Immigration Issues/B-2 to Permanent Residency through i-485
Dear Mr. Mills,
My wife is mexican, our son of 4.5 months is a dual-citizen, and I am a U.S. citizen. We were married in the U.S. on a F-1 in 2001, but left the U.S. for Mexico in 2003 and had to turn-in her conditional permanent residency in 2004. She currently has a b-2 visa. I have been working in Mexico City since 2003 for a Mexican company.
We want to move back to the U.S., permanently this time, and I need to fulfill the requirements of the Affidavit of Support by myself, I have no family members who will help. While meeting the salary requirements will not be a problem, it seems next to impossible to do this without being separated from my wife while I acquire a position in the U.S.. Separation from my family is what I would like to avoid. I wonder if there would be a way to find ourselves in the U.S. and use an I-485, thereby preventing us from being separated.
As far as I can tell from a brief conversation with immigration services today, my wife would be breaking the law if she entered the U.S. on a b-2 with the intent to immigrate:
1. How is something as intangible as intent measured in the visa process?
2. We are currently in Mexico City, would it be to our benefit to seek local legal assistance, or legal assistance in the U.S.?
3. Any suggestions for finding good legal assistance?
Q1. How is something as intangible as intent measured in the visa process?
A1. By looking at the entire situation and specific facts. Marriage to a US Citizen is almost always considered indicative of intent to immigrate.
Q2. We are currently in Mexico City, would it be to our benefit to seek local legal assistance, or legal assistance in the U.S.?
A2. Either. If you can find a good US immigration attorney locally, then that may be the way to go. However, it is possible to deal with consulates remotely. We do it all the time.
Q3. Any suggestions for finding good legal assistance?
A3. Look at years of attorney experience, familarity with the subject, and most of all in my opinion, membership in the American Immigration Lawyer's Association. If the attorney is not an AILA member, it is unlikely that the attorney is a serious immigration practitioner.