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Immigration and Nationality Act Questions

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is a body of immigration law that sets down rules and conditions that must be met by applicants to obtain certain visas to travel to the United States. This act also lays down provisions for certain ineligible applicants to apply for waivers of their ineligible status. Listed below are a few common questions answered by immigration lawyers on issues related to the Immigration and Nationality Act.

I am currently on an F-1 visa and want to apply to become a permanent resident through my spouse who is a U.S. citizen. In 2007, I was on a J1 visa for two months and all the expenses were personally funded. I now want to apply for a J1 visa based on a non objection statement. What should I say, in the J1 waiver application, to make me eligible to obtain a waiver for the two-year home residency requirement of section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act?

No lengthy statement would be necessary if your government has agreed to give you the No Objection Letter. Your statement can say you were on a J1 visa Program category ******* from ____ date to _____date. State you were also fully responsible for the costs and expenses related to this program. Since your government has now declared they have no objection to waiving your two-year home residency requirement and also because you are married to a U.S. citizen, it would be a hardship on both of you to separate if the U.S. does not approve your waiver request.

In 1980, my wife was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon (a firearm) and was allowed by the judge to plead no-contest to a misdemeanor which was "brandishing a weapon." The INA says a firearm offense is deportable irrespective of when it happened. We are fearful of applying for citizenship. Also, would her Green Card which was issued in 1980 without an expiration date still be valid?

Her best option would be to apply for citizenship. One of the requirements for this is to show that she is a person of good moral character for the five years preceding the application. The officials can take a person’s criminal history into account, but generally if they feel that she has been rehabilitated and is not a threat, and that she has been a person of good moral character for the preceding five years, they will most likely approve her application.

Her old Green Card would be valid but the U.S. Immigration has begun to ask those with cards that do not expire to get new ones. Alternatively they are asked to apply for naturalization, if they are eligible. Regarding her Green Card renewal, if her criminal record is pulled and they see a deportable offense, she can be put into removal proceedings, even if the conviction dates from thirty years ago. It is not likely but is may be more likely than if she applies for naturalization right away.

My boyfriend has Cuban parolee status and should get his Green Card within three months. I am an American citizen. How soon can he apply to become a citizen after we are married?

Once he has become a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card holder) for at least five years, he can apply for his citizenship. However, if he gets married to you, then he only has to wait three years before applying.

Under the INA section 319(a), he would need to file the N-400 petition – the Application for Naturalization – to apply for citizenship.

Before the INA was enacted in 1952 (modified in 1965, and restructured beginning in 2003), a variety of statutes governed immigration law but were not centrally organized. The act governs laws concerning immigration to the U.S. as well as U.S. citizenship. It forms part of the United States Code (U.S.C.), which is a collection of all the laws of the United States. Understanding requirements, provisions, and citations set forth by the INA can be difficult, so it may be best to seek a legal opinion.
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