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Legal Immigration Process

Immigration to the U.S. can be a rather complex process, at times involving a lot of paperwork, documentation, questioning by the consular office, and to get through it all, patience. A whole range of issues are factored in while granting an immigrant status to a foreigner. Be it a temporary visa for medical or tourism purposes or an F-1 student visa for studying in the U.S., the applicant may have to experience a myriad of legal process before he or she can legally immigrate into the U.S. However, not all cases are the same and some cases are cleared in a speedy manner. Listed below are a few commonly asked questions about legal immigration process, answered by immigration lawyers.

My wife’s son is in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa. At the same time we are going through the CR-1 and CR-2 immigration process for my wife and her son. Since my son has to travel back to China for a joint interview with his mother for his visa, my questions are whether the CR-2 applicant (my son) can enter the U.S. ahead of the CR-1 principle applicant and if yes, how it will impact his being issued the conditional Green Card.

The CR-2 applicant should be able to enter before the CR-1 applicant if the visa is stamped in their passport, but it’s important to remember that the visa must be used within six months of the issue date. As for the second part of your question, the conditional Green Card is automatically issued and it usually takes 2 to 4 weeks. However, it could take some a little longer since it has to be delivered by mail.

My husband’s I-130petition is pending for clearance. Since it might take some time can I file a K-3 visa for him to come to the U.S. as a nonimmigrant?

Yes, you could file the K-3 for that purpose. After filing the I-130 you have to file 1-129F. If his I-130 petition is not approved before you file for the K-3, they should issue the K-3 visa which would allow him to come to the U.S. Once he comes here he would have to wait for the approval of the 1-130 petition. However, currently the approval period for both the I-130 and I-129F is approximately the same.

My spouse was convicted of felony on a drug charge in the U.S. He is no longer on probation. Will his petition in any way adversely affect my immigration prospect?

As per immigration law, a U.S. citizen cannot be forbidden from petitioning their spouse on the ground of conviction for drug felony.

My son is a U.S. citizen. Does he have to file an immigration petition from the state of his residence or should it be from the state of the girl for whom the Green Card is sought? Is the time taken for processing the petition same in Georgia and Florida?

The petition has to be filed from the state of the petitioner, which in this case is your son’s state. As for your second question, the difference of time it will take to processing the petition depends upon U.S. district offices rather than an individual state. However, where there is a heavier immigrant population it will often take longer to process the petition due to a higher volume. Hence whether it is Georgia or Florida, it all depends upon the district office and the volume of immigrant population. What an applicant can do to keep the application process as short as possible is to try and avoid getting a request for evidence (RFE)

I am planning to file a fiancée visa (K-1 visa) for my Thai fiancée living in Thailand so we can get married soon. After marriage, when we initiate the Green Card process, will she be required to go back to Thailand?

If she enters with a K-1 visa, it will be mandatory for you to marry within 90 days. Once married she is not required to leave the U.S. while the Green Card process is ongoing. To initiate the Green Card process she should file the I-130 and I-485 petition and application. Do keep in mind that this process might take from ten months to a year to complete.

Many issues might affect the time it takes to for a visa to the U.S. to be approved or rejected. For example, if the USCIS needs further information regarding an aspect of your application, they may issue an RFE, or a request for evidence, which can slow down the application process. One needs patience and sometimes the knowledge of a legal expert to get things on the right track.
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