Document or Passport Stamp that allows foreign nationals to enter the United States, subject to permission of an immigration offical at the port of entry. Most foreign nationals seeking to enter the U.S. must first obtain a visa to enter, unless the country that they are from has a treaty with the U.S. and participates in the Visa Waiver Program (Currently, Thailand and Mexico are not eligible countries).
There are many types of visas, but only two main categories:
(1) Non-Immigrant Visas - for temporary travel to the U.S., such as for tourism, business or education.
(2) Immigrant Visas - for long term, permanent stay in the U.S., such as for those reuniting with their spouse, a child with their parents, or a fiance seeking to marry. To be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa, the foreign citizen must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen relative(s), U.S. lawful permanent resident, or by a prospective employer, and be the beneficiary of an approved petition filed with USCIS.
(Exception: DV Immigrants - Under the Diversity Visa Program (DVP), there is no need for a U.S. sponsor because the permanent residence card is granted based on a lottery program. Each year, the U.S. makes 50,000 available permanent residence cards to foreign nationals of countries with low numbers of immigrants. The list of eligible countries changes, so please refer to the most current year for eligible countries).
CHANGE OF STATUS
A change of stay occurs when an immigrant that is allowed to enter in to the United States under one visa category petitions and is granted a stay under a different visa category. An example of this is when a tourist visitor desires to remain longer to take educational classes; B-2 change of status to F-1.
EXTENSION OF STAY
Authorization by USCIS for the immigrant to legally remain in the United States beyond the period initially granted under the visa category. The extension of stay allows the immigrant to remain until the new authorized time period. A foreign national who is granted a visa to enter into the United States is, under most circumstances, given a time limitation as to how long they can remain in the U.S. The immigrant must either leave before the expiration of this time limitation or extend the period of their stay by petitioning USCIS for permission. An immigrant who remains in the U.S. after such period without authorization begins to incur period of unlawful presence.
A permanent residence card or 'Green Card' is evidence that the person holding the card is a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States of America. Along with this are certain rights, most notable are the right to live and work in the U.S. on a long term 2 year or 10 year basis.
In general, these are the 5 ways to acquire lawful permanent residency status (i.e., a Green Card):
(1) Family Member Petition (Spouse, Parent, Child, Sibling, etc.)
(2) Employment Petition
(4) Diversity Lottery Program
(5) Asylum & Refugee Status
GREEN CARD RENEWAL (2 YEAR CONDITIONALs and 10 YEAR EXTENSIONS)
Those with 2 Year Expirations
A green card granted with a 2 year term is called a 'conditional' green card. Prior to the 2nd anniversary of receiving the green card, the holder must petition to remove the conditions on their residence. With certain exceptions, failure to remove these conditions will result in cancellation and expiration of lawful status in the U.S.
Currently Married or Not - This law office can assist in the removal of your conditions so that you can receive a 10 year green card, regardless of whether you are currenly married or not.
Those with 10 Year Expirations
For those holding a green card with a 10 year term, you must petition prior to the expiration date in order to maintain evidence of your legal status in the United States. Although you do not lose actual legal status if your card expires, you should however renew it for purposes of employment, receiving benefits and re-entry upon traveling.
FIANCE (K-1) AND CHILDREN OF FIANCE (K-2) VISAS
A K-1 Fiance visa is available to United States Citizens who wish to bring over their fiance/fiancee with the intent of getting married to them within 90 days of arrival. If the immigrant fiance/fiancee also has children, then we can also apply for these children to come along with their parent under the K-2 visa category. Because these types of visas can be quite tricky, please contact an attorney from our firm to assist you.
SPOUSE (K-3) AND CHILDREN OF SPOUSE (K-4) VISAS
A K-3 Spousal visa is available to United States Citizens who had married their spouse outside the U.S. and now wish to bring over this spouse with the intent of maintaining a permanent residence here. If the immigrant spouse also has children, then we can also apply for these children to come along with their parent under the K-4 visa category. Because these types of visas can be quite tricky, please contact an attorney from our firm to assist you.
CITIZENSHIP AND NATURALIZATION
Pursuant to the U.S. Constitution, Amendment XIV, Section 1, Clause 1: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside". In accordance with this Citizenship Clause, also known as the "Naturalization" Clause, U.S. citizenship may be acquired automatically at birth or through the process of naturalization.
Benefits of US Citizenship
There are many benefits of being a U.S. Citizen. Just to name a few are:
1) The right to live and work in the United States on a long term basis
2) The privilege to sponsor family members for legal entry into the United States and to give them the opportunity to permanently immigrate, and
3) The right to vote and be a part of a democratic government
Becoming a US Citizen
Although there are numerous ways to becoming a US Citizen, each path requires different requirements.
For Single Self-Petitioners: Must be at least 18 years old, a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) for 5 years and single*
For Married Petitioners: Must be at least 18 years old, a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) for 3 years, and currently married to the same U.S. Citizen spouse that the initial green card was granted*
*NOTE: There are other requirements than those listed. Please contact our office to determine if you are eligible to apply.
ASYLUM AND REFUGEES
A refugee is a foreign national that has been granted relief ("Asylum") to legally remain in the U.S. Asylum is granted if either (1) there has been a finding that the foreign national has suffered past persecution in his home country or (2) there is evidence to show that if returned to his home country, the foreign national would suffer persecution, AND such persecution is based on the foreign national's race, religion, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
Asylum may be requested if you are arriving into the U.S. (i.e., port-of-entry - Airport, Seaport or Border Crossing) or if you are already in the U.S. (but within 1 year of entry, regardless of whether or not that entry was lawful or not).
TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS (TPS)
Temporary Protected Status allows a foreign national from certain countries to remain in the United States for a designated period of time. The Secretary of Homeland Security designates these countries for TPS based on extraordinary and temporary conditions that exists such as where the country has ongoing Armed Conflict/Civil War, and/or has suffered Environmental Disasters (Earthquakes, Hurricanes, etc).
Once granted TPS, the foreign national may work in the U.S. with prior approval, travel abroad with prior approval, not be removed from the U.S., nor be detained by DHS/Immigration.
Although having TPS does not grant the foreign national permenant residency (a green card), the foreign national may obtain a green card through another provision of the law if qualified.
The following countries are currently* designated for TPS: El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan
*NOTE: Because the list of coutries may change, please contact our office to determine which countries are on the TPS desinated list.
DEPORTATION / REMOVAL DEFENSE
Any violation of one's status in the U.S. can potentially result in one being placed in removal proceedings. Such examples include but are not limited to: entering the U.S. without inspection (Illegal Entry) or under false pretenses, failure to maintain nonimmigrant status (such as allowing your B-2 visa to expire), violation of laws related to controlled substances (drugs), firearms (guns), and smuggling, etc.
If you have received a "Notice to Appear" (NTA), the charge against you has officially began and you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. This office has represented numerous clients, both from referrals from other attorneys, as well as from situations where the client was turned down by other offices.
Please call to schedule your appointment so that we can review your case and determine your best options.
IMMIGRANT VISA PROCESSING - U.S. EMBASSY IN FOREIGN COUNTRY
Immigrant visa processing for intending immigrants abroad requires consular processing in the country of residence. The U.S. Embassy establishes their processing time frame based on factors specific to the offices overseas. We have experience and can assist in communicating with the U.S. Embassy abroad.
A waiver, if granted, allows a foreign national to enter the United States legally after a previous finding of inadmissibility due to the existence of a criminal record or a finding of an extreme violation of U.S. immigration laws such as fraud or misrepresentation.
Without a waiver and permission to enter the United States, an entry into the U.S. is considered illegal and will subject the individual to possible immediate arrest, detention, and confiscation of all the property in possession and control at the time.
APPEALS AND MOTIONS TO RECONSIDER
In some situations the best strategy may be a Motion to Reopen or a Motion for Reconsideration. In other situations, the best strategy may be to seek review of an immigration agency decision in a court of law in a new, separate legal action filed in court.
Many unfavorable decisions by immigration officers or judges can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which is the highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws in the United States. Located at EOIR headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia, the BIA has nationwide jurisdiction to hear appeals from certain decisions that are rendered by immigration judges and by district directors of the the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Generally, the BIA does not conduct courtroom proceedings - it decides appeals by conducting a "paper review" of cases. On rare occasions, however, the BIA hears oral arguments of appealed cases, predominately at headquarter, in which the Government of the United States is one party and the other party is an alien, a citizen, or a business firm.
Motions to Reopen and Motions to Reconsider
Both motions are basically requests for Immigration/DHS to review an unfavorable decision that has been made regarding your case. However, filing a motion just for the sake of filing is not recommended and this office will not do so. In order to file a motion to reopen, we will need to introduce new facts and submit affidavits and other evidence in support of these new facts. To file a motion to reconsider, there must exist prior cases and/or decisions, that demonstrate an error on part of the immigration agency, department or judge that denied your benefit request.
NOTE: All appeals and motions have strict deadlines, that if not followed will result in denial of the appeal. You should consult legal assistance as soon as possible to determine if these options are available to you.
REQUEST FOR EVIDENCE
A request for evidence is basically a letter that is sent by the government seeking initial evidence that was not submitted, or seeking more evidence as it relates to a petition, application, or case seeking an immigration benefit. Generally, you are given certain time to respond (usually 87 days). If you fail to submit the requested evidence in whole, or do not do so by the deadline, your case can be terminated and cancelled.
Although responding to a request is usually straight-forward, the important key to remember is to (1) submit all the evidence requested, and (2) do so before the deadline. To be safe, consult our office to review if you have all the evidence that was requested before you submit.
REPLACEMENT OF EVIDENCE (LOST, STOLEN OR INCORRECT INFO)
Evidence can be replaced if lost, stolen, or incorrect. For instance, if you have received your green card and it contains an incorrect spelling of your name, you will need to request a replacement of this green card. A misspelling on your green card can make it difficult to obtain other benefits such as a driver's license, or identity card. Another example of when you would need to replace your green card is if, after you received your green card, you legally change your name. A new card is needed to reflect your new name.
We are available to respresent your legal interests at whatever stage of the immigration process you are at. Even if you already have an attorney on the case, but for some reason or another you wish to terminate his/her services, we can assist you. Contact our office to find out how we can help you.
We also provide outsourcing services for attorneys. If you wish for our firm to assist you in an immigration case, or to take over a case, please contact the attorney directly.
209 WEST ALAMEDA AVENUE, SUITE #201
BURBANK, CALIFORNIA 91502
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Law Offices of Joseph Chitmongran
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Our firm is leading the way in federal immigration law.With ever changing laws, you need someone on your side who is well versed on the most recent changes.
An Immigration Attorney Who Understands. At the Law Offices of Joseph Chitmongran, we understand immigration can be a daunting and overwelming process. Being from a family of immigrants himself, attorney Joseph Chitmongran has first hand experience with the toll immigration can have on family life. With one of our attorneys on your side, you have choices and nothing is hopeless, even if you’ve been elsewhere. We welcome you to contact us for a consultation to see how an attorney at our firm can help you.
Why Work With a Licensed Immigration Lawyer?
Because your life and those you love demands it. Immigration procedures and policies are difficult and always changing - you need an experienced lawyer to assist you. The process should not be tackled alone – particularly in an area where you can be taken advantage of if you do not know what you are doing or if you do not have reliable legal representation. Do not rely on legal assistants, notaries/notarios or immigration consulting companies; they cannot provide you with legal advice because (1) they do not know the law, (2) they don't have the experience, and (3) it is illegal for them to do so. Not only that, these non-attorneys can not represent you if you should have any problems. Only an experienced licensed attorney can provide you with a comprehensive legal and strategic plan, customized to fit your unique situation. Since not all cases are exactly the same, our firm will not treat your case the same as any other. Our service is as personalized as the individuals we represent.
Immigration Services We Provide:
OVERVIEW of PRACTICE AREAS
Business Structure & Entity Formation / Business Plans for Financing / Lease Negotiations / Contract and Agreements / Beer-Wine Processing
Summary Dissolutions / Standard Divorces / Annulments / Separations / Prenuptial & Other Marital Agreements
Commercial Property: Lease Negotiations & Agreements / Financing Plans / Licenses / Regulations
Residential Property: Landlord-Tenant, Rent & Lease Agreements / Evictions, Rent Control (RSO) / Title Disputes / CC&Rs
Green Card Adjustment of Status / 2 to 10 Year Green Card Renewals (Removal of Conditions) / Citizenship & Naturalization / K-Type Visas for Fiance, Spouse, and Children / Removal (Deportation) Defense
CIVIL LITIGATION, TRIAL & SMALL CLAIMS COURT
Includes both standard civil court actions covering other practice areas as well as Small Claims court case evaluation and preparation assistance.
Every case is personally reviewed and evaluated by attorney Joseph Chitmongran, not a paralegal or clerk like many other firms. Although no one can guarantee 100% success, we are close to that mark. "If my name is on your immigration application or petition, rest assured that I've done my best to obtain a successful result for you!"