Renewing Green Cards And U Visa

Hi this is Kaushik Ranchod here from The Ranchod Law Group, live with Brian, our paralegal today we’re going to talk about some exciting immigration laws and visas. The reason I’m so excited today is because we’re talking about one of my favorite visas – the U Visa. The U Visa is an extremely powerful visa because even if you’ve been out of status, even if you have entered without inspection more than once, even if you may have criminal convictions, all of these things can be waived with the U Visa.

The reason for that is that it’s a humanitarian visa. If you are the victim of a violent crime, then you might qualify for a U Visa but it’s not just being the victim of a violent crime, you’ve had to also cooperate with the police department and have that documented generally in the form of a police report. Types of violent crimes include:

  • domestic violence;
  • suffered from physical injury for instance someone hit you.

That also may qualify as a violent crime.

Something that doesn’t qualify as a violent crime would be burglary or someone hitting you in a car accident. Those would be crimes that don’t qualify as a violent crime.

It’s extremely important that you also cooperate with the police and file a police report if a violent crime does occur. The other way we demonstrate and win our cases is showing physical and emotional damage. The way we can do that is if you go to a therapist. Your hospital records can also be used. If you’re over 21 years old you can also file for your spouse (include your spouse) and also file for your children if they are under 21.

The first step in the U Visa process is to make sure that you file the police report. What we then do is file an application with the police to get a certification from the police in California. The state legislature passed a law where the police departments are required to issue the approval if you qualify within 90 days. This is specific to California so every state has it’s own unique requirement.

The next step with the U Visa after the police certification we go onto the next step and file the application with the USCIS which is at the very heart of our strategy, the bulk of the case. When we apply with the USCIS this is where we build your case to demonstrate that you cooperated with the police, that you faced mental or physical harm, and this is also where we go back and also show that this qualifies as a violent crime which is the foundation, the basis of your case.

Recently processing times have increased significantly, it’s taking 43 to 45 months to get an approval: what we are seeing is a progressive increase in the approval timeline. This has been a trend with the Trump administration across the board – we’ve seen that the government is just taking an increasing amount of time to process cases. Towards the end of the case, once they start reviewing your case, you can get work authorization, which will allow you to work lawfully in the United States, which is another great aspect of the U Visa.

So we’ve been talking about the U Visa, the steps in the U Visa and the processing times. Then you receive work authorisation if it’s likely that your case is going to be approved. Consequently you can apply for a greencard three years after getting your U Visa. Going back to the EADs, they are getting issued if your case is likely to be approved, that’s when they are issuing the EAD, when it’s coming close to the end of the process to obtain your U Visa. This is based off of deferred action.

So we talked about the U Visa – now we’re going to move onto a different topic. Here at the The Ranchod Law Group we’ve been getting questions about greencard renewal.

When can you apply for a greencard?

We also receive a lot of questions related to greencards without expiration date. A law passed years ago where even if you have that kind of greencard where there’s no expiration date, you are still required to file for a renewal. In this case and you can file for a renewal six months prior to the expiration date on your greencard. The USCIS is taking a long time to process such applications these days, it’s taking over a year generally to get these approved – the government processing times do change but as of today, as of the broadcast of this video that we’re doing, it is taking over a year.

Do you have any other questions Brian that you are getting or any questions for me?

How soon can someone apply for a greencard renewal?
What if my greencard hasn’t expired yet, when can I apply for a renewal?

You can apply 6 months before the expiration date of your greencard. if you have a 10 year greencard which is known as a permanent greencard then you can do that 6 months prior to expiration. Now that brings up an important point. If you have a conditional greencard, it requires a different application. What we’re talking about is the greencard renewal where you have the permanent greencard for 10 years.

So if you’re applying for a conditional greencard that is where you are removing the conditions after you get the conditional greencard that is good for 2 years and that is generally based on having a good faith marriage to your spouse. In that case you’re going to have to demonstrate to the USCIS that you still have a good faith marriage and the way to do that is by providing documentation of your good faith marriage such as bank account statements such as joint leases as some examples of joint documents that are included in the I-751 application which is to get rid of the conditions on your greencard so you can get a permanent 10 year greencard.

Now what happens if you get a divorce with the conditional greencard?

It’s still possible to remove the conditions on your greencard but it’s going to require more work. You will probably be called in for an interview to ensure that your marriage was in good faith. The USCIS will look at why or what happened to cause the separation – that could be one thing they will look at the interview. They will also evaluate the documents that you have. What I’m talking about now is if you actually got a divorce, they will look at the documents to evaluate wether or not you had a good faith marriage, they will also want to see affidavits from friends and family. Another way that you can waive conditions on the greencard is if you’re not filing it jointly as if it were based off of domestic violence or abuse. That is another way to also waive the joint filing requirement.

You may also qualify if you are married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident for something called the Violence Against Women Act which is the violence against women’s act. So that’s another way if you’ve been a victim.

I want to thank you for tuning in to our show, we’ll see you next week, thank you and have an awesome day!

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Related Information on U Visas