Does Everyone Need To Go Through An Interview Process?
It would depend on the way they are immigrating to the United States. For example, if it is a marriage-based case where you are gaining your permanent residency based on your marriage to a United States citizen, the answer would be yes. If it is employment-based, most likely you would not; however, Immigration officials always have the discretion to interview you at any time.
WHAT KIND OF QUESTIONS ARE GENERALLY ASKED AT THE INTERVIEW?
Once again, it would be case-specific. If you are going to gain residency based on your marriage, you can be certain that they are going to ask you questions that would determine the validity of the marriage. For example, they may ask questions about the home. What color are the walls? Where are specific things located? They are going to ask you questions about your spouse that you would be expected to know, for example, what is your spouse’s birthday? How did you spend the last holiday together? Those are some examples of questions that they may ask.
WHAT HAPPENS, AFTER THE INTERVIEW, IN THE IMMIGRATION PROCESS?
If the interview was successful, you would expect to have some type of communication from the Immigration authorities saying that you passed the interview within a couple of weeks. Another way in which they can respond is to hold the case and not give you any communication. In some cases we have to put a tremendous amount of pressure on them to make a decision.
Immigration can come back and ask for additional evidence. They can also give a notice of intent to deny where they are giving you an opportunity to respond. Finally, they can deny the case, and you can appeal it. The notice of intent to deny would be before it’s formally denied.
HOW LONG DOES IT GENERALLY TAKE IMMIGRATION TO MAKE A DECISION?
Every single type of application is going to be on a different time table. For example, a marriage-based case, on average, takes six months from beginning to end, but there are certain employment cases where you can utilize what’s called premium processing and get a decision within two weeks.
WHAT SORT OF DOCUMENTATION DO PEOPLE RECEIVE ONCE THEY ARE APPROVED FOR IMMIGRATION?
Immigration issues formal communications on what is called an I-797. For example, when you have filed a case, you are going to get a receipt notice; and if your case is approved, you are going to get a formal approval notice.
WHO IS CONSIDERED, AS FAMILY, WHEN SOMEONE IS APPLYING FOR IMMIGRATION STATUS?
Immigration breaks down family into what they call immediate relatives, and it’s a little bit different than what we would use in our everyday English vernacular. An immediate relative for immigration purposes is a US citizen’s spouse, their children under the age of 21 or their parents that they are petitioning for. If a US citizen marries a foreigner, that foreign individual would be considered their immediate relative. But if it’s a permanent resident that is applying for a spouse, that’s not going to be an immediate relative petition.
The term “immediate relative petition” has legal significance as the advantage is that there is no set waiting period. It’s just the normal processing time. For other family members, they are subject to the visa bulletin, which is going to establish how long the waiting periods are. The family members that one can petition for are spouses, children under the age of 21, children over the age of 21, parents, brothers and sisters.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES CLIENTS FACE IN THE IMMIGRATION PROCESS?
The immigration process is a large government bureaucracy that is filled with some outstanding professionals and also officers that are not fully knowledgeable of the law. We are dealing with officers that are overworked, have way too many cases and not enough manpower. You are dealing with inconsistencies from the officers. Your case can literally land on the desk of one officer and have a different result had it landed in the office right next door, which is why it is very important to work with an experienced immigration attorney that has seen and experienced all of these different difficulties that will pop up in the process.
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