Category • Immigration Law Blog

Types of Visas Available to Immigrants in Los Angeles

There are many different types of visa available to individuals who are considering emigrating to the United States. If you are considering making this move, it is important that you apply for the correct visa for your circumstance. Otherwise, you can face problems entering and remaining in the United States.

Determining the correct type of visa for you can be difficult and confusing. Make it easier for yourself by consulting with an experienced immigration attorney about which type of visa is right for you. By working with a lawyer who has experience handling the various legal difficulties that new immigrants to the United States can face, you can avoid many of these problems yourself and have an easier time overcoming them if you do find yourself facing one.

There are two types of visas that foreigners can use to gain entry to the United States: immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas. Non-immigrant visas allow individuals to reside in the country temporarily to vacation, attend school, and work. Below are the types of visas available to immigrants entering the United States to live permanently.

I-129F Fiance Visa and Related Visas

This visa is used to bring one’s fiance and the fiance’s children to the United States so the individual and the fiance can marry. It can also be used to bring a spouse and the spouse’s children into the country. A fiance must use a K-1 visa to enter the United States, a spouse must use a K-3, and the fiance/spouse’s children must enter using K-4 visas.

Visas that start with the letter K are meant for spouses and children of United States citizens. When an individual who is not yet a United States citizen but instead a lawful permanent resident wants to bring his or her loved ones into the country to reside, his or her loved ones must use visas that begin with the letter V. A V-1 visa is for the spouse of a lawful permanent resident and a V-2 visa is for his or her child.

H-1B Visa

This type of visa is a visa for professionals in specialty professions who come to the United States to do work for up to three years. Although this is not an immigrant visa per se, an employer may opt to sponsor an employee who is in the country on an H-1B visa for a green card if it feels the individual should continue to reside in the United States permanently.

T-1 Visa

This type of visa is a temporary visa for individuals who are victims of human trafficking. As long as the holder complies with law enforcement in prosecuting the suspects charged with trafficking him or her, the holder may remain and work in the United States. The holder may also apply to become a lawful permanent resident and eventually complete the naturalization process to become a citizen. Children, spouses, parents, and minor siblings of a T-1 holder may also apply for other types of T visa.

Other Visa Types

The other types of visa that are available to immigrants entering the United States are divided into multiple categories. The type an individual may obtain depends on his or her relation to a United States citizen or reason for entering the country. For example, visas numbered IR-1 through IR-5 are for immediate family members of United States citizens, such as their parents and children. SB-1 visas are for permanent resident aliens who left the country and failed to return while their green cards remained viable for reasons they could not control. Certain types of visa are only for individuals coming from certain countries, such as visas numbered F-21 through F-25, those numbered B-21 through B-25, and those numbered FX-1 through FX-3 and BX-1 through BX-3. There are 185 types of visas available to individuals seeking entry to the United States, many of which are only for individuals coming to the country for temporary reasons.

Work with an Experienced Immigration Attorney

You might not know which type of visa you need or how you can obtain it to take the next step toward becoming an American citizen. Determine what you need to do by seeking guidance from an experienced visa lawyer. At The Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C., we are dedicated to working with recent immigrants and can help make the visa procurement and immigration processes easier for you. Contact our firm today to set up your initial legal consultation with Mr. Goldstein to learn more about the right type of visa for you.

Credit Building Tips for Los Angeles Residents

Whether you are a recent immigrant to the United States or you have been here for a long time, you can take steps to build positive credit. Having a high credit score will help you with your financial decisions in the future, whether you need to take out a loan to go to college or apply for a mortgage to purchase a home.

Many individuals, both immigrants and native-born Americans alike, do not know how to build their credit. If you are not sure where to start with building your credit, apply the following tips to your everyday life.

Consider a Secured Credit Card

If you do not have sufficient credit to qualify for an unsecured credit card, apply for a secured credit card. A secured credit card is a credit card that an applicant can obtain by putting down a sum of money as collateral with the lender. That sum of money then becomes his or her credit limit. For example, you can apply for a secured credit card with a $500 credit limit with the bank by giving the bank $500 in cash to use as collateral. Because of this collateral, anybody can open a secured credit card and begin building positive credit.

Pay your Bills on Time

Your rent, your utility bills, your credit card bills, and any other bills you have need to be paid on or before their due dates. This is key to building and maintaining positive credit. With credit card bills, it is possible to pay less than what is due, known as the “minimum payment.” This amount is printed on your credit card bill, but do not let yourself get into the habit of only paying the minimum payment each month – allowing your debt to accrue will actually cost you more money in the long run because you will need to pay interest on the balance you carry on your credit card.

Pay your Bills in Full

This goes with the issue above – not only should your credit card bills be paid on time, they should be paid in full. Alongside the issue of having to pay interest on debt accrued, you can also lose track of how much you owe to your lender and reach the point of “maxing out” your credit card.

Become an Authorized User on Another Person’s Card

If possible, you can also build your own credit score by becoming an authorized user on somebody else’s card. This other party could be your spouse or another relative, such as a parent or a sibling. Establish an agreement with this other party beforehand. As an authorized user of their credit card, you are not legally obligated to pay for the charges you make – they are. Discuss how you will reimburse him or her before you become an authorized user.

Work with a Skilled Immigration Attorney

Having a strong credit score can help you immensely when you need to take big steps with your finances. For guidance with the legal issues that can accompany these steps or other types of help during the immigration process, contact immigration attorney Joshua L. Goldstein at The Law Offices of Joshua L.Goldstein, P.C. today to set up your legal consultation.

Immigrants in California: Republicans Soften Their Views

Immigrants in California: As Republicans Soften Their Views, Will Immigrants Have Brighter Futures?

There is no question that the stance that many conservatives in the United States have taken against immigrants has been tough at best. Others would call it calculated, cold, and inhumane. Regardless of how it is labeled, though, a change among the republican party’s attitude towards immigrants, at least in California, has occurred. Be it genuine or to get voters out to the polls this election season, the California Republican Party has voted to soften its stance on immigration.

Continue reading “Immigrants in California: Republicans Soften Their Views”

Declining Numbers of Immigrants from Mexico Entering U.S.

While immigration remains one of the most controversial topics in politics today—and is sure to spur heated debates in the 2016 presidential race—the number of undocumented immigrants from Mexico entering the U.S. has actually declined, not increased, in recent years.

Immigration By the Numbers

Peak years for immigrants entering the United States from Mexico were from 2003 to 2007, according to data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. During those years, approximately 1.9 million undocumented Mexicans immigrated to the U.S. In contrast, the years between 2008 and 2012 saw a 57 percent decrease; a total of 819,000 people entered the U.S. from Mexico during those years.

Why the decline?

The decline in immigration is explained by a variety of factors, including a falling birth rate in Mexico, a growing economy in Mexico—providing more jobs in country, and a decline in available construction jobs in the U.S. In regards to the former, the average woman was giving birth to an average of seven babies in Mexico in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, the birth rate has declined to a similar number to the U.S birth rate (1.88 births per woman, according to 2012 statistics. However, the birth rate has risen by one percent since that time). The declining birth rate doesn’t just mean that there are less people to enter the U.S. from Mexico, but also that there is less competition over jobs within Mexico.

Profile of Immigrants Who Do Enter the U.S. from Mexico

The profile of those who enter the U.S. from Mexico varies greatly. Similar to years past, there are many unskilled laborers who enter the U.S. hoping to find work. However, more than ever before, the profile of immigrants entering the U.S. from Mexico has shifted; many are coming to escape the violence in their own country, not to find work in the U.S. What’s more, a large margin of immigrants who are entering the U.S. from Mexico are educated, speak English, have more wealth the previous generations, and may even be naturalized citizens who are returning.

Despite this trend, those who are opposed to immigration into the U.S. continue to aggressively advocate for anti-immigration and pro-deportation policies.

How a Massachusetts Immigration Attorney Can Help You

If you’ve entered the U.S. from Mexico and have questions about your immigration status, are facing criminal charges, or have fears about deportation, don’t wait to take action. At the Law Offices of Joshua P. Goldstein, P.C., our immigration attorneys are on your side. To learn more about how we can help you and what your rights are, call us today at 617-722-0005.

No Immigration Executive Order on the Horizon

Recent delays in immigration law executive orders are putting a large number of undocumented skilled labor workers in danger of being deported to countries where they couldn’t support their children. President Barack Obama had been planning an executive order to change immigration law.

This order would have put to rest several arguments against allowing undocumented workers to remain in the US, but pressure from his fellow Democrats running in Republican states has put pause to his promises of Amnesty. The president has pushed his decision until after the elections, and now says he will make a reasonable order before the end of 2014. Continue reading “No Immigration Executive Order on the Horizon”

Boston Trust Act News

Living and working in the city of Boston has always been an issue for skilled immigrant labor, but with the reforms in immigration law, things are looking up for immigrants. Boston is set to become a part of a growing number of cities that have laws similar to the Trust Act. Under the Boston Trust Act, only the most dangerous criminals or immigrants with criminal records will be held in custody and deported. The new immigration law will have far reaching effects in making the community secure. Some of the benefits of the Boston Trust Act are: Continue reading “Boston Trust Act News”

Listing trips abroad on your N-400 citizenship application

Citizenship Lawyer Tip:  How to handle the N-400 question regarding trips abroad

since becoming a legal permanent resident or green card holder. This time period could go back more than the last 3-5 years. For some, it could be 10-20 years, which means that accurately answering this question might prove difficult or impossible.

When memory fails, or where documentation for older trips is hard to come by, listing all your international trips might be impossible. So what should you do? Would a good-faith attempt at reporting trips more than five years old be sufficient? Would USCIS deny your naturalization application if you are unable to disclose all of your trips outside the United States since becoming a permanent resident? What level of specificity and documentation would be sufficient when memory may be of no help and passport stamps may not exist?

A good faith effort to list all your trips abroad might suffice

According to recently published minutes of a meeting between the USCIS Boston District Office and the New England Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, USCIS takes the position that it will accept a good-faith attempt at reporting the trips.
In most cases, this good faith effort will be sufficient.

A good faith attempt at disclosing trips abroad will not be sufficient where an immigration officer suspects abandonment. Permanent residents are required to permanently maintain residency in the U.S. So if you, as a green card holder, have been out of the United States for a long periods of time, or have traveled frequently outside the United States, or your pattern of international travel raises doubts as to whether you have continuously lived in the United States, then the approval of your naturalization application based on a good faith attempt may be insufficient. The abandonment issue is a huge red flag. If you’ve been living outside the U.S. while in green card status and have been coming back and forth, don’t apply for naturalization without first reviewing your case with a capable immigration lawyer.

Consult with an immigration lawyer specializing in Citizenship and Naturalization

Interesting in applying for U.S. citizenship but worried because you can’t recall all your trips abroad? Living abroad with your green card? Call me at 617-722-0005. Make an appoint to meet with me! In my years as an immigration lawyer, I’ve handled countless N-400 application for green card holders. I look forward to helping you achieve your immigration goals.

“What is the phone number for Immigration in Boston?” An immigration lawyer answers

Boston Deportation Defense Lawyer

As an immigration lawyer in Boston, I’m often asked if I know the phone number for Immigration in Boston, Massachusetts? If you have a pending green card application or citizenship cases and you live in the Boston, Massachusetts-area, surely U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has a local phone number that you could call to inquire as to the status of your immigration case, right?

But the answer is that no such number exists. USCIS has an 800 national number National Customer Service Center (NCSC) 1-800-375-5283. But I discourage my clients from calling this number because I’ve never been able to use it to resolve any problems or gain any useful information.

The best way to communicate with USCIS Boston District Office about a pending green card or citizenship application may be to make an INFOPASS appointment. Go in person to this appointment and you can ask questions about your immigration case. The officers and staff at USCIS Boston District Office can be miracle workers.

Not everyone should go in person to USCIS Boston District Office. If you are undocumented, out of status, or if you have a final order of deportation or removal, or if you have certain criminal convictions, then you are potentially deportable and could be subject to arrest by immigration authorities. So you should consult with an immigration lawyer before deciding to go in person to USCIS Boston immigration office.

Aside from USCIS INFOPASS, if you have a deportation case in Boston Immigration Court, you can call them at 617-565-3080. Or if you have a question about someone who has been arrested and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE in Burlington, Massachusetts, you can call ICE’s  office at (781) 359-7500.

To summarize, USCIS Boston District Office has no phone number that the public can use to follow up on their immigration case. Instead, consider making an INFOPASS appointment. For deportation cases, call Boston Immigration Court or ICE in Burlington, MA.

If you need more help with your immigration case or for advice or guidance, please call or email me to set up a time to meet to discuss your situation.

Boston Immigration Lawyer News: immigration applications filing fees are going up

Thinking about filing for a green card, citizenship or other immigration benefits? If so, keep in mind that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is raising filing fees on November 23, 2010.  This increase will generally be about 10% on most applications.  Interestingly, if you want to gain U.S. citizenship, the price for the application for naturalization, N-400, will remain unchanged.



How to get U.S. citizenship after only 3 years of green card status

Boston Citizenship Lawyer

Immigration laws permit green card holders to apply for naturalization to gain U.S. citizenship after 5 years for lawful permanent residency status. But if you are married to a U.S. citizen, you may be eligible to apply for naturalization under Section 316 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, after just 3 years.

But getting the Boston office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to approve your N-400 after only 3 years with a green card requires more than just a marriage certificate to a U.S. citizen. To gain approval of your application for citizenship, you must meet all of the following requirements:

1. your spouse must be a U.S. citizen for at least 3 years:
2. you must be “living in marital union” with your U.S. citizen spouse for 3 years; AND
3. you must have had your green card for at least 3 years.

Also, to be successful, you must meet all of the other requirements for naturalization including proving good moral character, residency, physical presence, and more.

Proving that you and your spouse have been living together continuously for 3 years involves financial documents such as leases, deeds, joint married tax returns, W-2s, jointly-held insurance, and joint bank accounts. Keep in mind that if you separate from your spouse–even temporarily–you may be disqualified from applying to become a U.S. citizen under the shortened 3 years of residency standard. And if you falsely claim to be living with your spouse, USCIS may deny your N-400 under the good moral character / false testimony grounds.

If you need an immigration attorney in Boston, are thinking about filing an N-400 or have questions about how to gain U.S. citizenship through naturalization, call me at 617-722-0005.