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Lee & Garasia, LLC
  • Tel: 732-516-1717
  • Toll free: 888-404-5876
Experience, Accessibility, and Excellence for Over 20 Years
  • "Lee and Garasia are excellent lawyers, punctual and professional. They are dedicated to going above and beyond the usual level of service to meet your client's needs. Their staff is very knowledgeable, friendly and polite. I would highly... recommend this firm to anyone." Read More

  • "I would definitely recommend Mr.Lee and Garasia as an immigration attorney because they did a great job with my case i.e. of Adjustment of Status (i-485). Mr. Lee helped us in each and every detailed information and prepared to the best of it. It was all well done and would like to appreciate." Read More

  • "I would like to thank my lawyer Mr Lee & Garasia and the staff for all immense help and patience throughout this entire process, I really appreciate your constant attention to my case, as well to my questions and my concerns. You've really made this process much more comprehensive to me, which I greatly appreciate." Read More

  • "Mr. Lee and Ms. Garasia did a great job with my renewal of my permanent residence application. They help prepare the paperwork with such a great attention to details and accuracy. I will recommend the law firm every time." Read More

  • "Mr. Lee did a great job with the renewal of my permanent residence application. My case was very time sensitive and they worked really fast on my case with great detail and accuracy. I will recommend the law firm every time." Read More

  • "I would recommend Attorney Paris Lee for anybody who needs immigration consultation. Mr. Lee is THE lawyer who respects and cares clients. Mr. Lee is professional and honest. Bottom line, preparation for the results and NO BS!" Read More

  • "Stalin - Lee did a wonderful job, Got my wife her visa in one year. He is extremely helpful and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend him for all your immigration needs." Read More

  • "Hello. I appoint him as my immigration lawyer and that way he solved my cases was truly amazing. He was so honest and knowledgeable for his work.He solved my all family immigration issues and because of his effort we were able to get done our immigration work done successful. Thank you lee and garasia." Read More

  • "Lee & Garasia stand for accountability and responsibility. They are reliable, honest and are always constructively looking for a solution. A big thanks :)" Read More

Common Immigration Questions and Problems Archives

What If My Flight Is Cancelled? Can I Extend My Visitor's Visa? | Covid-19 Immigration

The COVID-19 crisis has unquestionably affected all aspects of our society, resulting in shutdowns across the country and closures of important government agencies including but not limited to many immigration courts and USCIS offices. We have been receiving frantic phone calls from individuals who are here on non-immigrant visitor's visas as well as ESTA. They are understandably concerned what their options are if they are not able to safely depart to their countries and end up staying past their authorized period of stay.

Immigration Postponing Interviews Due To Corona Virus

In light of the COVID-19 public health crisis, all USCIS field offices, asylum offices and Application Support Centers (ASCs) have discontinued in-person services until April 1, 2020. This includes interviews of all kinds, from naturalization examinations to applications for adjustment of status; citizenship oath ceremonies; and even fingerprint or biometric appointments. If you currently have an interview scheduled for this month, you should be receiving a letter from USCIS descheduling it in light of this new policy. Obviously, any interviews that have been canceled will, at some point, be rescheduled for a different date and time, but it may be some time before individuals receive notices of their new interviews. Additionally, no one knows how long this crisis will last and how government-ordered (federal, state, and local) restrictions and closures will impact operations.

DS-5540 Public Charge Questionnaire Now Required For Immigrant Visas

As we discussed last week, the Department of State took swift action to implement its own Final Rule on Public Charge Inadmissibility. Since February 24, 2020, all consular immigrant visa cases are now subject to the new guidelines, the intent of which are to essentially deny admission to individuals who are likely to become dependent on the government for assistance. Going forward, applicants will now to have complete the DS-5540 as part of the immigrant visa process. On that form, the applicant must disclose his/her household size; assets; debts/liabilities; and education/skills, among other things. In addition, applicants should be prepared to furnish supporting documentation including but not limited to proof of health insurance and tax return transcripts if the applicant filed taxes in the US. (If a family unit is applying together, only one DS-5540 is required.) 

Does Applying For Public Benefits Mean My Citizenship Case Will Be Denied?

Last Thursday, USCIS announced that it will be implementing its Final Rule on Public Charge Inadmissibility on February 24, 2020 (except in the state of Illinois, where the rule remains currently enjoined). Under the new regulations, USCIS officers will have expanded authority to determine whether an applicant is likely to become a public charge by evaluating a number of factors including but not limited to an individual's age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, and skills. Additionally, a noncitizen who receives a specified public benefit for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period will practically be presumed to be someone more likely than not to become a public charge in the future. 

Children's Names Disappearing From List of Traveling Applicants | CSPA

Individuals petitioning for their married relatives abroad might notice that derivative children who qualify to immigrate have suddenly disappeared from the list of traveling applicants on the CEAC system. We are experiencing this troubling snafu just recently when children who were under 21 were not listed on the system even though the petitioner had already paid their visa fees. After some futile attempts through asknvc, we were finally able to get in touch with somebody over the phone (after a couple of hours) who advised that the children were removed because their cases were being considered under the CSPA-something which made no sense because the children in question were minors and not even close to "aging out" where the Child Status Protection Act would have to come into play. After more hours on the phone, we were finally able to speak to a supervisor, who confirmed that there was a computer glitch that resulted in the children being removed. This is just another illustration of how things that can potentially go wrong even when things are done right from an applicant's side. In this case, had NVC's own error not been brought to its attention, the children's ability to immigrate would have been jeopardized. And to make matters worse, these are not the only types of issues that applicants may experience while processing their cases through the electronic CEAC system. In some cases, NVC may incorrectly determine that a petitioner does not meet the financial guidelines under the Affidavit of Support; in others, NVC has been known to halt processing when documents are allegedly not dark enough or not scanned the right way. After the documents are rescanned to conform to the specifications, it might take NVC another sixty days before confirmation is given that the deficiency has now been cured-even though, many times, there was never a deficiency in the first place.

How Much Bank Balance Do I Need For The Affidavit of Support?

Over the last year, there has been alarming uptick of consular cases denied on public charge grounds. Under this ground, a visa may be refused if the "applicant is likely, at any time after admission, to become primarily dependent on the US Government (federal, state, or local) for subsistence. Under new Department of State guidelines, the Affidavit of Support, in and of itself-even where the petitioner meets 125% of the poverty guideline level-is no longer dispositive. While a strong affidavit may serve as a positive factor, a whole host of other factors should be taken into consideration by the consular officer, including the visa applicant's "age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, and skills."

Can A Dependent Family Member Immigrate If The Main Beneficiary Dies? | 204l

One of the most frequently asked questions we run into concerns the legal ability of derivative family-based beneficiaries to immigrate if the principal beneficiary is not able to. The common context in which this occurs is when a principal beneficiary dies before his/her case becomes ripe and a visa granted. What happens to the principal beneficiary's family members? Can they still immigrate to the United States even though the principal beneficiary is deceased? The short answer, unfortunately, is no. Derivative beneficiaries are literally that: derivatives, and their status derives or depends on the status of the main beneficiary. If the principal beneficiary is unable to qualify for a visa, then family members under him/her will also not be accorded visas. In the case of either the petitioner's or beneficiary's death, in fact, the I-130 petition for alien relative is automatically revoked.

What Happens If I Don't Change My Address With Immigration? | AR-11

In this climate of increased immigration enforcement, more and more undocumented aliens are being picked up at an alarming pace. Those with outstanding removal and deportation orders are particularly at risk, as they are essentially considered fugitives by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security. It is tempting for some in this situation to purposefully evade the immigration authorities by moving without informing the government. However, individuals should be cognizant of the legal consequences of such conduct. The penalties related to removal are codified in Immigration and Nationality Act Section 243 and penalize willful failure to depart the US pursuant to a removal order. INA 243(a)(1)(A) provides that any alien against whom a final order of removal is outstanding who "willfully fails or refuses to depart from the United States within a period of 90 days from the date of the final order" shall be fined or imprisoned not more than four years (and in some cases, 10 years). These penalties extend as well to those willfully fail or refuse to present oneself for removal, as well as to other people who connive, conspire, or take any other action "designed to prevent or hamper" another person's removal.

Update on Immigration Interpreters| Can My Family Member Translate for Me?

In the middle of January 2017, USCIS released a Policy Memorandum concerning "The Role and Use of Interpreters in Domestic Field Office Interviews." The new memo (PM-602-0125.1) standardizes guidance on the use of interpreters agency wide in order to ensure that the rules are applied uniformly and fairly. It should be of particular importance to those summoned to appear at USCIS interviews who are not fluent in or able to communicate competently in English. (The policy does not apply to the following scenarios or situations, which have their own protocols: asylum interviews; credible fear screening interviews; NACARA related interviews; refugee interviews; interviews conducted at a USCIS overseas office; and interviews for which USCIS provides an interpreter.)

What Can I Do With Immigration Before Trump Takes Office on January 20?

Many undocumented or "illegal" aliens are understandably concerned and apprehensive about President-elect Trump's impending immigration policies once he takes office on January 20. Many have opined that he will likely cancel DACA and institute more aggressive enforcement methods. Of course, no one knows for sure. All of us will just have to wait and see. Regardless, it remains critical for those who are potentially affected to take prudent action now. Mr. Trump will certainly tackle immigration head on, but it may not necessarily be the first item on his agenda. Undocumented individuals and those who are out of status should definitely be consulting with attorneys who can evaluate their options. But there is also something else that people should consider doing, if they haven't already, and that is securing a copy of their immigration file if one exists (and sometimes to confirm whether or not there is an immigration record). This is done through a Freedom of Information Act (or "FOIA" for short) request. If an individual has already obtained a copy of his/her records, it will help an attorney tremendously in getting an accurate picture of a person's circumstances and eliminate a lot of guesswork. If one does not have a copy, the attorney may still conduct an evaluation but may need to conduct a FOIA request in any case to confirm information or to base one's opinion on.

PROFESSIONAL RECOGNITION

    • 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
Edison, NJ 08820

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