Immigration FAQs

Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer?

Immigration law is incredibly complex and can have significant consequences for violations and missteps.  Knowing when to seek an experienced immigration lawyer is important.  If you are inadmissible, in removal proceedings, have a criminal history, are intimidated by paperwork, or are experiencing bureaucratic delays, you should seek the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer.

How Do I Choose an Immigration Lawyer?

It is important to choose the right immigration lawyer to meet your specific needs and the requirements of your case.  Our office has extensive experience representing clients in a variety of immigration matters and in cases involving criminal issues.  We pride ourselves on delivering top-notch representation in all of our immigration cases, utilizing years of immigration law knowledge and experience.  Contact us today to discuss your immigration case.

Can I Rely on Information from a USCIS Information Officer?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the agency that processes most immigration applications and petitions.  The agency has a 1-800 telephone number, a website, and in-person officers to provide general immigration information.  While the information provided through these resources is probably technically accurate, it does not – and cannot – relate to any specific individual’s facts or case.  Only an experienced immigration attorney can review your situation and provide legal advice.  Prior to taking any action, you should seek the advice and assistance of a qualified immigration lawyer.

How Long Will My Immigration Case Take?

Immigration matters can be agonizingly slow.  Simple cases may wrap up in a few weeks while other matters drag on for years.  While immigration attorneys cannot control the speed with government agencies process any particular case, they are often able to use nonpublic telephone numbers and e-mail addresses to help move a case along.

How Do I Know If I’m Being Deported?

The U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) begins removal proceedings by sending you a Notice to Appear.  This is a legal document that describes the reasons you should be removed from the United States.  It also provides you with a hearing date, time, and place where you will see an immigration judge.  It is important to never miss a scheduled hearing in immigration court, as the immigration judge can order you to be removed from the country even if you are not there.  Because the government will have a lawyer arguing against you, you should strongly consider having legal representation at your immigration hearing.  As soon as you receive your Notice to Appear, contact an experienced immigration lawyer to discuss your case.

I’m already in removal proceedings.  Do I have any chance at getting to stay in the U.S.?

Once you are in removal proceedings, it can be challenging to stay in the U.S.  However, there are many defenses to removal.  Family ties, long-time presence, good moral character, and hardship are all factors that the law considers in deciding whether to remove someone from the U.S.  Further, deferred action programs make it easier for certain individuals to stay in the U.S.  However, even if you have no legal argument to remaining in the U.S., leaving the U.S. voluntarily might make it easier to return legally in the future.  Either way, removal from the U.S. is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly.   If you are in removal proceedings, contact our office immediately to discuss your options.

Can I Get out of Immigration Detention on a Bond?

Many noncitizens who have been arrested by immigration authorities may be released on a bond.  Some, however, are subject to mandatory detention and may not be issued a bond.  In determining whether to set a bond and the bond amount, the immigration judge will consider immigration history, criminal convictions, ties to the U.S., and other factors.  Immigration bonds vary from a minimum of $1,500 to amounts considerably higher.  Provided you attend all immigration court dates and comply with any immigration court orders, the bond should be returned upon the conclusion of removal proceedings.  An effective immigration lawyer can argue for a reduced bond.

Am I Subject to Mandatory Detention During My Removal Process?

If you have been convicted of or plead guilty to certain crimes, you will be detained and unable to post a bond for release during your removal process.  Generally, serious crimes involving weapons or drugs or those involving moral turpitude (fraud, theft, etc.) require mandatory detention.  Also, if you have been previously deported and you returned to the U.S. illegally, you will be subject to mandatory detention.  Deciding whether you are eligible for a bond during your removal proceedings can require a complex legal analysis.  If you have been detained by immigration authorities or are subject to an “immigration hold,” you should contact a qualified immigration attorney immediately.

Can I Appeal My Removal (Deportation) Order?

Generally, removal orders are appealable, but appeals must be filed within a limited time frame.  That said, in some situations, an appeal of the removal order might have been waived at the removal hearing.  Either way, if you have a final order of removal, time is of the essence.  It is important that you contact an experienced immigration lawyer immediately to discuss an appeal or any other options you may have to remain in the United States.

I know I Had Some Immigration Issues in the Past.  How Do I Know If I’ve Been Deported?

Any run-in with immigration authorities can complicate a person’s immigration status.  If you were previously deported, voluntary left the country, overstayed a visa, or were denied an immigration benefit, you might have trouble obtaining a valid immigration status.  If you have been in the U.S. a long time, though, it might be difficult to remember every interaction you have had with immigration authorities.  Fortunately, the Freedom of Information Act and other laws can provide documentation of your immigration history.  A good immigration attorney will be able to obtain and review this information prior to advising you.

Can Immigration Filing Fees Be Waived?

The federal government charges fees to help cover the cost of processing immigration applications.  These fees can be expensive.  In certain circumstances, filing fees are waivable.  To be considered for a fee waiver, applicants must complete a form separate from their application or petition.  An experienced immigration lawyer can help you argue for a fee waiver.

I’m Getting My Green Card through Marriage.  Will I Be a Permanent Resident or a Conditional Resident?

If you were married fewer than two years on the day you were granted permanent residency, you will receive a conditional card.  This will require you to file a petition to remove conditions after two years.  This is a fairly straightforward process, but you will have to prove that you continue to be in a bona fide marriage.  If your marriage has ended in divorce, if your spouse has died, or if you have been the victim of domestic violence, you will need to provide specific documentation to remove the conditions on your permanent residency.  For immigration help in Georgia, contact our office.

Am I Eligible for Deferred Action?

If you have been watching the news over the past couple years, you know that the Obama Administration has issued some directives that defer deportation for certain unauthorized immigrants.  The federal government has agreed not to deport some immigrants and instead to allow them to live and work in the U.S. until immigration reform gives them a path to full legalization.  These directives have faced some challenges in the courts.  As such, knowing whether anyone qualifies for deferred action requires a careful legal analysis.  As an experienced Georgia immigration law firm, we constantly monitor changes in immigration law and can help you decide whether to apply for deferred action.

My Fiancé is from Outside the U.S.  Can She Come to the U.S. for Us to Get Married?

Yes.  U.S. immigration law has a special fiancé visa.  The petition is filed by a U.S. citizen who wishes to bring a foreign national into the U.S. to marry.  Following the marriage, the non-citizen fiancé may immediately file for legal permanent residency.  Our office has experience with preparing fiancé visa petitions and applications for permanent residency.

I Just Moved.  Do I Need to Update My Address with USCIS?

Yes.  All nonimmigrants in the U.S. and legal permanent residents must notify the USCIS within 10 days of moving within the U.S. or its territories.  This is done by filing Form AR-11 either electronically or in paper.