Minnesota Immigration Attorneys
As our Minnesota immigration attorneys from Johnston Martineau, PLLP know, there are many situations where hiring a lawyer experienced in immigration cases will be helpful for you or a family member. In the United States, you are not required by law to have an attorney when sending in paperwork for a green card or immigrant visa. If you meet all the criteria, have no history of criminal activity, and have a straightforward case, then you may be able to proceed to obtaining your visa or green card without legal assistance.
However, if you are someone with a more complex situation, or just want to make sure your application process goes smoothly, then we suggest having an attorney to turn to. Don’t hesitate to call us now if you need immediate guidance.
Overwhelmed By Paperwork? You’re Not Alone
Even the most basic immigration applications for the U.S. involve completing forms and obtaining documents to prove your eligibility, and then having to abide by strict instructions while doing so. If you make a mistake, you may receive notice that your application was denied, delayed, or returned. Our immigration attorneys have had to deal with this paperwork many times before with previous clients, and have the insight to see that things go as smoothly as possible.
Our MN immigration attorneys at Johnston Martineau, PLLP know that there are online programs out there where you can enter your information and it gets generated onto a document within seconds. But please keep in mind that this leaves plenty of room for error, and it’s imperative that your application is complete and accurate. If you are overwhelmed by immigration paperwork, let us help.
Reconsider Information Officer’s Advice
Do not rely on advice provided to you by an immigration information officer. There are times when people have come to us because of a failure of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We can understand the frustration you may be feeling with their inconsistent advice. You may be waiting to receive an update from them about an application and have yet to hear back. We have heard numerous complaints about how the USCIS has failed, and will prioritize your case when it feels as though they have not.
Aside from general topics such as procedure, fees, and where to file an application, we suggest taking any input from a USCIS information officer with a grain of salt. But depending on the level of experience and knowledge that your immigration officer has, they may give you inaccurate or outdated details that hinder your case.
Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer?
Many people think they absolutely need an immigration lawyer for immigration issues. This is not always true. For some simple, or straightforward, cases, it may be possible to submit any documents or applications to the government, go through the interview process, and wait for an outcome on your own.
That said, being successful with your own pursuit of immigration is not always easy. As Minnesota immigration attorneys, we would recommend anyone who is seeking a visa, green card, or naturalization to weigh out their options before taking any action.
Benefits of an Immigration Lawyer
The U.S. Immigration system is very complex, and changes often. There are benefits to hiring an immigration attorney in Minnesota.
Knowledge and Experience
When you hire an immigration attorney, you are choosing to have someone who knows the ins and outs of the system represent you. These people have worked hundreds, even thousands, of cases and know how to navigate each one in the best way possible. This can be very valuable.
There are strict deadlines you must meet. If you do not, your immigration process can be delayed, or hindered. A good immigration attorney in Minnesota will understand the relevant deadlines for your case.
Higher Success Rate
One mistake or error on any immigration form can cause you to have to wait longer. In a worst case scenario, and one that is becoming more common, your application could be denied. Navigating the process is very difficult – no matter how focused you might be. Choosing to have a legal advocate on your side can make a difference. Immigration lawyers know what paperwork needs to be filed, how, and when. They also know what should be avoided during the application process. A lawyer can explain to you the steps, what you can expect, and what you will need to do while you wait for the outcome.
When Do You Need to Call Minnesota Immigration Attorneys
You Are Overwhelmed
One of the most common reasons people decide to call a lawyer for immigration help is because they are overwhelmed or frustrated with the process. There are so many forms to complete, deadlines that have to be met, and information that has to be submitted in a timely manner. One little error can slow everything down.
You’re Facing Delays
Getting a decision can take months. If there is a delay, you could be waiting more than a year. Apart from errors that cause delays, if at any time you move, or make changes to your life in the U.S., your application may need to be transferred or updated; both of which can cause delays. A lawyer can find out the status of your application and let you know what is going on.
Your Application Has Been Denied
If you were pursuing an immigration matter on your own, and have had your application denied, don’t give up hope. There are many factors that can lead to a denial. Some can be waived, others can not. Working with a lawyer from the beginning can help you to know what factors might impact your immigration ability.
Immigration Law FAQ
Immigrating to the United States is no easy task. Questions will almost certainly arise. Despite the following information provided below in this immigration law FAQ, you should know that immigration matters are often complex. Legal advice from our Minnesota immigration attorneys should be sought.
What Is the Difference Between an Immigrant Petition and a Non-Immigrant Petition?
An immigrant petition is when an immigrant is lawfully seeking to obtain permanent residency in the United States. A non-immigrant petition is a filing to obtain temporary status only.
What Is a Green Card?
The term green card is actually a slang term for a lawful permanent resident card. Once obtained, it is proof of U.S. residency. Our Minnesota immigration attorneys can discuss with you the many ways to obtain a green card.
Is a Green Guaranteed After Marrying a U.S. Citizen?
No. As our Minnesota immigration attorneys will explain to you, it can take three months to two years, or more to complete the process.
Do I Need to Hire an Immigration Attorney?
Technically you do not need a lawyer to immigrate to the U.S.; however, immigration law is very complicated. Having an attorney to represent you can ensure you are following all procedures correctly. What you include in your application, such as evidence, can impact your case. Your attorney will be able to handle all documentation and forms so that you get the best possible chance at staying in the United States.
What Options Are Available for My Fiancé Who Lives Abroad?
In general, you have two options. You can sponsor the individual for a Fiancé visa petition. Or, you can marry them in their home country or a third country; after which, you can file a spousal petition. Each option has different requirements. A Minnesota immigration attorney can talk with you about the best strategy for your own needs.
How Can I Sponsor a Family Member?
Your relative can enter the U.S. on a temporary or permanent basis. How they immigrate or visit the U.S. will depend on your circumstances. Generally, whether you family members can immigrate will depend on their relation to you, as well as your current status in the country (i.e. resident, citizen, temporary visitor, student, etc.). Immediate family members can often immigrate immediately to the U.S.; whereas, non-immediate members may have to wait. The waiting period can be several months to several years, or more.
What Alternatives Are Available if I Cannot Get a Visa, or What If I Am Scared to Return to My Country?
There are alternative options for those who are concerned about returning to their home country. For example, Temporary Protected Status and Asylum are two examples of relief that may be available. You should talk with an immigration attorney to learn more about your eligibility, and other options.
I Am the Victim of Abuse in the U.S., What Can I Do?
If you are the victim of an abusive relationship, we would encourage you to leave right away. There are many agencies and shelters that will be able to help you regardless of your immigrant status. There may be a visa available, as per the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act. An attorney should be contacted to learn about the requirements and eligibility.
If you have any questions or concerns about immigrating to the U.S., or remaining in the country, please reach out to one of our Minnesota immigration attorneys.
Johnston Martineau, PLLP
The path to becoming a citizen, getting your green card or visa, can surely be a bumpy one if you don’t have the right information and guidance from someone with experience. Family and friends may give you advice about how they went about applying, but each person’s situation is unique. So please call Johnston Martineau, PLLP to get factual legal recommendations from our immigration attorneys in Minnesota.
Common Myths About Immigration
Many people try to immigrate to the U.S. every year, but there are still so many misconceptions about the process. Here are some common myths about immigration:
- Undocumented immigrant who came to the U.S. as children have amnesty: One of the most common myths about immigration is that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) pardons immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children. The truth is that DACA is not equivalent to amnesty.
- It is not worth it to hire an attorney. Some foreign nationals who wish to gain immigration benefits in the U.S. may believe they can’t afford to hire Minnesota immigration attorneys. Although working with an attorney can be expensive, it is completely worth the cost. An experienced attorney will have extensive knowledge about immigration laws and improve your chance of achieving a successful outcome.
- It is easy to get a green card: Many people are under the impression that obtaining a green card is pretty. However, this could not be further from the truth. Immigration laws in the U.S. actually make it challenging for immigrants to get green cards, especially if they are low-skilled workers. To obtain a green card, foreign nationals either have to have a qualifying family member petition for them or work for a U.S. company that will sponsor them.
- The immigration process lets dangerous criminals in the country: Unfortunately, some Americans believe that the immigration process makes it easy for dangerous criminals to enter the U.S. However, you can be rest assured that immigrants have to go through extensive screening processes that check their employment and criminal backgrounds. While it is possible for dangerous criminals to fall through the cracks, it is very rare.
- There is a one-size-fits-all approach with immigration issues: As Minnesota immigration attorneys can confirm, there is not just one way to resolve immigration issues. Since people immigrate to the U.S. for various different reasons, they need customized solutions.
- Immigrants are taking all the jobs away: A common complaint Americans have is that immigrants are stealing their jobs. However, immigrants account for a small percentage of the U.S. population, so they can’t actually dominate the workforce. In fact, many people who immigrate to the U.S. are entrepreneurs, so they create more jobs for people in the country and grow the economy.
Common Immigration Mistakes
Filing for immigration in the U.S. can be a complex process. In fact, many people make errors that get their applications denied. Here are some common mistakes Minnesota immigration attorneys want you to avoid:
- Not putting the correct names on the application. This is one of the simplest yet biggest mistakes people make when applying for U.S. citizenship. It’s critical to use the exact name on your birth certificate on the application, not the one you are currently using in the U.S.
- Sending documents that aren’t translated. To apply for citizenship, you will have to send in various documents, like your birth certificate and marriage certificate. However, many immigrants make the mistake of not getting these documents professionally translated before submitting them. They might bring a friend or family member who speaks English to translate the documents. This won’t work.
- Forgetting to sign your application. Another major mistake immigrants make is forgetting to sign their application. There may be several places in the application you have to sign your name and some may slip your mind. To avoid this, double check your application to make sure you signed everything you needed to.
- Paying the wrong fee. In order to get your immigration application approved, you will have to submit a fee. If you pay the incorrect fee amount, your application will get rejected. Check the application instructions towards the end to make sure you are paying the correct fee. Additionally, keep in mind that the USCI only accepts payments in the form of a check or money order from a U.S. institution.
- Not being aware of your criminal history. The USCI will definitely check your criminal record when reviewing your immigration application. As such, it is important to be aware of your criminal history and be completely honest about it. Even if you only committed a traffic violation, you’ll need to list that on your application.
- Not hiring a lawyer. As you probably understand now, immigration applications can involve many complexities. They can be very frustrating for the average person. The good news is that you don’t have to go through it alone. You have the option of hiring an immigration attorney. He or she will make sure that you are filling out the application correctly and take a lot of stress off your back.