Jamaica Magazine

Immigration: Useful Tips To Remember When Applying For Immigration Benefits

Written by Safiya Byars, Esq

Family immigration law is an area of law that provides immigration benefits to family members. As I am writing this article I am currently participating the Family Immigration Law Continuing Legal Education Class for immigration attorneys at the State Bar of Georgia.  This year we have some awesome speakers and myself and my co-chair Monica Kinene specifically selected family immigration topics that will benefit our clients. For this month’s article I have decided to list a number of issues that myself and the other immigration attorneys thought would be beneficial to you if you are getting ready to apply for your immigration benefits.

In the area of immigration most people are lulled into the comfort of relying on the internet, Immigration’s website, or their family and friends. Some individuals are lucky in that they rely on these sources and get an approval on their case. This is called gambling. As an immigrant myself I tell my clients do not take a gamble on your case. If you have chosen to take a gamble on your case then this must mean that your case was not that important to you or you already know that you do not qualify for the immigration benefit and you have decided to intentionally provide incorrect/incomplete information in the hopes that Immigration will overlook it and approve your case.  A summary of the issues raised by myself and other attorneys as follows:

1. Tell the truth and tell it to your attorney first.
Everyone’s case is unique. This is important. Whenever, you are applying to Immigration there are two main concerns that you should have. The first concern should be the law. Does the law actually provide an immigration benefit that can benefit me. The second concern is the facts of your case. The facts of your case is what makes you unique. Everyone’s situation is always a little bit different from another case. Facts that are extremely important usually are concerned with unauthorized employment, criminal arrests and convictions etc.  However, the facts about your relationship with your spouse is also extremely important if you are applying for immigration benefits based on your spouse. As such, the best time to tell the entire truth about your case is to your attorney. In addition, the best time to tell your attorney is before he or she files your case with Immigration. Your attorney will then be able to advise you on the best course of action. In some cases Immigration is able to forgive certain violations.  However you must disclose to Immigration in order to be forgiven. The one caveat is please disclose all the good and the bad information to your attorney first.

2. The Immigration Officer is your friend. Do your best to make the Immigration Officer’s job as easy as possible.
At the Immigration appointments, Immigration Officers have a time limit in which they must complete an interview. They also have a schedule of list of interviews that they must complete for the day.  As such, Immigration Officers prefer to review cases that are organized. They also prefer when the applicants are prepared for their interview. Consequently, it is important to keep in mind that the Immigration Officers have limited time and such it would be beneficial to be thorough in your preparation. I have seen many cases that are delayed and denied because the applicants were not prepared and they did not bring the appropriate documents to their interview. Immigration Officers take your case and their jobs very seriously and therefore you should take your case seriously as well. If you are not adequately prepared the Immigration Officer will assume that you are lying or committing fraud on your case. Once Immigration makes a finding of fraud your case will become substantially more difficult to be approved. As such the bottom line is to ensure that you are organized so that you will make the Immigration Officer’s job as  easy as possible.

3. Maintain credibility.
The best way to maintain your credibility with Immigration is to answer all questions in full. Before you answer any questions on your applications please consult an attorney. Most applicants do not realize that the immigration forms have language that states that when you sign your application you are signing under penalty of perjury. This means that if you answer a question with incorrect or incomplete information then you have just committed perjury. Later at the interview when you interview with the officer and it comes to light that you provided incorrect or incomplete information the officer will consider this is to be fraud/misrepresentation.  The best way to maintain your credibility is to remain consistent in your answers and documents when you initially file your case and then later on at your interview.

Everyone please remember that we write these immigration articles to provide a service to you. We want our articles to address immigration questions and concerns that you want to hear about. If you have a question or an immigration topic that you would like to learn more about you can contact us directly at 678-736-5600 or via email at: [email protected].

 

Disclaimer: This article is a broad overview of various immigration issues. This article is not legal advice and should not be taken as legal advice. This article is provided as a public service and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on the information contained herein is taken at your own risk. The information provided in this article should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.

 

About the Writer:
Safiya Byars is the founder and senior partner of the Byars Firm, Inc. She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica.  Attorney Byars shows her clients the best ways to get their cases approved the FIRST time while reducing processing times and avoiding immigration red flags that result in delays, denials, and deportation.  The Byars Firm is located at 3720 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Suite D2, Chamblee, Georgia 30341. Attorney Byars handles all immigration matters, deportation defense, family law, and criminal issues. Attorney Byars can be reached at 678-736-5600, 404-992-6506 or via email at [email protected]  and www.byarslawgroup.com.

About the author

Safiya Byars, Esq

Safiya Byars is the founder and senior partner of the Byars Firm. Attorney Byars serves as the Chair of the Family Immigration Continuing Learning Education and the Vice-Chair of the Immigration Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia. She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica. The Byars firm is located at 3720 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Suite D2, Chamblee, Georgia 30341. The Byars Firm handles Immigration, Family, and Estate Planning matters. We can be reached at 678-736-5600 and email: [email protected]