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Trump Effect: Married Spouses Rush for US Visa Paper Work

Many immigrants in the US are rushing to attorneys to file papers of their marriage to U.S. citizens that entails them green card and citizenship eventually but not without paperwork, warn US attorneys. Non-filing of papers leads to denial of citizenship.

Unless the case for permanent residence or Green Card has not been submitted to the immigration department, the person does not have status in the US absent another underlying visa. In most cases, it takes about a year for a foreign spouse to be able to immigrate to the United States. Among the requirements include a valid marriage, a sponsor’s petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, besides a medical clearance. But above all, a security clearance is the most important as those with criminal records may find that the adjudication of waivers is not possible under the current administration.

Immigration lawyers often face the biggest challenge as a number of people have criminal records and under the Presidential Order 13768, visa and Green card holders with criminal records should be packed off from the United States. In fact, many youngsters have made errors in judgment though as adults they may have lived exemplary lives. Unless they seek absent an allowable waiver or presidential pardon, says Steven Riznyk, CEO of myImmigrationAttorney.com who provides consultancy on immigration matters in the United States.

Although there is more leeway for nonimmigrants, potential immigrants face a tougher standard and the major among them is drugs. As youths, some people have experimented with one drug or another, and waivers are not available for persons with drug offences that involve more than 30 grams of marijuana, states Riznyk.

"We often receive calls from persons who were removed from the United States for possession of a single dose of ecstacy or mushrooms, and they are not eligible for Permanent Residence status. Even with a waiver for 30 grams or less of marijuana for personal use, the waiver still requires the person to establish to the government’s satisfaction that extreme hardship would result to the person’s U.S. citizen/Permanent Resident spouse, children, or parents. Extreme Hardship is a very high standard to meet and exceeds most monetary, separation, and other issues which in and of themselves are extremely difficult," he said.

The only solutions for many such persons, he said, would be to either obtain a nonimmigrant visa (such as that for an investor) and an INA§ 212(d)(3) waiver, or, in the case of a felony conviction, a Governor’s Pardon. Expungements are not recognized for immigration purposes and Governor’s Pardons and their equivalents must be based from the United States, not from the foreigner’s country or another country.

An INA § 212(d)(3) wavier is purely discretionary though it does not require a showing of extreme hardship. "In my opinion, it is the legal equivalent of neurosurgery, and requires a lot of artful drafting and research. After all of that, there are still risks of it not prevailing," he noted.

Strategically speaking, one could hypothetically apply for the INA § 212(d)(3) waiver and a student or work visa, but realistically, a contribution to society, such as job creation with an L1 or E2 would yield a better chance in my opinion, he stated. "We have been able to use the E2 visa (renewable longer than any other visa) to bring people into the US" for those with no alternatives, he added.

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