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Maryland Immigration Blog

How can you qualify for a 601 waiver?

People who have been living in the U.S. illegally for over a year and then leave the country can seek legal residency if they don't re-enter the U.S. for at least 10 years. However, many people have family obligations in this country that would make deportation and a decade-long re-entry ban very difficult for their loved ones.

For immigrants whose deportation would impose an extreme hardship on their immediate family, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers a "601 waiver." If granted, this allows people time to adjust their immigration status without facing deportation or to re-enter the country if they've been gone for less than 10 years.

How long can you be outside the country and keep your green card?

You've gone through the long, often-frustrating process of getting a green card. Perhaps you plan to become a U.S. citizen one day. Maybe you just want to be able to live and work in this country for the foreseeable future. Either way, your green card status is valuable, and you don't want to do anything to risk losing it.

You know that breaking the law could cost you your green card. However, you also risk losing it if you leave the country for an extended period. Many people believe that this means a year or more. Indeed, if you are outside of the U.S. for over a year, getting back in can be a challenge.

New rules could lead to deportation for some green card holders

We've recently discussed how, under the current administration, a person's immigration status — even if they're a naturalized citizen — may not be as secure as they believed. This includes people who have received legal residence permits, i.e., green cards.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented new guidelines that could send some green card holders to immigration court. The new guidelines involve the "reception of public benefits" available through state and federal programs. If the government believes that a person has engaged in "fraud or willful misrepresentation" of their situation, they may face deportation.

How can naturalized citizens lose their citizenship?

You've gone through the long, arduous process of obtaining your U.S. citizenship. No one can take it away from you, right? That's not a guarantee.

Although it's rare for the U.S. government to "denaturalize" a citizen, there are grounds for it. These include:

  • Dishonorable discharge from the military: The person must have been court-martialed and served less than five years to be denaturalized for this reason.
  • Membership in a "subversive" group within five years of becoming a citizen: Such groups include Al Qaeda and the Nazi Party.
  • Hiding relevant information or providing false information during the application process: This includes things like not disclosing criminal convictions or falsifying your true identity.

Could your closed immigration case be reopened?

Immigration issues were front and center in the 2016 presidential campaign. They've become increasingly divisive, with the rhetoric more heated than ever, under the Trump administration.

Undocumented immigrants who benefited from President Obama's policies are now facing a reversal of many of those policies under President Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. These reversals have understandably caused fear and confusion.

Can I get a mortgage if I'm not a U.S. citizen?

Homeownership is part of the American dream -- whether you were born here or moved here from somewhere else. You don't have to be a U.S. citizen to own a home in this country. However, if you need a mortgage to be able to afford a home -- as most of us do -- it's important to understand how your immigration status comes into play.

If you are a permanent resident (green card holder), you can apply for federal FHA and Fannie Mae loans. However, you will likely need to provide proof of how long you've been a resident and of income continuity. Be prepared to show tax returns for the past two or three years, at least a two-year credit history and bank statements going back at least a couple of months.

Green card glitch impacts over 8,500 people

Most people are thrilled when they finally receive their green cards -- often after a very long wait. However, for thousands of people who received their green cards this year, that excitement has been tampered by a glitch.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced a recall of over 8,500 Permanent Resident Cards (the official name of the card) that were sent out between February and April of this year The reason for the recall is that the date on the "Resident Since" section was incorrect.

Going from Special Immigrant Juvenile to Green Card holder

Immigrant minors who have been the victims of neglect, abuse or abandonment can seek classification as a Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ). This status may be available to those who are under 21 and unmarried.

Those with SIJ status can apply for an Adjustment of Status if they wish to become legal permanent residents of the U.S. and receive a Green Card. Acceptance is at the discretion of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Spouses of H-1B visa holders may soon lose their right to work

Among the overhauls to America's immigration policies being pursued by the Trump Administration are changes impacting recipients of H-1B visas. This visa is an important step toward a green card for many people. Despite the anti-immigration rhetoric coming from Washington, H-1B visa applications continue to pour in. This is the sixth year in a row that the government had to stop accepting applications after a week because of the volume.

A majority of these visas, which are issued to people from other countries with valuable skills (such as those involving science, math and technology) go to Indian nationals. Some 75 percent of those approved in 2017 were for people from India.

Marriage interviews can get people arrested, deported

It used to be the case that if someone living in the U.S. who was born in another country married a U.S. citizen, he or she could remain here legally. That's why the government has always taken great pains to make sure that these marriages are legitimate and not just for a green card. Our readers who are old enough may remember the 1990 film "Green Card," which had an interesting twist on that premise.

However, with the Trump administration placing a priority on locating and removing unauthorized immigrants, a legitimate marriage is no guarantee of being able to remain in the country. People with deportation orders that were never enforced are finding themselves being arrested and deported, even if they're married to American citizens.


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