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Adjustment of Status Lawyer Fee and Costs

Adjustment of Status Lawyer Fee and Costs: Overview

Adjustment of status lawyer fee and costs is high on the priority list for someone who is looking to gain U.S. permanent residence. In this article, we will explore the cost and fees for adjustment of status, flexible payment arrangements and ways to pay.

Types of Fees associated with an I-485 Adjustment of Status Application

In order to be able to file an I-485 adjustment application, you must have an underlying petition. In some cases, the underlying petition may be filed with the adjustment of status application. In other cases, you have to wait for approval before you may file for adjustment of status.

Marriage-based or Family-sponsored Adjustment of Status Fees

  • I-130 Petition for Alien Relative filing fee: $ 675 ($50 discount, if filed online)
  • I-485 Application to Adjust Status: $ 1,140
  • I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (optional): $260
  • I-131 Application for Travel Document (optional): $630
  • Attorney’s Fees (starting price): $3,500

VAWA Adjustment of Status Fees

  • I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant: $0
  • I-485 Application to Adjust Status: $1,140
  • I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (optional): $260
  • I-131 Application for Travel Document (optional): $630
  • Attorney’s Fees (starting price): $3,500

Employment-based Adjustment of Status Fees

  • I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers: $715
  • I-485 Application to Adjust Status: $1,140
  • I-907 Request for Premium Processing (optional): $2,805
  • I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (optional): $260
  • I-131 Application for Travel Document (optional): $630
  • Attorney’s Fees (starting price): $3,500

Immigration Attorney: Flexible Payment Options

My name is Cheryl Fletcher and I have been representing immigration clients since 2015. I have helped win green cards, visas and American citizenship for hundreds of families, employees and investors. The cost of an attorney should not be the sole deciding factor in your hiring decision. You deserve the best representation possible.

Hiring a lawyer is a “big ticket” item for most people living in America and paying for legal services usually requires careful planning. We charge flat fees to eliminate the uncertainty surrounding the cost for a lawyer. Additionally, we offer structured payments to most clients. We accept Visa, Master Card, American Express, Zelle, Cash App, PayPal etc. I’d be more than happy to hear about your situation and devise a legal strategy to achieve the best outcome possible.

Cheryl-Fletcher Adjustment of Status Lawyer Fee and Costs

Can VAWA be Appealed?

Can VAWA be Appealed? Overview

“Can VAWA be appealed?” The simple answer to this question is “yes” but the legal requirements for a strong appeal are quite complicated. When you file an appeal, you are saying that  United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the immigration judge made a mistake. You are requesting that the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) take a second look at your case and agree with you.

How to File an Appeal?

The denial notice from USCIS provides information on how to file an appeal. You should mail your appeal to the address listed on the notice. If you lost your case in immigration court, you should send your appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). You have 30 days to file an appeal.

Can VAWA be Appealed? Should You File an Appeal?

Even though it is your right to file an appeal, this is not the only factor you should consider when you are thinking about whether to appeal a denial. Moreover, for court cases you should have reserved your right to appeal, otherwise you gave up that right. Some cases are rightly denied and other cases are mistakenly denied. You should assess your chances of winning before you spend time and money pursuing an appeal. Consult with a good immigration lawyer to help you make this decision.

Can VAWA be Appealed: Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether to File an Appeal

  1. Erroneous Decision

The most important factor to consider when deciding whether to file an appeal is whether the decision to deny your case was incorrect. To answer this question you must know the legal requirements for VAWA. A good immigration attorney is invaluable for this analysis. The lawyer will be able to apply the law to the facts of your case and see whether the decision was correct.

2. Likelihood of Success

Although no one can say for certain whether you will win your appeal, you can evaluate your chances. You should carefully review the Notice of Decision or the order from the immigration judge. So, although “can VAWA be appealed?” is a great question. “what are my chances?” is an equally important question.

3. Employment while your case is pending

It takes many years for you to get a decision on your VAWA case. You may have secured work authorization and are working at the time that you received the negative decision. If you don’t appeal, the VAWA denial decision becomes permanent and you will lose any work authorization that you gained while your VAWA case was pending. If you appeal, your case is technically still open and you can continue to renew your work permit.

4. Cost of an Appeal

It is not cheap to file an appeal because of the amount of legal work that is involved. In addition, all of the work must be done upfront because the appeal is due within 30 days. A good appellate lawyer will review your case thoroughly and submit an appellate brief, additional evidence, and immigration forms. The appellate brief requires numerous hours of legal research and writing. This is the lawyer’s tool to analyze your case and persuade the appellate body that your case should not have been denied. When trying to decide whether it is worth it to file an appeal, you should ask yourself “how much is a green card worth?” A green card allows you to live and work in the U.S. permanently, without limitation. When you compare how much you can make over your lifetime versus how much an attorney will charge you for an appeal, your lifetime earnings should be significantly higher than what the attorney will charge you. Although an attorney cannot guarantee that you will win your appeal, it is worth a shot if you have the right case.

5. Other Options

Sometimes an appeal is not the best option. If you did not provide sufficient evidence with your first petition, and are still married, you may be able to refile the case, rather than appeal. If you are divorced, you can refile your case, if the divorce was finalized less than two years ago. The benefit of refiling is that you do not have to prove that the first decision was incorrect. Some other options that do not require appealing include entering into a bonafide marriage with someone else, or applying for a T or U visa.

What if You Missed the Deadline for an Appeal?

USCIS gives you 30 days after service of the denial to file an appeal. You have 3 extra days if you received the decision by mail. If your appeal is late USCIS may still accept it and treat it as a Motion to Reopen or Motion to Reconsider.

The Board of Immigration Appeals has a strict 30-day deadline to file an appeal. The 30 days begins either when the court issued an oral ruling or mailed the decision. If you missed the deadline with the Board, it is very rare for this appellate body to accept your late appeal. The Board will likely dismiss your case.

You may file a Motion to Reconsider with the immigration judge, within 30 days of the denial. If you missed the 30-day appellate window with the BIA, you likely also missed the 30-day deadline for a Motion for Reconsideration. Both dates run simultaneously. Your only option then is to file a Motion to Reopen your VAWA removal case with the immigration judge, citing new facts that were either unknown or inaccessible at the time of your original hearing. Generally, a Motion to Reopen must be filed within one year of the immigration judge’s final order, but there are some exceptions.

Can VAWA be Appealed? Immigration Attorney

My name is Cheryl Fletcher and I have been an immigration attorney since 2015. I have helped countless abuse victims with their VAWA case. During a private online consultation, I’ll explain your rights and together we evaluate your chances of success. Take a step forward and eliminate the uncertainty regarding your future in America.

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How to Overcome Marriage Fraud 204 (c)?

How to Overcome Marriage Fraud: Overview

“How to overcome marriage fraud?” USCIS concluding that your marriage is fraudulent is not the way that you want to start your immigration journey. Some marriages are a complete sham and USCIS is on the lookout for those. However, there are bona fide marriages that USCIS erroneously misclassify as fake and this article will discuss ways to overcome it.

Avoid a Marriage Fraud Finding in the First Place

When USCIS concludes that your marriage is fraudulent, this means that it found that: (1) you knowingly entered into a marriage; (2) the marriage was entered into for the purpose of evading a provision of the immigration laws; and (3) you knew or had reason to know of the immigration laws. The penalty for marriage fraud is either imprisonment for not more than 5 years, a fine of not more than $250,000 or both.

If you present a weak case to USCIS, with very little documentation, it is likely that USCIS could misclassify your case as fraudulent. To avoid this, either don’t file until you have solid evidence that you intend to establish a life with your spouse or present the evidence in such a way that it is impossible for USCIS to conclude that your marriage is fraudulent. A skilled immigration attorney can help you greatly and could make the difference.

How to Overcome Marriage Fraud? Appeal the Decision

Each year, USCIS makes a decision on over 500,00 I-130 petitions. Some of these petitions are family-sponsored and some are marriage-based. USCIS doesn’t always get it right, so you should exercise your right to appeal. You have 30 days to appeal an adverse decision and where to file your appeal is stated in the Notice of Decision. You can present new evidence in your appeal. When you appeal, you are saying that USCIS made a mistake when it classified your marriage as fraudulent.

Screenshot-2024-02-06-at-1.03.57 PM-1024x550 How to Overcome Marriage Fraud 204 (c)?

Submit Evidence to Overcome the Prior Marriage Bar

When you file your second petition, USCIS will revisit the prior marriage bar. A marriage fraud bar attaches for life and will prevent other petitions from being approved, unless you successfully get the decision overturned. Submit evidence to overcome this finding. This can be evidence that was never previously available or evidence that you had but never sent with your first petition. A closed joint bank account does not mean the statements are lost forever. Some banks are still able to provide you with this critical piece of evidence. Photographs and text messages that are on malfunctioning devices may be recovered by data recovery specialists. Third-party affidavits attesting to the genuineness of your marriage can still be written, even if you got divorced and some time has elapsed.

Apply for Immigration Benefits that Can be Approved Despite the Bar

A marriage fraud bar prevents subsequent petitions from being approved but not every permanent residence application requires a petition. If you are eligible for an immigration benefit that can be granted, despite the bar, you should apply. Some examples are T and U non-immigrant visas, asylum and cancellation of removal, all of which can lead to permanent residence. VAWA requires a petition and would not work with a marriage fraud bar.

Immigration Attorney

My name is Cheryl Fletcher and I have been an immigration attorney, since 2015. I help families, employers and investors realize their American dream. I would like to opportunity to hear about your immigration case and give you my honest legal opinion on how I may be able to help you. At the end of a 30-minute consultation with me, you should walk away with a clear understanding of your case and the way forward. Get the peace of mind you deserve.

Cheryl-Fletcher How to Overcome Marriage Fraud 204 (c)?

Who Can Sponsor for Adjustment of Status?

Who Can Sponsor for Adjustment of Status? Overview

“Who can sponsor for adjustment of status?” is a great question to ask yourself before filing form I-485. Not every adjustment of status applicant will need a sponsor but for those who do, there are certain minimum income requirements. Each year the U.S. government publishes the federal poverty guidelines on form I-864P Poverty Guidelines for Affidavit of Support. The point of having a sponsor is to prevent the intending immigrant from relying on public benefits should he or she fall into poverty. Rather, the sponsor will be financially responsible for support in these circumstances.

Do You Need a Sponsor?

Form I-864 Affidavit of Support is a contract between the sponsor and the U.S. government. Most family-based immigrants and some employment-based immigrants need this form.

Form I-864 NeededForm I-864 Not Needed
All immediate relatives of U.S. citizens:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age
  • Parents of U.S. citizens

All family-based preference immigrants:

  • unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens
  • married children of U.S. citizens
  • spouses of lawful permanent residents
  • unmarried adult children of lawful permanent residents
  • brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens

Employment-based preference immigrants:

  • U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident or U.S. national  relative filed immigrant visa petition; or
  • U.S citizen, lawful permanent resident or U.S. national owns 5% or more ownership interest in the petitioning company.
VAWA self-petitioners

Self-petitioning widows or widowers

Special immigrants

Intending immigrants who have earned 40 qualifying quarters of  work in the U.S.

Any intending immigrant who will acquire U.S. citizenship upon admission

Diversity immigrants

Refugees and asylees

Immigrants applying under the Cuban Adjustment Act

Haitians adjusting under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998 and the Help Haiti Act of 2010

Who Can Sponsor for Adjustment of Status? Basic Eligibility Requirements

A sponsor must be:

  • at least 18 years of age
  • a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or lawful permanent resident.
  • domiciled in any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or any territory of possession of the United States
  • petitioning for admission of the intending immigrant
  • able to demonstrate the means to maintain an annual income equal to at least 125% (100% for active duty military members) of the federal poverty line

A sponsor does not have to be related to you. A sponsor’s income may be wages, business income, retirement benefits or any other type of lawfully obtained income. If the income is insufficient assets may be used.

Joint Sponsors, Household Members and Substitute Sponsors

If the petitioner’s income is insufficient, a joint sponsor can be used to assist in meeting the income requirements. The joint sponsor must meet the same eligibility requirements as the petitioner/sponsor and complete form I-864. If the additional sponsor is a member of the petitioner’s household, that person would be classified as a household member and would complete form I-864A.

A substitute sponsor is used when the petitioner passes away before all qualified family members have immigrated. A substitute sponsor must be related to you and be either your spouse, parent, mother-in-law, father-in law, sibling, child (at least 18 years of age), son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, grandparent, grandchild or the legal guardian.

Affidavit of Support Immigration Attorney

My name is Cheryl Fletcher and I have been an immigration attorney since 2015. I have been assisting families successfully navigate the complex immigration process. After reading this article you should have a better understanding of who can sponsor an adjustment of status applicant.  An immigration attorney  is invaluable during this process. I would like the opportunity to work with you.

Cheryl-Fletcher Who Can Sponsor for Adjustment of Status?

Who Qualifies for Adjustment of Status?

Who Qualifies for Adjustment of Status: Overview

“Who qualifies for adjustment of status?” is a very broad question that covers a large group of people. An adjustment of status application allows you to obtain your green card in the U.S. without leaving to attend an interview at the U.S. embassy/consulate abroad. There are many different categories through which you may apply to obtain permanent residence. These include family-based, employment-based, special immigrant, refugee or asylum, human trafficking and crime victims, victims of abuse, registry, diversity lottery, and Cuban adjustment. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) form I-485 Application to Register Residence or Adjust Status is the correct application to use to apply for adjustment of status.

I-485 Adjustment of Status: Basic Eligibility Requirements

Although adjustment of status covers many immigrant visas categories, all adjustment of status applications have certain basic criteria that you should meet.

  1. Physical presence: You must be physically present in the United States to apply for adjustment of status.
  2. Immigrant petition: You must be the beneficiary of an immigrant petition. For some cases, such as VAWA and immediate relative filing, the immigrant petition may be filed simultaneously with the adjustment of status application. In other cases, you must wait until the immigrant petition is approved before you are eligible to file for adjustment of status.
  3. Lawful entry: You must have been inspected and admitted or paroled into the U.S., with a few notable exceptions. If you are an asylee, VAWA self-petitioner, special immigrant juvenile, registry applicant, certain T nonimmigrants or U nonimmigrants, you do not have to prove that you had a lawful entry. If you were admitted after April 30, 2013, you may have been issued an electronic form I-94. The I-94 is proof that you were lawfully admitted and it shows your authorized period of stay. You can obtain the most recent copy of your I-94 from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
  4. Two passport-style photographs: You are required to submit two-passport style photographs of yourself, taken within the last six months.
  5. Government-issued Identification: You should submit a copy of a government-issued identification that has your photograph. This can be your passport, driver’s license, national voter’s card or military identification. The document is acceptable, even if it is expired.
  6. Birth certificate: You must submit a photocopy of your birth certificate, unless you are a refugee or asylee. USCIS only accepts long-form birth certificates, which lists at least one parent. If your birth certificate does not exist, you must prove why it is unavailable. Secondary evidence such as medical records, hospital or school records can be used to prove the facts of your birth. If your home country does not normally issue birth certificates, you should include a copy of the reciprocity table with your application, showing that birth certificates are unavailable in your home country. You do not need to submit secondary evidence relating to your birth if birth certificates are generally unavailable in your home country.

Who Should Not Apply for Adjustment of Status?

While it is important to understand “who qualifies for adjustment of status,” it is equally important to understand who does not qualify for adjustment of status. You should not apply for adjustment of status if you are “inadmissible” and you are not eligible for a waiver. Inadmissibility means you have done something in the past or you have certain medical issues that will prevent you from being approved for permanent residence. A waiver is “forgiveness” for certain past conduct and medical conditions. An approved waiver application allows you to adjust your status. For some types of issues, there is no waiver available and no matter how much of a good person you are, you simply won’t be able to get a green card.

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What Grounds of Inadmissibility can be Waived?

There are several grounds under which you may be found to be inadmissible. Some of the most common ones are listed below. An I-601 waiver application covers most grounds of inadmissibility. However, there is also an I-192 waiver application for T or U visa applicants, where applicable, and an I-212 waiver application, if you have have previously been deported from the U.S. Furthermore, if your only issue is unlawful presence, you are physically located in the U.S. and you are will be applying for your green card from abroad, the appropriate waiver could be an I-601A. An experienced immigration attorney can help you decide on the appropriate waiver or even if you need a waiver for your particular case.

Medical or Health-Related Waiver

If you have certain diseases that will endanger public health, you are inadmissible and will need a approved I-601 waiver to obtain permanent residence. Some of the most common diseases are tuberculosis, gonorrhea, syphilis and leprosy. In addition, if you have any disease that the U.S Secretary of Health and Human Services deems communicable, you will need a waiver. A health-related waiver also covers vaccinations and mental-health disorders. If you are sincerely opposed to vaccinations based on religious beliefs or moral convictions, you may be eligible for a waiver. Furthermore, if you engage in harmful behavior based on a metal disorder, you should apply for a waiver.

Who Qualifies for Adjustment of Status: Unlawful Presence Waiver

If you have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for longer than 180 days but less than one year, you are subject to a 3-year bar. If unlawfully present for more than one year, you are subject to a 10-year bar. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, VAWA applicants, certain physicians and their accompanying spouse and children, G-4 and Nato-6 employees and their family members, special immigrant juveniles and certain military members and their spouse and children are exempt from the unlawful presence bar. If you are not exempt and have violated the unlawful presence rule, you may be eligible for an I-601 waiver or an I-601A provisional waiver.

Unauthorized Employment Inadmissibility Ground

There is no waiver available for working without authorization. However, certain categories of people are exempt from this rule. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, VAWA applicants, certain physicians and their accompanying spouse and children, G-4 and Nato-6 employees and their family members, special immigrant juveniles and certain military members and their spouse and children can work without authorization and still be eligible for a green card. If you do not fall into one of those groups, you are inadmissible and your green card application will likely be denied.

Financial/Public Charge Inadmissibility Ground

Most adjustment of status applicants are required to prove that they are not likely to rely on the U.S. government for public benefits. For family-based applications an I-864 Affidavit of Support form is required. This form is a contract between your visa petitioner and the U.S government. The petitioner must prove that they will financially support you so that you do not fall into poverty. If the petitioner’s income does not meet the standard in the annual federal poverty guidelines they can ask a joint sponsor or an household member to join the petition.

Employment-based petitioners are not required to complete an I-864 form, unless they have sponsored a relative or the relative owns 5% or more of the sponsoring entity.

VAWA applicants and intending immigrants who have earned 40 qualifying credits of work credits are exempt from filing an I-864 form. Similarly, any immigrant who will attain U.S. citizenship upon admission, is exempt.

Receiving public benefits before or while your green card application is pending is a fact that the immigration officer will take into consideration when deciding whether to approve your application. You will not automatically be denied if you took public benefits. However, if it is more likely than not that you will become a public charge, then the application will likely be denied. A skillful attorney can argue your position well.

Fraud, Misrepresentation and False Claims to U.S. Citizenship Waiver

If you lied, tendered false documents or committed any other type of fraud or misrepresentation to obtain an immigration benefit, you may need to apply for a fraud waiver. This can be done on form I-601.

You may have falsely claimed to be a US citizen in oral interviews or written applications. Special immigrant juveniles and registry applicants are exempt from this rule. Generally, there is no waiver available for false claim to U.S. citizenship for most applicants. However, refugees and asylees who are seeking adjustment of status may be granted a waiver. As of September 30, 1996, if you made a false claim to U.S citizenship, you are inadmissible. You may be eligible for a waiver under the fraud and misrepresentation ground, if the false claim was made before the stated date.

J Nonimmigrant Foreign Residence Requirement Waiver

 If you entered the United States as a J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant exchange visitor and you are subject to the 2-year foreign residence requirement, you should not apply for adjustment of status. You should return to your home country for 2-years, or obtain a waiver recommendation letter from the U.S. Department of State. Not all exchange visitors are subject to the 2-year foreign residence requirement. Some are automatically granted a waiver at the time that they are approved for a visa.

Who Qualifies for Adjustment of Status: Criminal and Alien Smuggling Waiver

The criminal grounds under which you may be excluded from getting a green card are vast. There is no waiver available for drug possession and distribution offenses, except simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana. There is a waiver available for certain crimes involving moral turpitude such as theft offenses, multiple convictions, and prostitution. Committing murder or torture prevents you from ever getting a green card.

Alien smugglers are inadmissible but there is a waiver available under certain circumstances. If you smuggled or assisted with smuggling anyone other than your spouse, parent, son, or daughter to the United States, you will not be approved for a waiver.

Section 245(i) Civil Penalty: Waiver of Inadmissibility

Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows certain individuals who are present in the United States who would not normally qualify to apply for adjustment of status in the United States to obtain lawful permanent residence (get a Green Card) regardless of:

  • The manner they entered the United States;
  • Working in the United States without authorization; or
  • Failing to continuously maintain lawful status since entry.

If you are the beneficiary of a labor certification or immigrant visa petition, filed on or before April 30, 2001, you could be 245(i) eligible. In most cases you will have to pay a $1,000 fine in addition to the filing fee.

Illegal Entry, Removal and Deportation Waiver

If you entered without inspection and you were not admitted or paroled, you will most likely be unable to obtain your green card through adjustment of status. This rule does not apply to VAWA applicants, asylees and refugees. If you are the beneficiary of a family-based petition and this is your situation, you may still be able to obtain your green card but you will have to apply through consular processing.

 A previous deportation or removal order that has been executed makes you inadmissible. If you were removed as an arriving alien or through expedited removal, you need consent to reapply, within 5 years. If you were ordered removed, other than as an arriving alien, you need consent to reapply within 10 years and if you were removed more than once, the waiting period is 20 years. If you were ordered removed but never left the U.S. you may be able to reopen your removal case and adjust your status. An I-212 application can be submitted before the requisite amount of time and if you are successful, then you can obtain your green card without waiting the full period.

Immigrant Membership in a Totalitarian Party: Inadmissibility Ground

Let us look at the question “who qualifies for adjustment of status,” regarding Nazis. If you are or have been a communist or a member of a totalitarian party, whether in the U.S. or in a foreign country, you are inadmissible. There is no waiver available for most people. However, your application may be approved for humanitarian purposes or to assure family unity. On the contrary, it will not be approved if you pose a threat to the security of the United States or it goes against the public interest.

Who Qualifies for Adjustment of Status: Immigration Attorney

My name is Cheryl Fletcher and I have been an immigration attorney since 2015. I have helped hundreds of immigrants from many different countries successfully adjust their status. Your search may have started with the simple question: “who qualifies for adjustment of status” but after reading this article you may see that your case could be more complicated. I would like the opportunity to hear about your case and share with you the best legal strategy to help you achieve you goals. Feel free to book a consultation with me. You’ll be glad you did.

Cheryl-Fletcher Who Qualifies for Adjustment of Status?

How Much do I Need to Invest to Get an E2 Visa?

How Much Do I Need to Invest to Get an E2 Visa? Overview

“How much do I need to invest to get an E2 visa?” is a very important question. The answer could make or break your dreams of running your own business in America. The good news is that there is no minimum amount. Your investment has to pass the “proportionality” test. The investment must be substantial enough so that the business has a reasonable chance of success. The proportionality test compares the investment amount and the cost of the business.

What is an E2 Business?

An E2 business can be either an established business or a startup. What is important is that you must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the business. You cannot be a passive investor and the business cannot be a non-profit organization. For example, investing in stocks or undeveloped land are usually passive activities. Furthermore, you must have already invested or be actively involved in the process or investing. There is no restriction on the type of commercial enterprise. The business can be a goods/product type business or a service business.

How Much Do I Need to Invest to Get an E2 Visa? The “Proportionality Test”

The proportionality test operates like an inverted sliding scale. The lower the cost of the business, the higher the percentage of investment that is required. For example, a $30,000 investment in a hair salon that costs $30,000 would qualify but so would a $10 million dollar investment into a company that costs $100 million dollars. If the investment amount and the cost of the business are the same, i.e., the investment pays for 100% of the business, then investment is substantial.

The E-visa unit will look at the sale price of an existing business, to determine the cost of the business. With a startup, they will look at the actual costs that are needed to fund the company to the point where it is operational.

How to Pass the Marginality Test?

It is critical that the E2 business pass the marginality test. A marginal enterprise is likely to fail and the Department of State will not grant an E2 visa in those circumstances. “Marginality” means the business does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than a minimal living for you and your family.

To pass this test, you should submit a 5-year business plan of projected future revenue. Your investment should also expand job opportunities and generate other sources of income. The investment should generate income substantially above the cost of living.

E-2 Visa Immigration Attorney: Fees & Costs

After reading this article, you should have gained abetter understanding of the eligibility requirements for an E2 investor visa. My name is Cheryl Fletcher and I have been an immigration attorney since 2015.

Fees:

  • I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: $1,015
  • DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application: $185
  • Attorney’s Fees: $4,500

I have helped countless investors and their families obtain E2 visas. I will take the time to explain your rights and together we will evaluate your options. Book a consultation with me, you’ll be glad you did.

Cheryl-Fletcher How Much do I Need to Invest to Get an E2 Visa?

Is it Easy to Get Approved for VAWA?

Is it Easy to Get Approved for VAWA? Overview

“Is it easy to get approved for VAWA?” is a legitimate question but you should never underestimate the legal requirements for any immigration application. It may be easy to get the forms and instructions online but there is a body of complex immigration law that is applied to each case. This is why you should not attempt to do-it-yourself, as you will be practicing on your own case, without proper training. A skilled immigration attorney, can improve your chances of winning your case and help you avoid deportation.

How Do You Win a VAWA Case?

VAWA means Violence Against Women Act and despite the name, it applies equally to men and women. VAWA allows abused spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and permanent residents to self-petition for a green card without a sponsor. Abused parents of U.S. citizens are also eligible to apply. How you present your case is big step in determining if you win or lose.

Is-it-easy-to-get-approved-for-VAWA-1 Is it Easy to Get Approved for VAWA?
Copy-of-starting-price Is it Easy to Get Approved for VAWA?

1. Is it Easy to Get Approved for WAWA: Check your Eligibility 

This first step in winning your VAWA case is to be eligible. There are five main requirements for VAWA. a) You need a qualifying relationship; b) in which you were abused; c) you resided with the abuser; d) you are eligible for immediate relative or preference category; and e) you are a person of moral character.

2. Have Strong Supporting Evidence

Many VAWA cases are won or lost based on evidence. VAWA requires proof for all the five steps mentioned above. You cannot just say you meet the requirements. Filing an I360 petition without any further documentation is a sure way of getting denied for VAWA. Depending on your case, you may need evidence of bona fide proof or marriage or proof of the parent child relationship.

3. Hire the Best Attorney

Practicing on your own case is a recipe for disaster. You could win your case by reading online and listening to friends but you are more likely to lose than win. You should not gamble like this with your future. Find a skilled immigration attorney who is well-versed in immigration law and regularly files and wins VAWA cases. The right attorney will know how to prepare and present evidence for your VAWA case. Even, when you initially do not believe that you can prove your case, speaking with the right attorney could change your perception.

4. Do Not Take Steps That May Hurt Your Case

The road to a VAWA victory is long. It could take 5 years from the time you file the first application to the time that you are holding your green card in your hand. You have to be a person of “good moral character” throughout this process. Committing crimes during this period could hurt your case. Also getting married while the I-360 is pending could be the end of your VAWA case.

Is it Easy to Get Approved for VAWA? What Percentage of VAWA Cases are Approved?

The Annual Report on Immigration Applications and Petitions Made by Victims of Abuse, is a yearly publication made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This report documents the approval rate for VAWA cases. Some cases may have been received before 2022 but the table below shows the approval and denial rate in 2022. USCIS received 32,413 total VAWA cases in 2022 and this is normally the trend, each year. If we use this number in comparison to the approval and denial rate, we will see that only 25 percent of VAWA cases are approved.

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Is it Easy to Get Approved for VAWA: How an Immigration Attorney can Help?

After reading this article, you should have learned that only 25 percent of VAWA cases are approved. The odds are even worse if you do-it-yourself.

My name is Cheryl Fletcher and I have been practicing immigration law since 2015. I have helped hundreds of victims of domestic violence secure their future in America, with a VAWA green card.

If you would like to speak with me about your VAWA case, please feel free to book a consultation. You’ll be glad you did.

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Watch Attorney Fletcher explain the 8 eligibility requirements for a successful VAWA petition. WATCH NOW.

Does VAWA Require Marriage?

Does VAWA Require Marriage? Overview

“Does VAWA require marriage?” is an excellent question and one that you should consider carefully before applying for VAWA. My name is Cheryl Fletcher and I am an immigration attorney. In this article, we will fully answer this question so that you will have a basic understanding of the VAWA marriage requirements.

VAWA Marriage Requirements

VAWA means Violence Against Women Act and both men and women are eligible for immigration benefits under this law. It allows abused spouses and children who are abused by a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident to apply for a VAWA green card. Abused parents of U.S. citizens are also eligible.

1. Vawa Marriage Requirements for an Abused Spouse

To be eligible for VAWA, an abused spouse must: 1) have resided with the U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident; 2) was battered or subject to extreme cruelty during the marriage; 3) have entered into the marriage in good faith; 4) be eligible for immediate relative or preference status; and 5) be a person of good moral character.

What is a “good faith” marriage?

A good faith marriage is a real marriage. This means that you and the abusive spouse intended to establish a life together when you decided to get marriage. Documentation such as wedding photographs, joint residence, joint bank accounts, affidavits from friends and relatives and joint utility bills are some of the types of evidence that prove that there is/was a good faith marriage. A marriage entered into solely for immigration benefits is a sham and not a good faith marriage.

Types of Marriages

a. Civil marriage: This is the most common type of marriage and is easily recognized. In most cases, the government of the state or province where you are getting married will issue a license. The ceremony has to be performed by an official or authorized person. After the marriage ceremony, you apply to have the marriage recorded in official government records. You will receive an original certificate with the details of the marriage. A certified copy of this document is good for a VAWA application.

b. Common-law marriage: A common law marriage is a legally recognized marriage between two people without a marriage license or ceremony. It is the type of arrangement where two people capable of marrying, live together as husband and wife and pretend to be a married couple. If a common law marriage is legally recognized in your U.S. state or foreign country, this is good enough for a VAWA application. Evidence of you cohabitating with your common-law spouse and a copy of the relevant law may help you prove your case.

c. Religious marriage: A wedding that follows all the statutory requirements and a religious official performs the ceremony rather than a civil official. This type of marriage is also recognized for VAWA purposes, as long as it is legal in the state or country where it happened.

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Any of the types of marriages above are eligible for VAWA. There are issues such as bigamy, consanguinity and public policy that can complicate the validity of a marriage. VAWA recognizes bigamous marriages where the abused spouse believes that he or she was in a valid marriage. These issues are highly complex and it is best to speak with a qualified immigration attorney.

Is Divorce Required for VAWA?

For VAWA eligibility, you must file the I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant while married to the abusive spouse or within two years of the divorce, the abuser’s death or the abuser’s loss of U.S. citizenship or U.S. permanent resident status. A battered ex-spouse may remarry after, but not before the I-360 is approved, otherwise the case will be denied.

2. VAWA Marriage Requirements for a  Child Beneficiary

An abused spouse’s child is automatically included without a separate petition. This includes the abuser’s step-children and adopted children. The marriage must have occurred before the child turned 18 years old. The child does not have to suffer abuse or have even resided with the abuser. There must be or have been a legally recognized marriage between the VAWA spouse and the abusive U.S. citizen or U.S. resident, for the child derative beneficiary to be eligible for VAWA. For the child, the marriage does not have to be bona fide and the abuse does not have to have taken place during the marriage.The child must be unmarried and under 21 when the I-360 is filed but will not “age-out” even if the petition is not approved until after 21 years of age.

Aged out Children: An abused child of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may file a VAWA petition until age 25 if he or she can demonstrate that the abuse was at least one central reason for the filing delay. To be eligible to file until age 25: 1) the child must have qualified to file before age 21; 2) there must be a strong connection between the abuse and the filing delay; 3) the I-360 must be filed before the child reaches 25; and 4) the child must be unmarried.

3. VAWA Marriage Requirements for an Abused Parent

Natural, adoptive or stepparents are eligible for VAWA if the United States child is 21 or older at the time the parent files. For stepparents, the  marriage had to exist before the abusive child turned 18. 

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How an Immigration Attorney can Help?

After reading this article, you should have learned that the answer to the question, “does VAWA require marriage” is yes.

I have been practicing immigration law since 2015. I have helped hundreds of VAWA applicants through the application process. At my law firm, we review the facts of your case thoroughly to determine the best strategy to achieve your goals.

We have received approvals for cases that other attorneys thought were not possible.

Please fee free to reach out to us for a case evaluation.

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Watch Attorney Fletcher explain the 8 eligibility requirements for a successful VAWA petition. WATCH NOW.

How Long After VAWA is Approved to Get a Green Card?

How Long After VAWA is Approved to Get a Green Card? Overview

“How long after VAWA is approved to get a green card?” may not be your first thought but after waiting a few weeks, you may begin to wonder how long will the entire process take. Rest assured, you have clicked on the right article. We will explore the answer thoroughly so that you will be able to manage your expectations.

The Two Categories of VAWA Applicants

VAWA means Violence Against Women Act and it allows certain abused persons to self-petition for a green card, without the need for a sponsor. Only two categories of abused persons are eligible for VAWA. Namely, those whose abusive relative is a U.S. citizen or those whose abusive relative is a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). The abusive relative’s immigration status determines your VAWA category.

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VAWA Applicants With an Abusive U.S. Citizen Relative

Parents, children and spouses who live with a U.S. citizen and are abused are eligible for a green card. This category of people are called immediate relatives. There is no limit on the amount of immigrant visas that are available for immediate relatives and these visas are always available. As soon as the I-360 Petition for American, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant is filed and accepted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), a visa is available for you.

Filing a Stand Alone I-360 Petition: As an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you may file the I-360 petition alone or your may file it with an I-485 Adjustment of Status application. There are many reasons why you may decide to file a stand alone petition. Some typical reasons are costs, inadmissibility issues and travel restrictions. If you file the I-360 application alone, you did not apply for a green card. Form I-485 is the actual green card application. A solid I-360 petition shows the relationship between you and the abuser and should include various pieces of evidence documenting the abuse. The I-360 petition is processed by the Vermont Service Center an it takes about two to three years for the agency to reach a decision. Upon approval of the I-360 you are eligible for employment authorization, even without filing an adjustment of status application. USCIS regularly updates its processing times based on its workload and the number of applications it receives. If you choose the stand alone option, after you receive an approval, you may file for permanent residence and that could take another two years. This means that the entire process could last five years.

Filing an I-360 Petition with an Adjustment of Status Application: Lengthy processing times are one of the primary reason why qualified applicants choose to file both forms together. You may even file the I-485 application, while form I-360 is pending. Although the I-485 is not being evaluated until after there is a decision on form I-360, just by filing the I-485 form, you are eligible for work authorization and travel. You must apply for these two benefits using the appropriate forms but your pending I-485 application gives you legal grounds to be able to file. If you are occupied with work and international travel, you are living your life to the fullest, while you wait. If all goes well and your VAWA and adjustment of status application are approved, it should take about five years from the date of filing to receive your green card.

VAWA Applicants with an Abusive Permanent Resident Relative

VAWA applicants whose abusive relative is a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) are not eligible to file an adjustment of status application until the priority date is current. Only spouses are children are eligible. VAWA is not available for parents of lawful permanent residents. The priority date is the date that USCIS received your application, as stated on your I-360 receipt notice, I-797C Notice of Action.

There are backlogs in this visa category and even if the I-360 is approved quickly, you must wait until the category is current. The US visa bulletin, published monthly, will provide updates on whether the category is current.

Unlike VAWA applicants who are related to an abusive U.S. citizen and can apply for work authorization while the I-360 is pending, there is no such benefit available to those who are related to permanent residents. They must wait until after the I-360 is approved to file for adjustment of status, work authorization and travel authorization.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help?

My name is Cheryl Fletcher and I have been an immigration attorney since 2015. I have helped hundreds of survivors of domestic violence through the VAWA immigration process.

We will properly evaluate your case and take the right steps to ensure it is processed in a timely manner.

If you would like to speak with me about you case, feel free to reach out to us by clicking the orange button below.

Cheryl-Fletcher How Long After VAWA is Approved to Get a Green Card?

Watch Attorney Fletcher explain the 8 eligibility requirements for a successful VAWA petition. WATCH NOW.

How Much Does VAWA Cost?

How Much Does VAWA Cost? Overview

“How much does VAWA cost?” is the very next question to think about after checking your eligibility. VAWA means Violence Against Women Act and it offers critical protections and support to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of gender-based violence in the United States. In this article, we will explore the expenses involved in applying for VAWA .

VAWA Application Filing Fees

Before spending any money, it is best to check the eligibility requirements for VAWA. Only an abused spouse, child or parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may apply for VAWA. VAWA self-petitions allow survivors to seek legal status independent of their abusers. If successful the abused VAWA applicant will receive a permanent resident green card. VAWA petitions are filed with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and there are several steps and applications involved in the process. The six items outlined below will provide the answer to the question: “how much does VAWA cost?”

  1. Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant: Form I-360 is the first and most important form for a VAWA application. It is this form that you use to tell USCIS that you have been abused and that there is a qualifying relationship between you and the abuser. There is no filing fee for this form. You may file form I-360 by itself or with an I-485 Adjustment of Status Application.
  2. I-485 Adjustment of Status: Form I-485 is the actual application for a green card. You use this form to request permanent residence. You may have entered the U.S. in a non-immigrant status such as a B1/B2 tourist, a F-1 student, a J-1 exchange visitor, etc., or you may have entered without inspection. The filing fee depends on your age. If you are under 14 and filing independently, the fee is $1,140 but is discounted to $750 if you are filing with at least one parent. If you are 14 or older, the filing fee is $1,140.
  3. Biometric Services Fee: USCIS may require applicants to provide fingerprints and photographs for background checks. This fee also depends on your age. There is no biometrics fee for applicants under 14 or 79 or older. Applicants 14-78 must pay an $85 biometrics fee, in addition to the adjustment of status application fee. The adjustment of status and biometrics fee (where applicable) must be submitted with the application, at the time of filing and may be paid with a personal check, money order or a credit card.
  4. Medical Examination: Adjustment of Status applicants are required to undergo a medical examination. The medical examination results may be submitted at the time of filing the I-485 application or later when it is requested by USCIS. You can only use a doctor that is approved by USCIS, for the medical examination, and their fees range from $250 to $700.
  5. Translations: All documents that are not in English must be submitted with an English translation. Documents such as your birth certificate and records for your home country are the types of documents that usually require an English translation. Translation services may charge per document and usually start at $50.
  6. Attorneys Fees: The value of a skilled attorney cannot be underestimated for this process. When an immigration officer reviews your application, he or she is applying immigration law to either approve or deny your request. While forms and instruction are available online, there are statutes, case law, legal opinions and memoranda that apply to your case and are not easily understandable without legal training. An experienced attorney can foresee issues with your application, save you time and money, prevent mistakes and provide you with peace of mind. Attorney’s fees for this service start at $5,450.
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How an Immigration Attorney Can Help?

My name is Cheryl Fletcher and I have been practicing immigration law since 2015. I have helped hundreds of VAWA applicants successfully obtain green cards. Potential clients call us at various points in their lives. Sometimes they are still living with the abuser and other times, they are in the middle of a divorce. Regardless of the situation, we are more than happy to help.

If you are feeling overwhelmed because of a domestic violence situation and you have heard about VAWA but you are not not sure if it is right for you, please reach out to us. I will spend 30 minutes explaining you rights and legal options and put you on the best road to achieve your goals.

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Watch Attorney Fletcher explain the 8 eligibility requirements for a successful VAWA petition. WATCH NOW.

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