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frequently asked questions

At Hawks Villafranca Law, we get questions from clients all day long about how they can move forward with their immigration journey in the United States. And we love answering them! Below are some of our most frequently asked questions. If you don’t see what you’re looking for here, give us a call and schedule a full case evaluation so we can help you plan for your future and the future of your family in the United States. You belong here. We can help.

For Frequently Asked Questions about DACA, Citizenship, or Family Immigration, please choose from the links below.

Citizenship FAQs
Family Immigration FAQs

general immigration law faq

Do I need to get a copy of my immigration file before I file my immigration application?

Yes.  The government will review your entire immigration file when you apply for a new type of immigration benefit.  You must know what is in your file in order to properly answer any questions the government may have. It is also very important to review your immigration file with a knowledgeable, trusted immigration attorney who can help you identify and correct any issues in your file before they cause a problem in your immigration journey in the United States.

At Hawks Villafranca Law we request immigration files for all our clients and complete a full and detailed immigration history analysis.  Once we know your full and accurate immigration history we can advise you of any risks or issues that may arise as you move forward in your immigration journey and can help you get the immigration benefit you want.

Do I need to do a criminal background check before I file my immigration application?

Yes. If you’ve ever had contact with law enforcement, even if you were never charged with a crime, it is very important that you know exactly what is in your criminal file.  It is also very important to review your criminal history with a knowledgeable, trusted immigration attorney who can help you determine how your criminal history may impact your immigration journey in the United States.

If you have certain types of criminal history you may be ineligible for a visa or may need a waiver before receiving a visa. Even if a waiver is not needed, you will still be required to provide clear and accurate information to immigration about all prior criminal charges.

Even if you’ve never had any contact with law enforcement, it is important to review your criminal record to make sure someone else’s criminal history doesn’t show up under your name. This happens sometimes and can cause delays and problems when you apply for an immigration benefit.

At Hawks Villafranca Law, we request an FBI history report for all our clients to ensure it is accurate and will not cause problems for your immigration journey.

Can I get a visa based on how long I’ve been in the United States?

No. There is no way to get a visa based on having lived in the United State for 5, 10, 15 years or longer. Even if you pay your taxes and stay out of trouble, you can’t get a visa or green card based on time alone. There are, however, many other ways to live and work legally in the United States and a knowledgeable, trusted immigration attorney can analyse your case and help you understand your options.

I want to submit my application as quickly as possible. What are my options?

Immigration case processing times vary greatly and are not always predictable. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do. If you choose an attorney who will get your case out the door quickly then you set yourself up for getting the benefit you want as quickly as possible.

When you hire Hawks Villafranca Law to represent you on your U.S. immigration journey, we provide you with clear and detailed information about every document or piece of information we need for your case. As soon as we have all your information we can get your case filed in as little as two weeks. Avoiding long delays at your attorney’s office will ensure your case is processed as quickly as possible so you can start living the life you’ve dreamed of, knowing you belong with your family in the United States.

I got a letter from immigration called a Request for Evidence (RFE) asking for more information about my application. What do I do?

Call your attorney immediately. If you don’t have an attorney, now is the time to hire one. If you got a letter requesting more information on your case that means that the government is currently reviewing your application, which is great news! The bad news is that the government thinks you are missing important information. The letter you received will tell you exactly what is missing and will have a deadline for you to send in that information. If you fail to respond or don’t respond the right way your application will be denied. It is very important to work with a knowledgeable, trusted attorney to respond to your letter in the best way possible.

What is the difference between a visa, a green card, and a residency card?

A green card is the term used for the card you get when you become a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States. So green card, resident, and residency all mean the same thing. A visa is a piece of paper given to you by the United States government that allows you to enter the United States. There are many, many different types of visas. You may be given a visa as part of your green card process, but your visa is not a green card or residency card.

My green card has expired. Am I still a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident?

Yes. You remain a resident even after your card expires. The only person who can take away your residency status is a U.S. Immigration Court Judge.  You should, however, apply for a new card so that you can prove you have valid work authorization in the United States and can easily return to the United States after travelling outside the country.

I have a conditional green card. Can you help me remove the conditions and get my lawful permanent resident status?

Yes. We would like to help you remove the conditions on your residency and enjoy your status as a Lawful Permanent Resident. Call Hawks Villafranca Law today to schedule your full case evaluation and learn about the next step on your U.S. immigration journey.

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