Frequently Asked Florida Immigration Questions
The St. Petersburg immigration lawyers of Tucker & Ludin answer your questions
With more than 30 years of legal experience, Tucker & Ludin’s St. Petersburg immigration attorneys offer unparalleled knowledge when it comes to issues facing international clients. If you’re considering seeking residency, citizenship, employment rights or an education in the United States, refer to the questions below, or contact a St. Petersburg immigration lawyer from our law firm for more information.
- How do I know if I need an attorney to assist me with an immigration matter?
- What is a green card and how do I qualify to get one?
- I am in the United States on a visa and want to stay longer. Can I get it extended?
- I have a five-year visa, but the immigration officer only gave me a six-month stay. What does that mean?
- I am a foreign national and am going to marry a U.S. citizen. What is involved in getting my green card?
- What does Prosecutorial Discretion mean and is it the same as amnesty?
- I have been here in the United States for 10 years and I have a U.S. citizen child. Am I eligible for the 10-year green card?
- How does Tucker & Ludin charge for their services in immigration cases?
Representing you in your immigration matter
The rule of thumb is to always have an experienced attorney represent you before a governmental agency. Your St. Petersburg immigration attorney from Tucker & Ludin will work to ensure that the process is as fair as possible. Going alone against the government is like having a little league pitcher face off with a major league slugger. Also, the immigration process is often complicated and a seemingly small error in completing a form can lead to big trouble.
Please beware of "notaries" who say that they can help with your immigration needs. These people are not lawyers and do not have the necessary training to represent your interests. As a result, they may actually harm your chances of getting the right result. Remember what is at stake in the process and do not be "pound wise and penny foolish."
Although people commonly refer to immigration form I-551 as a "green card," the card itself is not green. A "green card" indicates that you are a lawful permanent resident in the United States. There are several ways to acquire permanent residency in the United States, which include family petitions, investment, employment visas or a successful defense in removal proceedings. The attorneys at Tucker & Ludin P.A. have helped numerous immigrants attain permanent residency. Please give us a call if you have any questions. We have offices in St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida to serve your immigration law needs.
Depending on your particular circumstances, your stay in the United States may be extended if you are here on a temporary basis. The most important consideration is whether it will seem to immigration authorities that you intend to stay in the United States permanently. If so, your request for extension will likely be denied. An applicant must also show that he/she has the funds to finance the stay and has a bona fide reason for the extension. Please contact Tucker & Ludin P.A. if you need legal help to extend your stay in the United States.
I have a five-year visa, but the immigration officer only gave me a six-month stay. What does that mean?
The United States has a different visa system than other countries. Depending on the type of visa that you have, you might have a period of stay that is limited by law. For example, although you might have a five-year visa that permits travel to the United States during the five-year period, the maximum authorized period of stay might be six months. After that period, you will be considered an "overstay" and, depending on the length of time, you might be barred from reentry for either three or ten years. If you have extenuating circumstances, you might be able to extend your stay.
I am a foreign national and am going to marry a U.S. citizen. What is involved in getting my green card?
The best tool someone can have when filing a marriage petition for a green card is an excellent attorney who will guide him or her through the process. We discourage anyone from attempting to do this on his or her own, as the interview process is cumbersome, unpredictable and could lead to strain on the marital relationship.
The petition involves two steps, which can be combined. The first step is to petition for an immigrant visa. The second step is to adjust the foreign spouse's status into that of a permanent resident. This process is complicated and involves a thorough investigation by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to ensure that the couple intends to establish a life together. It is important to have an experienced immigration attorney in St. Petersburg accompany you during this process.
Prosecutorial discretion is not amnesty. Although prosecutorial discretion has been on the books for decades, the Morton Memo, which was published last year, gives some additional guidance. The updated policy tries to prevent immigrants from being placed into Removal Proceedings, and if the immigrant is already in Removal Proceedings, the Department of Homeland Security would consider administratively closing the case. Factors such as family ties in the United States, the lack of a criminal record, business ties, and United States citizen spouse or children would be evaluated in making the decision. However, the decision is entirely up to the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security. Call the immigration lawyers in St. Petersburg at Tucker & Ludin if you have questions about Prosecutorial Discretion and whether it could benefit your case.
I have been here in the United States for 10 years and I have a U.S. citizen child. Am I eligible for the 10-year green card?
People often ask us about the "ten-year green card." However, contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a "ten-year green card." The law allows the Attorney General to cancel the removal of an immigrant who has been in the United States continuously for ten years, who is a person of Good Moral Character, and whose removal would cause "extreme hardship" to his or her "qualifying relatives." The person granted Cancellation of Removal for non-permanent Residents immediately becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident. This form of relief is highly discretionary and should only be filed by an experienced immigration lawyer in St. Petersburg. Please call Tucker & Ludin P.A. to assist you if you were placed in removal proceedings.
We have several plans to ensure that you are getting the best immigration advice in the most suitable way. Our immigration attorneys in St. Petersburg will work with you to assess your needs and then put a plan together that will best help achieve success. Fees will depend almost entirely on the complexity of your individual plan. Therefore, it is difficult to quote a fee without meeting with you first. We typically charge a small fee for the initial consultation which is credited to your fee if we are retained to represent you. Please call us for a Consultation to see if we can help you make your dreams in the United States become a reality.