I’m a Real Lawyer: Trust But Verify!

img_0131-cropped1Going through the administration of my blog, I saw that a few people were googling: “the law office larry liem doan scam?” Wow! That’s a surprise. Well, I guess people run across blogs and sites all day long and, in this day and age, are always suspicious whether a company offering products or services is a scam or not.

Dear readers, rest assured that I’m an attorney licensed by the State of California. You can verify yourself at the State Bar of California website. Just enter my name in the Attorney Search box, Larry Liem Doan or Larry Doan, and you can see for yourself that I’m indeed an attorney currently in good standing.  I’m also a current member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

I invite and encourage you to make a comment or ask a question related to the blog articles you’ve read by going to the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the article.  Please keep the comments relevant to the article.  Unfortunately, I cannot respond to comments asking detailed and specific questions related to your individual immigration situation or problem.  I can only respond on the blog to more general questions and in a general way.  For a detailed analysis of your specific situation and possible solutions, I invite you to contact me at my site, guruimmigration.com and click on “Email/Phone Consult” at the top, or by email:  consult@guruimmigration.com.

Best!

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49 Responses to “I’m a Real Lawyer: Trust But Verify!”

  1. I read your blog with interest on the top 10 reasons visas are denied and was surprised to see that medical inadmissibility didn’t make the top 10. What is the % of medical denials and are there any reasons outside the listed diseases for inadmissibility that would get a visa denied? What were the top medical situations that visa were denied.

    Like

    • Lucy,

      Thanks for posting this type of question, which is the type of comment not having to do with your particular immigration situation and is welcomed on this blog. It’s an interesting question, although it should have been posted under my other post, “Top 10 Reasons Why Immigrants Get Visas Denied – 2013 Update.” No, medical reasons did not make the top 10 list of denials in 2012, as far as the absolute numbers are concerned: only 47 denied for lacking required vaccinations (even after being given opportunities to obtain the vaccinations) and 113 for physical or mental disorders. For those with communicable diseases, apparently all applicants who were found with this ground of inadmissibility in fiscal year 2012 at first were able to overcome it, so the denial was zero.

      For 2014, the latest complete year in which data is currently available, the total number of denials for these three types of medical reasons was 942, which would have put it in 10th place in Table 1 of the post.

      Larry L. Doan, Esq.
      GuruImmigration.com

      Like

  2. ok im a french citizen born in an african country came here with a k1 and k2 visa along with my then 3yo son. got pregnant got another son born here, left cause of abuse that i dotn ahve no proof beside a letter i sent to the police the day i left, married to a us citizen for four years of course my k1 visa had already expired prior to that and i did not married the one who petitioned me and the one i married left after two weeks talk bout bad luck. is the situation hopeless? folks keep on tellin me to go to the social security office to get a number since im still married and have picture and marriage certificate on hand somehow i dont think its dat easy . one) what can i do? two) how much do you charge for teh consultation, i never workd under the table or anything else so please give me some lead im tired, over stressed and got two kids id like to take care of properly especially sicen oen si ahrd of hearing and beign tested with adhd.I did not go thru all the official step to coem here to be stuck, its too much i cannot lvie like this forever. i cant and really dont wanna go aback in france or in my country of origin my parents msulim and im christian ty for any info ur willing to spare

    Like

    • folks keep on tellin me to go to the social security office to get a number since im still married and have picture and marriage certificate on hand somehow i dont think its dat easy .

      It is amazing what “folks” say. They know nothing about immigration law, and unfortunately but true their opinions can lead to trouble and deportation for immigrants. The SSA will just tell you: “We don’t care about your marriage certificate, that may well be fine and good that you’re married to a U.S. citizen but where is your proof of legal immigration status in this country?” How many illegal and undocumented aliens are married to citizens? Probably millions. And they don’t receive an SSN#.

      There may be hope for you but, you’re right, a consultation will be necessary. Our fee for a half hour consultation is quite reasonable, which can be waived when you retain us for your green card case. Please contact us at: paidconsult@guruimmigration.com We can help you even if you’re not in California.

      Like

  3. hi mr guru, i find ur blog very interesting and im my self have a bit of situation here, so wanna make it as short as possible, ok, i was on f1 visa and had to give up due to lack of finnancial ressources and got married after to my girl friend from puerto rico, but didn’t file anything at that time, for some arguments between us then i she got in troubles and went to jail and then knew more about her, but still i tryed to be there for her and help as much i could but its just to much and cant handel it any more but still hoping for a better future so what can i do? i wanna be able to work and travel but i can’t, please any advise?

    Like

  4. Ryan Smith Says:

    Dear Sir,

    wut is the procedure to sponsor a wife of a US citizen?

    Thx

    Like

  5. Very kind of you to provide a general Q/A post pro bono. Would enjoy your general thoughts if you have time to reply:

    Situation: My wife, a Romanian citizen, and I, married in Minnesota Nov. 28, 2007, recently had our immigration interview. We currently have an approved 1-130; a “work permit” and accompanying work card; and an I-485 application (pending, of course, the interview.) We are bit concerned because our application wasn’t approved immediately and there may be one discretion that gives us pause (below):

    Setting the stage: Since arriving in May 2006 on a temp working visa my wife has always had a “status” – either having a visa in hand or in application “status”. Her last visa extension expired on November 30, 2007 (hence the reason we married November 28, 2007 just to make sure)

    My wife and I have a legitimate marriage with much documentation (which, oddly, we were never asked to see at the interview, just documents already submitted with I-485 application, which also makes us pause and wonder)

    Anyway, the only hiccup is that right after getting married in 2007 my wife put on her work application that she was “permanent resident legitimate to work here” which at the time we thought was true since we were married, but during the interview she was grilled about it and turns out her employer did a “don’t ask, don’t tell” type of follow-up with regards to asking for an alien number or application number; so indeed my wife has some culpability as does her empoloyer with regards to her working for nearly a year technically illegally.

    The Question: Is the gov’t in the habit of retro-prosecuting or deporting based upon the fact the my wife worked illegally? Again, she was recently approved for a work card and I believe on the work card application had to disclose that she was employed – which she did.

    With full disclosure we have been honest on every application, but the interviewer’s probing about this question over and over again about my wife’s work has got us nervous. I should add that during the interview the case worker did not remove my wife’s work card or suspend any current documents (at least to our knowledge)

    My wife and I have never been married, no children, no criminal background, no former immigration issues. If anything my wife has been honest to a fault, which in the end hopefully will have some value. We are speculating that the case worker perhaps didn’t have the authority to “stamp” us right away with conditional visa due to this discretion.

    In short, are there interview “deal-breakers”, and did we break one? We obviously had to send a mountain of paperwork for our I-485 application so they know everything about us but very odd also we brought a pile of relationship documentation (photos, cards, emails, etc.) but she didn’t ask to see any of them. Also odd that I volunteered some of this stuff and as a second thought the case worker had to be reminded to see the certified medical paperwork (very odd she didn’t just ask for it.)

    So either we were streamlined through, or we were declared early in the interview as failing and she didn’t want to see follow-up evidence.

    A relatively quick interview with some probing questions about work and a few personal questions and barely any follow-up. I don’t know if this is good or bad

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    DJD

    Like

    • For the future, please don’t post so much information on your individual situation since I cannot do so for free (I would be answering free advice all day long from people all over the world). I would be happy to analyze your situation if you call my office for a paid consultation, at 310.289.2155. You can read more about it here.

      Guru Larry

      Like

      • Appreciate your timely reply

        Apologies as I didn’t know how to ask our relatively simple question (should we be worried, or is this normal?) without such expansive preface. I wasn’t trying to get-away-with-one, because I don’t exactly know, since I am not an attorney, what constitutes “general information” and what is “legal advice” (I am guessing both are subjective terms). Perhaps, such as in journalism, simply provide an unambiguous word count limit to all inquiries.

        Best,

        DJD

        Like

        • No, I know you weren’t trying to “get away with one.” And, once in a while the line between general information, such as in my blog articles, and specific legal advice can be blurred. If we’re talking about your own situation with a lot of background facts, then you are better off contacting my office for a consultation. Thanks for following the blog.

          Guru Larry

          Like

  6. can you be my mom’s attorney.. she was denied of her LPR maybe you could help coz she is pissed with her attorney.. thanks\

    Like

  7. Himanshu Patel Says:

    Guru Larry,

    I went through your site and found your answers straight upto point and very useful. I have a question which I am trying to find an answer but was not able to get it.

    My parents overstayed their B1/B2 visitor visa and are coming back to India after 10 years. They have no intension now to go back to US. My only question is if they will face any problems at a US airport while boarding a flight back to India and if they will face any problems at Indian Airport where they will land?

    Thank you for your time

    Regards,
    Himanshu

    Like

    • Thanks for following my blog. The U.S. government would actually be delighted that your parents leave now rather than overstay even longer, it saves them from having to deport your parents from the U.S. As for India, you should ask an Indian lawyer, but I don’t see what the concern is: why would India not accept its citizens back?? I don’t believe there’s a law in any country that penalizes its citizens for being out of the country for 10 years, unless you’re talking possibly about communist dictatorship countries!

      Guru Larry

      Like

  8. Larry,

    By far the best family immigration information I’ve seen on the net. You’ve got a knack for explaining complicated immigration laws in a way common individuals can understand. I’ll highly recommend your service to my clients in need!

    Ryan

    Like

  9. Dear Guru,

    I have some questions that are really troubling me. I will have to explain my story first.
    I am from the UK, (I am half British, half Filipino and am a citizen of both countries) and as of the April this year, am separated from another UK citizen. I came to the US in April, to get away for a week in New Orleans. I met a US citizen there, and we got along well, as friends. I went back to the UK and was so miserable I came back just after 5 days and stayed for a month. During this time, both me and the uS citizen fell for each other. I left the US and went back to the UK again to sort out moving my things and trying to find a place to stay. I then came back to New Orleans after three weeks and three days, and was initially was questioned by immigration when I came in. I showed them a new passport and my old one (my old one had gone through the wash), a statement from my bank showing how much money I had in my account so I could prove that I was coming to spend, not to work, and also a statement from a solicitor stating how much money I had as well, from an inheritance. I was also asked if I had property in the UK, to which I do. I am a tattooist and I was asked if I had brought my equipment with me, to which I said no, and they checked my bags, and I didn’t have any of that with me.
    I am still here now and have been (all three times I have come in on my visa waiver), and I am going back to the UK next Sunday. The purpose of my stay here was to spend time with the guy I love, and also to look at seeing if I can go back into studying here, so that we can be together and eventually get married. I am hoping that I can get divorced from the UK citizen in two years, if not sooner, and in the meantime study on an F1 (I believe that is what it is?), in New Orleans. I am wondering if I can do that and apply for a student visa and come back in Feb? Also, is the fact that I am still in the eyes of the law married even though unofficially separated going to be a problem in obtaining a student visa? Is the fact that I own property in the UK but have been renting that out since March going to not be seen as a tie to the UK? (I know immigration needs to see me have some tie to the UK at least for me to get a student visa). Or is the fact that technically I am still married unofficially separated going to be en0ough of a tie to the UK?
    Please help me with this. Both me and the US boyfriend are completely miserable at the thought of having to be countries apart. This keeps me up at night and I don’t know what to do. I have tried to find out all the information I can, but I am just at my wits end because I know my situation is unique. Any advice would be most useful.

    Yours Sincerely,

    AJ Haigh.

    Like

    • That’s a lot of facts, and I cannot evaluate your case over my blog like this in detail, unless you retain me for a consultation, but the short answer is you have to get admitted to an American university or college, and meet all the normal requirements of an F-1 student visa. Getting the F-1 has nothing to do with your boyfriend in the U.S. To receive a student visa, of course, you would have to also show that you have the funds necessary to support yourself once you’re here, since you cannot be employed while pursuing your studies, except for on-campus employment related to your studies or practical training at the end of the curriculum. And, of course, like any nonimmigrant visa, you have to show you have a residence you do not intend to abandon in the UK. I’m not sure why your situation is so difficult. A lot of students are married and the fact that you are still married but separated is not so unique (don’t know why you have to wait 2 years to get a divorce in the UK). I would think still having a spouse would tend to show the consulate that you have to return to the UK once your studies are finished so that is a positive factor.

      Guru Larry

      Like

      • Dear Guru,

        Thank you so much for your insight. You have made me feel a lot better about the whole situation, and I only wish you were also located in New Orleans so I could set up an appointment! Thanks so much.

        Yours Sincerely,

        AJ Haigh.

        Like

      • Dear Guru,

        I forgot…I have just one more question…how long would you have to wait to come back to the US on a visa waiver? I am just curious because I left a month inbetween before, and when I was questioned by immigration, they didn’t look on this in a good light, however they still let me through.

        Yours Sincerely,

        AJ Haigh.

        Like

        • “I only wish you were also located in New Orleans so I could set up an appointment!”

          I do phone consultations for people who read this blog all the time and I accept credit cards. Contact me. There are many subtleties in successfully getting an F-1 and in the future. In this day and age, there’s no need to meet in person. As far as your other question, there is no set time to return on visa waiver (or a tourist visa) but if you come back too often, of course the inspectors will be suspicious as in, “Are you really a tourist to the U.S. or are you really living here?” Capisce?

          Guru Larry

          Like

          • Dear Guru,

            Thanks for your advice. I am now back in the UK trying to get everything sorted for a student visa. How can I contact you and when? I need some help with all of this (ie if I have to show evidence that I am indeed married/separated even though the soon to be ex is not coming with me etc), and to do with the D-156 and subsequent forms.
            If you have a number I could ring that would be most helpful. Thanks once again, Guru.

            Like

          • AJ, you may contact me at 310.289.2155 during normal business hours. Please leave a message if I’m not there since I’m in court or representing clients at USCIS. Thanks.

            Like

  10. Hi Guru Larry,

    Thank you for posting such valuable information on your blog.

    I had a couple of questions.

    I came to the US on a green card in May 2006. I plan to get married in India to my girlfriend(she currently lives in India) around December 2010.

    However, I think I would not be eligible for US Citizenship until May 2011. I would like to her come here with me as soon as we get married or at least as early as possible.

    How long would it take if I apply for her visa (immigrant or non-immigrant) after I become a US citizen? Would that be the quickest way or can there be a faster way to go about this?

    Also, I went to India in Jan of 2007 for an exam and came back in June,2007. I made sure that I didn’t stay out of US for more than 6 months. Would that affect/delay my citizenship application?

    I would appreciate your advice.

    Thank you.

    Like

    • The earliest you could file the I-130 for her would be right after the marriage, say Dec. 2010 priority date. But right now, the current priority date for India in the F2A category is June 1, 2005, or about 4 years behind. There is no fast way except if she comes here on a B-1/B-2 visa and then just stay with you and risk being out-of-status until you file for citizenship which is only less than 2 more years. Regarding that, a trip of less than 6 months does not break the continuous residence in U.S. required for the 5 years prior to applying for citizenship.

      Like

  11. Hi Guru Larry,

    My husband and I were F1 and F2 visa holders.
    He got a job and hired an attorney to apply his
    H1B and my H4 visa a month ago. Our visa were
    approved by the USCIS on Sept 3. Unfortunately,
    because of the attorney’s mistake I got an extended
    F2 visa instead of a H4, my husband got his H1B.

    My I-20 will be expired on Sept 18( 60 days after the
    completion date on I-20), that means I have to leave
    US before that date. The attorney is contacting the
    USCIS about this case and told us I can stay in US until
    she get the answer from USCIS.

    Since the attorney made an mistake so I have little
    confidence in her now. I would like to see your advice.
    Do I need to leave US before Sept 18?
    Is there any affect on my future visa application
    if I couldn’t leave US before Sept 18?

    I am really appreciate your help.

    Cherry

    Like

    • Cherry, that is an odd situation! I’ve never even heard of an attorney making that kind of mistake before. I don’t think you have to leave if she is contacting USCIS to try to rectify the situation. Your comment is appreciated but since you contacted me only a couple of days before Sept. 18, I’m going to have to say for you to let your attorney handle the situation since any suggestion from me would be too late anyway. There is an excuse for being out-of-status anyway for you when the reason was because of some circumstance beyond your control, which I think is the case here.

      Best wishes on your case.

      Like

  12. Hi Larry:

    I have a simple but very important question for you.

    I came to United States as a F1 Student in December 2003. Since then I completed my education in 2007 December and got my OPT. I worked for a year using my OPT. Then I got into graduate school again in January 2009.

    I was with my wife since 2006 as GF/BF. But we recently got married in Aug 2009. Since my wife is a US citizen I filed the application for I485 & I130 concurrent. But due to the cost of wedding and immigration application I was not able to enroll for my classes by end of August 2009. My application was received by USCIS on 3rd Sep 09. Now I understand I will be out of status until my I485 is approved. I am just nervous about this situation. Your kind advise would be greatly appreciated. I would also be thrilled if I can get few suggestions over the phone.

    Sincerely
    Sudeep

    Like

    • Your being out-of-status on the F-1 will normally not be an issue since you’re adjusting your status to green card through a U.S. citizen. But at the interview, the officer sometimes makes a big deal about it which can be nerve-wracking. You can call me at 310.289.2155 for tips and other suggestions about your case. A small consultation fee applies, which I will notify you right away.

      Guru Larry

      Like

  13. Please, I need help with my imigration status. My number ### ####### or repply me your number i need to talk with guru asap. Thanks
    afra ali

    Like

    • You can call me at 310.289.2155 and I’ll waive the usual consultation fee if it’s very short, otherwise a $75 consultation fee applies, which I will notify you right away.

      Guru Larry

      Like

  14. i am a canadian citizen currently in the U.S.A. been here for about 4 months getting marryed in 1 months time im under a visiting visa / inspection after we are marryed i file the

    sample-1
    I-130
    G-325A
    I-485 (visa number to work)
    correct??

    or do i need
    sample-2
    I-130
    G-325A
    I-751 (will that give me a visa number to work?)
    I-485

    if this is not the correct order listed above plz let me know

    thank you for you time 🙂

    Like

    • I’m not sure what you mean by “sample-1” or “sample-2”. There are no such forms. Please clarify. But, otherwise, if you read the instructions for the I-485, you will find that for concurrent filing of the I-130 and I-485, you would also file the I-765 if you want a work permit, not the I-751. Filing the I-765 does not “give you a visa number to work,” as you put it. Filing the I-765, application for employment authorization, is simply an interim measure to allow you to work while the main application to adjust status of an alien to permanent residence, the I-485, is pending (waiting for final adjudication). The I-485 is the “money” application. That’s the main application that examines all the potential grounds of inadmissibility that could prevent you from becoming a permanent resident, but when that one is approved, you have your green card. The G-325A is just a form asking for background biographical information that USCIS requires.

      These forms are only 30% of a case. Supporting documents and evidence make up the remaining 70%. You can file perfect forms but get the case miserably denied when there are not sufficient evidence presented. Or, inadequate evidence which will lead to the dreaded RFE (request for further evidence) that causes frustrating and long delays. Hence, I recommend hiring an attorney like my firm to make the case go smoothly.

      Guru Larry

      Like

      • so i believe i cant do the I-130 and the I-485 along with the G-325a because the i-130 form says

        “NOTE: Failure to file the Form I-751 joint petition to remove the conditional basis of the alien spouse’s permanent resident status will result in the termination of his or her permanent resident status and initiation of removal proceedings.”

        so think i got this right on what to do

        fiel the I-130 after we are married
        file the I-765 after I-130 was accepted
        file the I-751 with G-325a form before my condition residence is expired or with in 90 days before are second year anniversary of marriage
        then i will have permanent residence status?
        file the I-485 at anytime after or before the permanent resident expires and hope for aproval

        thank you for your time and yea the plan is to see a attorney for the details i just want to understand so i know what to expect and i think its great how you help ppl’s questions on this form

        Like

  15. Hi Guru Larry, I hope you also reply to my question at least for question #1: the name used in the petition paper was a nick name. how we can correct this? Thank you!
    GS

    Like

    • I’m not sure why your aunt petitioned for your mom using a nickname because that can create complications. Anyway, just notify NVC in a formal letter her correct name and current marital status. Remember, since she is going overseas to be interviewed for her immigrant visa, she will have to prove to them that she is the person on her birth certificate (which they already have copies of obviously), and the nickname is not her true name. The fact that she is a widow now is not really a big deal since obviously the deceased husband will not be immigrating.

      Like

      • Thank you Guru Larry for responding to my question.

        Are you an immigration lawyer? My mom needs help for her immigration status now. I’ll give your number (310.289.2155) to her to call you so you can assess if her problem needs further consultation.

        Like

        • Thanks. This is the Guru Immigration Law Blog. She’s welcome to call me but for anything a little more difficult than a quick minute answer, I will charge a consultation fee.

          Guru Larry

          Like

  16. Ok. Well, my situation is that I’m a GC holder since 2005. I have stayed in the US (physically) for over 3 years. But now I am here in the Phils for nursing school and won’t be able to go back to the US after 11 months. April 2010 will be my 5th year and I’m planning to get my citizenship by then. Will my stay outside the US for over 6 months make me uneligible for citizenship eventhough my reason for staying outside is because of school and even if I have bills, active bank account, and an apartment lease still under my name? And also if I have filed my tax return every year? Hope you could advise me. Thanks so much!

    Like

    • Marie, if you have maintained your bills, bank account, and lease in the U.S., that will help. You still need at least 2.5 years of physical presence in the U.S. in the 5 years prior to applying for naturalization, and 5 yeas of “continuous residence” in the U.S. immediately prior to applying (physical presence and residence are different thing). The 11 months being outside the U.S. most likely will break your continuous residence, but you have a shot at explaining it to USCIS that you had to go to school, and took steps to maintain your residence in the U.S. If you must get your citizenship soon, then apply. If not, then wait until you do have the 5 years continuous residence without interruption.

      Guru Larry

      Like

  17. I have Soscial Security Number from 1992 and have documents. I had student visa. I lived in NC, Virginia, KC. I want to live in El PAso TX.
    What can I do to live and work in El PAso TX.?

    Like

    • This is an extremely broad question. To live permanently in the US, you’d have to follow procedures to immigrate, just like anyone else. Either by a family petition or an employment petition. Having an SSN in 1992 and student visa before do not give any rights to come back and live here.

      Guru Larry

      Like

  18. hi there guru! do you accept inquiries through your blog? or can you email me where i can ask you my question/s? or should i post it here? thanks!

    Like

    • Marie, I do answer short questions here as they relate to my blog articles as part of my pro bono, free service work as a lawyer. And also to promote my blog. So, feel free to post your question and comments here as people have done. Anything more complicated, however, and I would have to be retained but I will say so and let you know.

      Best!

      Guru Larry

      Like

  19. Hi Guru Larry,

    I find your blogs very helpful. Do you accept inquiries through this site? I that you do.

    Question 1: Wrong Name
    My mom got her NVC case number already and being asked to send the “Choice of Address and Agent” back to NVC. The problem is that her name on that form is wrong..it is a nick name. She was petitioned by her sister in 1987 with her nick name. We only received the letter from NVC last week (22 years of waiting!). Will you please help us what to do here? Thanks.

    Question 1: Change status from Married to Widow
    Same with my mom, her sister received also the “Choice of Address and Agent”. She was also petitioned by her sister who is a US Citizen. Her husband died this year so her status is a widow. Should we do somethng to correct her status yet? Thanks.

    I hope to receive a reply from you even through this blog.

    Thank you very much!

    GS

    Like

  20. Please, I need help with my imigration status. My number ### ####### or repply me your number i need to talk with guru asap. Thanks

    Like

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