Last month, I provided information on how to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event of a raid. This time, I am providing expanded tips on how to react if immigration officers come knocking at your home, your job or even in public.

Given today’s anti-immigration political climate, it is important to be informed and know your rights. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has expanded powers to detain and deport undocumented immigrants. Although they don’t have the manpower to actually arrest, detain and deport every  single undocumented immigrant living in the U.S., the reality is that many have been detained and deported in numerous places.

In order to educate and help the public, you can find flyers describing your rights in the event of a confrontation with immigration, depending on where you are located.

  • To know your rights while you are at your house download the flyer below:

Know your Rights at Home.pdf
File Size: 720 kb
File Type: pdf

Download File

  • To know your rights while you are at work download the flyer below:

Know your Rights at Work.pdf
File Size: 720 kb
File Type: pdf

Download File

  • To know your rights if detained while in public download the flyer below:

Know your Rights while in Public.pdf
File Size: 720 kb
File Type: pdf

Download File

​DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is for educational  use only. The information contained in it does not constitute legal advice and an attorney-client relationship is not created by reading this post.

Recently, a client asked me if she could obtain a green card (or permanent residence) through her disabled minor child. Many others have asked me the same question so I will explain whether this is possible or not.

Whether a US citizen child can petition for their parents depends on many factors. The most important factor is whether the child is over the age of 21. Children over the age of 21 can petition for a green card for their parents as long as they can prove their household income is sufficient to support their family, including their parents. Children under the age of 21 are not allowed to petition for a green card for their parents.

Under current immigration laws, a child’s disability, by itself, does not qualify a parent to obtain a green card through their child. Even if the parent becomes a full-time care-giver due to the child’s disability, the disability alone will not qualify the parent for a green card.

Once the child has reached the age threshold, the child will be able to help their parents correct their immigration status. If the parents are currently without status or entered without inspection, that will affect whether the parents are eligible for a green card or the process necessary to achieve it. I have written in detail about these cases here.

Always seek the assistance of an immigration attorney to help you sort out your individual case. We can evaluate your case and determine what type of relief is available for you and your family.

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is for educational use only. The information contained in it does not constitute legal advice and an attorney-client relationship is not created by reading this post.

The question my clients have been asking over and over for the past few weeks is this: I am out of status or entered without inspection, what do I do now?

A person becomes out of status if they legally entered the United States with proper inspection (like a tourist visa), and then overstayed their authorized duration of stay.  An individual who is out of status is considered an illegal alien and can be deported at any time.

A person who entered without inspection, is a person who enters the United States through any point of entry (like the border) and fails to get inspected by Customs and Border Patrol. Those who enter without inspection are considered illegal aliens and can be deported at any time just like a person who is out of status.

Whether a person overstayed a visa or entered without inspection, most people do so with the hope that they will be able to adjust to a legal status after the fact.  This is not as easy as it sounds, and in many cases the overstay will ruin their eligibility to adjust to a legal status.

In the case of a person who enters without status, it is likely to bar them from ever adjusting status inside the US (unless current immigration laws change). However, a person who entered without inspection may seek a waiver and obtain a family visa through the US consulate in their country of birth.

How do you become a legal alien and avoid being deported? Of course, the answer to this question depends on the specific circumstances of the individual.  Being married to a U.S. Citizen or having a prior family petition would provide a path to legal status, unless there are illegalities in the person’s history or other bars against the adjustment of the individual’s status.

If you are already in deportation proceedings an option would be cancellation of removal.  This would be more likely for individuals who have been in the United States for very long periods of time.  They may be married and have a family here.  Assuming they have been here for over ten years, and have done nothing illegal, and have a U.S. Citizen relative who would experience a hardship due to their deportation, cancelation of removal is possible.

Whether you are currently out of status or entered without inspection, we can evaluate your case and determine whether you qualify to adjust status, obtain a visa through a US consulate or obtain a cancelation of deportation.

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is for educational use only. The information contained in it does not constitute legal advice and an attorney-client relationship is not created by reading this post.

The immigration laws of the United States provide several ways for a person to legally immigrate to the US and obtain a permanent residence (or green card). The most common methods are through a family based petition, employment based petition or special immigrants (refugees and asylum recipients). This post will focus on how to obtain a green card through a family petition.

Family based visas are immigrant visas reserved for relatives of US citizens and lawful permanent residents. United States citizens and lawful permanent residents can help their qualifying relatives in petitioning for lawful permanent residency in the United States and eventually even citizenship. In order to be eligible to apply for a lawful permanent residence in the US, you must establish that:

  1. You are admissible.
  2. You can establish eligibility within one of the categories by establishing your relationship to a qualifying relative as either a spouse, child, sibling or parent.

You may be inadmissible if some factors are present, such as:

  • Health-related grounds (communicable diseases that cause public health concerns or drug addiction).
  • Crime-related issues (conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, human trafficking offenses, money laundering offenses)
  • Security concerns (espionage, sabotage, terrorist involvement).
  • A person who is likely to be a public charge.

Once a person establishes that he/she is admissible, then you must establish your relationship with the petitioner.  There are two main classes of relative petitions: immediate relatives and preference relatives.

Immediate Relatives are:

  • Spouses or widows of US Citizens.
  • Children (single, under 21) of US Citizens.
  • Parents of US Citizens (if the US Citizen is 21 and over).

Preference Relatives have four categories:

  • First (FB1): Unmarried sons and daughters (21 and over) of US Citizens.
  • Second A (FB2A): Spouses and unmarried children (under 21) of Lawful Permanent Residents.
  • Second B (FB2B): Unmarried sons and daughters (21 and over) of Lawful Permanent Residents.
  • Third (FB3): Married sons and daughters of US Citizens.
  • Fourth (FB4) – Brothers and sisters of US Citizens.

The advantage of being an immediate relative is obviously the speed in which one may obtain their green card. On the other hand, preference relatives must wait until their “priority date” is current before they can apply for an entry visa or before they can apply for adjustment of status in cases where they are already lawfully in the United States.

What happens to children and spouses of preference relatives?
The term for such relatives is “derivatives.” Only preference relatives may include spouses and children as derivatives. Generally, once the application is processed and a visa is available, the relative along with his/her derivatives will be awarded visas together. There are exceptions that may cause a derivative to be left out of the petition.

What are the requirements for a spouse?

In spousal petitions, the marriage must be legal, which means that all prior marriages must have been legally terminated and the marriage must have been legal in the place of marriage. There can be no fraud, which means that you can not marry just to get the immigration benefit. Applicants must prove that they have a bona fide marriage. Read this article to learn more about how to prove a bona fide marriage.

Widows may still apply:

Widows may self-petition for a green card if they were married for at least 2 years at the time the spouse died, were not legally separated at the time of death, and the petition is filed within 2 years of the death.

What happens after you get a green card?

Most Green Cards expire after 10 years and should be renewed within 6 months of this expiration date. Conditional residency cards are also issued, which last for 2 years. 90 days before these conditional cards expire, the holder must file a petition to have the conditions of residency removed. If the petition is approved, a Permanent Resident Card is issued and is valid for the standard 10-year period.

I strongly encourage my clients to become US citizens as soon as they are eligible after obtaining their green cards. Depending on how the green card was obtained, a person may become a US citizen within 3 or 5 years of receiving their green cards, provided that they satisfy all other requirements.

Can a DACA recipient obtain a green card?

DACA recipients are given temporary and discretionary relief from deportation, but this relief does not provide a path to citizenship or permanent residency. Because of this limitation, DACA recipients should absolutely file a petition for a Green Card if they are eligible.

If you feel you qualify for a family based petition or are unsure whether you qualify for one or not, give us a call today to schedule a consultation and go over your case. Immigration law is complex and constantly changing so it is best to put your case in the hands of a competent attorney. Let us be that helping hand to bring you peace of mind.

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is for educational use only. The information contained in it does not constitute legal advice and an attorney-client relationship is not created by reading this post.

When a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident (commonly referred as a “green card” holder) petitions to bring his/her spouse to the United States, the petitioner must prove that the couple has a bona fide marriage. A bona fide marriage is nothing more that proving the marriage between the couple is legitimate and not entered for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits.

At the time the petition is filed, the US citizen or permanent resident must include proof of the marriage. Most petitions are approved without the need of a personal interview if they are properly documented. Whenever USCIS determines that they need additional documentation to determine the validity of the marriage they issue a Request for Evidence (RFE). You must respond to a RFE within the timeframe provided or risk having your petition denied.

What type of evidence can you use to prove a bona fide marriage?
Below are the most common documents you can use. However, not all marriages are equal so the list doesn’t work for everyone. Let’s start with the documents that are easier to provide:


  • Birth certificates for children of the relationship.
  • Joint tax returns.
  • Bank accounts or credit cards in joint name.
  • Leases, deeds, mortgages, promissory notes in joint name.
  • Cable, cell phone, internet and utility bills in joint name.
  • Automobile registrations and insurances in joint name.


  • Photographs from vacations, holidays, life cycle events, showing spouses together and with family members (this includes pictures uploaded to social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram).
  • Letters, cards, e-mails and text messages between spouses (yes, including those from Whatsapp and other applications).
  • Statements of friends, family members, neighbors confirming co-habitation (even better if in the form of an affidavit).

How about if you have very few documents or none at all to support your application? This is where you have to be creative. As long as the marriage is legitimate,  find any documentation, communication or testimony to provide to USCIS.

A competent attorney can successfully to guide through this. Always seek the advice of an attorney before filing the petition. The attorney will know what documents to send and when is the best time to send them.

 If you want to contact us, you can do it here.

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is for educational  use only. The information contained in it does not constitute legal advice and an attorney-client relationship is not created by reading this post.

Think about the following questions. If the answer is yes to one or more you might be in need of filing for bankruptcy relief.

Are you receiving collections calls every day?
Have you lost your job and have no employment income or savings left?
Are you struggling to make minimum payments on your credit cards and utility bills?
Do you currently owe back taxes (either income or property taxes)?
Are your wages being garnished?
Are you receiving threats of foreclosure from your bank?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions you are in deep financial trouble or on the brink of deep financial trouble. You should seriously consider bankruptcy to help your situation.

What kind of bankruptcy should you file?

There are three types of bankruptcy relif: Chapter 7 (liquidation), Chapter 13 (debt repayment) and Chapter 11 (or reorganization).

Chapter 7 (or liquidation). This is where debtor’s assets are sold off to pay creditors. Some states require all the debtor’s assets to be sold, while others (like Florida) offer limited exemptions for homestead property, cars, and certain personal items. This type of bankruptcy is usually completed within three to four months.

Chapter 13 (or debt repayment). This kind of bankruptcy allows debtors to pay off creditors over a period of three to five years, while protecting property and certain possessions. The debtor must have a steady source of income for this type of bankruptcy to work.

Chapter 11 (or liquidation). This type of bankruptcy is used by individuals and business who do not meet the requirements for chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies. The debtor retains the assets and continues with the business and pays the creditor according to a plan approved by the bankruptcy court.

How to file for bankruptcy

You may file for bankruptcy on your own. However, it is best to use a competent bankruptcy attorney to help you navigate the complicated bankruptcy process and achieve the best outcome for your scenario. Before deciding whether bankruptcy is right for you, talk to a bankruptcy attorney.

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection involves wiping out debt, and in some cases, liquidating your assets to pay off creditors. A Chapter 7 gives the person a financial fresh start.

The entire process takes between 3 to 5 months and can get you back on the right path quickly. For those who own homes and other significant assets, as well as those who have high income, it may not be the best option for debt relief; however, Chapter 13 protection might be your solution.

The benefits of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy begin immediately:

–           Creditors cannot contact you to collect on a debt.
–           Lawsuits are stopped (such as foreclosure proceedings and car repossessions).
–           Wage garnishment and bank accounts freezes are lifted.
–           All dischargeable debt is wiped.
–           In the vast majority of cases, a person will get to keep all of his or her assets.

Creditors may petition the court to continue certain lawsuits, such as foreclosure actions and eviction proceedings, however they must obtain permission from the Bankruptcy Court before they can continue the lawsuit.

At the end of the process, most people will walk away completely debt free. There are only a handful of debts that are not discharged at the end of the proceeding. These debts include back child support, alimony obligations, and student loans. I add student loans here because, although it is possible to discharge them, the standard a person has to meet is extremely high, which makes these loans virtually non-dischargeable.

Note that taxes are not listed here; that is because some taxes can be discharged in a bankruptcy as long as they meet the standard and the process is followed correctly.

At the Law Office of Christian Veras, LLC we can help you discharge your debts through a Chapter 7. We will analyze your circumstances and give you candid advice if bankruptcy is the right solution for you. Check this article if you think it is time to consider bankruptcy.

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is for educational  use only. The information contained in it does not constitute legal advice and an attorney-client relationship is not created by reading this post.

Tenants whose leased premises are being foreclosed on, now have more protections against evictions due to a recent change in Florida law.

The new law (F.S. 83.561), effective June 3, 2015, provides that buyers of a residential property at a foreclosure sale must give bona fide tenants a 30 day notice before termination of the tenants’ possession.

This new law will give unaware tenants of notice of any foreclosure before an order for possession of the premises is issued by the Court. Normally, tenants become aware of a foreclosure sale very late in the process and usually when there is no sufficient time to prepare for the consequences.

Once the purchaser provides this 30 day notice of termination of tenant’s possession, the tenant is still required to pay rent to the landlord and the landlord must comply with F.S. 83.67, which provides for prohibited practices by landlords.

It is now easier to become a U.S. citizen as USCIS allows applicants to pay the application fee with a credit card.

USCIS announced that you can now pay for your N-400 application by using a credit card. The current fee is $595 plus $85 for the biometrics fee. You can now pay both fees through your preferred credit card. USCIS is accepting all the major credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

For more information, visit the USCIS site here.