We're here to help

Schedule a consultation today


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on immigration issues. Please be mindful that immigration matters are often complex and require experienced legal advice. The information on this website should not be construed as legal advice for your specific issue.


    A “green card” issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), also known as a “Permanent Resident Card”, “Alien Registration Receipt Card” or “Form I-551” is a proof that an individual has the lawful authority to live and work anywhere in the United States. Most green cards must be renewed every 10 years, but conditional green cards based on marriage or investment must be replaced after the first two years.

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and is a government agency that oversees legal immigration to the United States. USCIS is primarily responsible for approving green cards, naturalization, work permits, travel permits, and other “immigration benefits.”

    Green card applicants are not allowed to start working in the United States until they obtain a work permit by filing Form I-765. One can work with a valid work visa only (for example, an H-1B or L-1 visa) and can usually continue working in the United States even while applying for a U.S. green card.

    A green card application may be denied by the U.S. government for several reasons, including but not limited to mistakes on the required forms, missing documents, insufficient financial resources, or failure to demonstrate eligibility.

    U.S. immigration law is quite complex and complicated. An immigration attorney can make the immigration process go smoothly by correctly following all procedures, and hence giving client peace of mind. Research, evidence gathering and presentation often have a significant impact on the case. By hiring an immigration attorney, you will have an adviser who is experienced in immigration law and will personally handle your immigration case in providing experienced and affordable immigration legal representation and being your immigration partner.

    Most U.S. citizens and U.S. green card holders are entitled by law to sponsor their spouses for a green card, also known as “permanent residence status.” The total cost, wait time, and other details of the marriage green card process vary based on several factors.

    A marriage-based green card can take between 10 and 38 months to process, depending on whether your new spouse is a U.S. citizen or green card holder and where you currently live.

    The required documents for a marriage green card can vary by situation, but in general the couple must provide evidence, such as proof that the sponsoring spouse is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; a legal copy of their marriage certificate; evidence that the marriage is authentic such as photographs; and evidence such as financial documents that the sponsoring spouse can financially support the spouse seeking a green card.

    The K-1 fiancé visa is available to fiancés of U.S. citizens who are living outside of the United States and intend to get married within 90 days of arriving in the United States.

    EB1A FAQ's

    EB1-A is one of the categories of employment-based immigration, which benefits foreign nationals who have reached successfully the top of their field of endeavor. A foreign national under this classification will not need a labor certification.  In addition, a job offer is not required under this category.

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and is a government agency that oversees legal immigration to the United States. USCIS is primarily responsible for approving green cards, naturalization, work permits, travel permits, and other “immigration benefits.”

    The phrase “extraordinary ability“ means a level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of that small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor with highly skilled professionalism and capability.

    Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) is used to file a petition under EB-1A.

    If, qualified, it may be faster to obtain a Green Card in this category than others.

    An alien of extraordinary ability is an alien who has exceptional ability in field of sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation.

    In addition, the foreign person is seeking to enter the United States to continue to work in the field of their unique expertise that is the subject of the acclaim, and their presence and his or her activity will benefit the United States.

    The foreign national may file his or her own petition with USCIS for classification in this preference or if the foreign national is employed, his or her employer can also file the petition as a sponsor of the foreign national.

    No labor certification is required before the I-140 filing for all categories of EB-1A.

    No. A job offer is not required under this category and the foreign national does not need an employer sponsor to file the petition.


    The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents to self-petition for permanent resident status, without the abuser’s help or knowledge.

    To self-petition for permanent residency under VAWA, an individual must show that she/he lived with a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse.

    An individual must also show that she/he was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty during the marriage and that she/he entered the marriage in good faith.  They should also show that she/he is otherwise qualified for admission and that she/he has good moral character.

    A battered spouse who cannot demonstrate such a connection may be eligible for battered spouse cancellation of removal if you 1) meet the other requirements to self-petition, 2) been physically present in the United States for 3 years immediately preceding the filing of the application and 3) must demonstrate that your removal from the United States would result in extreme hardship to you or your child.

    If your petition is denied, you may file a Notice of Appeal along with the required fee at the Vermont Service Center within 33 days of receiving the denial. Once processed, the appeal will be referred to the Administrative Appeals Office in Washington, D.C.

    After USCIS approves your I-360, you can prepare your application to adjust your status. If the abuser is a U.S. citizen, then you are eligible to apply as soon as your I-360 has been approved. If the abuser is a permanent resident (green card holder), you will have to wait for a visa to become available in order to apply for your green card.

    No, males or females can apply for VAWA if s/he can demonstrate the eligibility criteria.

    Does a divorce or a pending divorce to the abuser impact the case?

    No, you may file Form I-360 if the marriage was terminated within 2 years prior to the date of filing, if you can demonstrate a connection between divorce and abuse.

    You may file a Form I-360 if you are still married to your abusive spouse.

    If you remarry before the approval of the I-360, your case will be denied. Remarriage after the approval will not invalidate the approval.

    If you are the beneficiary of a Form I-130 filed by the abusive spouse, parent or child, you will be able to transfer the priority date of the Form I-130 to the Form I-360.

    No, VAWA petitions are confidential and the government does not contact the abuser to confirm your allegations, but instead reviews your evidence to determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria.


    Family-based immigration enables certain people to become U.S. permanent residents through family relations with U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents. The U.S. citizen or permanent resident who files a petition for a family member is called the Petitioner. The alien relative for whom the immigration petition is filed is called the Beneficiary.

    A Sponsor must sign a legally binding affidavit of support for the Beneficiary, guaranteeing that the Sponsor to maintain the standard of living of the intending immigrant at a level not lower than 125% of the national poverty level. This obligation continues until the Beneficiary has become a U.S. citizen or has worked in the United States for 40 qualifying quarters (about 10 years).

    If you are a lawful permanent resident, you may petition for a green card for the following relatives:

    Husband or wife
    Unmarried children.

    A Conditional Green Card is issued to spouses if the marriage occurred less than two years before he or she is admitted as a U.S. permanent resident. Both spouses need to jointly petition to remove the condition within 90 days before the second anniversary of the foreign spouse’s admission as a permanent resident. Failure to do so will result in the termination of his or her conditional permanent residence.

    If your son is over 21 years old, he may petition for a green card for you as his parents. If he is under 21 years old, however, he cannot file an immigrant petition for you and your wife until he reaches his 21st birthday.

    No, U.S. permanent residents are not eligible to apply for green cards for their brothers or sisters. You would have to become a U.S. citizen through the naturalization process to apply for your sister.

    The “Child Status Protection Act” allows your son to qualify if the petition is filed before he turns 21 years old. You can find out more information about the Child Status Protection Act, and its effect on children of U.S. citizens, permanent residents and others.

    No, your mother does need not to file separate petitions for your spouse and children. Your spouse and children will be eligible to apply for immigrant visas and may obtain their green cards with you.

    The first step is to file an I-130 Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The petition should request that the USCIS notify a U.S. Consulate in the country where your husband lives. You have to wait until this petition is approved.

    If you are a U.S. citizen, your husband does not have to wait until a visa becomes available before applying for an immigrant visa. If you are a permanent resident, he will have to wait until a visa is available. That information is on the State Department’s Visa Bulletin.

    The National Visa Center of the U.S. State Department will send you a series of forms called a “Packet 3.” After the necessary forms are completed, your husband will go to the U.S. Consulate and apply for an immigrant visa.

    A sponsor must be at least 18 years old, and a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. The sponsor generally must live in the United States, a territory or possession, unless you live abroad temporarily and your permanent residence is still in the U.S.

    If you are a U.S. citizen, you may petition for a green card for the following relatives:

    Husband or wife
    Children, whether married or unmarried, no matter what age
    Brother or sister, if you are at least 21 years old
    Parent, if you are at least 21 years old.

    You need to provide documents proving that you are a U.S. citizen (such as a U.S. passport, naturalization certificate or birth certificate) or a permanent resident (such as a green card). You will also need to prove your qualifying relationship, such as with a marriage certificate, birth certificate, adoption papers and divorce papers or death certificates from previous marriages. You will also need to provide financial information, such as tax forms, proof of employment and bank statements. Your family member will have to provide a passport, photos, and a medical examination. You may also have to provide other documentation, depending on your particular circumstances.

    Yes, you may sponsor your stepdaughter for permanent residency as long as your marriage to her mother took place before your stepdaughter’s 18th birthday.

    U.S. citizens can sponsor a sibling for permanent residency. A sibling is a brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or adopted brother or sister. To qualify as a sibling, you must have been the child of at least one of the same parents. Adopted brothers and sisters qualify if they were adopted by at least one of your parents before your adopted sibling turned 16 years old. Your stepsister would qualify as a sibling if your parent married her parent before she was 18 years old.

    No, lawful permanent residents are not eligible to petition for parents to live and work in the United States. You would have to apply for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process, and then file a petition for your parents.

    If you are a U.S. citizen, you should file an I-130 immigrant petition for her. Your wife can file an application of adjustment of status at the same time.

    If you are a permanent resident, you should file the I-130 immigrant petition. Your wife will have to wait for an immigrant visa to become available in the second preference category. You can consult the Visa Bulletin for information on visa availability. Once the visa number becomes current, she can then apply to adjust to permanent resident. During this waiting period, your wife must continue to maintain valid non-immigrant status.

    Your wife is eligible to “follow to join” you, since you were married before you became a lawful permanent resident. You do not have to submit a separate petition for your wife, and she does not have to wait any additional time for a visa number to become available. You should file a Form I-824 with the USCIS and request that they notify the U.S. Consulate in your wife’s country to enable your wife to apply for an immigrant visa.

    A fiancé(e) visa is available to foreign citizens who want to enter the United States to marry a U.S. citizen. These visas are called “K-1” visas. The U.S. citizen must file a petition with the USCIS. Once approved, the alien fiancé(e) applies for the K-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate overseas. The alien has to marry the U.S. citizen within 90 days after the alien enters the United States on the K-1 visa.

    Yes, your spouse is eligible to apply for a nonimmigrant K-3 Visa once the I-130 is pending. With this visa, she can enter the U.S. to live and work while her permanent residency visa petition is pending. However, it is not necessary for your wife to obtain a K-3 visa in order to come to the U.S. to live and work. Your wife may wait abroad for immigrant visa processing. This visa may allow her to join you in the United States more quickly.

    Why Sarah Mian Law?

    Attorney Mian's exposure to different traditions and cultures allows her to tackle issues with a broader mindset enabling her to serve many people who would otherwise have difficulties in communicating their legal needs


    Through competent and reliable representation we assist our clients successfully through the process. Each client's case is treated with exceptional care and attention.

    International Exposure

    Ms. Mian's clients are from all over the United States and internationally. She is fluent in English, Japanese, Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu.


    We listen to clients carefully to make sure we understand their needs and work to ease the anxieties many immigrants and non-immigrants have about the immigration process.