year. Companies are allowed to apply for an H1B visa on behalf of a foreign worker as early as April of the year preceding the visa year, but if the visa is granted the employee cannot begin working before October, three months before the official visa year begins.

    Eligibility for H1B Visa

    Not every position is eligible for an H1B visa. The government requires that the job itself must have a minimum entry requirement of a Bachelor’s degree or higher and that the degree requirement is common to the industry or job. It is also essential that the employer normally requires this level of education and that the duties of the job are complex enough that the requirement is justified.

    In addition to the requirements of the job itself, the person for whom the H1B visa is petitioned must meet certain requirements. They must have earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher in the United States, or a foreign degree that is equivalent to that degree. They must also hold some kind of state license, registration or certification for the specific occupation.  They must be able to prove that their education, training or experience meets the requirements of the specialty area for which they are being hired.

    If the H1B visa is granted, it is usually for a period of three years, but it may be extended by another three years. Once it is obtained, the visa holder can apply for a green card. The visa holder is also able to bring their spouse and children into the United States under the H4 visa category as dependents.

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    Chicago Immigration Attorney: How We Can Help

    By admin, LLC on

    Immigration is a complex and confusing area of the law, and it is something that you have to get absolutely right. Whether you are simply seeking citizenship or are facing deportation, looking for a job or in need of help bringing your fiancé to the United States so that you can be wed, you want to make sure that every requirement is fulfilled, every form is properly completed, and every risk avoided. The experienced Chicago immigration attorneys at Din law have the knowledge that you need and the compassion that you want to make the experience as simple and straightforward as possible.

    We Handle All Types of Immigration Issues

    An experienced Chicago immigration attorney can help you with a wide range of important immigration issues, including:

    • Citizenship applications
    • Removal
    • Deportation
    • Appeals
    • Family Visas
    • Asylum
    • Business Visas
    • Employment/work visas
    • Non-immigrant visas
    • Labor certification
    • Abuse petitions
    • Fiance Visas

    Whether you are looking for help making your employment or family dreams come true or need protection from deportation, we understand that this is a highly emotional time, filled with hopes, fears and stress. We take the time to explain everything to you, answering your questions and explaining the process so that you feel that you have more control of your situation. We make sure to address every detail so that your issues are addressed as quickly as possible and you can have confidence that you have an advocate working on your side.

    Helping You Become a U.S. Citizen

    The steps to becoming a United States citizen can be complicated and confusing, and it is important that you work with an attorney who fully understands the process so that you comply with all of the steps and requirements. Working with our Chicago immigration attorneys greatly increases your odds of having your application approved, because immigration is our specialty and we know the process inside and out. We will help you from the very first step of completing the application form and getting it sent in, making sure that all of your information is provided, accurate and correctly filled out. From copying and mailing to answering your questions, we provide you with all of the support that you need, and when the time comes we will help you prepare for the citizenship test by providing you with sample questions and answers to study. We’ll represent you before immigration officials in Immigration court, handle all waiver requests and appeals, and keep you informed of what is going on at every point so that all of your questions are answered.

    Contact Din Law for Help With Your Immigration Issue

    The Chicago immigration attorneys at Din law understand what you are going through and we are here to help. We have a deep and thorough understanding of immigration law and will use it to your best advantage. Contact us today for more information on what we can do for you.

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    Chicago Fiancé Visa: What You Need to Know

    By admin, LLC on

    In the United States, when an unmarried U.S. citizen wants to marry somebody from another country, there are a series of steps that need to be taken and requirements that need to be met. The process is not difficult but it can be confusing, and couples eager to be married are understandably nervous about doing it correctly, and as quickly as possible.  The Chicago fiancé visa attorneys at Din Law are able to help you with preparing your petition. We will answer all of your questions, make sure that you understand exactly what needs to be done, and help you gather all of the supporting documentation you need to achieve your goals.

    Many people are under the impression that a fiancé visa is only for people who plan to stay in the United States after they are married. That is not necessarily the case. A fiancé visa is not related to an application for a green card – it simply allows you into the country for the marriage to take place. It is important to understand that if you know that you won’t be staying in the U.S. after you are wed, it may be easier to simply apply for a tourist visa. However, you should only choose this route if you know that you aren’t staying — otherwise you risk being accused of misuse of the tourist visa, and subsequent rejection of a green card application.

    The requirements for getting a fiancé visa are fairly simple. You need to have the intention of marrying a U.S. citizen and you must be legally able to marry. Beyond that, there is a requirement that you must have met your intended spouse in person within the last two years. This requirement can be waived if you can demonstrate that there is a cultural norm or hardship preventing this from having happened.

    Despite the simplicity of the requirements, there must be proof provided to the government of each of them. For example, you need to establish that actual wedding plans are in place. The wedding must occur within 90 days of your entering the country, so those plans will need to be flexible, but you will need to be able to show that you have a place or type of ceremony in mind and discussed. You will need to show that your intended spouse is a U.S. citizen rather than a permanent resident – this means that they must either have been born in the U.S. or have become a citizen through application and testing or through a family member. Finally, the requirement of proof that you are legally able to marry is largely directed at those couples where one person is under the age of consent, has been previously married, or are related by blood.

    There are a number of forms that are needed in order to get the fiancé visa. Payment of a processing fee needs to be paid, a cover letter needs to be written, and specific documentary proof of having met your intended in the past two years is needed. The Chicago fiancé visa attorneys at Din Law have made this into an easy process for many couples, and can do the same for you. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

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    Adjusting Your Status After Divorce: You Can Still Become a Citizen With An Immigration Lawyer’s Help

    By admin, LLC on December 22, 2014

    It is not at all uncommon for married people to find themselves in the midst of a divorce at the same time that they have an application in process for adjustment of status. It is only natural to be worried that an application that was based upon your marriage would be automatically be terminated upon the dissolution of that status, but a recent decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that if you are an alien spouse who entered the county on a K-1 non-immigrant visa and you were married within 90 days of approval and filed to adjust status to conditional residence, this does not make you ineligible, despite the fact that the divorce occurs before the adjustment of status was determined. It is also important for people who are concerned to understand that if you were married for more than two years, then your status is not conditional on your marriage.

    Previous decisions by both the Immigration Service and the Immigration Court held that permanent residence was only available as a condition of marriage to the person who had originally petitioned on the spouse’s behalf.  The goal of this denial was to ensure that a marriage was not fraudulent. But the Court of Appeals decision means that as long as the marriage occurred in good faith, the law was not intended to prevent people from obtaining permanent residence. As long as the marriage is legitimate, took place within the prescribe amount of time and the appropriate paperwork has been filled out within 90 days of the marriage, the alien spouse is deemed to be in compliance. The same was held true when a spouse dies in the interval between application and a decision being made. Both of these decisions are based upon the assumption of good faith on the part of the alien spouse.

    The key to understanding this decision is to know that a K-1 visa holder who is divorced from the person who petitioned for their status is not required to sill be married to the petitioner – they simply must demonstrate that the marriage was originally entered into in good faith, and that there are no other circumstances that make them inadmissible as a lawful permanent resident.

    The importance of this ruling cannot be understated, particularly in light of the amount of time that it can take for adjustment applications to be adjudicated. Before this ruling, alien spouses who found themselves in new marriages that were less compatible than had been anticipated found themselves having to choose between leaving the marriage or their new country. That is no longer the case – at least not in the states that fall under the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit.

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    Adjustment of Status: You Deserve the Opportunity to Get Your Green Card

    By admin, LLC on

    Adjustment of status is a special process that makes it possible for an immigrant who is currently living in the United States (or who wants to live in the United States as soon as possible) and who meets the requirements for a green card to get one without having to go through the process of going to an overseas U.S. consulate.  The Adjustment of Status process is particularly important to those who have already passed 180 days of unlawful presence in the United States, because for those people leaving the country could mean that they would be unable to return for an extended period of time. This period could be as long as ten years, depending upon how long they have been in the country illegally. An adjustment of status is an excellent way of addressing this predicament.

    There are specific categories of people who are eligible to take advantage of the adjustment of status option. These include:

    • Those who are eligible for a green card as a result of their employment, family status, or asylum or refugee status. For those whose eligibility is due to employment or family status, the appropriate visa petition must be on file and the priority date must be current. For those whose eligibility is due to asylum or refugee status, one year must have passed since it was granted.
    • Those who are in the country on a K-1 fiance visa and who married the person who petitioned for that visa on your behalf.

    In addition to falling into one of these categories, in order to get an adjustment of status you must be present in the United States, must not have entered the country in transit without a visa as a foreign national crewman or under the Visa Waiver Program, and you must be in valid visa status when you apply to adjust status.

    There are additional exceptions to the categories listed above. These include those who have ben in the United States for an extended period of time and whose status therefore falls under the auspices of some older laws, specifically Section 245(i) and the LIFE Act.  There are also options for adjustment of status for those who have entered the country illegally but who still qualify under some of the categories listed above, but in order to take advantage of this a penalty of $1,000 must be paid. This option is available if you are the beneficiary of an immigrant visa or labor certification filed on or before April 30, 2001, or if your petition was filed between January 14, 1998 and April 30, 2001 and you were physically in the country on December 21, 2000.

    There are many advantages to being able to file for an adjustment of status. If you are not certain about whether or not you qualify for this process, seek the counsel of a qualified immigration attorney.

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    Deportation Defense: You Have Options When Threatened With Deportation

    By admin, LLC on

    If you are in the United States illegally, you likely live with the fear that somebody will contact U.S. immigration authorities and alert them to your status.  This is a valid concern.

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not take action on every call that they receive. In most cases they make a determination about whether you pose some kind of threat. They will look at your history, your family life and your ties to the community and use their discretion about whether to take action against you. This is called prosecutorial discretion, and it can be used from the time they hear about you through to the time that court proceedings are in motion.

    If ICE does decide to move against you, you will likely be arrested and charged with being deportable. You’ll be given a date to appear in Immigration Court and released on bond, and will receive a Notice to Appear that will specify the charges against you and the date that you need to appear.

    There are a number of very good defenses that can be used if you are threatened with deportation, and our immigration attorney will be able to help you choose the deportation defense that is your best option. Your choices include asylum, withholding of removal, cancellation of removal, and others. You are also able to choose voluntary departure, which has the benefit of avoiding some of the negative impacts of deportation.

    • Deny being removable – When you go to immigration court, the judge will ask whether the charges against you are true and that you are in the country illegally. If you deny being removable then you place the prosecutors in the position of having to present evidence that their case is valid. Do not lie to the judge in the process – this can be used against you. If the Department of Homeland Security has not prepared or brought the documents, you can ask the judge to dismiss the case.  If they have brought the documents, you’ll still have the option of asking the judge for relief from removal.
    • Ask for relief from removal – The judge is supposed to tell you the types of relief that you’re eligible for, though if you have an attorney they will likely have already done that for you. Different options for relief include:
    • Adjustment of status under Immigration and Nationality Act (for those who entered the country legally)
    • Adjustment of status through registry (for those who entered the country prior to 1/1/1972)
    • Asylum (for those who fear persecution in their home country)
    • Withholding of removal (similar to asylum)
    • Protection under the Convention Against Torture
    • Cancellation of removal (for those who can prove they have been in the country for ten years or more)
    • Cancellation under the Violence Against Women Act (for those who have been victims of domestic abuse)
    • NACARA special rule cancellation (for those from specific countries)
    • Voluntary departure (eliminates a record of past order of removal)
    • Deferred action (puts your case on hold)
    • Prosecutorial discretion
    • Private bills

    Each of these methods is highly specialized. Some protect you from abuse or persecution by the government of your home country; some provide allowances due to domestic abuse.  The best way to determine which option is the best for you is to meet with a qualified immigration specialist and review the specifics of your particular situation.

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    What You Can Expect In Your VAWA Interview

    By admin, LLC on

    A VAWA interview is an important part of US Citizenship and Immigration Services that provides access to the system to battered immigrants married to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. The applicants file to be able to petition for themselves. Being allowed to self-petition does not automatically confer green card status – it provides permission to go through to the next step, which is applying for lawful permanent residency, and going through an interview process that officially adjusts the person to LPR status without having to have the abusive spouse present or involved in the process. It is essentially a replacement process for those who are in abusive relationships and whose spouses use their power to block the immigrant’s access to the legal system.

    The adjustment interview that the immigrant needs to go through in order to receive an adjustment of status and become a lawful permanent residency status is not a legal or criminal proceeding. There will be no pursuit of the abuser and no criminal charges will be brought. The questions that will be asked during the process are not meant to determine the validity of the application or to reexamine the self-petition: by the time the applicant has reached the interview stage, the self-petition has already been approved, and the interview is only meant to confirm the information that was submitted on your original application prior to your adjustment of status. That being said, it is unfortunately very common for the interviewing officer to be unfamiliar with the VAWA process and to feel responsible for reassessing the information that you have submitted and that has already been approved. You may find that they ask you questions that are not appropriate for the meeting. This is why it is so important that you have legal representation by an experienced immigration attorney, who will ensure that the interviewing officer is familiar with the proper procedures.

    When all goes well in the AOS interview, the process is very straightforward. The I-360 form will already have been approved, which means that you will already have been determined to be a victim of domestic abuse. The interviewing officer will swear you in and then go through all of the typical questions that are asked at any AOS proceeding: they will ask your immigration history and your criminal history, and in many cases the green card will be issued on the spot. There is a big push to ensure that those officers responsible for conducting VAWA interviews receive special sensitivity training to ensure that they understand the fear and abuse that have been present for the applicants up to the time of the interview. However, because this has not been put into effect in every office, it is important that you have an experienced, compassionate immigration attorney by your side to ensure that all of your needs are met and your rights are protected during the process.

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    Getting Your Green Card in Chicago with the Help of a Green Card Attorney

    By admin, LLC on November 18, 2014

    People moving to the Chicago area who are interested in applying for a green card can get legal advice from a local green card attorney. A green card is necessary for moving to the United States from another country and beginning employment. It proves that the individual is in the country legally and serves as identification.

    The Green Card Application Process

    Green card applications are processed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It has a branch in Chicago for those who have local relatives working on their behalf. The family-based green card is common. It grants permanent resident status to someone who has a spouse, parent, child, or siblings who have become citizens. Others may receive a green card for work after receiving a job offer from an employer.

    Regardless of the type of green card, all applicants must submit a form to the USCIS. Supporting documentation, such as proof of employment or relationship must be included. It may also be necessary to submit medical records or a background check.

    If the application is approved, a legal permanent resident card will be assigned. If it is not, there are options to appeal the decision. At this stage, it is important to work with a green card attorney.

    Alternative Entry Options

    Some individuals need entry into the United States for reasons other than family or a job. They may be seeking asylum from personal danger in another country or may be refugees. Those applicants follow a slightly different process, which can take longer and require additional interviews. Working with a Chicago green card attorney can speed the process along and ensure that the appropriate information is provided to the determining judge.

    Hiring a Chicago Green Card Attorney

    It is important to hire an attorney who has experience with your circumstances and understands the stress and uncertainty this process can cause. You need someone whom can be trusted with intimately personal information. When choosing a green card attorney, there are several tips that can help you find the right one for you.

    • Look for an attorney who is fluent in your native language. Even if you are comfortable speaking English, it may be beneficial to be able to relay certain details without a translation.
    • Choose an attorney with experience in green card applications and appeals. A general immigration lawyer can help, but someone who specializes in this type of document will have advantages.
    • Find an attorney who is available and can dedicate enough time to your cause.
    • Ask about the fees and payment structure. Good legal advice comes with costs, but it is important to find an attorney who can work with you to create a payment plan if necessary.

    This legal process can take some time, but patience often pays off. Once you have obtained a green card, you can begin your life in the United States and work towards citizenship in the future. A Chicago green card attorney can be helpful for additional immigration concerns, should they arise later.

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    The Facts on Asylum: Finding the Right Asylum Lawyer for You

    By admin, LLC on

    According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” The dangers of persecution and fleeing your home country cannot be understated. The United States has always been a safe place to find relief from ethnic, political, social, and religious persecution. Asylum provides legal permanent resident status and those seeking help can depend on an asylum lawyer. Here are six qualities to help choose the right representation for your case.

    1. Global Knowledge

    When looking a law firms, choose someone who you believe truly understands your plight. A lawyer should be well-versed in international laws and specifically, those in the country from which you are fleeing. Some may have traveled to the area or may have done specific studies of the culture, religion, and government. It is especially helpful if the lawyer is fluent in your native language.

    2.Relevant Experience

    Nothing trumps experience when it comes to legal issues. Although any practicing asylum lawyer will be qualified, look for someone with relevant experience.  Find a firm that has worked with individuals from your country or in similar circumstances.

    1. Successful Track Record

    A lawyer should have experience, but this is not valuable if the majority of cases are lost. Ask what percentage of asylum cases he or she has won. Rates vary widely and depend heavily on the determining judge. However, a lawyer who has won most of his or her cases provides a good chance of winning.

    4. Agreeable Strategy

    There are several ways to create a defense strategy, but all revolve around proving the need for asylum. Be honest, straightforward, and detailed in your explanation. Meet with a lawyer and discuss your circumstances to determine the best method. It may be beneficial to meet with more than one person to determine who has the strategy that you feel is strongest.

    5.Affordable Payment Options

    Although a few lawyers do pro bono work, it is likely that there will be fees associated with asylum representation. Rather than choosing the cheapest option, find someone who has a payment structure that you can follow. Paying a higher fee over a longer period of time may be preferable to a slightly lower upfront expense. Ask for a detailed list of costs associated with representation to avoid any surprises.

    1. Available Time

    For the person seeking asylum, his or her case is most important. Most lawyers are working on multiple cases at once. Find out how much time the lawyer has to spend on your case and working with you. A busy firm may be a sign of a quality one, but this is not beneficial if the lawyer does not have enough time to devote to your specific case.

    Gaining asylum can be a difficult experience, but there is hope. With the right asylum lawyer, a person can obtain the necessary documentation. Most provide a free consultation to evaluate a case.

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