QUESTION: Right now I’m fixing my husband’s papers. He already has his appointment for his fingerprints scheduled. He entered the US legally but his visa card expired and his mom lost it. The lady who helped me fill out the paperwork for his case stated that he needs to get a Mexican visa in order to get his papers. Does he really need to go and get this to become a citizen of the US?
ATTORNEY ROMAN’S ADVICE: If a person files a petition with immigration, they need to make sure that they have all required documentation ready. There are A LOT of documents that need to be submitted with a marriage petition. That it why it is SO IMPORTANT to consult with a lawyer before completing a petition. If your husband did not have all the proper documentation required for an application you should not have filed the paperwork because you are putting him at risk of being deported if you cannot prove he entered the country legally.
An immediate relative petition has various steps. First, if you are a US citizen you file an I-130 where you only need to prove that the person is related to you. In your case, you need to submit a marriage certificate to show that you are related and the application will be approved. Second, you file form I-485 – where you need to prove that your husband entered the country legally. If you cannot prove that he entered legally then he will have a problem. You should have submitted all the evidence requested with the forms in the instruction packet. If you cannot prove that he entered the country legally there is a high likelihood that he will be referred to immigration court.
If your husband entered with a tourist visa into the US then immigration officials must have issued what is called form I-94, which is simply a white card they staple to his passport to indicate how long he was authorized to remain in the US with his visa. You can file form I-102 in order to request a replacement of his I-94 in order to demonstrate that he entered the US legally. Here is a link to the form: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-102.pdf
With your petition you must also demonstrate that your salary is above the poverty guidelines established by the federal government. For instance, for a household of three you must make more than $23,000 per year in order to qualify as a sponsor. If you do not make that amount of money, you need to find a co-sponsor for his petition. You must also submit copies of your most recent income tax returns (best if you submit last three years).
The reason he is going to get fingerprints and biometrics now is because they will run an FBI background check on him to determine that he has never committed a crime in the US.
As you can see, it is a complex process that can take from 6 months to 1 year, depending on how long immigration takes to process a particular case.
I hope you can file for his I-94 and that you obtain it sooner rather than later. You will need it at his interview with immigration officials so he can obtain his lawful residence in the US.
Best of luck.
Eneida Roman, Esq.
Roman Law Offices
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