Category Archives: Green card

Thinking of sealing or expunging your criminal record? A Boston immigration lawyer says think again

These days, it is not easy to get a job or housing benefits. And it is even tougher if you have a criminal record. To make things easier, criminal lawyers often recommend having your criminal record expunged or sealed. This can be great advice for people seeking work or housing benefits as you will effectively have no criminal record once your criminal record is expunged or sealed. Your Massachusetts CORI criminal history report will show "no adult criminal record," and you can honestly say you have no criminal record when applying for jobs and housing benefits. But sealing or expunging your criminal record does not free you from immigration consequences resulting from a criminal record. A conviction--even if it's been sealed or expunged--can still trigger your deportation. And USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) can deny your green card or citizenship application because of a sealed or expunged criminal record. READ MORE

Diversity Visa Lottery

When people visit me in my Boston immigration law office, I encourage anyone who is eligible to apply for the Department of State's Diversity Visa lottery. Yesterday, the Department of State' announced the winners of the 2010 Diversity Visa lottery. Those who already applied for the DV Lottery can check online here to see whether they were lucky enough to be selected to receive one of the 50,000 visas granted each year. But being selected does not mean that you will automatically get a green card and become a permanent resident. What it does mean is that you will be eligible to go through a complex immigration process on the basis of being selected for the DV Lottery. READ MORE

How to win or lose in Immigration Court

If you are facing deportation or removal from the United States and have a hearing in Immigration Court in Boston or elsewhere, your fate is in the hands of an Immigration Judge who will weigh the evidence and reach a decision. Immigration lawyers refer to this process as the Court's or the Judge's discretion. People often underestimate the power of an Immigration Judge's discretion. So I'd like to give you three specific examples of how Immigration Judges have the discretion to decide deportation cases: READ MORE

Just got your Green Card? Some tips from a Boston immigration lawyer.

On behalf of the lawyers in my Boston immigration office, I say congratulations! You just got your green card and are now a lawful permanent resident of the United States! Below are some general tips to avoid future immigration problems and continue on a smooth path towards citizenship. I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residency--Get Ready! If you have a two-year green card (i.e., conditional residency based on marriage), remember that 90 days before the expiration of your green card, you and your spouse, together, will need to file a petition to remove the conditions on your permanent residency. This petition is called an I-751. In order to get your I-751 petition approved, USCIS will expect you to submit extensive documentation to show that the underlying relationship between you and your spouse has been on-going since your I-485 was approved and that you continue to share your lives together. READ MORE

Tips on Adjustment of Status / Consular Processing from Boston AILA Conference

I was in Boston today at the Fundamental of Immigration Law Conference sponsored by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). I spoke at a seminar entitled "Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing Workshop with the Experts--I-485, I-864, DS-230." The immigration lawyers in attendance asked me some great questions, mostly about the I-864. Here is some follow-up information: 1. I-864, Affidavit of Support. For questions on completing the I-864, I refer to an excellent 2006 USCIS memo available here which consolidated and revised USCIS policy regarding the I-864, Affidavit of Support. Although more recent updated on the I-864, I find that this guide answers most basic questions. READ MORE

Your biggest immigration mistake: Marriage fraud

With my experience as a Boston immigration lawyer, I know that many people in Boston and throughout Massachusetts mistakenly believe that marriage to someone with U.S. citizenship is a relatively easy and fast way of obtaining permanent residency or green card status and other immigration benefits. Stop by City Hall in Boston, pick up your marriage certificate and you are automatically entitled to a green card. And it is believed that once you get married, a work permit will arrive soon after you put your immigration petition in the mail. Despite this persistent fantasy, a green card through marriage often proves to be difficult path. For starters, it can be extraordinarily hard to convince U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at the Boston District Office that your marriage is truly based on a real and bona fide relationship. The immigration authorities will be expecting you to produce extensive documentary evidence that you and your spouse have a shared life that involves love and companionship and that your relationship is not just a sham to obtain permanent residency. At a bare minimum, you can be sure that USCIS will scrutinize all Massachusetts public records to confirm that you and your spouse truly live together in marital union. READ MORE

Immigration and Citizenship Documentary on the History Channel

Citizenship, naturalization and the immigration experience will be the subject of a new History Channel featured-film documentary. The immigration film will be called The Naturalized. It is currently being filmed in Boston, Massachusetts and nationally across the United States. The immigration documentary tells the story of several immigrants as they follow their diverse paths to U.S. citizenship. The film highlights aspects of the US immigration system including asylum, marriage, children, deportation, Immigration Court, military service, and denaturalization. READ MORE