1. Is there any difference in applying for a green card at the U.S.
Embassy abroad, as opposed to applying in the United States ?
If one has filed for a green card in the category of a job offer or
investment, these categories are known as "employment-based
immigration," there are no immigration interviews, generally. A work
permit can be issued before you are approved for the green card. Under
certain circumstances, while your application is pending, you can obtain
special permission to leave the U.S. until the formal approval of the
If you apply overseas, political considerations may make the
U.S. embassy officers refuse to follow the law. While applying in the
United States, you will have an attorney fighting for your approval at
every step and you will be able to take comfort that you will be in a
2. If I am approved for a green card, do I have to live in the U.S.?
Every green card holder must reside in the U.S. 183 days a year. He
can travel out of the country as long as he keeps track of the days in
and out of the U.S. In the event the green card holder needs to be
outside the U.S. for more than 183 days in a particular year, he should
have his attorney obtain for him a legal document called "re-entry
permit" which will protect the green card holder from a charge that he
has abandoned his U.S. permanent residency.
3. I am married and I have two children under the age of 21. If I am
approved for a green card, will my wife and children also get theirs at
the same time?
Yes, as long as they apply with you.
4. My wife and child cannot obtain a visa like I did to enter the
United States. Can I apply for the green card from the U.S. and include
my family? And where will the papers be processed?
You can file while in the U.S., while your family members will have to go through green card processing which will result in interviews at the U.S. Embassy in your home country.
5. I cannot hire an immigration attorney unless the attorney will
guarantee results. I am not willing to gamble my hard-earned money
without a guarantee. What does the attorney say?
An attorney in the state of Florida is not allowed, by law, to
guarantee results. However, the attorney, based upon his experience and
his review of the client's documentation, should be able to determine if
the case has a high likelihood of success. You should be careful with
any attorney who guarantees anything, since by doing so he is violating
laws applicable to him.
No one would ask a medical doctor performing a routine operation with a 99% success rate to guarantee the result. An attorney can only guarantee that he will perform his legal services at a very high professional level. Always go for experience. Alex Barak has been handling Immigration cases since 1981.
6. If I own my own business in my own country, what do you recommend
that I do to be able to live and work in the U.S. and to bring my wife
and kids with me?
You can either buy an existing American business which has been operating for at least one year and legally establish it as your subsidiary and possibly qualify for a green card under the multinational manager category, or you can open a new subsidiary, establish it as your subsidiary and become eligible for a working visa, known as L-1.
Alternatively, you could be eligible for an E-2 visa if your country has a treaty for this visa with the U.S.
7. If I want to open a subsidiary in Florida of my company from my
own country, do I have to establish a business, which is similar to my
8. How long does it take to obtain a U.S. passport?
After receiving a green card (permanent residency), one must wait five
years before becoming eligible to apply for citizenship, unless one
received the green card as the result of a marriage case, and then there
is a three-year waiting period. Immediately after receiving
citizenship, one can obtain a passport within two weeks
9. If I buy an American company, do I have to pay 100% of the purchase
price right away?
This varies from transaction to transaction. Some sellers are willing
to finance 50% of the purchase price with payments over two to four
years. Others want full payment up front, forcing you, if you wish to
buy that company, to obtain private financing. This will usually be at
a higher interest rate than that which private banks charge, due to the
fact that you most likely have insufficient American credit history.
10. I have a company with two managers and 18 employees, in which I am
the owner and one of the two managers. Can we two managers obtain green
cards with the purchase of one American company?
This is possible only if the American company purchased is large enough
to need two managers or executives. If the American company has only
four clerks and an owner/manager who is selling his company, obviously,
this company will support only one manager in obtaining a green card.
On the other hand, if the American company has 20 employees, including
a general director, director of sales, and a chief engineer, it can
support more than one foreign manager/director in obtaining green cards.
11. Am I eligible for the multinational manager green card category or
the L-1 working visa if I already sold my foreign company?
No. The foreign company, which will purchase and/or establish an
American company as its subsidiary must be, at the present time, active
Remember. In order to qualify for this category, the foreign company
must be an active one, in legal existence for at least one year, and the
manager attempting to be transferred to the American company to be
purchased/established, must have worked for the foreign company in an
executive or managerial capacity for at least one year in the last three
The individual owner of the foreign company, or the foreign company,
must be the registered owner of 51% or more of the American company in
order for a green card or working visa to be obtained.
The American company must be in lawful existence for at least
one year in order for the transferring manager to qualify for a green
card. If not, then the best the foreign business manager can obtain
at the beginning is an L-1 temporary working visa, which is valid,
initially, for only one year, but which can be extended.
12. I have lived illegally in the United States for two and a
half years and I finally found myself a perfect wife. Can she obtain
a green card for me?
If the wife is a U.S. citizen and you entered the U.S. lawfully and can prove that, then you can get a green card in four months.
13. Do you handle any other types of legal cases besides immigration?
I have practiced in many areas of law since 1981. My office provides a full range of legal services for clients.
14. I am a university graduate. Can you help me get a working visa called H-1B?
If you have a company or business which wishes to offer you a job in the field of your university "major," and you at least have a university diploma, you are then eligible for an H-1B working visa. H-1B visa which is a for university graduate who has a job offer from a company or an educational institution based upon your university major and this visa can be renewed up to six years. This visa has a restricted number per year. The market opens up on April 1 each year for work to begin October 1 and the current 65,000 capacity gets filled very fast. If you have a diploma from outside the U.S., you will have to have the diploma and your courses evaluated by a licensed agency which will certify that your studies are the equivalent to a U.S. diploma. The spouse and minor children of the H-1B visa holder get the H-4 visa, which allows them to live in the U.S. and go to school, but not to work.
15. I have suffered abuse, discrimination, and persecution in my home country. Can the U.S. help me?
If you can arrive in the U.S. , you can apply for asylum. If you apply for asylum, you will be called for an interview within 45 days of filing and you usually get a decision within two weeks. If approved, you get a legal status for a day and a year and a work permit. After the one day and a year, you have an automatic right to apply for a green card. An application has to be very detailed and the conditions in your country usually have to match what you are complaining about.