Phones answered 24/7 414-383-6700

Immigration Law

Home/Immigration Law

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 |2021-03-20T13:08:28-05:00April 5th, 2021|Immigration Law|0 Comments

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 |2021-01-17T07:11:39-06:00March 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 |2021-01-17T06:56:25-06:00January 20th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on Immigration Under the Biden/Harris Administration

New Green Card Rules for This Year

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

When you’re a lawful permanent resident of the United States, you’ll get a “green card.” That card shows your residency status – but there are a few new rules that you need to know about. The new rules could impact your status as a lawful permanent resident, or LPR, now and in the future.

New Green Card Rules That Could Affect Wisconsin Immigrants

The new green card rules involve:

  • Failing to cite immigrant status on tax returns or failing to report income can be a removable offense
  • You must register with the U.S. Selective Service if you are a male aged 18 to 25 or risk removal
  • An extended trip overseas can be considered “abandonment” and result in removal

Here’s a closer look at each.

Immigrant Status on Tax Returns

If you fail to choose the appropriate immigrant status on your tax return, or if you fail to report income, you could be deported. For example, if you work “under the table” (meaning you work for cash and are paid directly by another person, and neither you nor that person reports the income to the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS) and the IRS catches you, you can be removed from the country.

Related: Green card FAQ

Registration With the Selective Service

If you are a male green card-holder between the ages of 18 and 25, you are legally required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, or SSS) within 30 days of your arrival in the United States. That includes everyone – and if you don’t yet have a Social Security Number, you must apply for one.

Abandonment of the Green Card

Your green card is invalid for reentry into the United States if you’ve been gone for more than a year – but even if you’ve only been gone for 6 months, you could be subject to additional scrutiny about the nature of your trip abroad. If you’re gone for too long and the official asking you questions believes you don’t intend to keep your LPR status, he or she may ask you to sign Form I-407, which is the Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status. You do not have to sign that form – no matter what anyone tells you. If the official interviewing you does not believe that you’re not abandoning your green card, he or she can refer you to immigration court for removal proceedings, and in that case, you should contact an immigration attorney.

Related: How long can you stay out of the U.S. with a green card?

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney About the New Green Card Rules?

If you have any questions about immigration, from green cards and naturalization to nonimmigrant visas or temporary protected status, we’re here for you. Call us at 414-383-6700 now.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2020-11-16T15:49:54-06:00January 10th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on New Green Card Rules for This Year

What Can You Do if Your Green Card is Denied?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, receives tens of thousands of applications for green cards every year – and some of them are denied. But why would a green card be denied, and what can you do if that happens to you? Here’s what you need to know.

Why Would a Green Card Be Denied?

Green card applications are denied every day for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common involve errors and mistakes (either on the applicant’s part or USCIS’s part), inadmissibility due to a criminal history or health, or a lack of funds. Here’s a closer look at each.

Green Card Denial Due to a Mistake

Sometimes people make mistakes. It’s incredibly important that your green card application is complete before you turn it in, and that you don’t miss any appointments or interviews. This is one of the reasons people often choose to work with an attorney. Your attorney can fill out and file all your paperwork for you.

Related: Green card FAQ

Green Card Denial Due to Inadmissibility

Some people are inadmissible to the United States. The U.S. can refuse to grant you a green card because you’re not lawfully allowed to be in the country, such as if you’ve been previously deported or you have health issues that would preclude you from staying in the country. If you’re having admissibility issues, you may want to talk to an attorney about your situation – there may be a way around what you’re facing.

Green Card Denial Due to Lack of Funds

You must be able to show USCIS that you’re unlikely to use public resources (like financial welfare programs) to get a green card. If the USCIS official evaluating your case thinks that you’ll become a public charge, you can be denied a green card.

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney?

We can help you with your green card application, and we can answer your questions about the entire application process. We’ll even help you when it comes time for you to naturalize as a U.S. citizen. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney who can point you in the right direction.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2020-11-16T15:38:46-06:00January 6th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on What Can You Do if Your Green Card is Denied?

Common Immigration Attorney Fees

Common Immigration Attorney Fees - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Working with an experienced immigration attorney can give you the peace of mind you need to tackle your case, whether you’re applying for an immigrant visa or you need deportation defense. But how much does it cost? What can you expect to pay in immigration attorney fees? Here’s what you need to know.

Common Immigration Attorney Fees

Like any other service, you have to pay for an immigration attorney’s help with your case. It’s important to note that you should watch out for people who say they’re “immigration consultants,” “immigration advisors” or “immigration advocates,” because they’re not attorneys – and often, they don’t provide actual services or answer your legal questions.

When you hire an immigration attorney, remember that every lawyer is different, and the cost will vary between law firms. You also need to know that:

  • You’ll often have to pay an advanced fee to get started on your case.
  • Hourly rates are different between attorneys. One attorney might charge $50 per hour, while another could charge $200 per hour.
  • Visas have different rate structures, and those rate structures are set by the U.S. government. You’ll have to pay filing fees for the immigration documents you file with the government.
  • You could be eligible for premium processing, but that results in an additional fee.

What Are Advanced Fees for Immigration Attorneys?

An advanced fee is money you pay an attorney before he or she will start working on your case. Usually, attorneys calculate them by evaluating your case and determining how much it will cost to complete based on an hourly rate. If your attorney works on your case longer than expected, you’ll incur hourly charges – but you’ll know about them ahead of time. Really, what’s happening is that you pay the attorney and he or she “works off” the balance using an hourly rate.

So what if you’ve overpaid because your case was easier than the attorney anticipated? You’ll get a refund of the balance. If you pay an attorney who charges $100 per hour a $1,000 retainer fee, but she finishes your case in 8 hours, you’ll get $200 back. (That’s just an example, though – every attorney’s retainer fee and hourly rate is different.)

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney?

If you’re considering immigrating to the United States, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with a Wisconsin immigration attorney who will talk to you about your case and answer your questions.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-09-19T15:11:43-05:00November 4th, 2020|Immigration Law|Comments Off on Common Immigration Attorney Fees

What is Adjustment of Status in U.S. Immigration?

What is Adjustment of Status in U.S. Immigration - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

For many people, an adjustment of status is one more step in the direction of becoming a naturalized citizen. This guide explains what adjustment of status is, how to accomplish it and what happens when the U.S. government changes your immigration status.

What is Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of status is a process you can use if you have a valid visa and want to become a lawful permanent resident, or LPR, of the United States. If the government approves your adjustment of status petition, you’ll receive a green card – and that will enable you to live and work anywhere in the U.S.

Who Qualifies for Adjustment of Status?

Not everyone qualifies for an adjustment of status. You can only apply for it if you used a visa to come to the U.S. on this trip – the one that brought you to the U.S. this time around. Most people must be in the U.S. legally to adjust status, although there are some exceptions (such as when you have overstayed a visa).

How Long Does it Take to Adjust Your Immigration Status?

Adjusting status in the U.S. can be a lengthy process, and it can be complicated. That’s why many people choose to work with a Wisconsin immigration attorney throughout the process.

Essentially, the length of time it takes to adjust your immigration status depends on the reason you qualify for a green card, the location of the processing office and a handful of other factors. Generally speaking, it takes between 7 months and 3 years to get a green card after your application is complete and filed with the U.S. government. However, those based on familial connections (other than spouses and children) can take a long time – even up to 10 years. Those types of green cards are based on availability, and you must wait until your number comes up to claim your green card. On the other hand, some employment-based green cards can go through the system fairly quickly, particularly if they’re in low-demand areas.

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney About an Adjustment of Status Petition?

If you’re thinking about filing an adjustment of status petition, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 today to schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney. During your consultation, we’ll be happy to explain the process, answer your questions and get you started on the right path to a green card.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-09-19T14:45:22-05:00October 7th, 2020|Immigration Law|Comments Off on What is Adjustment of Status in U.S. Immigration?

What Questions Are on the Citizenship Test?

What Questions Are on the Citizenship Test - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Becoming a naturalized American citizen is a big step – and it requires you to put in a bit of work. Before you can become a citizen of the U.S., you must establish lawful permanent residency; then, after filing a petition with the U.S. government, you’ll have to take the naturalization test.

Related: Am I eligible for U.S. citizenship?

What Questions Are on the Citizenship Test?

During your naturalization interview, you’ll have to answer questions about your application and background. You’ll also have to take an English and civics test (unless you qualify for an exemption). Your interviewer will ask you up to ten questions, and you must answer at least six of them correctly. The questions revolve around:

  • American government
  • American history
  • Integrated civics (things like geography, symbols and holidays)

Sample American Government Questions on the Citizenship Test

Your interviewer can ask you a number of questions regarding the U.S. government, such as:

  • What does the Constitution do?
  • What is an amendment?
  • What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?
  • What is one responsibility that is only for United States Citizens?
  • What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?

Sample American History Questions on the Citizenship Test

You might encounter some questions on American history, such as:

  • Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?
  • What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?
  • There were 13 original states – name three.
  • What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?
  • What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?
  • What did Susan B. Anthony do?

Sample Integrated Civics Questions on the Citizenship Test

There are a number of integrated civics questions your interviewer can ask you. You might hear some like these:

  • Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.
  • Name one state that borders Canada.
  • Why does the flag have 13 stripes?
  • Name two national U.S. holidays.
  • When do we celebrate Independence Day?

Who Can Become a U.S. Citizen?

You can only qualify for naturalization – the process of an alien becoming a U.S. citizen – if you:

  • Have been a permanent resident in the U.S. for at least 5 years and meet all eligibility requirements
  • Are the spouse of a U.S. citizen and you have been a permanent resident in the U.S. for at least 3 years and meet all eligibility requirements
  • Have qualifying service in the U.S. Armed Forces and meet all eligibility requirements
  • Are the child of a U.S. citizen who was born outside the U.S. and meet all eligibility requirements

Do You Need an Immigration Attorney to Become a U.S. Citizen?

If you’re like many people, you’re more comfortable working with an immigration attorney as you file your naturalization paperwork and prepare for the process. We’d love to help you, so call us at 414-383-6700 today to speak with someone about your situation. Carlos Gamino

By |2020-07-17T11:20:23-05:00September 14th, 2020|Immigration Law|Comments Off on What Questions Are on the Citizenship Test?

International Adoption FAQ

International Adoption FAQ - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

International adoption is one way to complete a family – but if you’re like many people who have considered it, you want to do as much research as possible. Check out this international adoption FAQ to get answers, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for, call us at 414-383-6700. We’ll be happy to help.

International Adoption FAQ

When you’re considering international adoption, the answers to these questions may help you make the best possible decision for your family.

Related: Types of adoption processes

Should We Work With an Attorney for International Adoption?

For many families, the best – and simplest – course of action is to work with a family law and immigration attorney during the international adoption process. Your attorney can answer all your questions, ensure you file the appropriate paperwork with the government and the courts, and walk you through the process from start to finish.

What Are the Requirements for International Adoption?

Generally speaking, adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old, and at least one parent must be a U.S. citizen. Each person adopting the child must complete the appropriate government forms, have a home study, and be cleared by the FBI in a search for child abuse records. Other countries may have eligibility criteria, as well.

What Kinds of Immigration Forms Do We Need for an International Adoption?

Usually, you need Form I-600 or I-800 for an international adoption. Your attorney can also let you know if there are other forms you need to file, as well as supporting documentation that you must provide.

How Much Does International Adoption Cost?   

International adoption can cost between $15,000 and $35,000, but the fees vary based on the country from which you’re adopting. Those fees often include agency fees, travel expenses and U.S. government fees for filing the right immigration paperwork.  

Is it Hard to Adopt a Child From Another Country?

It can be difficult to adopt a child from another country, but it can also be difficult to adopt a child in the U.S. It depends on what country your adoptive child is coming from, what issues your current family is facing, and the requirements imposed by your adoptive child’s home country.

Do You Want to Speak With a Family Law Attorney About International Adoption?  

If you’re considering international adoption – or if you want to adopt a child from within the United States – we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 now to schedule a consultation. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you start moving forward to grow your family.

Carlos Gamino

By |2020-07-17T11:09:34-05:00August 25th, 2020|Family Law, Immigration Law|Comments Off on International Adoption FAQ

What is Adjustment of Status in the U.S.?

What is Adjustment of Status - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people from abroad who are living and working in the United States, you’d like to become a lawful permanent resident – and to do that, you need to file an adjustment of status petition. But what is an adjustment of status petition, who can use it, and how does it work? Here’s what you need to know.

What is an Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of status is the process people who are in the U.S. on a visa can use to become lawful permanent residents. You can only use this process while you’re present in the U.S., and it’s designed to help you get a green card, which signifies your lawful permanent resident status, without forcing you to return to your home country.

Are You Eligible for a Green Card?

Some types of visas don’t qualify you to adjust your status and get lawful permanent residency. For example, if you’re in the U.S. on a tourist visa, you can’t apply for residency based on that.

You can only apply for a green card if you’re in the U.S. in one of these immigration categories, and even then, you must still meet other requirements:

  • A relative or fiancé of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • A worker in the U.S. for the purpose of employment
  • Asylees and refugees
  • Human trafficking and crime victims
  • Victims of abuse
  • Special categories, such as a diplomat who is unable to return home or a person selected for a diversity visa
  • People who have resided continuously in the U.S. since before January 1, 1972  

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney About an Adjustment of Status Petition?

If you’re considering filing an adjustment of status petition, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to set up your consultation with an immigration attorney now. Carlos Gamino

By |2020-08-21T09:40:53-05:00August 18th, 2020|Immigration Law|Comments Off on What is Adjustment of Status in the U.S.?