Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: What are some factors that are considered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in granting an individual immigration status?
A: Factors considered by the USCIS include:
- Whether the applicant has an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
- Whether the applicant has a permanent employment opportunity in the U.S., and whether that employment fits under one of the five eligible employment categories;
- Whether the applicant is making a capital investment in the U.S. that meets certain dollar thresholds, and that either creates or saves a specified number of jobs; and
- Whether the applicant qualifies for refugee status as an individual who suffers or fears persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political view, or membership in a certain group in his or her country of origin.
Q: How long does it take to process an immigration application or petition?
A: The time it takes to process your application or petition varies depending on the type of application/petition and where it is being processed:
- If you are awaiting a decision on a family-based petition, application for employment authorization, or any other application or petition filed with the USCIS, click here to view your local office's processing times.
- If your family-based petition has been approved and you are waiting to apply for adjustment of status, click here to view the current visa bulletin from the U.S. Department of State.
- If you are awaiting a decision on your labor certification, click here to view the U.S. Department of Labor processing times.
Q: What is the basis for being deported? What are the consequences of deportation?
A: Deportation (or removal) occurs when an alien is found to have violated certain immigration or criminal laws, consequences being that the alien forfeits his or her right to remain in the U.S., and is usually barred from returning.
Q: How is the deportation process initiated?
A: The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement issues a Notice to Appear (NTA) stating the reason why the alien should be deported or removed. The NTA is served to the alien and is filed with the immigration court. A hearing is scheduled, at which an immigration judge will determine if the information in the NTA is correct. If it is, removal of the alien will be ordered.
Q: Can a deportation or removal order be appealed?
A: Yes. The alien has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration (BIA). If the BIA decides against the alien, the matter can be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Finally, if the Court of Appeals also finds against the alien, the matter can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Q: Under what circumstance will a foreign spouse's permanent resident status in the U.S. be conditional?
A: A spouse's permanent resident status will be conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old from the day the permanent resident status was granted. To remove the conditions, the spouse must establish that the purpose of the marriage was not to evade the U.S. immigration laws.
Q: Under what circumstance will a foreign fiance(e), who has been admitted into the U.S. for the purpose of getting married, be required to leave the U.S.
A: If the marriage to the U.S. citizen who filed the petition to permit the fiance(e) into the U.S. does not take place within 90 days of entering the U.S., the fiance(e) will be required to leave the country.
Q: Can a U.S citizen file an application to adopt a foreign-born child before the citizen has identified a child to adopt?
A: Yes. A married U.S. citizen, or an unmarried citizen who is at least 24 years of age and will be at least 25 when the petition is actually filed, may file a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, to speed up the adoption process.
Q: Can a fee for immigration related services be waived?
A: Yes. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) bureau has discretion to waive a filing fee if the applicant can establish that he or she is unable to pay. In order to have the USCIS consider waiving a fee, the applicant must follow specific instructions, including completion of a form for review by the USCIS.
Q: What are the penalties for remaining in the United States illegally?
A: Under the Immigration Nationality Act (INA), a person who remains in the United States unlawfully will be barred from reentry for either three or ten years, depending on the length of their unlawful stay.