Here we are, settled into our new Oakland offices! Besides a couple pieces of undeliverable mail and a few furniture scratches, the transition went smoothly. It was business as usual within the first week. Our new facilities are still just one block from Lake Merritt BART and just a few more blocks from the 880 freeway exit. Law Offices of Jonathan Dunten owns the building it now occupies, so expect Oakland to be our principle and permanent location! I say principle because plans are being made for the opening of a San Francisco satellite office near the courts and consulates this autumn as well!
United States Senators have worked very hard these last couple of months preparing an immigration reform bill. Later this month, that bill will be presented to the full senate for vote. The bill as it is currently written creates a 13 year path to citizenship. It also prohibits same-sex couples from filing family visa petitions for one another. However, the bill has not yet been approved and it could still take months before its outcome is certain. While the proposal slowly makes its way towards the president’s desk for signing, I suggest you begin collecting the following documents for your case:
To prove your identity:
Original or certified copy of your birth certifi-cate and a valid government issued ID with photo such as a passport, consular ID card, school ID card, etc.
- To prove your first and last dates of entry into the United States:
Immigration arrival records such as an I-94, admission stamp on passport, copy of airplane or bus tickets with your name, as well as medical or school records created recently after your arrival.
- To prove ongoing residence
Internal records or notarized declarations from community, civic, or religious institutions proving the date and length of your involvement with them.
Financial records demonstrating transactions such as purchase receipts, bank account or credit card statements; rental agreements, utility bills, insurance policies.
Medical records demonstrating doctor visits. School records demonstrating academic attendance.
To show you are current in your tax liability:
Tax returns or transcripts of previous years or receipts of an ongoing payment plan. If you need copies of your previous tax filings, you can request a free copy of your transcript by calling the IRS at (800) 908-9946. If you did not previously file taxes because you did not possess a social security number, you can now obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification above. Number ITIN, in order to pay your back taxes by calling the IRS telephone number listed
- To show steady and gainful employment:
Records which show the name and address of every job you have had, and the dates of each employment.
English Language Capacity:
If you do not speak English you should begin practicing with your family or friends, or consider taking a basic language course because there may be an English language examination as part of immigration reform.
- Fines and Fees: Start saving money because you may need to pay a large fine as well as the usual application fees. Good legal assistance is not cheap either! Anyone giving immigration advice must possess an attorney license from any one of our 50 States. Immigration consultants, notaries public, paralegals, and tax preparers are not qualified to give legal advice. It is very tempting to take advantage of extremely affordable legal assistance. However, remember that often the cheapest route sometimes becomes the most expensive.
Earlier this month, The United States Supreme Court decided a case called US v Windsor, and ruled that a federal law called the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prohibiting same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The Court’s decision is welcome news to many, but its opinion leaves unanswered many relevant questions such as whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, President Obama has ordered all federal departments to recognize legally married same-sex couples for benefits purposes. The immigration consequence is that same-sex couples may now petition their foreign born spouse for a green card!