Immigration

immigrationWe will help you uncomplicate the ever-changing immigration process. Immigration laws are constantly amended which make it extremely difficult to successfully navigate the immigration process.  Whether you are in need of immigration services for yourself, a family member, or for your business our experienced immigration attorney will assess your case with you and decide the best course of action that is specific to your immigration needs.  At The Law Office of Robert Eckard & Associates we understand that each immigration case is unique and we have understanding of the new immigration laws and regulations.  We will work tirelessly until your immigration needs have been resolved.

Asylum

Asylum is a type of protection that is offered by the United States for people that escape their country fearing for their life and personal safety.  In order to qualify for this protection, you must have left your country because you were persecuted or out of reasonable fear that you would be persecuted if you stayed.  Thus, you do not have to prove that you were physically assaulted to be able to qualify.  Showing that you were threatened and thus, have a reasonable and credible fear of being harmed, is sometimes sufficient.

The reason for the fear of persecution or persecution is also very important.  You must have been persecuted or have fear of being persecuted due to one of the following factors: your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.  It is important to demonstrate that you are part of one of these categories and because of that, your safety is in jeopardy.  It is not sufficient to just say that you are a member of one of the categories.  You must have evidence of this.  Oftentimes it is difficult to do this because you left your country in dire circumstances with not much time to gather documents, pictures, etc.  Because of this, it is important to have an attorney by your side who understands the law and how things are done in countries outside of the United States to help you obtain this information.

If you apply for asylum, you may also include your spouse and minor unmarried children in your petition.  They do not have to show that they were also being persecuted.  If you are granted asylee status, your spouse and children will also obtain that status because of their relationship to you.

There is a very strict time limit to apply for this type of relief.  As such, it is very important that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible so that you do not forfeit the ability to obtain this type of immigration relief.

Family Based Petitions

The so called “Family Based Petition” typically refers to the way in which a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident assists their foreign relatives in getting citizenship or their “green card.”  This petition may be filed if you are in the United States or if you are abroad even though the process is different. There are two basic requirements that must be met in order to qualify:

  1. Your relative must either be a United States Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident. A U.S. Citizen may file a petition for their spouse, child, parent, or sibling.  A Lawful Permanent Resident may petition for their spouse or unmarried child.  When submitting the application, your relative must submit evidence to prove your relationship and that they are a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident.  For example, if you are an American Citizen and would like to file a petition for your foreign child, you must submit a copy of their birth certificate as proof that he/she is your child.
  2. Your relative must prove that he/she has the financial ability to sponsor you.  Thus, the American Citizen/ Lawful Permanent Resident must demonstrate that their income is at least 125% above the poverty line.  When determining this, the Department of Homeland Security looks to the petitioner’s household size and income/assets.  If they cannot show this, you may be able to overcome this requirement by having a co-sponsor.

2014 Household Poverty Guidelines*

Sponsor’s Household Size**           125% Poverty Guidelines***

2 $19,662
3 $24,737
4 $29,812
5 $34,887
6 $39,962
7 $45,037
8 $50,112
9 $55,187

*These guidelines are applicable to all of the 48 States (except Alaska and Hawaii), the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.        

**When counting the household size you must also include the sponsor.

*** For each additional member to the household, add $5,075.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Temporary Protected Status, or TPS as it is commonly known, allows for nationals of certain designated countries to remain in the United States due to circumstances or conditions in their own countries.  If you are granted TPS, you will be allowed to legally stay and work in the United States as you may qualify for an Employment Authorization Card.  Oftentimes, you can even obtain travel documents so that you can freely leave and come back to the United States without having issues.  There are currently 10 countries that have this designation: El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.

There are three main requirements that must be met in order to qualify for TPS.  First, you must show that you are from one of the designated countries listed above.  Second, you must timely file your application.  The United States has specific time frames wherein which the application must be filed for each country.  Third, you must have been in the United States as of the date your country was designated for TPS.

Citizenship

Being an American citizen is almost every immigrant’s goal.  Citizens are given all of the benefits, privileges and protections offered by the United States government.  There are three ways to become an American citizen: you are born in the United States, your parents were American citizens at the time of your birth or naturalization.

Generally speaking, there are certain requirements needed to apply for and obtain American Citizenship.  First, you are able to read, write and understand English.  Second, you are of age (at least 18 years old).  Third, you have lived in the United States as a legal permanent resident for the past five years.  Fourth, you did not make any country, other than the United States, your permanent home while you were living in the United States.  Fifth, you have proven to be of good moral character.  Sixth, you must be able to pass a test on American history and government.  Finally, you must pledge allegiance to the United States.

Once you have successfully completed the naturalization process, you may begin to enjoy all that the United States has to offer!