Friday, December 9, 2011

Name Change - 2 ways to do it

One caller during a radio show wanted to inquire about Name Change during citizenship interview. He explained that he is a green card holder and is applying for citizenship in two weeks. He wanted to change his name. A friend had told him that he has to change name by filing the petition with name change.

There are two ways to change name:

1. If you are a permanent resident (aka green card holder), you can change your name as part of your naturalization if a court in your area conducts naturalization oath ceremonies. Otherwise no name change can be recorded on your Certificate of Naturalization unless you already changed your name legally (such as by marriage) before completing the naturalization process.

If you decide to change your name, you will be required to complete a Petition for Name Change during your interview. Petitioning the court to change your name may delay the date of your oath ceremony, in some cases. If you petition to change your name, the new name will not be legally binding until after your oath ceremony. The new name will appear on your Certificate of Naturalization. You can start using the new name. No other legal formality is required.
During the last citizenship interview with a client, the interviewing officer at Immigration Service (USCIS) had client sign the form right there and my client will now use her new name and get citizenship certificate with such new name as well.

The U.S. of Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) does not process petitions for a name change after naturalization. However, you still may change your name after naturalization by other legal means.

2. The other legal method is by filing the Petition for Name Change in Superior Court of California in your local county. The procedure also requires having to publish the Notice of Name Change in a local newspaper for 3 weeks first. And then going before a Judge after furnishing the proof of such publication with the court. A judge conducts a bare skeletal hearing and confirming certain representations in the Petition for Name Change. The judge then signs the Order of Name Change Petition. You can then start using your new name.

Monday, February 7, 2011

True Moral Dilemma with Deep Financial Implications!!

"Sanchez's hospital records state that she was discharged because she was "an undocumented pt (patient) with no insurance."

This is a true moral dilemma! When I read the story here-Doctor's Order: Go to Mexico, I first went on to read up on Hippocratic Oath. I wondered what would guide the doctor in such situation. The Hippocratic Oath can be found here- Hippocratic Oath. Thanks, Wikipedia.

There have been lots of problems which are byproduct of illegal immigration. This is one of them.

Other problem which has been highlighted lately was around children of illegal immigrants coming of age and not being able to participate in regular social and business life. Dream Act failed- read here-.

Keep in mind, Dream Act was first introduced in 2001. Yes, 10 years ago. This only shows the length someone, namely Congress, namely so called Representatives of the People, have been aware of the problem.

Going back to the main point of this blog. The patient should receive healthcare first -for sure!! This is the exact reason illegal immigration should have a permanent solution. Then I think the hospital should have sued the Federal Govt. for reimbursement. Yes, I am just rambling.

Unless somebody wakes up and realizes the long-term effect of this problem on our economy- yes, which involves, dollars, the problem will continue and keep on harming us, like some sort of slow disease!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Consider stopping Fraudulent behavior!

How about Starting a Petition to Not Commit Fraud or Misrepresentation to obtain immigration benefits?

Goal- not to get in trouble with the law, face embarrassment and embarrass the community, make attorneys rich, make family suffer, etc.! Does someone think of this angle?

Most people will go back to community when they get in trouble with the law. Nobody wants to take responsibility for their wrong actions. For example, a wife beater, a person arrested for driving under the influence, a person who is accused of shop lifting.

I am personally outraged by the hue and cry raised by ankle monitoring of students involved in Tri-Valley University. Check this out- .

Most people make it sound like ICE is committing a crime by doing what they are allowed to do under criminal justice system.

This is what my friend, Harmeet Dhillon, Attorney in San Francisco, CA wrote in an exchange on Facebook "Gentlemen, having worked with white collar defendants recently, in their civil matters, I know that ankle tagging is an extremely intrusive tool but it's used also against US citizens who are white and awaiting trial, if... they have certain risk factors. In addition to the radio they usually have to call in to a probation officer (in federal court) to arrange for permission in advance to move from house arrest or their to/from job roundtrip in order to meet their attorneys. They also have to pay for the cost of the monitoring. It's usually a compromise where the government can present valid reasons for detaining someone (like flight risk, protective custody, etc.) I would say a foreign national against whom the government has presented probable cause that a serious crime has been committed, is a flight risk. This does not appear to be a racial thing to me, just the long and increasingly intrusive arm of the law."

I think we should all consider possibility of:

Not lying for personal gains.
Not committing fraud to obtain immigration, social security or other benefits.
Not condoning such acts by friends or family.

If we all start doing so, people around us won't get into legal problems and we can spend our time, money and energy on other issues instead of living in fear and embarrassment and commoner does not have to help attorneys get rich.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Eb 2 wait for Indian citizens

EB 2 refers to Employment Based Immigration category in 2nd preference. 2nd preference is allocated to intended immigration with Master's degree or higher education.

At the time of filing the application for green card, starting with request for labor certification, a date known as priority date is assigned. Priority date dictates when someone would eventually obtain the green card.

Only 140,000 visas (or adjustment of status applications) for employment based applicants can be granted in each year.

Subject to some adjustment for numbers flowing between categories, only 40,040 visas can be issued for EB2. When an immigrant enters the U.S. as an EB2, with a spouse and two children, four visa numbers are used - not one. The average employment based immigrant family will use between two and three visa numbers. That means less than 70,000 families will enter the U.S. each year as employment based applicants - and fewer than 20,000 families based with EB2 preference category.

Here is a great article by a fellow attorney that discusses the problem very well. Again, read the article here by Attorney Jay Solomon.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

K-1 or Immigrant Visa (Green card)

Fiancé Visa known as K-1 is available to fiancés of U. S. Citizens. Typically, upon getting married, U. S. Citizen and spouse want to be together as soon as possible. Hence, pre-planning requires considering all the options- should the U. S. Citizen file for K-1 visa or file an Immigrant Visa Petition by submitting Form I-130 and then later file for fiancé Visa (K-3 visa).

K-1 visa and K-3 visa are totally different. K-1 is available when the marriage has not taken place and the fiancé will enter into the U. S. on non-immigrant visa and marry the U. S. citizen within 90 days. See previous article here.

K-3 visa is available to U. S. citizen spouses, of course after the marriage. It is issued to facilitate the arrival of U. S. Citizen spouses in the U. S. sooner when the immigrant visa petition process could take a long time. I am not sure if it has relevancy these days because USCIS (United State Citizenship & Immigration Service) is processing immigrant visa petitions (filed on Form I-130) rather quickly. However, in the past such visa petitions were slow to process and K-3 visa made perfect sense. It could also make a difference in the future when USCIS might divert its’ resources and I-130 process might slow down. I digress.

Again, K-1 visa is only for those who would like to marry in United States. It is important to note that from a cultural point of view girl's family in lot of countries would like to have the wedding in home country than sending the girl to another country. Different factors ranging from legitimacy of the relationship to social announcement and celebration to emotional aspect of marrying daughter off come into play.

So, it is important to discuss all of these issues among the family and evaluate where they want to do the wedding and which visa needs to be filed. If the wedding must take place in home country, and not in the U.S., K-1 is not an option. K-1 visa can take about 6-7 months in processing including petition adjudication by the USCIS and scheduling interview at the US Consulate. K-1 has to marry within 90 days of entry and apply for adjustment of status. So, the K-1 may lose about 60-90 days after entry and prior to applying for adjustment of status.

It can take about another 6-7 months for scheduling the interview and to approve the case. It means that it can take up to 9-12 months before the K-1 visa holder gets the green card. Another big factor is that parents and other family members who might want to attend the wedding in to the U. S. might not get the visa to come into the U. S. The consulate has the right to issue or deny the visa to parents in the exercise of discretion and there is not much an attorney can do to help. Such visa denial to the parents can really ruin the enjoyment and excitement.

On the other side, if immigrant visa process is followed, the spouse in foreign country may enter directly on immigrant visa within 8-11 months from any consulate and the green card will arrive in the mail within 1-3 weeks of entry. This process is less expensive. K-1 visa holder has to file for adjustment of status (green card) here in the U. S. and spend time and money on filing fees, get biometrics done and wait for employment authorization document for 3 months.

Needless to say, K-1 route is much more expensive and more time consuming to obtain the green card. The K-1 cannot apply for social security card, cannot apply for driver's license or work until receives the work permit, which may take about 60-90 days after you filed the adjustment of status.

K-1 visa is also a non-immigrant visa. U. S. Consulate has wide latitude in using discretion in issuing any non-immigrant visa. They can deny the visa to the fiancé if the Consul is not satisfied with the bona fides of the engagement or relationship overall.

I always suggest a safer and less expensive way to my clients which is to file the immigrant visa petition and wait for your green card turn to come.

Monday, November 29, 2010

K-1 Visa -marry the USC petitioner or go back

How can someone come here on K-1 visa and not marry the U. S. Citizen who sponsored him or her? Wrong question, I guess. In ever fluid relationships among human beings, anything can happen, I suppose. Let me not get carried away restrict myself to the legal side of things.

K-1 visa is a finance visa issued to fiances of USC (United States Citizen). Immigration Service known as USCIS allowed this petition so that the fiances can enter the U. S. sooner to be united with their spouses and resume family relationship. After entry into the U. S., fiance and U. S. citizen have to marry within ninety (90) days though.

If the fiance who entered on K-1 visa does not marry the U. S. citizen within ninety (90) days, then such fiance has to return to the home country.

In a recent case, Kalal v. Gonzalez, Case number 03-71354, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, addressed and rejected a number of arguments by Mrs. Kalal who had entered into the U. S. under K-1 visa but did not marry her U. S. Citizen fiance. The court held that Petitioner, who entered the U.S. on a K-1 visa but failed to marry the petitioning fiancé was not eligible for adjustment of status under INA §245.

Mrs. Kalal had made several strong arguments based on caselaw and written statutes (aka law). However, the court rejected them for the simple reason: the Congress passed the law and contemplated the possibility of fiance not marrying the U. S. citizen and did not allow such fiance to obtain permanent resident status by way of marrying someone else.

So, it is important to remember this law and to make sure that either you marry the U. S. citizen fiance who sponsored you or you return to the home country and then obtain new visa, immigrant or non-immigrant, based on new, or shall I say different, relationship.

It is ironic for me to note that Mrs. Kalal had entered the U. S. in June 1996 and her conditional status was denied in 2001. Immigration had made a mistake in issuing her permanent resident status in the first place. However, when she filed a petition to remove conditional status, all the problems started, leading to being placed in removal proceedings and final removal order. The decision by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals came out recently. So it took a total of fifteen years or so for final the resolution. She can file an appeal with the Supreme Court but it will be a far fetched shot. I am not an expert in Supreme Court Appeals but know that it is pretty high legal criteria and standard.

I am sure a lot has changed since 1996 for her. She must have started a family. But nothing matters-anymore!! A simple decision has played such a havoc in her life. She should have sought and received the right advise at the time and returned to home country and then filed for permanent resident status there. Perhaps she did get the right advise and did not want to return to the home country. Only she knows what happened.

I know that most immigrants engage in following two behaviors- ask family and friend who advise based on their limited experience and 2ndly, they don't want to believe the tough advise. I hate to generalize but these two behaviors are very basic human behaviors. So, I am just stating the facts.

I think her attorney Bart Klein did a pretty good job in making arguments for her.

So, remember that sometimes tough choices in the begining might be good for the long run!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Qualifications for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

In order to be eligible for Chapter 13, basic qualifications are:

1) Income and expense test has to be met under what is known as Means Test,

2) Before filing complete the Credit Counseling for Consumers Class. Another class has to be taken after filing and before the discharge,

(3) Have sufficient regular income to meet monthly living expenses allowed by the Chapter 13 Trustee as allowed by the IRS and make a plan payment. If income does not justify or support the Reorganization plan, then trustee will object and the court will not allow confirmation of plan and also not allow BK to proceed,

(4) Have less than $307,675 of unsecured debt, and less than $922,975 of secured debt.(as of April 1, 2004), and

5) Not be a corporation, partnership, stockbroker, or commodity broker.