Yes - your immigration status does not affect a common law marriage.
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If you are a victim of violence or abuse, make a plan to get away from your abuser safely, contact a battered women’s shelter, and when you can do so safely, contact the police. Be sure to cooperate with the police if they become involved in any way. You can get a protective order issued against your abuser, and you may qualify for special immigration relief based on the abuse you’ve suffered. Talk to an immigration lawyer about your case.
It is illegal for anyone to withhold your paperwork, and may constitute emotional abuse.
Most paperwork can be replaced. Find a friend or relative who can help you with your paperwork and keep it in a safe place.
Technically, your partner can alert immigration to the fact that you are here illegally, however, Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not have the resources to deport everyone who is undocumented.
They prioritize criminals, gang-members, and repeat immigration offenders. If you have never had any contact with the police, and have only entered the U.S. once, it is unlikely you will be removed immediately.
Furthermore, if you are a victim of abuse or violence you may be eligible for special immigration relief as a victim of abuse (VAWA or U Visa). Contact an immigration lawyer to talk about your case.
If you need to, make a plan to get away from your abuser safely, contact a battered women’s shelter, and when you can do so safely, contact the police. Be sure to cooperate with the police if they become involved in any way.
If you need to, make a plan to get away from your abuser safely, and when you can do so safely, contact the police. Be sure to cooperate with the police if they become involved in any way. You can also apply for a protective order to protect yourself from your abuser.
The Petition to Change the Name of a Child asks for your child’s address. The other parent will get a copy of the Petition. If you are concerned about your safety or the safety of your child, call the Family Violence Legal Line at 1-800-374-4673 for free advice before filing anything with the court.
If you are a victim of violence or abuse
- Make a plan to get away from your abuser safely
- Contact a domestic violence shelter, and
- When you can do so safely, contact the police.
Be sure to cooperate with the police if they become involved in any way. You can get a protective order issued against your abuser, and you may qualify for special immigration relief based on the abuse you’ve suffered. Talk to an immigration lawyer.
It is illegal for anyone to withhold your paperwork. This may be emotional abuse. Contact an immigration attorney to see if you qualify for relief. Most paperwork can be replaced. Find a friend or relative who can help you with your paperwork and keep it in a safe place.
Your partner can tell immigration that you are here without documentation. However, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) might not currently have the resources to deport everyone who is undocumented. They prioritize criminals, gang members, and repeat immigration offenders.
If you have never had any contact with the police, and have only entered the U.S. once, it is unlikely you will be removed immediately.
If you are a victim of abuse or family violence, you may be eligible for special immigration relief as a victim of abuse (VAWA or U visa). Talk to an immigration lawyer.
If you need to, make a plan to get away from your abuser safely, contact a family violence shelter, and when you can do so safely, contact the police. Be sure to cooperate with the police if they become involved in any way.
This threat constitutes emotional abuse, so you may qualify for immigration relief as a victim of crime or domestic violence. Talk to an immigration lawyer about your case. If you need to, make a plan to get away from your abuser safely. Call the police when it's safe. Be sure to cooperate with the police if they become involved. You can also apply for a protective order to protect yourself from your abuser.
If you are a victim of physical or emotional abuse, make a plan to get away from your abuser safely. Talk to an immigration lawyer. Contact a domestic violence shelter. Call the police when it is safe. Cooperate with the police if they become involved. You can get a protective order against your abuser.
The answer to this question is unclear. The current President signaled that he might end DACA, but has not said what action—if any—he plans to take against DACA applicants and recipients. However, most immigrant rights groups agree that first-time DACA applicants should wait to file their applications until there is more information about the President’s plans. People renewing their deferred action status can still apply—but they might lose their filing fees if the program ends. All DACA recipients and DACA-eligible individuals should pay close attention to the news (or talk to an immigration lawyer) for the most up-to-date information.
Relief is the term used to describe an immigration benefit. To figure out if you qualify, look at the requirements for each benefit. Usually, you must meet all the requirements. This means that even if you meet four out of five requirements, you still might not get the benefit. Being granted a benefit generally means you can stay in the United States, but there are exceptions.
To seek relief, you generally apply to the immigration judge, who will set an individual hearing to decide your case.
Being a United States citizen is the ultimate defense to deportation, because U.S. immigration laws clearly state that citizens cannot be deported.
If you are facing deportation, there are two main ways you might become a U.S. citizen:
1. Birth in the U.S. (commonly known as birthright citizenship)
2. Through a parent or grandparent who is a U.S. citizen (acquired citizenship and derived citizenship).
If you believe that you might be a U.S. citizen, and are in the middle of deportation/removal proceedings, talk to an immigration lawyer or accredited representative for help as soon as possible.
Click here for more information on U.S. citizenship. There are other ways to become a U.S. citizen, but birthright, acquired, and derived citizenship may be the most useful avenues for you if you are facing removal. This article provides an overview on deportation within the U.S. immigration laws.
Acquired U.S. citizenship arises when one of your parents is a U.S. citizen, either by birth or naturalization. They pass their citizenship on to you. To “acquire” U.S. citizenship, your parent must have been a U.S. citizen before you were born. It may be possible for your parents to acquire U.S. citizenship from their parents (your grandparents), and then for you to acquire U.S. citizenship from your parents.
To prove that you acquired U.S. citizenship, you must show (among other things) that your U.S. citizen parent lived in the U.S. before you were born for the required number of years. The exact requirements, including the number of years that your parent must have resided in the U.S., depend on your birth year.
If you are in removal proceedings —but think you might be a U.S. citizen—hire a lawyer or accredited representative to represent you. This article gives an overview on qualifying for relief from deportation via acquiring citizenship.
Derived U.S. citizenship arises when
(1) you become a lawful permanent resident before you turn 18, and
(2) one of your parents becomes a U.S. citizen through naturalization before you turn 18.
Depending on your birth year, the law may require that both of your parents were naturalized before you turned 18. Like acquired citizenship, your birth year determines the requirements, which can be complicated. If you are in removal proceedings —but think you might be a U.S. citizen—hire a lawyer or accredited representative to represent you.
El proceso de solicitar el estado de residente permanente legal (LPR) se llama ajuste de estado (o procesamiento consular, si la persona no puede estar físicamente presente en los Estados Unidos para aplicar). Sólo algunos miembros de la familia pueden presentar una petición en su nombre pidiendo que se le conceda residencia permanente legal.
Bajo la ley de inmigración, los ciudadanos de los Estados Unidos pueden solicitar ajustar el estado en nombre de sus:
Los residentes permanentes legales pueden solicitar:
- Niños solteros (menores de 21 años)
Adjustment of status, which is the process of applying to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR), is actually a two-part process.
How you entered the U.S., as well as your family relationship, will determine whether you can apply for LPR status in the United States via adjustment of status, or if you must return to your home country to apply for LPR status (see consular processing, below). If you entered the U.S. lawfully, with a visa or parole, and have an immediate relative in the U.S. who can sponsor you, you may apply for adjustment of status while you remain in the U.S.
The first part of the process is filing an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The I-130 must be filed on your behalf by a U.S. citizen or LPR family member. Once the I-130 is approved, USCIS will send notice of the approval.
There is a waiting period for many people between approval of the I-130, and the time when they are actually eligible to apply for adjustment of status.
The second part of the process: Once the I-130 has been approved, you can apply for adjustment of status by filing Form I-485.
Consular processing is how to apply to become an LPR if you entered the U.S. without permission, or are not the immediate relative of an LPR or citizen. You must return to your home country and apply for LPR status from there. However, you might not have to return to your home country if anyone filed a Form I-130 for you (or sometimes, for your spouse or your parents) before April 30, 2001, and/or if you have a parent, spouse, or child who is or was a member of the U.S. armed forces.
Certain crimes and immigration law violations can make you ineligible for adjustment of status or consular processing. Again, if you are in removal proceedings, and think you qualify for adjustment of status or consular processing, hire a lawyer or accredited representative to assist you.
Another way to stay in the United States if you are in removal proceedings could be to apply for registry. With registry, you are creating a legal record of entry where you don’t otherwise have one. You might be eligible to apply for registry if you can prove that you:
- have lived in the U.S continuously since January 1, 1972;
- have never been deported;
- are not ineligible for citizenship;
- are of good moral character;
- are not inadmissible under grounds related to Nazi persecution or terrorist activity (among other grounds)
Certain crimes make you ineligible for registry. If your application for registry is granted, you will get lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.
One way for lawful permanent residents to stay in the U.S. is 212(c) suspension of deportation for lawful permanent residents.
If you are an LPR facing removal from the U.S. because of a criminal conviction that happened before April 1, 1997, you might qualify for 212(c). If approved, 212(c) means you are forgiven for your conviction, and can stay in the U.S.
When determining if you should be granted 212(c), the judge will look at factors including:
- How many years you have been an LPR
- Your employment history
- Your history of paying taxes
- Your family ties
- Your health
One important thing about applying for 212(c) is that the judge has lots of flexibility when deciding whether to grant this benefit. Just because you can show that you meet all the requirements doesn’t mean that you will be granted this benefit.
You must show that you deserve to keep your LPR status. When determining whether you deserve to keep your LPR status, the judge will consider how remorseful you are; how many criminal convictions you have; how recent your criminal convictions are, etc. If you think you qualify and want to apply for 212(c), complete and submit Form I-191.
If you think you qualify for 212(c), hire a lawyer or accredited representative. If your application for 212(c) is granted, you can keep your residency.
If you are an LPR who violated certain immigration laws or committed certain crimes, you could lose your residency status and be removed (deported) from the U.S.
The most common benefit that LPRs seek is Cancellation of Removal for LPRs, which can let you keep your residency. If you are an LPR and can show the following, you may qualify for cancellation of removal for LPRs:
- You have been an LPR for at least five years;
- As of the day you committed the crime that makes you deportable, you had lived in the U.S. continuously for at least seven years after being legally admitted, and
- You have not been convicted of an aggravated felony as defined by federal law.
An aggravated felony is defined differently under federal law than under state law. The definition that matters is the federal definition of an aggravated felony. There is a long list of crimes that are aggravated felonies. The most common are murder, rape, sexual assault of a minor, drug trafficking, some violent crimes, and serious theft crimes.
Hire a lawyer if you are an LPR convicted of a crime. If the judge finds that one of your crimes is an aggravated felony, and you are ineligible for another benefit that would allow you to stay in the U.S., you will be deported. Immigration judges cannot consider any benefit for you under those circumstances.
Cancellation of removal for nonpermanent residents (“10-year”) is a form of relief that people typically think of as applying for residency based on the number of years you have lived in the United States. It might sound easy to meet the requirements of this benefit, but it isn’t.
If you are not an LPR, and you apply for cancellation of removal, you must prove:
- You have lived in the U.S. continuously for at least the last 10 years;
- You have a spouse, parent or child who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident who would suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if you were removed;
- You are a person of good moral character; and
- You have not committed certain crimes.
Proving requirements Nos. 1, 3, and 4 is straightforward. These requirements will be evaluated by the judge largely based on your documentation.
But proving requirement No. 2 is hard. The suffering must be “exceptional and extremely unusual.” This means that the suffering that families experience following a separation—including financial hardships and the emotional toll of being separated—won’t be enough by itself. You must show that the suffering that your family will face is going to be worse than what is usually experienced when a family is separated. Talk to an immigration attorney for help.
This article gives an overview of cancelling removal as a deportation defense.
If you are an LPR with a criminal conviction that is not an aggravated felony, submit Form EOIR42A to the immigration judge. You will have to provide evidence to support your application. The judge will consider several things when deciding if you should be granted cancellation of removal, including:
- How long you have been an LPR
- Your employment history
- Your history of paying taxes
- Your family ties
- Your health
As with 212(c) applications, the judge has lots of flexibility when deciding if you should be granted this benefit. You might meet all the requirements, but that does not mean that you will get the benefit. You must show that you deserve to keep your LPR status.
When determining whether you deserve to keep your LPR status, the judge will consider how remorseful you are; how many criminal convictions you have; and how recent your criminal convictions are, plus the factors mentioned above.
Sometimes referred to as “modern-day slavery,” human trafficking is the illegal movement of people, normally for the purpose of forced labor or commercial sex exploitation, by means of force, fraud, or coercion. This article gives answer to common questions about trafficking.
The most targeted populations for trafficking are homeless and runaway youths. This includes immigrants smuggled into the U.S., or currently residing in the U.S., who are vulnerable to exploitation due to their undocumented status. Some survivors of human trafficking in the U.S. may be eligible for a humanitarian relief called a “T visa” if they meet certain requirements.
This article answers common questions about T Visas and human trafficking.
A T visa is a form of immigration relief specifically for people who have been victims of any kind of human trafficking. A U visa is a similar form of immigration relief for people who have been victims of a qualifying crime within the U.S. who have cooperated with law enforcement agencies in the investigation or prosecution of that crime. A law enforcement agency must certify that the victim is cooperating with the investigation and prosecution.
A person who meets each of the following general requirements may be eligible for a T visa:
- Survivor of “severe trafficking” (use of force, fraud, or coercion for sex trafficking; and/or involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery); and
- Who is physically present in the U.S. on account of trafficking; and
- Who has complied with any reasonable request by federal, state, or local law enforcement to assist in the investigation or prosecution of such trafficking; and
- Who would suffer extreme hardship involving severe and unusual harm upon removal.
Talk to an immigration attorney about how your experience meets these requirements. Specific factors such as the age of the victim; location of the trafficking experience; level of trauma; and evidence available affect how each applicant must these requirements. This article gives answers to common questions about T-Visas and trafficking.
The elements of force, fraud, or coercion are met in situations where a person is not free to leave. Force, fraud, or coercion can also be found when a victim is forced to act in a harmful way—which he or she would not normally choose.
People might be acting under threats of force, fraud, or coercion if they are doing something because they are afraid. For example, a human trafficker could threaten violence against a trafficking victim (or his or her family); or could threaten to report an undocumented victim to police or immigration. This article gives answers to common questions about T visas and trafficking.
Estados Unidos mantiene un criterio humanitario al considerar las razones por las cuales los inmigrantes se huyen de sus países para los Estados Unidos. En general, los Estados Unidos no devolverá a nadie a su país de origen o a otro país, si hacerlo causaría daño inmediato, tortura o muerte a la persona.
El gobierno tomo en cuenta factores tales como:
- Enfermedad física o mental grave que requiera atención médica o psicológica que no esté razonablemente disponible en el país extranjero;
- La naturaleza y el alcance de las consecuencias físicas y psicológicas de las formas graves de tráfico; y
- La probabilidad de que el traficante-u otro que actúe en nombre del traficante en un país extranjero a donde el solicitante pueda ser removido- le perjudicaría severamente al solicitante.
Además, si los solicitantes llegaron a Estados Unidos escapándose de la persecución que de otro modo les calificaría para el asilo, sólo necesitan citar el daño pasado para mostrar dificultades extremas. Este artículo responde preguntas comunes sobre las visas T y el tráfico.