Frequently Asked Questions
Is there any difference in applying for a green card at the U.S. Embassy abroad, as opposed to applying in the United States?
If one has filed for a green card in the category of a job offer or investment, these categories are known as “employment-based immigration,” there are no immigration interviews, generally. A work permit can be issued before you are approved for the green card. Under certain circumstances, while your application is pending, you can obtain special permission to leave the U.S. until the formal approval of the green card.
If you apply overseas, political considerations may make the U.S. embassy officers refuse to follow the law. While applying in the United States, you will have an attorney fighting for your approval at every step and you will be able to take comfort that you will be in a safe country.
Every green card holder must reside in the U.S. 183 days a year. He can travel out of the country as long as he keeps track of the days in and out of the U.S. In the event the green card holder needs to be outside the U.S. for more than 183 days in a particular year, he should have his attorney obtain for him a legal document called “re-entry permit” which will protect the green card holder from a charge that he has abandoned his U.S. permanent residency.
I am married and I have two children under the age of 21. If I am approved for a green card, will my wife and children also get theirs at the same time?
Yes, as long as they apply with you.
My wife and child cannot obtain a visa like I did to enter the United States. Can I apply for the green card from the U.S. and include my family? And where will the papers be processed?
You can file while in the U.S., while your family members will have to go through green card processing which will result in interviews at the U.S. Embassy in your home country.
I cannot hire an immigration attorney unless the attorney will guarantee results. I am not willing to gamble my hard-earned money without a guarantee. What does the attorney say?
An attorney in the state of Florida is not allowed, by law, to guarantee results. However, the attorney, based upon his experience and his review of the client’s documentation, should be able to determine if the case has a high likelihood of success. You should be careful with any attorney who guarantees anything, since by doing so he is violating laws applicable to him.
No one would ask a medical doctor performing a routine operation with a 99% success rate to guarantee the result. An attorney can only guarantee that he will perform his legal services at a very high professional level. Always go for experience. Alex Barak has been handling Immigration cases since 1981.
If I own my own business in my own country, what do you recommend that I do to be able to live and work in the U.S. and to bring my wife and kids with me?
You can either buy an existing American business which has been operating for at least one year and legally establish it as your subsidiary and possibly qualify for a green card under the multinational manager category, or you can open a new subsidiary, establish it as your subsidiary and become eligible for a working visa, known as L-1. Alternatively, you could be eligible for an E-2 visa if your country has a treaty for this visa with the U.S.
If I want to open a subsidiary in Florida of my company from my own country, do I have to establish a business which is similar to my foreign company?
After receiving a green card (permanent residency), one must wait five years before becoming eligible to apply for citizenship, unless one received the green card as the result of a marriage case, and then there is a three-year waiting period. Immediately after receiving citizenship, one can obtain a passport within two weeks.
This varies from transaction to transaction. Some sellers are willing to finance 50% of the purchase price with payments over two to four years. Others want full payment up front, forcing you, if you wish to buy that company, to obtain private financing. This will usually be at a higher interest rate than that which private banks charge, due to the fact that you most likely have insufficient American credit history.
I have a company with two managers and 18 employees, in which I am the owner and one of the two managers. Can we two managers obtain green cards with the purchase of one American company?
This is possible only if the American company purchased is large enough to need two managers or executives. If the American company has only four clerks and an owner/manager who is selling his company, obviously, this company will support only one manager in obtaining a green card.
On the other hand, if the American company has 20 employees, including a general director, director of sales, and a chief engineer, it can support more than one foreign manager/director in obtaining green cards.
Am I eligible for the multinational manager green card category or the L-1 working visa if I already sold my foreign company?
No. The foreign company, which will purchase and/or establish an American company as its subsidiary must be, at the present time, active in business.
Remember. In order to qualify for this category, the foreign company must be an active one, in legal existence for at least one year, and the manager attempting to be transferred to the American company to be purchased/established, must have worked for the foreign company in an executive or managerial capacity for at least one year in the last three years.
The individual owner of the foreign company, or the foreign company, must be the registered owner of 51% or more of the American company in order for a green card or working visa to be obtained.
The American company must be in lawful existence for at least one year in order for the transferring manager to qualify for a green card. If not, then the best the foreign business manager can obtain at the beginning is an L-1 temporary working visa, which is valid, initially, for only one year, but which can be extended.
I have lived illegally in the United States for two and a half years and I finally found myself a perfect wife. Can she obtain a green card for me?
If the wife is a U.S. citizen and you entered the U.S. lawfully and can prove that, then you can get a green card in four months.
I have practiced in many areas of law since 1981. My office provides a full range of legal services for clients.
If you have a company or business which wishes to offer you a job in the field of your university “major,” and you at least have a university diploma, you are then eligible for an H-1B working visa. H-1B visa which is a for university graduate who has a job offer from a company or an educational institution based upon your university major and this visa can be renewed up to six years. This visa has a restricted number per year. The market opens up on April 1 each year for work to begin October 1 and the current 65,000 capacity gets filled very fast. If you have a diploma from outside the U.S., you will have to have the diploma and your courses evaluated by a licensed agency which will certify that your studies are the equivalent to a U.S. diploma. The spouse and minor children of the H-1B visa holder get the H-4 visa, which allows them to live in the U.S. and go to school, but not to work.
There are 20,000 additional H1B numbers (technically, exemptions) available on top of the regular H1B cap limit of 65,000. These additional H1B numbers are available to those who have completed master’s (or higher) degrees from U.S. colleges or universities that meet two specific requirements. The first requirement is that the school must be properly accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association. Pre-accreditation status is also acceptable. The second requirement is that the school must be a public or other nonprofit institution. If either of these two requirements is not met, the degree does not qualify the individual for the master’s cap exemption.
If you can arrive in the U.S., you can apply for asylum. Asylum is a good direction to take if you have suffered persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
If you apply for asylum, you will receive a receipt for the filing and you and your spouse and children under 21 will be protected in the USA while waiting for your interview. Although Federal law states you must be called for an interview within 45 days of filing, right now Immigration is taking over two years from filing to interview. No one in the Government is willing to fix this serious problem. For nearly 20 years, asylum interviews took place within 45 days of filing in over 90% of the cases. The Government will allow the applicants and family members who have waited for 150 days after filing to obtain work permits, which then allows one to obtain a social security number.
Alex Barak has personally represented many, many clients in asylum cases and interviews. His cases are presented in a professional-level of writing and organization, making it easier for the Asylum Officer to understand your case. The better your case is written, the better your chances of success. Alex Barak’s education and training as a writer gives you a big advantage when hiring him.
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