Sherris Legal, P.A. can assist you with the following immigration needs:
- Permanent Residency
- U.S. Citizenship Test and Interview
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process (DACA)
- I-485 Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
- I-601A Provisional Waiver Application
- U Visa
- VAWA – Violence Against Women Act
Deciding to become a citizen of the United States of America is one of the most important decisions. Naturalization is the manner in which a person not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. Citizen. Applying for naturalization, is showing a permanent commitment to the United States, its constitution, its laws and its people. In essence, you are agreeing to accept all of the responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. As well as, you are rewarded with all the rights and privileges that are part of being a citizen. Let us help you apply for your U.S. Citizenship.
A permanent resident is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. There are several ways to become a permanent resident; through family, through a job, through refugee or asylum status, and others. The steps will depend on whether you live inside or outside of the United States.
Call Sherris Legal, P.A. to discuss your needs and to determine if we can help you through this process.
U.S. Citizenship Test and Interview
When you apply for U.S. Citizenship through the naturalization process, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) requires a Citizenship test to be taken by all applicants.
The Citizenship test will be based on the following areas:
- Reading, writing and speaking English
- Knowledge of the United States Government
- Knowledge of American history.
After you have filed your application, the USCIS will notify you with the date and time for your fingerprinting appointment (biometrics). You will be advised to appear at the local Application Support Center. At a later date, you will be notified of your interview and Citizenship Test date and time.
Sherris Legal, P.A. will help prepare you for the U.S. Citizenship test. You will learn about preparing for the immigration interview process and gain a deeper understanding of U.S. history and government. We will also give you tips on how to best present yourself for an effective and successful interview.
An experienced attorney at Sherris Legal, P.A. will meet with you in person. Typically, a one hour consultation is only a fee of $100.00 at the downtown offices. We will review your paperwork and give you the best options regarding the specific issues of your case. If you choose to hire us, we will apply the fee to your attorney retainer fee. Please fill out our free case evaluation on our website for your convenience!
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Process (DACA)
On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children can defer removal. If they meet several key guidelines they may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years. This is subject to renewal every two years. Then, they would then be eligible for work authorization and could gain lawful employment in the U.S. Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Unfortunately, Deferred action does not provide an individual with lawful status.
Per USCIS, you may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Contact Sherris Legal, P.A. to determine if you are an eligible candidate and to learn more about qualifying for the DACA process.
Applying to Obtain the I-485 based Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
The Employment Authorization Document or EAD is the proof that you will show to your future employer that you are in fact allowed to work in the United States. When your priority date becomes current, the initial Form I-765 EAD application can be filed along with the I-485 application. However, it may also may be requested at a later date, so long as the I-485 application is still pending. The I-485 application cannot be filed unless an I-130 relative petition is being filed or has been approved and the priority date is current. With family sponsored immigration, the priority date is the date that the petition is properly filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
If your EAD has expired and you are still eligible for work authorization, you should file for a renewal EAD by submitting a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. The EAD cannot be renewed more than 120 days before your original EAD expires. EADs are typically granted for one (1) year and can be renewed so long as your I-485 application is still pending. Unfortunately, if your I-485 application is denied, then your EAD will be revoked.
If you would like to find out if you are eligible for an EAD, please contact Sherris Legal, P.A. and we will help answer your questions.
The I-601A Provisional Waiver Application
This provisional waiver allows immigrating family members of U.S. citizens to petition while in the United States and avoid being trapped outside the United States for years. There is only a limited class of applicants that can apply for the I-601A waiver.
You must meet all of the following criteria:
- You are the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen – a spouse, parent, or unmarried child under the age of 21.
- You are physically present in the United States at the time of submitting your Form I-601A.
- You have reached the age of 17.
- You are otherwise admissible to the United States.
- You were NOT assigned an interview date before January 3, 2013.
- You can supply evidence showing that your qualifying U.S. relative – your U.S. citizen spouse or parent – will suffer extreme hardship if the provisional waiver is not granted.
- Your application for the waiver will not only need to include Form I-601A and the fee, but copies of documents proving all of the eligibility factors required.
Once the application is approved, the applicant can leave the country for the consular interview and the green card may get approved. If USCIS denies the provisional waiver application, the applicant can still live with family in the United States while they try again before the consular case has been closed.
Contact Sherris Legal, P.A. to determine if you are an eligible candidate and to learn more about qualifying for the I-601A Provisional Waiver.
The U Visa was created to assists immigrants who are victims of certain serious crimes who have cooperated with authorities in the prosecution of the perpetrator.
The illegal immigrants who have met each of the five criteria below may be eligible:
- The victim of one of the following crimes: Abduction, Incest, Rape, Abusive Sexual Contact, Involuntary Servitude, Sexual Assault, Blackmail, Kidnapping, Sexual Exploitation, Domestic Violence, Manslaughter, Slave Trade, Extortion, Murder, Torture, False Imprisonment, Obstruction of Justice, Trafficking, Felonious Assault, Peonage, Unlawful Criminal Restraint, Female Genital Mutilation, Perjury, Witness Tampering, Hostage Prostitution Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above crimes; and
- Has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of one of the above crimes; and
- Has useful information concerning the crime which occurred; and
- Has helped (or is likely to help) in the investigation or prosecution of the crime, and
- The crime committed violated the laws of the United States.
Once the application is approved, the U Visa cannot exceed four years. However, after three years, an immigrant with U Visa status can apply for adjustment of status to receive a green card.
If you believe that you may be eligible for a U Visa, contact Sherris Legal, P.A. for a consultation to determine if you qualify for this type of Visa.
VAWA – Violence Against Women Act
VAWA was enacted in 1994, initially to address the domestic violence, dating violence, sexual abuse and assault, and stalking against women. The program has been since expanded to include American Indians, same-sex couples and victims of sex trafficking. The program is not gender-exclusive and does address the needs of men as well.
VAWA creates a path to lawful immigration status for victims of domestic abuse who typically rely on their abusers to apply for status on their behalf. Victims of abuse who are close relatives of US citizens and lawful permanent residents can self-petition to obtain status on their own without the participation of control of the abuser.
In the United States, Asylum may be granted to people who have left their home country for their own safety and fear of persecution if they returned.
Asylum must be based upon one of five grounds:
- Political opinion or
- Membership in a particular social group
In order for Asylum to be granted, you must present sufficient evidence to prove that you were persecuted, or are at risk of persecution if you return to your home country. If you are applying for Asylum, you must be present in the United
You may ask for Asylum at the port of entry when you arrive; or if you are already present in the United States, you must file your application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal within one year of arriving. Asylum can also be a defense to pending deportation proceedings.
If you are able to prove that you qualify and Asylum is granted, you may begin working in the United States immediately. Typically, within two years of being granted Asylum, you may petition to bring your spouse and unmarried children who are under age 21 to the United States. After one year of being granted Asylum status, you may petition for a green card, which will allow you to live and work permanently in the United States.
Contact Sherris Legal, P.A. to determine if you are an eligible candidate and to learn more about qualifying for Asylum.