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Visa overstayer married to a U.S. Citizen

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  • Visa overstayer married to a U.S. Citizen

    I came to U.S. on F1 visa, graduated from college, worked on OPT for a year and my OPT expired in March 2001. I'm still working and just got married to a U.S. Citizen. Will I run into any problem with the green card process under these circumstances? Should I hire a lawyer or do it myself? Last year, a lawyer offered his services for $2000 and asked for more if I want him present during the interview. Is his rate too high or is it normal for visa overstayers like me? Any advice is welcomed. Thank you all in advance!

  • #2
    I came to U.S. on F1 visa, graduated from college, worked on OPT for a year and my OPT expired in March 2001. I'm still working and just got married to a U.S. Citizen. Will I run into any problem with the green card process under these circumstances? Should I hire a lawyer or do it myself? Last year, a lawyer offered his services for $2000 and asked for more if I want him present during the interview. Is his rate too high or is it normal for visa overstayers like me? Any advice is welcomed. Thank you all in advance!

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    • #3
      Nop...u wont have any problem... if u have money to spend and u feel safe to use a lawyer ...u can go ahead ..otherwise u can do it by urself also...visit this webpage for more info... good luck...Pasha

      http://www.visajourney.com/faq/index.htm#step 4

      look at section 6

      Comment


      • #4
        Pasha,

        The OP was out of status since March 2001 (i.e. over 3 years). What are you basing your statement on that made you say "Nop...u wont have any problem"???

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        • #5
          Hi sphyrapicus ,

          I am not basing about anything....I dont know why u always feel like that.... All I wrote is based on posts I read here and on other boards... I have read experiences of people getting adjusted even if it was more than 5 yrs but they entered USA legally with visa ( and not without inspection). If u want I will find those links and post it here on my day off for ur own satisfaction....

          U need to keep in mind that I m not attorney and I give my advices based on my experiences and knowledge that I have gathered through discussion.... Now you tell me why do u feel he is not qualified for adjusting the status when he is immediate relative of USC and had been out of status for 3 yrs ????? Give me your version.... of course he will face a hard core interview but still u know whats gonna happen in the end waiting for ur reply...plz explain it to me...i will learn something ... Pasha

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          • #6
            sphyrapicus3, Pasha, Jangar,
            Here is what i found on the USCIS Website (http://uscis.gov/graphics/howdoi/lpreligibility.htm#j):
            A non-immigrantin who entered the US with inspection and marries a US citizen may adjust status to LPR while in the US even if s/he overstayed her/his visa. Of course there are some caveats (http://uscis.gov/graphics/howdoi/lpreligibility.htm#k) which dosen't appear to be the case for Jangar.
            Generally speaking, Jangar does not need a lawyer to file his I-485 petition, unless there are other relevant complications that he omitted in his post. However, note that he will have the burden of proving that his marriage to the US citizen is ligitimate and not just for immigration benifits.

            Good luck Jangar.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you guys for replying. I'm so glad to have people responding to my post. Oh btw I'm female, though my ID may suggest otherwise.

              I haven't omitted anything on my part, my only problem is the visa overstay and employment without a work permit, and the marriage is genuine. However one major thing that's been bothering me is my father-in-law's status in this country. According to my husband, his mom is a U.S. born citizen, but the dad doesn't have a green card and he's been in America since the 60s (actually all his siblings and parents are here as well)

              So, this leaves me very confused (my husband will have to elaborate on this later) and afraid that it may cause a problem for my green card process. I wonder if his supposedly "illegal" status will be revealed during my husband's background check (even on the biography sheet we have to include them, right?) What do you think?

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              • #8
                Thanks a lot malf for providing that info...

                Hi Jangar...

                I think it shouldn't matter as long as ur husband is USC with clear records and does petition for u and supports u with I – 864 .... Good luck and wish u all the best in ur married life... Pasha

                P.S. hey sphyrapicus...feel free to correct anything if i provided wrong...will learn something new...since i m not an attorney...take care... Pasha

                Comment


                • #9
                  Pasha,

                  My point is that one must be careful to not be too flippant or cavalier in matters that have serious repercussions. When someone asks me something that is over my head, I respond accordingly rather than "guessing" what might be the case. As you readily admit, you are not an attorney, nor have you first-hand experience with being a visa overstay. I would not want to give the OP the impression that it will be a "walk in the park". Anytime a petitioner or applicant has violated immigration law, they are issues that need to be addressed. The case is not as straightforward as it might appear, given the discourse that we have witnessed on this forum. I always recommend consulting with a competent immigration attorney when the nature of the discourse has such huge life-altering consequences if something was to be overlooked. Most attorneys will provide a pro-bono initial consultation.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Actually most Immigration attorneys charge for an intial consultation because that is all most clients ever want. Unlike criminal law where most prospective clients go on to hire them, immigration attorneys often have to say "there is nothing that can be done at this time", or "this is how it is done"-- and the client goes off to do it by themselves. But I think it is well worth a consultation, both before beginning, and perhaps later to review the documents. I have never known a person filling out Immigration forms for the first time and didn't have at least 20 questions as to how to answer different items in the whole AOS package. Isn't it worth it not to make a mistake. More importantly- you want to make sure you do not miss a form or send it to the wrong place...

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                    • #11
                      Hi sphyrapicus,

                      I got ur point... I thought you might bring something else interesting related to immigration that could prevent OP from adjusting the status... well that was an honest mistake in writing as I was in hurry... I always write you should be ok ...means I use "should" ... but I guess in hurry I wrote u wont have any problem in place of " u shouldn't have any problem" ... well I know someone who adjusted in the same condition...being out of status for 5 yrs ..and everyone knows that overstay always / in most cases is forgiven in such cases without other complication like marriage to USC... by the way when I don't know anything I don't guess...I don't even reply at all... when I come online I hardly reply in 3-4 threads...other thing ... it's a public discussion forum so one should always check with lawyer before taking any advice on this or any other immigration forum...people don't give professional advice here but they write in general...without making a court case... I guess everyone should read the following from general disclaimer

                      "Users of ILW.COM's discussion board rely on information on the page at their own risk. The information on the site is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a lawyer."

                      Thanks for your reply... I appreciate it...Pasha

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                      • #12
                        I agree with you Pasha. Thanks.

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                        • #13
                          This lady DOES NOT need a lawyer for anything.

                          I was a visa overstay on F1 and when I did AOS, this issue of being an overstay was NEVER raised coz spouse is USC. Infact, this lady is better coz she went to school.

                          I came here on F1, and never went to school. I dont know why you are scaring her to get a lawyer.I did all papers myself.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Dear Mr. John Doe: You were lucky. You came into the country with an F-1, and then never went to school. You married a US citizen and got your LPR status from an INS examiner who was asleep at the wheel.
                            You committed visa fraud, and even with a marriage to a USC, you were ineligible for relief from removal until 10 years after you entered the USA.
                            What you did was a crime, and you got away with it. Congratulations, .....I think. You just had dumb luck. YOU really needed a lawyer. Some people just wander through mine fields and never step on anything dangerous. You must be one of them.
                            Jangar has real problems. She overstayed, so many CIS employees will examiner her case very closely for any nint of problems with the validity of the marriage, with any other minor immigration violations, etc. $2000 is only to prepare the documents, and that is a risky way to contract for services: "I will get it ready, then, if you have problems (which I may have caused, or which are because I was not vigilant), I will charge more" Not a good way. $2000 is very cheap, and that is an assembly line lawyer. Better lawyers charge more, and many charge by the hour ONLY. That fee is charged against deposits, and you get monthly statements. Corporations who provide the lawyers for the H-1Bs, I-140s, etc, pay that way to big firms. The fees can be very large on Labor certifications, especially EB-1s. I have seen some of them in the $25,000 range.
                            Yes, you can adjust status even though you were Out of Status for years. But, there are so many other possible reasons you could be in trouble, you should shop for a good lawyer any time you have such issues.
                            The Alien Marriage Fraud Act of 1986 changed the definitions: all marriages that result in a request for LPR status are deemed to be presumed fraudulent. In other words, this is the only area of law in the USA where you have to prove yourself innocent. I am an immigration lawyer, and when I got engaged to a citizen of another country (prosperous European country), I hired my own attorney. He didn't see any legal issues that I missed, but he certainly saw other issues that I had overlooked because I was focused on my love, and not my legal interests. He was worth his weight in gold, and he's not a slender fellow.

                            Fees for good lawyers (not places like NYC and SF, CA, which are much more expensive) should be somewhere around $3K to $6K for a marriage case with only minor issues.

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