Immigration and Firm News

Today, USCIS announced two FAQs on implementation of immigration procedures for same sex marriage couples. The first one is pretty basic in that I130 visa petitions can be filed now for spouses of US citizens and green card holders. The second FAQ is rather wishy washy about cases where couples are lawfully married in a state that authorizes same sex marriages but where the couple lives in a state that does not recognize such marriages. There, USCIS says that petitions can still be filed but … [Read more...]

I'm on my way to the American Immigration Lawyers Association Conference in San Francisco and just read that the US Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry nixed section 3 of DOMA as well as Prop 8 in the Windsor case (at least as to standing to be in court). I'll be going through the decisions over the next few days. Already, our phones are ringing off the hook with couples who have been waiting for this historic moment for years. More to follow, as I'm sure there will be several gatherings … [Read more...]

At first, it sounds so simple: If the US Supreme Court determines that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, then many same-sex spouses expect to file their immigration petitions with USCIS immediately. But, I recommend caution. Getting married does not always solve a foreign national's immigration problems. In addition, the path to status is long and arduous. There is nothing speedy about it. More importantly, there are many issues to consider before rushing to file. The … [Read more...]

During the coming week, we could see two historic events: announcement by the US Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and a Senate floor vote on S. 744, the comprehensive immigration reform bill. Both are likely to occur while this Seattle immigration lawyer and thousands of my fellow immigration lawyers from around the country will be convening at the annual American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) conference in San Francisco. (Something big … [Read more...]

Today's Seattle Times has an article, Gay-Rights Movement's New Focus: Immigrants, discussing how gay rights groups and local immigrant rights groups are working together to fight for immigration reform. Gay rights' groups have advocated for a solution to the problem facing undocumented people in the US, many of whom are LGBT members. At the same time, many immigrant rights groups support reform of the immigration laws to allow US citizens and green card holders to sponsor their gay spouses. … [Read more...]

The provisional waiver procedure starts this week on March 4, 2013. Note the word "procedure." It is not a new law, a new requirement, nor amnesty. It is a change in the location of where to file for a specific type of waiver and when it will be decided. A new form I-601A has been developed for this limited waiver procedure. New Waiver Procedure Just for Unlawful Presence Bar The new provisional or family unity waiver process will allow applicants for immigrant visas abroad to apply for … [Read more...]

On January 2, 2013, USCIS announced its long awaited final regulation governing new "provisional" waiver processing for immigrant visa applicants. Beginning March 4, USCIS will begin accepting provisional waiver applications in the US from applicants subject to the unlawful presence ground of admissibility (INA section 212(a)(9)(B); 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(9)(B)) that subjects them to a three or ten-year bar to admissibility. This ground of inadmissibility is triggered when applicants for immigrant … [Read more...]

USCIS recently issued a new final regulation that goes into effect on February 1, 2013 specifying that Immigrant Visa recipients must pay a new and additional "Immigrant Fee" of $165.00. Applicants who receive Immigrant Visas at US consulates and embassies abroad will be required to pay the new fee online before they travel to the US. See The $165.00 fee covers the cost of green card production and other visa related services by USCIS associated with State Department visa … [Read more...]

It's a historic day in Washington State. Thanks to the voters who approved Referendum 74, same sex couples can legally marry starting today. The referendum went into effect on December 6, when couples started applying for marriage licenses. Along with the eight other states that permit same sex marriage, what does this new historic opportunity mean for couples where one or both spouses are foreign nationals? This blog post looks at the current status of options for foreign nationals to legally … [Read more...]

When I was about 16, I asked my father, "Why are most songs about love?" My father, ever the wise one, responded: "Why don't you write that down on a piece of paper and put it somewhere that you will not forget. Then open it up when you are about 25." Amazingly, I did just that! (More likely, I forgot I wrote it down and then stumbled upon the note years later.) While I don't have the perfect answer beyond the usual cliches of "love is what makes the world go 'round", or "love is universal", I … [Read more...]