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One Renaissance Tower, Two North Central Avenue, Suite 1800, PHOENIX, ARIZONA 85004

Texas Office : (281)-674-7658
10777 Westheimer Road, Suite 1100 Houston, Texas 77042

Vietnam Office:
Floor 8, Le Meridien Building 3C Ton Duc Thang Street District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

What to Expect at a U.S. Port of Entry and Immigration Inspection

All visitors entering the United States of America must check in at a Port of Entry whether they are arriving via air, land or water.  Many have questions about what to expect when undergoing an immigration examination and its process.  If you as an entrant have doubts about travelling to the U.S. always contact an immigration attorney to educate you about the immigration inspection process.

Why Do Custom Border Agents Inspect People?

Custom border agents inspect people to find out their true purpose and duration of their visit.  When entering you must apply for authorization into the country during your intended stay and you will be granted permission.

Immigration Inspection Note that border agents have the authority to decide whether or not to let you in the country, make sure to follow rules when crossing any port of entry.  Answer all questions to the best of your ability.

How do CBP Officers Handle each Inspection? 

CBP officials check passports, visas and other documents for every person crossing the port of entries.  Every individual must stop at a key inspection station.  Questions will be asked to verify nationality and identity. All documents in hand must be provided and once the officer has them to his availability he will carefully examine each document and will then decide if you can enter the U.S.  Majority of foreigners and visitors fingerprints are taken along with a digital photograph.  Once you are approved, the CBP officer will determine under which status you will remain and how much time will be granted to stay in the U.S.

Questions to Expect 

CBP officers will ask questions like, “What is your intended purpose in visiting the United States of America?” “How long are you planning on staying?” “Where and with who will you be staying?” You will also be asked about your specific qualifications and any other questions that support your claims as a visitor and your planned trip.

Important Notice 

Immigration Officers are trained experts in orchestrating immigration inspections and are able to recognize people who have secret agendas who intend to enter the U.S. under fake intentions.  They also have the power to search your luggage or electronic devices such as phones, laptops or computers for evidence that your trip is legitimate.

CBP Agents can Exercise Authority 

Coordinating immigration investigations is not an easy task for Customs and Border Protection agents.  Though they are there to serve you, they are given full jurisdiction to determine whether a visitor should enter the U.S.  An admission stamp will be provided only when you have successfully completed a thorough examination.  CBP officers can at any time demand a second review of all your information.  If you find yourself stuck at any of the U.S. port of entries, request the assistance of an immigration attorney.

Speak with an Immigration Attorney Today 

If it is your first time travelling to the U.S. or the second and you find yourself under heavy scrutiny by any border agent and you find that it was unnecessary, you can always ask for the assistance of an immigration attorney and one will be allotted to you.  If you are stuck at a port of entry in Arizona call The Gambacorta Law Office at 281 674 7658 and we will always be ready to assist you.

What to Do Next if My Work Visa is Denied?

One of the most common avenues that foreigners come to the United States is through temporary work visas.  These visa classifications are: H-1B, H-2 and L-1 among others.  Sometimes the visa application procedure may have no delays because the applicant’s U.S. citizen employer has filed an I-129 Petition for Alien Worker with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with the appropriate documentation. When this occurs the visas are usually approved and the foreigner can start working in the U.S.

However, an approval for a work visa is not always guaranteed.  A denial can be issued for several reasons.  For example, immigrants must have certain qualifications; if the applicant lacks the required qualifications then USCIS will deny a work visa.  Another basis on which a work visa can be denied is if the employer will not be monitoring the foreigner’s work or that evidence of a bona-fide job position is not found which claims that the foreigner will be taking on a new job position or that the immigrant will not work during his or her stay in the U.S.USCIS Services

If you have been denied a work visa, it is very important that the applicant, the petitioner, employer and the immigration lawyer you hire examine the reasons why USCIS issued a denial.  Being able to understand the explanations for the denial puts the applicant in a better stance to tackle the issues a second time around when the employer decides to submit another I-129 on his or her’s behalf regardless if he or she is inside or outside of the U.S.

My Work Visa was Denied, and I am outside the US.  What Other Alternatives are Available to me? 

There are two options available if USCIS denies your work visa while you are outside the U.S.  Your U.S. employer can file an I-129 Petition for Alien Worker, a second time around and address the flaws USCIS uncovered in the initial application.  For example, if your U.S. employer submitted an I-129 petitioning for an H-1B status on your behalf, one of the requirements for an H-1B status is that the foreign worker must possess at least a minimum of a bachelor’s degree accredited by a U.S. institution or the foreign equivalent of such a degree for the type of work that will be done.  Now in the absence of a degree, there is a probability to meet this requirement by providing supporting documentation of specialized training, experience or any other type of education.  If USCIS did not find the needed information the first time around be sure to include it in your new application.

H-1B visas have an annual cap on how many visa petitions are accepted every year.  Chances are your U.S. employer filed your I-129 Petition late and that is why your visa application was denied.  Your only option is to file the next year within the stipulated time.

If you still want to travel to the U.S. you can apply for a different visa category you are qualified for.  Before you start the application process to enter the U.S. it is in your benefit to seek legal assistance.

My Work Visa was Denied, and I am in the US.  What Other Alternatives are Available to me?

When a U.S. employer files an I-129 Petition on behalf of an applicant that is in the U.S., an employer simply does two things: request a new employment based status for his employee and asks USCIS for an expansion of his or her employee’s legal status to remain in the U.S.  Consider this example: a foreigner who is in the U.S. under an F-1 Student visa whose student program is coming to an end but then wants to stay and work in the U.S.  For the immigrant to work in the U.S. an employer needs to file an I-129 Petition for Alien Worker asking USCIS to change student’s status from an F-1 Student Visa to H-1B status and to also extend the length of stay in the U.S.  If the petition is denied, the U.S. employer can try again by providing USCIS with a new Form I-129 application along with more supporting documents to corroborate his/her claim in an attempt to prove that his or her employee deserves another chance at remaining in the U.S.

After that attempt, if nothing is resolved the alien can apply to extend his F-1 Student visa to further his studies at a master’s program that may accept his credentials.  The advantage to having a student visa is that a grace period of 60 days is granted from the end date of the degree program and during this time you can finish up and exit the country.  Contact an immigration attorney to help you with the application process.

Talk to an Immigration Lawyer 

Going back and forth between collecting evidence for your application and talking to your U.S. employer can be time consuming.  Call an immigration attorney to help you discuss what’s best for you.  The Gambacorta Law Office team will help narrow down your options and stay with you until your case has been completed.  Contact us today at 281 674 7658 to visit us at our Arizona office or at 847 786 2599 for a consultation in Illinois

What Happens if I Get Divorced?

If you obtained your U.S. green card (Legal Permanent Resident Status) or some type of immigration status while married to a United States citizen, you may wonder: What would happen if I get a divorce prior to becoming the beneficiary of a lawful status?

Marriage Scam a Concern

As is with every case each divorce is different.  If you got divorced because you were suffering emotional or physical abuse while in the marriage then you might have a chance at proving to the immigration officers that you deserve another opportunity to stay in the U.S.  However, if you intentionally marry an American citizen simply to evade the U.S. immigration laws then you should be concerned.  This is known as a marriage sham.  The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services maintains that a major number of foreigners commit marriage shams in which immigrants purposefully marry a U.S. citizen simply to obtain legal immigration status.Divorced

There are many stipulations and conditions by which foreigners must abide by and only if their marriage is sincere they are eligible and able to receive U.S. immigration benefits.  Evidently for those immigrants who through fraudulent marriages attempt to obtain their legal permanent status are not able to keep their marriage relationship real for long enough during the immigration process and wind up with marital problems which result in divorce.

Even couples in genuine marriages have problems and get divorced, yet USCIS is able to recognize this fact.  A divorce may be disastrous while an immigration process is pending but it may not be as devastating.  Each divorce case entangled in an immigration situation will be handled accordingly by the USCIS immigration officer handling the case, however you must do your best in convincing USCIS that your marriage was real and that you deserve a chance at living in the U.S.

A Few Steps in The Immigration Procedure

Consider these steps and how they can impact your rights as an individual:

  • Receiving an Approval Notice for an I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative does not secure you a U.S. green card. An approval notice for an I-130 petition does not guarantee any immigration rights or benefits.  If a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen files a lawful permanent visa petition on your behalf and several months into your marriage you start having marital problems and you divorce, further steps within the process cannot be taken.
  • A divorce can complicate your life when it is time to adjust status. For example: A conditional resident card only allows you to live in the U.S. for two years.  Before the two years is up you must file your I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.  A divorce will delay and complicate the immigration process because you will need to submit petition individually, along with surmounting supporting evidence to prove that your previous marriage was indeed real and then you must request a waiver of the joint filing requirement.  These complexities will leave you discombobulated.  Your only solution then is to hire an immigration attorney to advise you at this phase of the procedure and to help you fight your legal battle.
  • After Approval for a Legal Permanent Resident Status do your research before applying for U.S. citizenship. Upon receiving approval for legal permanent residency, do your homework before attempting on applying for U.S. naturalization certificate.
  • Applying for U.S. Citizenship also known as Naturalization. When the time comes for you to apply for naturalization or U.S. citizenship, USCIS will again review your immigration history.  If there are any signs that you married an American citizen simply to obtain legal immigration status, you may have committed fraud.  Depending on your supporting documents a divorce may or may not be in your favor; your marriage will be examined carefully.  USCIS will require documents to corroborate that marriage was bona fide.  If the immigrant is not able to provide documentation to support his/her claims USCIS will immediately deny U.S. citizenship and have the applicant be put on removal proceedings to be forcibly removed from the United States of America.

Seek Legal Advice

If you or your U.S. citizen spouse currently have a pending immigration case with USCIS and are going through a divorce, call an immigration attorney to assist you.  An immigration lawyer can help you analyze your situation and look for possible options on how to move forward with your case.

Contact The Gambacorta Law office today at 847-786-2599 for a consultation at any of our office locations in Illinois, Arizona, Hawaii and Texas.

Travelling or Moving During an Adjustment of Status

The process of applying for a U.S. Green Card within the United States is known as an Adjustment of Status.  To start, you must complete Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and submit the required supporting documentation along with the application fee.  Then you must wait several months for USCIS to review your documentation to make a decision.  If you plan to move or travel while your case is pending make sure to alert USCIS.

What happens if you don’t notify USCIS?

You should not move before notifying United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.  Be sure to let USCIS know 10 days before your departure, know the address where you will be living.  Failure to let USCIS know of address is a misdemeanor.  If a person is convicted, the applicant (or the parent or legal guardian of an immigrant child who is under 14 years of age, who is required to provide notice) will be penalized with 30 days of incarceration and fined $200.  The foreigner may then be subjected to a forcible deportation from the U.S.

Travel Law

Not providing USCIS with a notice could result in USCIS sending important updates concerning your case to the wrong address and you missing any future interview.  The applicant has no excuse or cannot say that he or she never got an interview notice.  You cannot depend on the individuals living at your old address to mail you any USCIS notification to your new address, that is not how this process works.  It is the responsibility of the client to follow through with USCIS.

Updating USCIS is Simple

It is advisable to fill out Form AR-11 online on the USCIS website and follow instructions accurately.  If you need help, talk to an immigration attorney.  If you submitted Form I-765, Form I-131 and Form I-485 enter the information required along with the receipt number.  Any other questions you have ask your legal representative.

Travelling During an Adjustment of Status

Sometimes unforeseen circumstances may arise and may demand that you travel overseas.  Regardless of your purpose for travelling abroad you must still provide USCIS with documentation of your travel.  Leaving the country without official authorization may cost you a hefty price.  Though you may be able to travel, do so carefully.  According to U.S. Immigration Laws, packing up and going abroad without letting USCIS know, means you are abandoning your adjustment of status application and you will have to start the process all over.  You will need to pay the application fee again as well.

If you entered the U.S. with a K-3 Fiance Visa, you can enter and leave the U.S. as needed without any complications.  It is advisable, however, that you apply for an Advance Parole, to protect yourself. Your options are to separately file for advance parole or at the same time you are submitting your adjustment of status.  Note that, though an advance parole may be the route to go it is not always guaranteed unless your evidence supports your claim that you need to travel abroad.  Do not leave the country if in doubt and in this case seek legal advice.

If In Doubt Ask an Attorney

Whether you are moving to another location or traveling out of country, always talk to an immigration lawyer.   Thousands of immigrants have ensnared their future for not informing USCIS about their travelling or moving.   If you are in this situation call The Gambacorta Law Office in Arizona at 281 674 7658 or Illinois at 847 786 2599.

Six Things to Understand About the DACA Termination Announcement

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) provides relief to a specific category of foreigners to temporarily live and work in the United States.  In 2012, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security publicly announced that it would not deport a particular age group of young people who were illegally in the country.  Five years later, the immigrant community received the heartbreaking news from the Trump administration that the DACA program would be terminated.

DACA Concerns

Thousands upon thousands of families are against the idea of seeing their loved ones leave hoping for a resolution that would keep them united.  Since the public declaration was made the immigrants protected by DACA have been stricken with fear and uncertainty as to whether they will be able to achieve their American dream or even have a bright future in the U.S.  The entire nation has gone into an uproar against the pending decision to end DACA.

While the United States has been in a protest along with immigrant communities both in the country and abroad, here are six things we need to understand about the DACA program:

  1. A DACA is only valid before expiry date. DACA and employment authorization documents are only good before expiration date.  Check your I-795 Approval Notice and the bottom of your EAD card to ensure your authorization has not expired and that you are still protected.
  2. First time applicants should not submit applications. As hard as it may be to understand, the United States and Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) will not be accepting new DACA forms from first time applicants.  That was established since September 5, 2017.
  3. DACA holders have one more opportunity to renew. There is a specific time-frame given to beneficiaries before renewal can be done.  According to the Department of Homeland Security it is recommended that those who obtained a work permit that expires on March 8, 2018, to submit their two-year renewal application on or before October 5, 2017.  Any applications thereafter will not be accepted.
  4. Permission to travel overseas with an advance parole has ended. Unfortunately, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will no longer issue advance parole to DACA holders.  Procedures for pending advance parole submissions will not be completed.
  5. Others are standing in solidarity with the immigrant community. In 2012, others along with the immigrant community stood up and advocated for the protection of foreign children who illegally entered the U.S.  Many U.S. citizen employers, business owners, friends and family members expressed that they will continue to stand in solidarity with the foreigners and families of those under DACA and even the hopeful youth that are in the U.S without documents who are striving to make something of themselves.
  6. A Criminal History Can Get You Deported. It is advised to not file as a first time or attempt to renew your DACA if you have a criminal record.  A criminal past or a history of being a threat to public and national safety can put you in the spotlight for immediate removal proceedings by the U.S. government.  Seek the assistance of an immigration attorney if you have a criminal conviction of some type and fear returning to your home country because of some serious circumstances.

Contact Your Local Attorney

If you are still unsure about your future call your nearest immigration attorney.  A lawyer can help you understand how the DACA program works and what steps to take in obtaining legal status in the U.S.

Call The Gambacorta Law Office at 847 786 2599 for an appointment today at any of the current locations in Arizona, Illinois, Hawaii and Texas.

Counting the Cost of an Adjustment of Status

Applying for an Adjustment of Status within the United States of America can be an expensive and lengthy process.  Before adjusting your immigration status consider your eligibility because being physically in the country to start with the procedure does not entitle anyone to being eligible.  If in doubt talk to your nearest immigration attorney for guidance.  An immigration lawyer will navigate you through your available options.  Bear in mind that with this application comes various expenses such as: attorney, application and other associated fees.

Adjustment of Status Application is Costly

When pursuing an adjustment of status, another person either a close family member or employer needs to petition on behalf of the applicant in order to file a petition so as to prove to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that you qualify for a change of status.  Note that when petition is submitted, if the petitioner does not pay the fees, the applicant must be able to pay those fees and any others.Counting the Cost of an Adjustment of Status

Regarding Fees for an adjustment of status you can visit the USCIS website or ask your attorney.  The prices range for each classification depending on age and even if your are a child filing with a parent or parents.  Everyone above the age of 14 but below the age of 79, applying, must pay USCIS $85 for a biometrics appointment.  For a recent update regarding fees for an adjustment of status ask your attorney and visit the USCIS webpage.

Certain applicants can submit an application for a fee waiver if they are unable to pay.  In most cases, this is rare, but it is applicable for anyone seeking to apply for a change of immigration status.  Talk to your legal representative for more information.

Regardless of the cost of an adjustment of status it is best to file all three forms.  The USCIS fee for Form I-485 covers your application for an employment authorization document (EAD) Form I-765, and advance parole when submitting your Form I-131, Petition for Alien Relative within the United States.  If uncertain ask attorney.

Lawyer Fees

Before proceeding with an adjustment of status, retain an immigration attorney to assist you with weighing out your options for eligibility and the cost for your case.   Your lawyer can help you with a budget plan as well as the analysis and assembly of your supporting documentation.  Remember that the services of an immigration attorney are not free.  Be prepared to pay between $3000 and $5000 in addition to the application fees and government fees.  Depending on how complicated your case may be you might end up paying more.  In most cases attorneys give their clients an estimate in advance or a flat fee that can fit their budget plan and may require a deposit at the beginning and another at the end of your process.  Many factors influence how much you must pay attorney:

  • The number of persons applying together (more people applying the higher the fee, however each additional individual after the primary applicant may be given a discount)
  • Whether you ask attorney for assistance to fill out applications (a separate fee will be included)
  • If your case has any specific difficulties (e.g. criminal record that may require additional analysis and preparation to clear it up)
  • An additional application of a waiver of inadmissibility (this may demand more time spent on case and an increase in an hourly rate.
  • Phone calls, mailing, and photocopies, may oblige attorney to charge another fee
  • Attorney’s availability for USCIS interview will cost you more
  • If you receive a request for evidence from USCIS because a decision cannot be made on your eligibility for adjustment, you must pay another fee separately for the RFE.
  • An appeal for a denial from USCIS will demand an individual fee.

Other Fees to Consider

  • Application Fees
  • Medical Exam
  • Biometrics Appointment
  • Transportation 

Every Immigration Case will Cost You

When applying for an adjustment of status consider all the details that need to be covered financially.  Ask your attorney every possible question when it comes to his or her services and the entire total you must pay for your case.

The Gambacorta Law Office is here to help with your adjustment of status as well as working out a plan to fit your budget.  Call us today at 847 786 2599 for an appointment at any of our offices in Arizona, Illinois, Texas and Hawaii.