Lee & Garasia, LLC
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September 2014 Archives

DACA Holders May Now Apply for Citizenship Through MAVNI

Last week, new rules were issued that affect the MAVNI program and who is eligible to apply. MAVNI, short for Military Accessions in the National Interest, is a special program that allows non-US citizens, even those who are not yet permanent residents, to enlist in the US military if they have special language or health care skills in demand by the government. Enrollment is limited to 1500 recruits a year, so this is not a broad based program. Nevertheless, what makes last week's news of interest to those without legal permanent resident status is that DACA grantees-those approved under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals-are now eligible to apply for acceptance into the program. The caveat, of course, aside from the cap of 1500 (which is minuscule) is that the individual must not only have an approved application but more importantly, the individual must possess the necessary skills that would qualify him/her for consideration under MAVNI. At this point, it is not clear whether this is an empty gesture by the Obama administration or something of great utility to those who wish to serve this country but who lack legal status through no fault of their own, such as DACA recipients who entered the country as minors and have since fallen out of status but have managed to obtain high-school level education degrees and maintain a clean record. In fact, some believe that only a handful of DACA people will benefit from this. Even so, those who have a desire to benefit this country and are lucky enough to get accepted into the program may find themselves in a unique position of being able to apply for naturalization through military service. This avenue would actually allow them to bypass permanent residence entirely and apply to become citizens of the United States. For more information on the MAVNI program, check out this slide we recently prepared.

I-751 Hardship Waiver Option for Conditional Residents Who Can't File for Divorce

One aspect of the I-751 Extreme Hardship waiver that conditional green card holders should be aware of is that divorce is not a prerequisite in order to file under this ground. Whereas a conditional resident who intends on filing for the good faith marriage exception must ordinarily be divorced before filing the I-751, an individual who wishes to self-petition based on hardship can still be married to the spouse who originally petitioned for his/her green card. For example, it is not uncommon for a conditional resident to find him/herself in a situation where the US citizen /lawful permanent resident spouse refuses to cooperate or join in the I-751 petition to remove conditions. The couple may be experiencing marital difficulty, maybe even considering divorce, but no concrete steps have been taken towards a dissolution of the marriage. In this particular type of instance, especially if the green card is about to expire, the conditional resident would not be eligible to file under the good faith marriage exception because that waiver generally requires the divorce to be finalized. (There are limited exceptions where USCIS may accept the waiver if a divorce is in progress, but that is beyond the scope of this discussion.) If, however, the conditional resident can demonstrate extreme hardship, he/she may be eligible to file the I-751 on this ground.

Affidavit of Support Proof of Domicile Requirement

One often-overlooked requirement of the affidavit of support is that the petitioner maintain a domicile in the United States. This issue comes into play when the petitioner, usually a United States Citizen, is living abroad and does not currently live or reside in the US.

I-134 Affidavit of Support for Visitor's Visa

In many different types of cases, USCIS will require an Affidavit of Support for an individual to qualify for a visa or green card. This can sometimes cause confusion because there are actually two different types of affidavits of support: there is Form I-134 and Form I-864. We have already covered the different aspects and issues raised by the Affidavit of Support in numerous articles found on the blog. The focus of this entry will be on the I-134 and its relationship to the visitor's visa (B1/B2).

Reasons Why USCIS Denies I-130 Family Petitions

I-130 problem.jpgThe I-130 is called the Petition for Alien Relative and approval is normally required for any family based green card or immigrant visa application. If an I-130 is denied, any subsequent application that depends upon it, such as an I-485 adjustment of status application, is doomed. As many articles out there already cover, you may have the option to appeal the denial of I-130 or even possibly file a motion to reopen or reconsider. However, it may be more instructive to understand top reasons why USCIS denies family based petitions so that you don't make the same mistake. Note that this discussion pertains to family I-130 petitions filed for parents, children, and siblings. I will discuss marriage based petition denials in a subsequent entry.

What if I forgot to renew my green card?

If you are a permanent resident and fail to renew your permanent residence, you may be at risk of losing your permanent residence. It depends on whether you have permanent lawful permanent residence (reflected by a green card that is normally good for ten years) or conditional permanent residence. We have already covered renewal of an expired permanent 10-year green card in a previous post. This discussion pertains to the consequences of failing to remove the conditions on a green card.


    • The National Advocates | Top 100 Lawyers
    • Rated by Super Lawyers | Angie Garasia | 5 Years
    • Avvo Rating 10.0 | Superb
    • Client Distinction Award martindale.com | 2016 Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award
    • New Jersey State Bar Association | Paris Lee Chair - Immigration Section 2015-2016
    • Nationally Recognized | Newsweek Nationwide Showcase | Top Attorneys 2013
    • New Jersey Chapter | American Immigration Lawyers Association | Angie Garasia | Chapter Chair 2015-2016
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Lee & Garasia, LLC
190 State Route 27
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