Immigration Q&A

by Immigration attorney Caroly Pedersen

IMMIGRATION QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Question: My citizenship swearing in is scheduled for next week and I want to know how many people I can bring? Like can I bring my wife and 2 kids, what about my mother? Thanks.

Answer: That is a great question! Interestingly enough, there is no official limit on the number of family members that can accompany you to your Naturalization Swearing-In Ceremony. It really depends upon the number of attendees at your particular ceremony, as to whether there is enough space. Certainly your wife and two children are likely to be able to attend. You can bring your mother and if there is not enough room, she can wait in the outside area.

Question: I’ve been in South Florida on a student visa since 2014. I graduated in 2016, got my one-year work permit, then when it expired in 2016 I didn’t go home. My boyfriend is an American citizen and we have been dating for 2 year, just got engaged and decided to get married and get my immigration papers. We plan to get married later this year when my parents can come for the wedding. We are wondering can I apply for my employment authorization now as the fiancée of an American, then apply for my green card once we get married? Will I risk deportation if I stay in the US since my student visa is expired?

Answer: Congratulations on your engagement! Unfortunately, until your petition for adjustment of status to Residency is filed, you are not entitled to a work permit.

The good news is that as the spouse of a U.S. Citizen, it does not matter when your visa expired, you can be out of status and still obtain your Green Card since you entered the U.S. legally. Only fiancé’s of U.S. Citizens who obtain the K-1 visa abroad are eligible to apply for work authorization prior to marriage. Fiancées in the U.S. who do not have the K-1 are not eligible to work until they marry, a spousal residency case is filed on their behalf and the employment authorization card is issued.

What you and your fiancée might want to consider is getting married earlier at the courthouse, so that we can file your Residency application now and get your Work and Travel permit in about 90 days, then have your formal wedding with your family later. That way, you can get your place in line in the immigration process. In many south Florida USCIS offices, the residency process is taking nearly 2 years to complete, so the sooner you apply, the farther along you will be.

 

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