Phones answered 24/7 414-383-6700

Immigration Law

Home/Immigration Law

How to Read the Visa Bulletin

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re planning to apply for a family-based green card, you’ll need to read the visa bulletin each month to find out which green card applications can move forward. But how do you read the visa bulletin, and what does it tell you? Find out now.

How Do You Read the Visa Bulletin?

The visa bulletin is a monthly update issued by the U.S. State Department. The bulletin contains information on which green card applications can move forward next, and the data is based on when an I-130 petition was filed to begin the process. The bulletin also allows you to estimate how long it will take for you to get your green card – and though circumstances can change, it generally provides a good snapshot.

Related: What is an E-2 visa?

The reason the visa bulletin is necessary is that there are limits on how many green cards are available each year. Each preference category has a different number of visas available, which means that your wait times may vary significantly depending on what preference category you fall under.

The most important parts of the bulletin include:

  • Section A: Final Action Dates
  • Section B: Dates for Filing

Here’s a closer look at each.

Section A: Final Action Dates

Final action dates are listed in a chart that shows which priority dates are coming up next. These people are at the “front of the line.” That means these green card applications are ready for approval when the bulletin is released.

Related: What is a marriage green card?

Section B: Dates for Filing

Dates for filing are also presented in a chart. It shows the dates that certain green card applicants living outside the U.S. should submit their applications with the National Visa Center, or NVC. These dates don’t mean that a green card is ready; they mean that they’re getting close and it’s time to file an application.

Related: What happens if you divorce before getting a green card?

Do You Need to Talk to a Wisconsin Immigration Attorney About Applying for a Green Card?

If you need to speak with a Wisconsin immigration attorney about applying for a green card for yourself or someone else, we may be able to help. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule your immigration consultation and get the legal advice you need now.

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-09-19T14:38:16-05:00October 11th, 2021|Immigration Law|0 Comments

How Much Money Do You Need for an Investor Visa in the U.S.?

By Carlos Gamino

The EB-5 immigrant investor program, run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, provides a way for investors to get lawful permanent residency in the United States. This guide explains the EB-5 program and its requirements.

The Basics of the EB-5 Investor Program

If you make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States and plan to create (or preserve) ten permanent, full-time jobs for U.S. workers, you could be eligible to apply for a green card. Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may also be eligible to apply.

How Much Money Do You Need for an Investor Visa in the U.S.?        

The current minimum investment amount is $1.8 million unless you invest in a Targeted Employment Area. In a Targeted Employment Area, you must invest $900,000.

What is a Targeted Employment Area?

A targeted employment area is a rural area or an area that’s experienced high unemployment. In this case, high unemployment means at least 150 percent of the national average unemployment rate. The reason the U.S. government requires only half the investment in Targeted Employment Areas is largely to encourage investors to boost employment rates.

Related: What are preferences for employment visas?

How to Apply for an Investor Visa

Many people choose to work with a Wisconsin immigration attorney to obtain an investor visa and participate in the EB-5 immigrant investor program. That’s because the process is often time-consuming, and filling out the appropriate forms can be complex.

When you apply for your investor visa under the EB-5 immigrant investor program, you must also pay a filing fee. The current filing fee for Form I-924, one of the forms that you need to file, is available on the USCIS website.

Related: Employment-based immigration visas

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney About the EB-5 Investor Program?

If you’re considering becoming an immigrant investor, we may be able to help you. Call us today to discuss your options under the EB-5 immigrant investor program and find out if you have other options, as well. We’re available at 414-383-6700, so call now.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T09:10:26-05:00September 13th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on How Much Money Do You Need for an Investor Visa in the U.S.?

Can You Immigrate to the U.S. With a Criminal Record?

By Carlos Gamino

Sometimes it’s possible for a person to get a visa or obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States with a criminal record. Though that’s not always the case, here’s what you need to know.

Can You Immigrate to the U.S. With a Criminal Record?

To visit the United States for work or leisure, you must usually obtain a visa (unless the Visa Waiver Program is available from your country). With a criminal record, getting a visa can be difficult – but not all crimes make you ineligible for admission to the U.S. In fact, you may even be eligible for a waiver of grounds of inadmissibility. The best way to figure out whether your criminal history will preclude you from getting a U.S. visa may be to speak with an experienced Wisconsin immigration attorney who can evaluate your situation.

Related: How to work in the U.S. as a temporary, non-immigrant worker

Permanent Residency in the U.S. With a Criminal Record

If you want to come to the United States and obtain permanent residency, your criminal record may affect the outcome of your case. If you’ve committed a serious crime, it may be impossible for you to obtain a green card. However, if you have minor crimes (such as misdemeanors) on your record and they’re not considered “significant” under U.S. immigration law, it may still be possible. You should contact a Wisconsin immigration attorney and let them know:

  • The circumstances of your case, including the actual crime you were convicted of committing
  • How old you were at the time of the incident
  • How many convictions you have on your criminal record
  • How much time you spent in jail or prison for the crime

Related: Common U.S. immigration forms

Do You Need to Speak to an Immigration Attorney About Coming to the U.S. With a Criminal Record?

If you have a criminal history and are interested in learning about your visa or green card options, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your consultation now; we’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you determine how to move forward.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T09:08:08-05:00August 9th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on Can You Immigrate to the U.S. With a Criminal Record?

Can You Be Deported for Committing a Crime?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many immigrants, you know that the United States government can (and does) deport people for a wide range of reasons. But can you be deported for committing a crime? Here’s what you need to know.

Can You Be Deported for Committing a Crime?

If you’re a visa-holder or a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., some crimes can get you deported. That means an immigration judge can order you to leave the country, even if you have family here, a job, and a home – and even if you’ve been here most of your life. (In rare cases, even naturalized U.S. citizens can be deported.)

Related: Will you get in trouble for making a false confession?

What Crimes Are Grounds for Deportation?

If you’re convicted of the following crimes, you could be deported from the United States:

  • Aggravated felonies
  • Crimes of “moral turpitude”
  • Document fraud (such as on your immigration application)
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug crimes
  • Espionage
  • Firearms trafficking
  • Fraud
  • Human trafficking
  • Money laundering
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Sabotage
  • Smuggling
  • Terrorism

This isn’t a complete list, either. Some crimes fall into larger categories, such as crimes of moral turpitude or aggravated felonies.

Related: Is it okay to tell your lawyer you’re guilty?

What Should You Do if You’re an Immigrant Accused of a Crime?

For most immigrants, the best possible thing to do when accused of a crime is to get in touch with a Wisconsin criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can evaluate your case and find the best possible defense – and if the state ends up dropping the charges or you’re found not guilty in court, you won’t have to worry about whether a crime makes you deportable.

Naturally, there’s no way to predict how a judge will rule in any case – but when you have a lawyer on your side, there’s someone knowledgeable in your corner who can fight back against the charges leveled against you.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney Because You’re an Immigrant Who’s Accused of a Crime?

If you’re an immigrant who’s been accused of any crime – whether you’re a visa-holder, a lawful permanent resident with a green card, or a naturalized U.S. citizen, we may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now to speak with a caring, knowledgeable Wisconsin criminal defense attorney in a free (and confidential) consultation.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-08-08T14:07:43-05:00July 21st, 2021|Criminal Law, Immigration Law|Comments Off on Can You Be Deported for Committing a Crime?

What is an E-2 Visa?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

If you’re interested in immigrating to the United States, you’ll need a visa that permits you to come into the country. There are dozens of different types of visas – some that can eventually lead to naturalization and some that cannot – and for many people, the best solution is to talk to a Wisconsin immigration attorney to figure out what type of visa is appropriate. In some cases, it’s an E-2 visa

What is an E-2 Visa?

An E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for people who wish to come to the U.S. to be admitted to the country to invest a “substantial” amount of capital in a U.S. business. Unlike many other types of visas, you can petition for an E-2 visa for yourself – you don’t need an employer or family member to do it for you.

Who Qualifies for E-2 Visas?

You must be a national of a country with which the U.S. has a treaty of commerce and navigation, and you must have invested (or be in the process of investing) in a U.S. business. You must also be seeking to enter the U.S. for the purpose of developing and directing the “investment enterprise” – the company in which you’re investing.

Related: What is an EB-5 visa?

Can Your Family Come With You if You’re in the U.S. on an E-2 Visa?

In many cases, you can bring your spouse and unmarried children who are under the age of 21 if you’re coming to the United States on an E-2 visa.

Related: Nonimmigrant visas

How Long Can You Stay in the U.S. on an E-2 Visa?

You can remain in the United States for two years on your initial E-2 visa. You can request that the government extend your stay in increments of up to two years after that. There’s no limit on the number of extensions you can file, either.

What is a “Substantial” Amount of Capital?

The U.S. government, in this case, defines a substantial amount of capital as:

  • An amount that’s substantial in relationship to the total cost of purchasing an established business or establishing a new one
  • Enough to ensure that the investor is financially committed to the business’s success
  • Large enough to support the likelihood that the applicant will be successful at developing and directing the business

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Obtaining an E-2 Visa?

If you’re interested in obtaining an E-2 visa to invest in a U.S. business, we may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now to discuss your options and get the answers you need.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-08-08T14:12:02-05:00July 13th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on What is an E-2 Visa?

What is a Marriage Green Card?

By Defense Attorney Carlos Gamino

If you marry a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, you’re most likely entitled to a marriage-based green card – a document that lets you live and work anywhere you’d like in the United States. Having a green card (marriage-based or otherwise) enables you to eventually apply for U.S. citizenship and become naturalized.

What is a Marriage Green Card?

When you’re married to a citizen or lawful permanent resident (another green card-holder), you’ll need authorization to live and work in the U.S., and a green card provides that. Many people choose to work with a Wisconsin immigration attorney to apply for these green cards because the process can be complex and time-consuming.

You cannot apply for your own marriage-based green card (in most cases). Your citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse must apply on your behalf. You’ll need to establish your marital relationship by providing a marriage certificate or other documentation, and then you’ll need to provide supporting documentation that shows the U.S. government that your marriage is real (and that you didn’t just get married to obtain an immigration benefit).

Related: Adjustment of status information

Will You Have to Attend an Interview for a Marriage Green Card?

You will have to attend an interview with a U.S. government official to get your marriage-based green card. The interviewer’s goal is to ensure that you’re in a bona fide marriage – one that’s genuine. Your interviewer may ask you questions such as:

  • Where did you and your spouse meet?
  • Who proposed?
  • Which side of the bed does your spouse sleep on?
  • What’s your spouse’s favorite food, TV show or movie?
  • What are your future plans with your spouse?

As long as the interviewer is convinced that your marriage is genuine, you should receive approval for your marriage-based green card.

Related: I-485 interviews

Conditions on a Marriage Green Card

You’ll receive a “conditional” green card if you’ve been married for fewer than two years. If that’s your situation, you’ll have to petition the U.S. government to remove the conditions before your green card expires (and that’s something your attorney can help you with, as well). After you remove the conditions, you’ll receive your permanent green card, which you only need to renew every ten years. With a permanent green card, you’re eligible to apply for naturalization and become a U.S. citizen.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About a Marriage Green Card for Yourself or Your Spouse?

If you’re married to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or if you’re a citizen or green card-holder married to a foreigner who wants a green card, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414=383-6700 now to schedule your consultation – we’ll be happy to answer your questions about U.S. immigration.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-08-08T14:34:34-05:00June 8th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on What is a Marriage Green Card?

B-1 Visas for Temporary Business Visitors

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

If you’re coming to the United States for a short business trip, there’s a good chance that you need a B-1 visa to do so. These visas are for short-term trips – usually those lasting less than 6 months – and they only allow you to do certain things while you’re in the U.S.

B-1 Visa Basics

Some of the most common reasons people use B-1 visas include:

  • Consulting with business associates
  • Traveling for specific conventions or conferences
  • Settling estates
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Participating in short-term training
  • Transiting through the U.S. (although only certain people are permitted to do so)
  • Entering the U.S. as a deadhead crew (although only certain air crewmen may do so)

Related: What is an M-1 visa for students?

How Do You Apply for a B-1 Visa?

You may wish to have an attorney handle the B-1 visa application process for you – that way, you can focus on your business rather than filling out complicated immigration forms. To apply, you’ll need to complete a visa application and submit supporting documentation to the U.S. government. You may need an appointment at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country, as well.

Related: Nonimmigrant visas

How Long Can You Stay in the U.S. on a B-1 Visa?

Generally, the initial period of stay on a B-1 visa is one to six months, with six months being the maximum. However, it is possible to extend a B-1 visa for an additional six months in some cases. The maximum amount of time you can stay in B-1 status is one year. You may return for additional trips as necessary.

Related: Employer-sponsored visas

Can Your Family Come With You if You Get a B-1 Visa?

Your B-1 visa doesn’t extend to your family members. Each dependent family member you wish to bring must apply for and be approved for a B-2 visa.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Getting a B-1 Visa?

If you need to speak with a lawyer about getting a B-1 visa, or about getting B-2 visas so your family can accompany you, we may be able to help. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your consultation with an experienced immigration attorney – we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T08:44:58-05:00May 10th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on B-1 Visas for Temporary Business Visitors

What is an EB-5 Visa?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

If you’re an investor, you could be eligible to apply for an EB-5 visa, which falls under a special program to stimulate the U.S. economy.

What is an EB-5 Visa?

The EB-5 visa is a pathway to permanent residency in the United States. With an EB-5 visa, you can make an investment in a U.S. business to obtain a green card; then, you can apply for naturalization and become a U.S. citizen.

Related: Family immigration in Wisconsin

Requirements for Commercial Enterprises in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

You can only qualify for an EB-5 visa if you invest in a new commercial enterprise that was established after November 29, 1990, or on or before that date if it was an existing business that’s been restructured or reorganized to the extent that a new commercial enterprise results or that’s been expanded through the investment so much that it results in at least a 40 percent increase in the business’s net worth or number of employees.

You must also invest the required amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise to create full-time positions for at least ten qualifying employees.

Related: The immigration guide to naturalization

Capital Investment Requirements

You must have capital to qualify for an EB-5 visa, and you must invest that capital – which can be cash, equipment, inventory, tangible property, cash equivalents or indebtedness secured by assets you already own. The minimum investment amount depends on where you’re investing, whether it’s in a typical area, a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), or a high-employment area. If you are filing for the first time after November 21, 2019, you must invest:

  • $1,800,000 in a typical investment area
  • $900,000 in a targeted employment area
  • $1,800,000 in a high-employment area

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Securing an EB-5 Visa?

If you’re considering immigrating to the U.S. as an investor, you may want to have an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney on your side. Call us at 414-383-6700 to set up your consultation – we will be happy to answer your questions and give you the case-specific legal advice you need.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T09:25:52-05:00April 5th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on What is an EB-5 Visa?

What Happens if You Divorce Before Getting a Green Card?

By Carlos Gamino

When you marry a U.S. citizen, you’re entitled to a green card. Your green card allows you to live and work anywhere in the United States. But what happens if you divorce before getting a green card? Here’s what you need to know.

What Happens if You Divorce Before Getting a Green Card?

Divorce can affect your green card status, but it depends on what stage of the process you’re currently in when you choose to split from your spouse. You’ll have a different outcome if you divorce:

  • After you apply, but before you receive your green card
  • After you receive a conditional green card
  • After you have the conditions removed from your green card

Divorce After Applying for, but Before Receiving, a Green Card

If you divorce before the U.S. government approves your green card, your entire immigration process comes to a halt. Your divorce ends the relationship that made you eligible for a green card, so you can’t continue your application.

Related: New green card rules

Divorce With a Conditional Green Card

If you’ve been married for fewer than two years and still have conditions on your green card, your divorce can affect the process. You’ll most likely have to work with your Wisconsin immigration attorney to ask the government to waive the joint filing requirement, and you’ll have to prove that you entered into your marriage in good faith (rather than simply for the immigration benefit).

Related: What is a green card through registry?

Divorce With a Conditions Removed From Your Green Card

If you no longer have conditions on your green card and divorce your spouse, there’s a good chance that your process will be unaffected. You can typically remain in the U.S. on your green card and renew it when necessary. You can even change your name on your green card after filing the appropriate forms. However, you do need to know that if you later apply for citizenship, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services will reevaluate your entire case.

Do You Need to Talk to a Wisconsin Immigration Attorney About Your Green Card?

If you’re an immigrant considering divorce, we may be able to help you – both with the divorce and with your immigration process. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now to talk to someone who can answer your questions and help you start moving forward in the right direction.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T09:33:05-05:00March 8th, 2021|Family Law, Immigration Law|Comments Off on What Happens if You Divorce Before Getting a Green Card?

Immigration Under the Biden/Harris Administration

By Carlos Gamino

In January 2021, Vice-President Kamala Harris made some surprising statements about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – and if enacted, they could provide DREAMers with unprecedented benefits. Here’s what you need to know.

What Did Kamala Harris Say About Immigration?

Vice President Kamala Harris, in an interview with Univision, said of the administration’s plan: “ It’s a smarter and much more humane way of approaching immigration.” Harris said that the administration wanted to add more judges to relieve the backlog currently plaguing immigration courts, as well as to expand protections available to DACA recipients. Additionally, the administration plans to allow people with DACA and temporary protected status to obtain green cards – and that alone would provide a path to citizenship for more than 1 million people.

Related: Kids who cross the border alone

Immigration advocates are applauding the plan. Sanaa Abrar, advocacy director at United We Dream, said, “Along with our allies, we helped deliver a clear policy mandate to President-elect Biden, and now he and the new Democratic-controlled Congress, led by Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer, must immediately pass a bill that gives citizenship to all 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S., protects people, and does not grow the deadly deportation force of ICE and CBP.”

Other parts of the plan include:

  • Providing legal representation for children who arrive at the U.S. border so they can be treated fairly
  • Providing the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone, regardless of immigration status
  • Creating more pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
  • Reasserting the U.S.’s commitment to asylum-seekers and refugees

Related: What relatives can a U.S. citizen sponsor?

Are You Thinking of Immigrating to the U.S.?

If you’re considering immigrating to the United States, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to discuss:

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T09:49:38-05:00January 20th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on Immigration Under the Biden/Harris Administration