Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions? You aren’t alone. Our previous clients may have asked the same ones.
About Nanthaveth & Associates
The price of our services varies between cases. Several factors can impact your cost, including how time-intensive your case is, what type of petitions we need to file on your behalf, and whether we need to represent you at a hearing. At your consultation, your attorney will provide you with an engagement letter that outlines and explains your total cost.
The attorneys at Nanthaveth and Associates have over 30 years of combined experience.
Yes, we offer a 30-minute free consultation or an unlimited timed consultation for $60 with one of our associates. You can also choose to speak to our owner and founder, Vi Nanthaveth, for $100 with no time limit.
Yes, we offer a three- or six-month payment plan to help ease the cost for our clients. We require a 50 percent down payment for the attorney and administrative fees. All filing fees must be paid at the time we file your case.
11211 Taylor Draper Lane
Austin, TX 78759
Yes, we offer phone consultations; however, we prefer meeting with our clients in person. We also offer video consultations as well.
Immigration Frequently Asked Questions
A green card is a card issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, that proves a person is a lawful permanent resident of the United States. A green card authorizes the person named on it to live and work anywhere in the U.S. Only people who are eligible for admission into the United States and have followed the appropriate channels can apply for lawful permanent residency.
The U.S. government issues conditional green cards to people who marry U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. The “condition” is that the person holding the green card must remain married to the same person for at least two years; 90 days before the conditional green card expires, the green card holder and their sponsor (the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse) must petition the government to remove the conditions. After the conditions are removed, the foreign spouse receives a regular green card; that green card is valid for 10 years.
USCIS is short for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It’s the government agency that oversees immigration into the United States. It approves and denies green cards, work permits, travel permits and naturalization, as well as some other types of immigration benefits.
When you marry a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you’re eligible to petition the U.S. government for a green card – sometimes called a marriage green card. A marriage green card is conditional; you must remain married to the same citizen or permanent resident for at least two years before you can petition the government to remove the conditions and grant you a standard, 10-year green card.
The U.S. government may deny a green card application for many reasons. Often, denials are the result of errors on required forms, missing documentation or failure to demonstrate eligibility for the immigration category the applicant is using. If your green card application is denied, you may be able to ask USCIS to review its decision – or you may simply reapply.
If you’re in the United States on a valid work visa, you may continue to work while your green card application is pending. However, if you don’t have a work visa, you must apply for a work permit using Form I-765; you can’t work until your permit is approved. Your attorney can help you apply for a work permit if you’re waiting for the government to issue your green card.
A lawful permanent resident is a person who legally resides in the United States without citizenship; these people have green cards. LPRs are foreign nationals who are authorized to work or live anywhere in the U.S. or its territories, and who can sponsor some relatives to bring them to the United States. Lawful permanent residents can eventually apply for U.S. citizenship if they wish, but they do not have to do so.
Most green card applications are approved, but as many as 18 percent of them have been denied in recent years. If you receive an unfavorable immigration decision, such as the denial of a green card, you may be able to appeal your case or file a motion to have it reopened or reconsidered.
There are several ways you can get a green card. In some cases, it takes less than a year to obtain one; in others, it can take more than three years. Your immigration attorney can help you find the pathway to lawful permanent residency that’s right for you and answer all your questions about the process.
If you marry a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, the immigration official overseeing your case is required to ensure that your marriage is bona fide (legitimate). The official’s job is to determine whether you married because you wanted to spend your lives together or simply because one of you will receive an immigration benefit. It’s illegal to marry someone just to gain an immigration benefit – and people who are caught doing so are typically removed (deported) from the United States.
A visa is an authorization from the United States government that allows a person to enter the U.S. legally. Visas are only valid for a specific amount of time, and every visa’s expiration timeframe is different. You can get an immigrant visa, which means you intend to immigrate to the U.S., or a nonimmigrant visa that indicates you’re only staying temporarily.
If you’re a foreigner who wishes to come to the United States to marry a U.S. citizen, you may be able to obtain a K-1 fiancé visa. This fiancé visa is only valid for 90 days; you and your fiancé must marry within that time or start the whole process over. After you marry, the foreign spouse will receive a conditional green card.
The Visa Bulletin is a document issued by the U.S. Department of State each month. It shows which green card applications can begin to move forward based on when they were originally filed. Only a certain number of green card applications can be issued in certain categories every year, which makes the Visa Bulletin necessary.
Biometrics are measurements of your identifying features. During a biometric screening for immigration purposes, a government official captures your fingerprints, takes your photo and gets a copy of your signature.
Many people must attend an immigration interview to obtain a visa or green card. If you do have to attend an interview, your attorney will let you know. You should receive a notice in the mail that advises you on where to go and when to show up for your interview.
In order to become a naturalized citizen of the United States, you must take and pass the citizenship test. The official administering the test will ask you 10 of 100 possible civics-related questions, and you must answer at least 6 of them correctly. The civics portion of the test is oral, and the official asking you questions will evaluate your ability to speak and understand English. The official will also ask you to read and write in English to determine how well you can perform those tasks. If you don’t pass the test, you can be retested on the portion of the test you failed (English or civics) between 60 and 90 days from your initial interview.
The Public Charge Rule is a ruling from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that requires immigrants to be unlikely to become dependent on social services and public programs (such as financial aid from the government).
An Affidavit of Support is a U.S. government form that ensures a green card applicant has someone in the United States who is willing and able to help them financially if necessary.
If your foreign fiancé is barred from the U.S. due to a criminal record or for overstaying a previous visa, they are ineligible to get a K-1 visa. Crimes like fraud, drug trafficking, and money laundering, disqualify your future spouse from re-entry.
As a U.S. citizen you may petition the government for a different immigrant visa for your fiancé, such as a conditional resident visa (CR1) or an immediate relative visa (IR-1). In each case you’d have to be married outside the U.S. To be eligible for a CR-1 visa, you must be married to your foreign spouse for less than two years. To be eligible for an IR-1 visa, you must be married to your partner for more than two years.
No, if you’re already married you do not need a K-1 visa. Applying for a CR-1 or an IR-1 visa are your best options. As a U.S. citizen you may also petition the government for permanent residency for your fiancé, which is to help them get their green card.
If meeting your foreign fiancé in person would violate their cultural practices, or cause you an extreme hardship, you can request a waiver of an in-person meeting.
You must be a U.S. citizen in order to sponsor your non-citizen fiancé for a K-1 visa.