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These Common Immigration Questions and Answers are from many sources, including AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) and our own conversations with clients. Please contact us if you have a question you cannot find here.
Question: I was arrested for a DUI last week but the police did not realize that I have no documents. I have to go in front of the judge next week. Will they find out about my status? Can they deport me? If I don’t go to court what will happen?
Answer: You should always go to court when a hearing is scheduled. A criminal judge is not an immigration judge and he/she cannot deport you. He/she may however inquire into your status to explain that you may have immigration consequences for convictions. If you don’t go to court then a warrant will be issued for your arrest. This is not a good option. There is always a chance that Immigration and Customs Enforcement could be notified of your unlawful status.
Leaving the US
Question: My brother is a permanent resident, A couple of months ago my mother in Peru had a heart attack so he went to see her. Once there her situation got worse, it has been close to 6 months, is my brother going to have problems coming back? He has only been a resident for a year.
Answer: If your brother returns within 6 months of his last exit from the United States, then he should have no problem when he returns. If your brother returns after 6 months of his last exit from the U.S., then Customs and Border Protection can question his intent to permanently live in the United States. Your brother should bring evidence when he returns to the U.S. of the reason why he stayed so long outside of the country. Evidence can include your mother’s medical record and documents which show intent to permanently reside in the U.S. These documents are tax returns, evidence of employment in the United States, evidence of immediate family members in the U.S., and other documents showing his intent.
View our Video on Asylum Q & A
Question: What happens if someone did not enter the US legally but now is working for a company that wants to sponsor you?
Answer: If a person did not enter legally and is now working for a company who wants to sponsor him, then that individual will not be able to adjust status to permanent resident in the United States. Entering without inspection is inadmissibility to getting a green card.
Question: I came to the US on a visitor visa but I don’t want to go back to Colombia. When I came I had every intention of leaving, but now with a month left on my visa the thought of going back there is filling me with dread. What are my options? I have a college degree and I speak fluent Spanish.
Answer: You have a few options. You can enroll into a school and obtain an F-1 student nonimmigrant visa. If you believe you require more time to enroll into school, then you can request an extension of your B-2 visitor status with USCIS. Another option is if a company is willing to petition for you for an H-1B nonimmigrant visa; however, you have to maintain status until your change of status is granted.
Question: I just found out that my boss has no documents and he was arrested by ICE. What will happen to his restaurant if he is deported?
Answer: This will depend on whether or not your boss can maintain the business in the United States during his absence.
Question: I need to have my visa renewed. Do I have to go back to my home country, Peru, or can I go to the US consulate in Canada, which is much closer?
Answer: You can go to Canada to get your visa renewed, however, please keep in mind that you may need a visa issued by Canada to enter the country. Also keep in mind that many other individuals seek to renew their visa at the U.S. Consulate in Canada.
Question: I have no documents here in the US, but I really want to go to college and study nursing. I have no social security so I can’t sign up for the classes. I also don’t qualify for DACA. Is there any way that I can get a visa to be a student even though I came illegally?
Answer: No, you will not be approved for a student visa. However, you are not required to have a visa to attend college. Some schools may require a social security number, but you can apply for a tax I.D. number and use that instead.
Question: Two months ago I filed my I-751 application after being married for two years. Last week my husband asked me for a divorce, but said he would wait until after my green card is approved. Can I get divorced while the application is pending and still get my green card, or should I take my husband up on his offer to wait?
Answer: As long as you are prepared to prove that your marriage was bona-fide at the time, you can still have conditions removed from your green card even if you are divorced. Since your I-751 is currently pending, it may be advisable to wait until it is approved.
Question: I just received my DACA work authorization and I want to start paying back my taxes so that when the new law comes in I will be able to move quickly on the path to citizenship. What should I do? Do I need an immigration lawyer to help me or should I just contact the tax office and ask them?
Answer: Contact an experienced tax advisor.
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