Immigration Questions and Answers

SOUTH FLORIDA – Question: My husband has been in the U.S. for many years since he came as a student and did not ever leave. We have been together for 4 years and I am a resident for 6 years. I am eligible to file for my citizenship but we are afraid that when I put my husband on the immigration papers that could be bad for him. We don’t want to do anything that could get him in trouble with immigration. Can I just leave him off the marriage part of the application?

Answer: You can safely file for your naturalization without any worry about your husband’s legal immigration status and you must list him on the application. Failing to provide or concealing information on your Naturalization application can affect your eligibility. In Part 10, page 7, list all your husband’s information, then on page 8 #7 c. if you don’t know his technical status just mark “other” and list student visa or leave that part blank. At your interview, you can explain your husband’s circumstances to the officer if asked. Once you are naturalized, you can file for his residency immediately! Let me know if you have any questions.

Question: Me and my girlfriend just got married and we want to file to get my legal status. She has a good job now as a nurse and makes good money, but she had some tax issues a few years back and owes about $12,000 in back taxes. She has to make monthly payments from her bank account directly to the IRS every month to pay it back. We are worried that she can’t sponsor me because she owes money to the IRS. Can you please help us with the case and tell us what we need to do so she can qualify?

Answer: In Residency cases, Immigration regulations only require that a Sponsor or Joint Sponsor provide copies of IRS Tax Returns proving that all required tax returns have been filed. There is no requirement that all taxes owed have been paid. In Naturalization cases, however, residents are required to show that not only have all required tax returns been filed, but also that either all outstanding taxes have been paid or an agreement for repayment has been reached with the IRS and all payments due under the agreement have been paid as agreed, even if a balance is still due. So in your case, your wife can still sponsor you, even though she owes money to the IRS. An immigration attorney will need to review her current paystubs and income to determine whether she meets the income guidelines, and if not, you can always use a Joint Sponsor whose income does meet the qualifications.

Question: My dad got married to his American girlfriend many years ago after my parents broke up, and I immigrated to the U.S. and got my green card along with him when I was 14 years. Now that I am 21, I want to sponsor my mom.  But my dad says maybe that would be a problem because my stepmom was the one that sponsored me. I am all confused now. Is it true that since my stepmom sponsored me, I can’t sponsor my biological mom? Can you please help me?

Answer: Good news, under Immigration regulations, U.S. citizens can sponsor both their biological and step-parents and biological and step-parents can sponsor both their biological children and stepchildren. This means that once a U.S. Citizen’s child turns age 21, even though they were sponsored by a step-parent for Residency, the child is still able to sponsor their biological parent. Similarly, a U.S. Citizen child can also sponsor both their step-parent and biological parent to immigrate, as long as the requisite relationship qualifies. Step-parents are considered to qualify as “parents” and step-children qualify as “children” for immigration purposes, as long as the step-parent/step-child relationship was established before the child (now U.S. citizen) reached the age of 18. The only time a U.S. citizen would not qualify to sponsor a parent is where the parental rights had been terminated through adoption or otherwise.

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