If you are wondering if your criminal conviction affects your immigration status, please visit the Criminal Law section of our website.
As a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident ("green card" holder), you may be wondering whether you can petition for your family member to move to the United States.
For U.S. citizens
If you are a U.S. citizen, you may sponsor your spouse, parent (if you are over 21 years of age), or child (if the child is unmarried and under 21) as an immediate relative. This means your relative will not have to wait for a visa number to become available.
If you are a U.S. citizen, you may also sponsor your children over the age of 21 (married or unmarried) and your siblings. However, your relatives must wait for a visa number to become available. The State Department issues a monthly visa bulletin with the current dates that are being processed.
For Legal Permanent Residents ("green card" holders)
If you are a legal permanent resident ("green card" holder) of the United States, you may sponsor your spouse and children (regardless of age or marital status). Similar to the adult children and siblings of U.S. citizens, your relatives will have to wait for a visa number to become current. Please look to the most recent visa bulletin to see the approximate current wait time for your relative.
If you received a Notice to Appear or are afraid that you may be placed into immigration proceedings, please contact Lynum Law Office and we can discuss your options with you. You may be eligible for various forms of relief, including cancellation of removal, voluntary departure or obtaining your green card in front of the immigration judge.
Legal Permanent Resident Cancellation of Removal
If you are an LPR ("green card" holder) and are placed into removal proceedings, you may be eligible to keep your green card status if:
- You have had your green card for five years;
- You have resided in the U.S. continuously for seven years after obtaining any immigration status;
- You do not have any aggravated felonies; and
- You warrant favorable discretion from the immigration judge.
Non-Legal Permanent Resident Cancellation of Removal
If you do not have a green card and are in the United States with another status or no status at all, you may be eligible to obtain a green card from an immigration judge if:
- You have been physically present in the United States for at lesat 10 continuous years immediately before applying for this relief;
- You have "good moral character" as defined by immigration law;
- You haven't been convicted of certain types of crimes; and
- You have a spouse, parent or child who is either a U.S. citizen or green card holder who would suffer exceptional and unusual hardship if you were removed from the United States.
Non-legal permanent resident cancellation of removal is granted in very few cases and is subject to a nationwide numerical limitation each year.
If you do not qualify for any other relief from the immigration judge, you may be eligible to request voluntary departure from the United States. This means you will leave the United States at your own expense without a removal order. This is a discretionary form of relief - meaning the immigration judge does not have to grant you this relief. You may be eligible for voluntary departure if:
- You were in the U.S. for at least one year before being placed in immigration court;
- You had "good moral character" for the five years before you ask for voluntary departure;
- You do not have any aggravated felonies;
- You can afford to pay for your return ticket to your home country; and
- You have the ability to pay a voluntary depature bond within five days of the immigration judge granting you voluntary departure.
You may be able to ask the immigration judge to grant you a green card with a waiver for misrepresentation or a criminal conviction. These types of waivers are available to certain immigrants.
Do I have good moral character? Have I been convicted of an aggravated felony?
These are immigration law terms that can have a significant impact on your case. Please contact Lynum Law Office to discuss your criminal convictions and to see if your convictions impact your good moral character or if you have an aggravated felony.
Are you about to graduate and wondering what your options are when your OPT ("optional practical training") expires? Or are you an employer wondering whether you can petition for a visa for one of your employees? Lynum Law Office can tell you which employment-based visas would work best for your company or your personal situation.
H-1B visas are available to employees with at least a bachelor's degree (or bachelor's degree equivalent if the degree was obtained abroad) who are coming to the United States to work temporarily in a professional occupation. H-1B visas are typically granted for three years with the ability to extend it for another three years. Some foreign nationals may be able to change their status to H-1B and others may have to travel abroad to change their status. H-1B visa holders are able to bring their spouse and children to the United States as H4 visa holders.
Lynum Law Office has experience with asylum cases from around the world, including Palestine, Cameroon, Nicaragua, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, India, China and Liberia. Please contact our office if you are wondering whether you should apply for asylum.
VAWA and U visa
VAWA (Violence Against Women Act)
If you have been the victim of domestic violence, either physical or emotional, from a U.S. citizen or green card holder, you may be eligible to self-petition for a green card. To be eligible, you must have:
- Resided with the abuser;
- Been the victim of domestic violence (physical or emotional) during the marriage;
- Entered the marriage in good faith;
- Be eligible for a green card; and
- Have good moral character.
These are the requirements for VAWA put in the simplest terms - if you wish to learn more about VAWA or to learn if you are eligible, please contact Lynum Law Office.
U visas are available to foreign nationals who have been the victim of certain crimes. This visa is a path to a green card. To be eligible for a U visa, you must have:
- Suffered substantial physical or mental abuse because you were the victim of qualifying criminal activity;
- Have been helpful, are being helpful or are likely to be helpful in the investigation of the qualifying criminal activity; and
- The qualifying criminal activity must have happened in the United States.