Lee & Garasia, LLC
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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 imigration issues and because of his effort we were able to get done our immigration work done successful. Thank you lee and garasia." Read More

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Green Cards Archives

How Long Does It Take For A Green Card Interview To Be Scheduled?

Once a family-based petition for a green card is filed, especially in conjunction with an adjustment of status application, an applicant will often wonder how long the case will take to complete. Generally speaking, we have seen a delay in adjudication in 2017 due to a slew of applications for citizenship and green cards that were filed last year. As a result, cases that would ordinarily take four to five months can take possibly up to and sometimes beyond one year. For family-based applications, is it important to understand that most cases will be scheduled for an interview at the local district office. For example, nearly all I-130 spouse petitions filed with I-485 adjustment of status applications will be scheduled for an interview. This makes sense given that an officer will need to meet with the couple to determine whether the relationship is genuine and bona fide. Therefore, it is unrealistic for an applicant to assume that once he/she is married and files for permanent residence, the green card will automatically be mailed without some sort of government vetting, especially in this day and age. On the other hand, not all family based cases will be scheduled for interviews. It is possible that certain cases will be adjudicated without having the petitioner and beneficiary appear personally for questioning.

New Version of I-485 Adjustment of Status Form Starts August 2017

Many people are not aware that USCIS quietly released a new edition of the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. The new edition is dated 6/26/17 and must be used if filing on August 25, 2017 or anytime after. Before August 25, the older edition (edition date 01/17/17) may still be used. The I-485 is the form that must be submitted in connection with any application for a green card if the applicant is presently in the United States and wishes to change one's status to a permanent resident. However, it is important to note that the I-485 is not the only form that is ordinarily submitted to USCIS. In family based cases, for example, it will also be accompanied by the I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, if one has not already been filed and approved. (If already approved, the I-130 approval notice is usually submitted with the I-485.)

What documents do I need for an I-130 interview? | Proof of Marriage

Preparing for a green card interview is just as crucial as submitting a properly completed application. Part of that preparation process entails not only knowing what type of questions will be asked but also furnishing the required necessary documents at the interview. Failure to bring necessary paperwork can not only delay a final decision in a case but also potentially result in a denial. Generally speaking, a couple should be prepared to show the originals of any copies that were submitted with the I-130 submission. For example, if the US Citizen spouse submitted a copy of his/her birth certificate as proof of US Citizenship, he or she should be ready to furnish the officer with the original if asked at the interview. In addition, parties to a marriage case should expect to provide documentary proof of their relationship.

Will I Be Arrested At My Green Card Interview? | Newark Immigration Lawyer

Just last week, five applicants were reportedly picked up and arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") when they appeared for their immigration interviews with USCIS in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Apparently, three of them were scheduled to appear for interviews in connection with their applications for green cards. Although it is not entirely clear, the context appears to suggest that these were marriage based interviews. Not surprisingly, incidents like these have revived fear and paranoia within the undocumented community about being picked up at immigration interviews. And while it is not the intent of this piece to feed that hysteria, occurrences like these do underscore the importance of seeking proper legal advice from qualified and experienced professionals-not notarios or dabblers-before filing immigration paperwork with the government. Especially when it comes to those who have no status, it is critical to understand what can happen just as much as what will probably happen. Filing for status or permanent residency is not as easy as filling out a form, as if one were filing a tax return (which, in truth, can be equally complex).

Green Card Holders Are Not Entitled to Admission After Travel Outside

The last few weeks have illuminated not only the volatile nature of immigration but also the perils of traveling as a green card holder. While lawful permanent residents enjoy a tremendous array of benefits and privileges that non-immigrants do not have-such as the legal ability to reside in the US indefinitely-permanent residence is still not equivalent to citizenship. Moreover, when a green card holder leaves the confines of the United States, he or she enjoys even less protection than what he/she had while staying inside the US. Most permanent residents understand that they are subject to inspection by Customs and Border Protection ("CBP"), just as US Citizens are, upon return from an international trip abroad. What they may not realize, though, is that in many cases, they are also-legally speaking-seeking "admission" into the US. Depending on an individual's circumstances and immigration history, a CBP officer may deem a green card holder "inadmissible" to the US, despite the fact that the person may hold a green card. If an officer arrives at this conclusion, legal proceedings may be instituted so that a person's legal residence is formally revoked or cancelled by an Immigration Judge. (Of course, the individual has a right to contest the matter in court.) Under the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"), there are certain circumstances under which a lawful permanent resident will be deemed to making an application for admission into the US. They can be found at section INA 101(a)(13)(C) which references when an alien:

Will Green Card Holders Who Travel Also Be Banned According To The Trump Order?

This past weekend, the nation was drawn into a firestorm of controversy over President Trump's divisive executive order titled "Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States." The order, which went into effect immediately last Friday, instructed the Department of Homeland Security to suspend the admission and issuance of visas from nationals of seven designated countries putatively associated with terrorism risks, which opponents have characterized as a weakly veiled ban on Muslims. Apparently, due to the swiftness with which the resolution was passed, the agency charged with inspecting and admitting alien visitors-Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-was itself caught off guard. Not surprisingly, the implementation of the order caused a lot of legal snafus including the detention of refugees whose visas were already approved and who were already in transit to the US. Additionally, permanent residents or "green card" holders who were from those seven designated states were reportedly not admitted to the US or according to some, not even allowed to board planes to return to the US.

Is an I-94 Necessary to File for My Green Card? | Entry and Inspection

Until recently, most visitors to the United States used to be provided with an I-94 Arrival-Departure Record upon admission. The I-94 is a white card that is usually affixed to the passport and bears an entry date, class of admission, and date of stay expiration. In the last few years, the Department of Homeland Security has begun digitizing entry records. As a result, visitors are no longer furnished these little white cards, except under limited circumstances. Instead, Customs and Border Protection has automated the process so that most entries by land and sea are electronically recorded. Visitors will still get their passports stamped, but will no longer receive the white cards.

I-751 Application To Renew Green Card | Evidence for Married Couple

Unlike aliens accorded permanent residence without conditions, those who have been granted conditional two year green cards must file together with their spouses for the permanent "10 year green card." (This term itself is a misnomer, as the status is indefinite; however, the card itself will expire in 10 years.) Despite its importance, the I-751 application process can appear deceptively simple. However, it would be a mistake to underestimate or downplay how critical this application is in a permanent resident's life here. Denial of the application will, in most cases, automatically lead to the individual being placed into removal proceedings. Even in cases where there is no question that the marriage is a genuine one, an alien's status may be jeopardized by failing to file the form correctly. Besides procedural errors, such as mailing to the wrong address, not enclosing the proper filing fee, or having only the immigrant sign the application, perhaps the biggest mistake that we have seen by people make doing these cases by themselves is failing to follow the instructions. The instructions are nearly as important as the form itself, given that USCIS explicitly advises the applicant what is expected. This is also reflected by the sheer length of pages: the actual application is 11 pages; the instructions are 10.

What If I Don't Pay the Immigrant Visa Fee? | $165 Green Card Fee

We have noticed that there is still some confusion regarding the USCIS immigrant visa fee and where it is paid. Especially amongst the Gujarati Indian community (fostered through misunderstanding or sometimes through deliberate deception by "agents" not licensed to practice US immigration law), there is a misconception that the fee is paid in the immigrant's home country. This is not true. The USCIS Immigrant Visa Fee of $165 is paid online. After the applicant appears for the immigrant visa interview, he/she will be provided with an information sheet that details the mechanics of how the fee is paid. The handout will indicate the individual's alien registration number and Department of State Case ID, two numbers that are necessary to input when paying the fee. Before the immigrant immigrates to the United States, the immigrant visa fee should be paid by logging in online at www.uscis.gov/file-online. Fortunately, now, the procedure allows anyone to pay the fee, including attorneys, family members, friends, employers, etc.

DNA Tests May Be Considered for Sibling Petitions

The Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") issued an important precedential decision last month regarding sibling DNA test results. The decision is Matter of RUZKU, 26 I & N Dec. 731 (BIA 2016). The holding basically establishes that direct sibling DNA test results that indicate a 99.5 percent probability that the parties are related as siblings should be taken into consideration by USCIS and accorded proper weight. In the case at hand, USCIS declined, in accordance with its official policy, to give any evidential weight to a DNA test result submitted by the petitioner in support of his I-130 application for his sibling, even though the results indicated a 99.8114 percent probability that the parties were full biological siblings. The government memorandum which USCIS relied upon to support its decision states that USCIS may not afford any weight to sibling-to-sibling DNA test results and will only evaluate parent-child DNA results, which presumably are more reliable.

PROFESSIONAL RECOGNITION

    • 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
    • Nationaly Recognized | Newsweek Nationwide Showcase | Top Attorneys 2013
    • New Jersey Chapter | American Immigration Lawyers Association | Angie Garasia | Chapter Chair 2015-2016
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