Frequently Asked Questions
Immigration & Visas
- How does an individual obtain a temporary visa to enter the United States?
- How do I get a green card?
- Can an individual obtain permanent residence through marriage to a U.S. citizen?
- Where can I get immigration forms?
- Who can petition for a family member to come to the US?
- What do I need to do to apply for naturalization?
- How do I help someone get a visitor’s visa?
- Things you should NOT DO after an accident
- Things to REMEMBER
- Five BIG MISTAKES clients make
- First Steps In Representing You
- Who To Talk To
- The following should be recorded
- What is the Value of My Case?
- Most states allow recovery of damages for the following elements of damage
- Filing a Lawsuit
Immigration & Visas
A person can enter the U.S. temporarily for a variety of reasons, including as a visitor or tourist, business person, student, or temporary employee. These temporary visas are known as nonimmigrant visas and are issued at U.S. embassies and consulates located in most countries.
There are five major ways to get lawful permanent residence in the U.S: 1) through a family member; 2) through an employer; 3) through the diversity visa lottery; 4) by being granted asylum; 5) by entering the U.S. as a refugee.
If the U.S. citizen & spouse reside in the U.S., a relative petition and green card application to the USCIS is the first step. The papers filed can include applications for employment authorization and a travel permit known as advance parole.
Most immigration forms are available free on the website of the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services), at http://www.uscis.gov/ (click on “Immigration Forms”). This website also provides the current fees for each application.
US citizens and lawful permanent residents may petition for certain family members to become lawful permanent residents. Asylees and refugees may petition for their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 to join them in the U.S. as asylees or refugees (such petitions must be filed within 2 years of being granted asylum (for asylees) or entering the U.S. (for refugees).
To apply for naturalization, you must:
- Be over 18 years old
- Have had permanent resident status (green card) for at least five years (three years if you acquired permanent residence through marriage to a U.S. citizen, and you are still married to and living with that U.S. citizen; military service may also shorten your wait)
- Have been physically present in the United States for at least two years of the five years immediately before you file your application for naturalization. You must also have lived in the state where you file the application for at least three months before you file the application
- Be functionally fluent in spoken and written English and be able to pass a test showing you understand the basics of U.S. history and the U.S. system of government (there are limited exceptions to this for some people, because of disability, or age and length of residency)
- Have good moral character
- Be willing to take an oath of allegiance to the United States. The oath includes being willing to bear arms on behalf of the U.S. if the law were to require it
A person in the U.S. can help a friend or family member who wants to visit the U.S. by writing him or her a letter of invitation. The letter should include the invitee’s name, reason for visit, period of stay in the U.S., and explain whom will be paying the visitor’s expenses, and how. If the guest has enough funds to pay her/his own expenses, s/he must be prepared to show the consular officer that she/he has sufficient funds for the trip. If the American host is paying the expenses, the host may include an affidavit of support (Form I-134) or other evidence of ability to support the guest.
- Do not give any written, recorded, or oral statements to anyone concerning your accident or injuries without first getting your attorney’s approval.
- Do not make guesses to doctors about prior injuries or accidents when you are being examined – if you do not remember, just say so.
- Do not change your address or employment without notifying your attorney.
- Address and Phone: Inform us immediately of any change of address, telephone number, or employment.
- Car Repair: If your vehicle was damaged, try to obtain pictures before you get it repaired. Use color film and take a whole roll of pictures. If you do not have a camera, please call us and we will make arrangements to take the pictures.
- Medical Items: Save all medication bottles, casts, braces, and any other items that your doctor prescribes for you.
- Photographs: Bring us any pictures and videos of the accident or accident scene that you or anyone else took.
- Your job: Tell us of any changes in your job, job duties, salary, etc..
- Receipts: Be sure to save receipts itemizing all expenses you incurred as a result of your accident. Receipts must be dated and contain legible and complete vendor identification.
- New information: Inform us of anything you think has a bearing on the case, including extensive medical treatment or hospitalization.
- Not seeing the doctor if you are in pain.
- Not doing what your doctor tells you.
- Not keeping your doctor appointments.
- Discussing your case with anyone other than your attorney or your doctor.
- Failing to tell your doctor about medical problems due to the accident.
If you are in pain and you do not see a doctor, the insurance company and the jury will not believe that you are having pain. It is important for your doctor to have up-to-date information on your condition. Some clients get discouraged and do not see their doctor even though they are having pain. This may harm your claim.
During your first interview, general information regarding your case is obtained. You will be requested to sign certain authorization forms which will allow us to obtain your medical records and other necessary information. We will notify the person whom was responsible for your injury and/or their insurance company that you have retained us as your attorney. Requests will be sent to all of the doctors and hospitals involved in your care for your chart and billing information.
Do not talk to anyone about your case except this office and your doctors. If your own insurance company wants to discuss your case before they pay your medical bills, please refer them to us. You should not sign anything for anyone until you check with us first.
Please be sure that all medical bills that relate to your injury are sent to our office, so that we may forward them to the appropriate insurance company for payment.
- Lost work time and wages.
- Other expenses resulting from your injuries, i.e., transportation, home care, etc.
- Pain and suffering.
- Your physical limitations.
It is important to make your entries on an ongoing basis instead of just a summary at the end of each month, which will not be as helpful to us. Copies of checks and receipts of payment, as well as the above records, will be very helpful when you may be asked by the insurance company or an attorney to recall your pain, physical disabilities, and any out-of-pocket expenses including medication.
When a claim is filed by an injured person, insurance companies routinely conduct a detailed investigation of the injured person’s background. If you believe you are being watched, please call us and try to avoid the camera. Do not exaggerate your limitations or pose for the camera.
If you are considering filing bankruptcy, you should know that you may lose all rights to your personal injury case. The Bankruptcy Court can take over your case, settle your case and give your settlement money to your creditors, and you will receive nothing. Be sure to talk to your lawyer before filing bankruptcy.
It is impossible for us to tell immediately how much money, if any, you will recover in connection with your case. There is no formula and each case is unique and different. In cases of serious injury, the ultimate recovery is often related to the amount of insurance coverage available, as well as the nature, extent, and duration of your injuries, along with an assessment of liability. As your attorneys, we feel it is our primary duty to obtain an amount of money which will fairly and justly compensate you for your injuries. We will make every effort to do this by locating all sources of money. We will advise you of our evaluation in this regard.
- The nature and extent of injury and the amount of disability.
- Medical expenses, both past and reasonably certain to be incurred in the future.
- Mileage to and from the doctor or hospital.
- Wage loss, past and future and loss of capacity to earn a living
- Pain and suffering
- Damages to your vehicle and other personal property items
- Loss of consortium for your spouse, past and future
It may be necessary to file a lawsuit to obtain an adequate recovery. Although a lawsuit may have to be filed, settlement is always possible. Negotiations continue and only a small percentage of lawsuits actually go to trial.
We understand our clients’ needs
When you need experienced legal advice for your immigration and visa issues, business transactions, or personal injury cases, call Garcia & Rebe Law Firm at 915.307.7287 or contact us online today.