Frequently Asked Questions

The following information includes frequently asked immigration questions. The answers stated are general in nature and are not intended to apply to every immigration matter. Each case is different and carries its own set of circumstances that must be taken into consideration by competent legal counsel. By contacting Law Office of Loredana G. Pantano, you can receive a personal consultation regarding your specific legal claim.

1. Can the Law Office of Loredana G. Pantano represent me in my Immigration matters before New York Immigration Court?

Since Immigration is governed by federal law the attorney, Loredana G. Pantano, can represent clients throughout NY, NJ and PA for all their immigration matters.

2. How can I get my family from overseas to the United States?

If you are U.S. citizen or a Legal Permanent resident you can bring over your parents, siblings, and/or children through consular processing if certain conditions are met. Please consult with the Law Office of Loredana G. Pantano to be advised of your options.

3. What is adjustment of status?

The process of applying for legal permanent residence from within the United States as opposed to applying from abroad which is called "consular processing."

4. If I get a divorce after I get my conditional green card based on marriage, but before I apply for my permanent green card, can I still get my permanent green card?

Yes, as long as it can be shown that it was a valid marriage entered into in good faith, which ended in divorce or annulment, you can get your green card. Just remember though, that in the above circumstances, you must seek a "waiver of the joint filing requirement" so that your ex-husband or wife will not have to sign the application.

5. How can I check on the status of my case?

Once your case is filed with Immigration, you will receive a I-797 Receipt Notice. On the Notice will be a Receipt Number usually beginning with three letters, i.e., EAC, WAC, SAC. Log on to www.uscis.gov and on the left hand side of the homepage will be a link “Check Status of My Case”. Click the link and follow the instructions to insert your Receipt Number.

6. I already filed my Immigration case but it is taking a long time. Why?

There can be several reasons as to why a person’s case is taking a long time. If your case is family based, i.e., a family member has sponsored (filed a petition for you) you could be subject to a preference category with priority dates. Each month the Department of State allots a certain number of visa/green cards to be given to people. If you are from China, Mexico, India or the Philippines you can be subject to a long waiting period. Please see http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html for the most recent visa bulletin.

There can also be a delay do to some other factors that Immigration has not disclosed to you. For this reason, it is very important to consult with an Immigration attorney so that they can look into your case with the proper Immigration officials.

7. I was detained by Immigration, what do I do?

When you are detained, make sure to have your family consult with an Immigration attorney. If there are criminal issues involved in the case please make sure to consult with a Criminal Immigration Attorney so that your criminal matter is resolved with minimum implications to your Immigration case. Law Office of Loredana G. Pantano can help with these matters.

8. If I committed a crime, can I still become a Legal Permanent Resident or lose my residency status?

You are seeking a waiver from Immigration. A waiver is like an apology to Immigration saying you are sorry for what you have done. Even if you are a legal permanent resident certain crimes can subject you to removal proceedings (going to Court) and possibly losing your status. Within the context of removal, in limited circumstances, a lawful, permanent resident who is removable because of the commission of a crime can seek a waiver. The person must show that the positive factors, such as length of time in U.S., family ties which may cause a hardship to your family member if you leave or to your family member if they leave with you outweigh the crime thus allowing you to stay. If the waiver is granted the person can remain in the United States as a lawful permanent resident or seeking adjustment (see previous question). Since the law varies for different crimes it is extremely important to consult an attorney.

9. Why do I need an Immigration Lawyer?

As shown with the questions above, U.S. immigration laws are extremely complex and difficult for a layperson to understand. However, by practicing in immigration law day in and day out, an immigration lawyer has developed the expertise in this one area of law. Often attorneys specializing in immigration law will spend hours researching and analyzing cases in order to win their clients’ cases. Because of this knowledge, a good immigration lawyer will explain in detail to you all of the immigration information relevant to your case. He or she will translate immigration law and policy, interpret these laws and policies, and evaluate the facts of your case to determine the likelihood of your success, and how to proceed. Just as it would be ill advised to have an immigration lawyer handle a tax law or personal injury case, it would not be wise to have a tax or personal injury lawyer represent you in immigration matters. What about “notaries” or Immigration consultants? Neither Immigration consultants nor "notaries" have completed the educational and/or legal requirements to practice law, and are not permitted to sign immigration applications or to appear before the immigration service or in immigration court. Often, the poor advice illegally sold by notaries to unsuspecting immigrants results in cases being denied, families being broken up, and people being unnecessarily deported from the United States. Even more shocking is that many notaries charge as much as, if not more than, licensed immigration attorneys charge for immigration cases and in the end you will have to pay a licensed Immigration attorney anyway to get you out of an even more complicated situation. That is why every now and then we read in the papers of "immigration consultants" being arrested for the unauthorized practice of law.

10. How do I know if I have been a victim of Immigration fraud?