Green Card for Widows

This guide is intended for widowed immigrants who are seeking an immigration benefit through their deceased spouse.

U Visa Generally

The following guide is intended for immigrants seeking U visa status as victims of qualifying criminal activity.

Basic Eligibility

The U visa is for immigrants who have been victims of a crime and assist or are willing to assist U.S. authorities in investigating and/or prosecuting that crime.

To be eligible to apply for a U visa, a person must:

Have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of being a victim of certain types of crimes;
Possess information about that criminal activity;
Provide a certification from a law enforcement official, prosecutor, or judge that the person has been, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity; and
Show that the criminal activity violated the laws of the United States

Qualifying Criminal Activities

Abduction
Abusive Sexual Contact
Blackmail
Domestic Violence
Extortion
False Imprisonment
Female Genital Mutilation
Felonious Assault
Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
Hostage
Incest
Involuntary Servitude
Kidnapping
Manslaughter
Murder
Obstruction of Justice
Peonage
Perjury
Prostitution
Rape
Sexual Assault
Sexual Exploitation
Slave Trade
Stalking
Torture
Trafficking
Witness Tampering
Unlawful Criminal Restraint
Other Related Crimes*+
*Includes any similar activity where the elements of the crime are substantially similar.

+Also includes attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above and other related crimes.

Application Process

If eligible, applicants should submit the following documents and applications:

Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status
Form I-918, Supplement B, U Nonimmigrant Status Certification. The Form I-918, Supplement B, must be signed by and authorized official of the certifying law enforcement agency (PDF)and the official must confirm that you were helpful, and currently being helpful, or will likely be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the case.
A personal statement describing the criminal activity of which you were a victim.

U Visa Eligiblity Info

This guide is intended for potential applicants of a U visa.
Basic Qualifications

The U visa is for immigrants who have been victims of a crime and assist or are willing to assist U.S. authorities in investigating and/or prosecuting that crime. To be eligible to apply for a U visa, a person must: Have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of being a victim of certain types of crimes; Possess information about that criminal activity; Provide a certification from a law enforcement official, prosecutor, or judge that the person has been, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity; and Show that the criminal activity violated the laws of the United State.

Be honest in your filing

It is most important to divulge the truth in your U visa application. Do not exaggerate the extent of the crime you were a victim of or the substantial harm you suffered as a result of the crime.

Complete the certification in a timely fashion

The U visa certification, Form I-918B is required to be certified by an authorized law enforcement agency. Be sure to acquire this certification before filing or your application will not be accepted.

File all relevant waivers with the petition

If you entered the country without inspection and are applying for a U visa, you will need to file a waiver – I-192. It is best to file this waiver with your U visa application as to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Permanent Residency post-U visa

The following conditions need to be met for applying for permanent residency after obtaining your U visa: o Continuous physical presence in the U.S. for least 3 years while on U-Visa status. o Never unreasonably refused to provide assistance to the law enforcement agencies since received U-Visa. o Continue to have U-Visa status at the time the applicant applies for adjustment of status. o Lawfully admitted to the U.S. as applicant with U-Visa status. o Presence in the U.S. is justified on humanitarian grounds, to ensure family unity or is in the public interest.

Completing Immigration Forms – Some Tips

The U.S. immigration system can be overwhelming to navigate and understand due to the sheer complexity of the field. To assist with this, Agarwal Law Offices has compiled a list of important tips to keep in mind when completing immigration forms.
Read the Instructions

Every USCIS form has a corresponding instruction manual. Be sure to read this entire manual before beginning the application process as it will give you a general overview of what to expect.

Use the Correct Form

Depending on the benefit you are attempting to acquire, it is most important to use the appropriate form and all supplemental forms. Be sure that these are the most updated versions of the forms as USCIS releases new forms often.

Complete All Sections

Do not leave any part of the application blank. If the answer doesn’t apply to you, simply indicate N/A or “Not Applicable.” This will ensure that USCIS does not return your application for failure to complete the application properly.

Do Not Forget to Sign

It appears like an obvious item, but too often people forget to sign their forms where indicated. Be sure to use black ink and sign and date all forms where requested.

Send the Appropriate Fee

Check the appropriate fees as these often change. Further, if applicable to your case, ensure that the base fee and any biometric fee are properly added. Make sure the check is written out to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

Make a Copy

Do not send your application without a copy for your records — whether by scan or physical copy. This will ensure that you are aware of what you submitted when it comes time for review and interview of your case.

Contact USCIS or Schedule an Infopass Appointment

If you have any questions, USCIS customer service is available to assist or you can schedule an Infopass appointment at your local USCIS service center to speak with an officer in person.

For more information, contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

Preparing for the Naturalization Oath Ceremony

Check in at Ceremony
After you arrive at the ceremony, check in the officer, who will then review your responses to Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony.

Return your Permanent Residency Card

You must return your Permanent Resident Card to USCIS when you check in for your naturalization ceremony. If your card was lost or stolen and you have established this with USCIS prior to the ceremony, you will not be required to return the card. You will no longer need your Permanent Resident Card because you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization after you take the Oath of Allegiance.

Take the Oath of Allegiance

You will take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony, which will officially complete the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. You will receive your Certificate of Naturalization after taking the Oath of Allegiance.

Receive the Naturalization Certificate

You should review your Certificate of Naturalization and notify USCIS of any errors before leaving the ceremony. At this point, you may use your Certificate as proof of your citizenship.

I539 COS Info

Generally, you may apply to change to a new nonimmigrant status or extend your current status if you lawfully traveled to the United States on a temporary visa and were lawfully admitted, your temporary visa status remains valid, and you have not committed any crimes that make you ineligible to change your status.
Application Process

File Form I539, Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status with all accompanying filing fees and evidence. The form is specifically intended for the following applicants: Certain nonimmigrants to extend their stay or change to another nonimmigrant status; CNMI residents applying for an initial grant of status; F and M nonimmigrants to apply for reinstatement; and, Persons seeking V nonimmigrant status or an extension of stay as a V nonimmigrant.

Filing Deadline

your application for an extension of stay about 45 – 60 days before your authorized stay expires. If filing a late change/extension of stay, the following must be proven: Your delay in filing was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control; The length of the delay was reasonable; You have not done anything else to violate your status such as working without authorization; You intend to remain in the United States temporarily (there are some exceptions to this rule); and You are not in removal proceedings

Categories Not Eligible for Change of Status

to change your nonimmigrant status if you were admitted to the United States in the following categories: Visa Waiver Program (VWP), Crew member (D nonimmigrant), In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV), Certain spouses of U.S. citizens or dependent children (K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrant), Fiance of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiance (K-1 or K-2 nonimmigrant), or Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S nonimmigrant)

Pending Decision

Until you receive approval from USCIS, do not assume your request for a change in nonimmigrant status has been approved, and do not change your activity in the United States.

I-751 Generally

This guide is intended for immigrants with conditional residency who are looking to remove the conditions of their residency.
Generally

An individual’s permanent residence status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than 2 years old on the day you were given permanent residence.

Eligibility

Generally, you may apply to remove your conditions on permanent residence if you:

Are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 2 years. You may include your children in your application if they received their conditional-resident status either at the same time or within 90 days as you did;

Are a child and, for a valid reason, cannot be included in your parents’ application;

Are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith;

Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment; or

Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse.

Filing Form I751

Your status is conditional, because you must prove that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States. To remove these conditions you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. You and your spouse must apply together to remove the conditions on your residence by filing Form I-751. You should apply during the 90 days before your second anniversary as a conditional resident. The expiration date on your green card is also the date of your second anniversary as a conditional resident. If you do not apply to remove the conditions in time, you could lose your conditional resident status.

Evidence 

Submit copies of documents indicating that the marriage upon which you were granted conditional status was entered in “good faith” and was not for the purpose of circumventing immigration laws. Submit copies of as many documents as you can to establish this fact, to demonstrate the circumstances of the relationship from the date of the marriage to the present date, and to demonstrate any circumstances surrounding the end of the relationship, if it has ended.

I-751 Divorce Consequences

This guide is intended for immigrants with conditional residency who are looking to remove the conditions of their residency.
Generally

An individual’s permanent residence status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than 2 years old on the day you were given permanent residence.

Eligibility

Generally, you may apply to remove your conditions on permanent residence if you:

Are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 2 years. You may include your children in your application if they received their conditional-resident status either at the same time or within 90 days as you did;

Are a child and, for a valid reason, cannot be included in your parents’ application;

Are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith;

Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment; or

Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse.

Filing Form I751

Your status is conditional, because you must prove that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States. To remove these conditions you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. You and your spouse must apply together to remove the conditions on your residence by filing Form I-751. You should apply during the 90 days before your second anniversary as a conditional resident. The expiration date on your green card is also the date of your second anniversary as a conditional resident. If you do not apply to remove the conditions in time, you could lose your conditional resident status.

Divorce Consequences

If you are still married, but legally separated and/or in pending divorce and:

You filed a waiver request. USCIS will issue a request for evidence asking for a copy of the final divorce decree.
You filed a Form I-751 petition jointly. USCIS will issue a request for evidence asking for a copy of the final divorce decree and a statement that you would like to have your joint filing petition treated as a waiver.

Upon receipt of the final divorce decree within the specified time period, USCIS will amend the petition, to indicate that eligibility has been established for a waiver of the joint filing requirement based on the termination of the marriage.

I-751 Late Filings

This guide is intended for immigrants with conditional residency who are looking to remove the conditions of their residency.
Generally

An individual’s permanent residence status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than 2 years old on the day you were given permanent residence.

Eligibility

Generally, you may apply to remove your conditions on permanent residence if you:

Are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 2 years. You may include your children in your application if they received their conditional-resident status either at the same time or within 90 days as you did;

Are a child and, for a valid reason, cannot be included in your parents’ application;

Are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith;

Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment; or

Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse.

Filing Form I751

Your status is conditional, because you must prove that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States. To remove these conditions you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. You and your spouse must apply together to remove the conditions on your residence by filing Form I-751. You should apply during the 90 days before your second anniversary as a conditional resident. The expiration date on your green card is also the date of your second anniversary as a conditional resident. If you do not apply to remove the conditions in time, you could lose your conditional resident status.

Late Filings

If you fail to properly file Form I-751 within the 90-day period before your second anniversary as a conditional resident:

  • Your conditional resident status will automatically be terminated and we will begin removal proceedings against you
  • You will receive a notice from us telling you that you have failed to remove the conditions
  • You will receive a Notice to Appear at a hearing. At the hearing you may review and rebut the evidence against you.

The Form I-751 can be filed after the 90-day period if you can prove in writing to the director of the appropriate Service Center that there was good cause for failing to file the petition on time. The director has the discretion to approve the petition and restore your permanent resident status.

I-751 Joint Filing Waiver

This guide is intended for immigrants with conditional residency who are looking to remove the conditions of their residency.
Generally

An individual’s permanent residence status is conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than 2 years old on the day you were given permanent residence.

Eligibility

Generally, you may apply to remove your conditions on permanent residence if you:

Are still married to the same U.S. citizen or permanent resident after 2 years. You may include your children in your application if they received their conditional-resident status either at the same time or within 90 days as you did;

Are a child and, for a valid reason, cannot be included in your parents’ application;

Are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith;

Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment; or

Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse.

Filing Form I751

Your status is conditional, because you must prove that you did not get married to evade the immigration laws of the United States. To remove these conditions you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. You and your spouse must apply together to remove the conditions on your residence by filing Form I-751. You should apply during the 90 days before your second anniversary as a conditional resident. The expiration date on your green card is also the date of your second anniversary as a conditional resident. If you do not apply to remove the conditions in time, you could lose your conditional resident status.

Joint Filing Waiver 

If you are unable to apply with your spouse to remove the conditions on your residence, you may request a waiver of the joint filing requirement.

You may request a waiver of the joint petitioning requirements in the following instances:

Your deportation or removal would result in extreme hardship
You entered into your marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but the marriage ended by annulment or divorce, and you were not at fault in failing to file a timely petition
You entered into your marriage in good faith, and not to evade immigration laws, but during the marriage you or your child were battered by, or subjected to extreme cruelty committed by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, and you were not at fault in failing to file a joint petition.