Recently a potential client entered our office distraught. She had just received notice that her completely lawful marriage had raised a number of red flags and that immigration had called her back for a 2nd interview or what is called a Stokes Interview.
A Stokes interview occurs where immigration suspects the marriage is not a good faith marriage and that it was just arranged for immigration purposes. The Stokes interview takes each party into separate rooms and asks a series of questions to determine if they are lying or telling the truth. At the end the parties are brought together to explain and discrepancies.
After briefly discussing her case with her we quickly realized that she had a bona fide marriage and that her main issue was she had tried to save a few dollars by not having an attorney prepare her application for her. She simply wanted to save some money so she and her husband decided to try to do it themselves. Now she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown thinking her application would certainly be denied at the Stokes interview and that she would separated from her family and deported.
We assured her we could help her and at this point she realized it was well worth the money, as it was obvious to her she should have hired us from the beginning. After asking her a few questions we determined the interviewer had been highly inappropriate with her. He had attempted to intimidate her and even asked her questions about how her husband could have “loved her.”
by Jovi Federici, Legal Intern
Canada’s Business Immigration Program (BIP), similar to the EB-5 Investment Immigrant Program in the United States, facilitates immigration to Canada based on business investment. There are, however, some very important differences between Canada’s BIP and the EB-5 program in the United States, which should be explored in order to fully understand the program.
The purpose of the BIP is to promote economic development and employment in Canada, with a specific interest in encouraging international trade. The BIP includes three classes of immigrants who seek permanent residence in Canada: Investor, Entrepreneur, and Self-Employed. Immigrant investors engage in a passive investment, and the program is split between a Federal program and a Quebec program. Immigrants who express a desire to live in Quebec should follow the Quebec program, which is similar to the Federal program except that it is only for applicants seeking to reside in Quebec and Quebec guarantees the investment instead of the Federal government. Also the investment proceeds are allocated to Quebec only. Generally s peaking, processing time for the Quebec program tends to be less than the Federal program, although this is not always the case.
by Amelia Wong, Legal Intern
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, an “LPR” is a legal permanent resident. This means that the resident is allowed to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis.
There are a number of ways for a person to become a Legal Permanent Resident in the United States.
Many people who are not citizens of the United States, for example obtain Green Cards for lawful permanent residency. These people may have a family member who is a citizen of the United States, and that family member has applied for legal permanent residence status in order for the nonresident to remain in the United States legally. If the process is approved, the non-resident will receive a green card as proof of legal permanent residence. Because he or she has been granted legal permanent residence status through a family member, it is possible for the person with legal permanent resident to apply for citizenship and become a United States citizen after about five years.
Another way a person may become a legal permanent resident is through his or her place of employment. The person’s job may offer immigration or work visas which allow non-citizen workers to be able to work in the United States. This visa allows said person to become a legal permanent resident, so that he or she will not be deported without reasonable cause.
Similarly, a person can become a lawful permanent resident by claiming refugee or asylum status. In the case that an individual receives refugee or asylum status, the person has proven that he or she was persecuted for his or her beliefs in another country and has therefore found it impossible to live in that country without risk of more persecution. If refugee or asylum status is pursued the legal permanent residence status can be filed through a humanitarian organization or even by oneself.
Some other people who could obtain legal permanent residence status could be:
• an Amerasian child of a United States citizen
• an American Indian born in Canada
• an armed forces member
• a Cuban native or citizen
• a person enrolled in the diversity immigrant visa program
• a Haitian refugee, through the Help Haiti Act of 2010
• a person who fits the Indochinese Parole Adjustment Act
• an informant
• a Lautenberg parolee
• a person who fits the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act
• a person born to a foreign diplomat in the United States
• a victim of criminal activity, or victim of trafficking
Obtaining a Green Card is also possible through special categories of jobs. These jobs include being:
• an Afghan or Iraqi translator,
• a broadcaster
• an International Organization Employee
• an Iraqi who assisted the United States government
• a NATO-6 nonimmigrant
• a Panama Canal Employee
• a Physician through the Physician National Interest Waiver
• a religious worker
Similarly, special categories of family exist when attempting to obtain a Green Card. They include:
• battered spouse or child
• K nonimmigrant
• V nonimmigrant
It is helpful to talk to an expert in order to see if you or a person you know qualifies for any of these special categories. There are often many questions at the beginning of the LPR process.
Even after one has been granted a green card, he or she may have various questions. For example, some people may not know that it is possible to renew or replace a green card by filing a Form I-90 online or on paper, or that is also possible to remove conditions on a green card, and travel outside of the United States with a green card.
There are also various rights that the card holder has and responsibilities the card holder should adhere to. As mentioned before, it is always best to talk to a trained professional about any questions your or someone you know might have.
As you can see, becoming a legal permanent resident is a complicated process, but it offers many benefits. It is important to have effective, professional, expertise in your corner in order to make the legal permanent residents process have the best opportunity for success.
For more information or to schedule a free consultation please contact Misiti Global, PLLC by Nicklaus Misiti at (212) 537-4407 or by filling out the convenient form on our website www.misitiglobal.com.
Under section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1153(b)(5), 10,000 immigrant visas per year are made available to certain qualified individuals seeking permanent resident status on the basis of their engagement in an investment within the United States.
The requirements for an investment based green card are an investment of at least $1 million dollars or $500,000 in an area with high unemployment. The petitioner must show that the money used for the investment comes from a lawful source and that it will create a minimum of 10 jobs. The investor can create a business in the United States or invest in an already established business. They can also invest through a government approved regional center.