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Elmhurst criminal defense lawyer for marijuana and immigrationThe state of Illinois passed several new laws that went into effect on January 1, 2020. One of the more notable laws made it legal for people 21 and over to purchase and use recreational marijuana. An Illinois adult can possess up to 30 grams (approximately one ounce) of the cannabis flower. A person can use marijuana in his or her own home and on-site in certain marijuana-related businesses.

Although marijuana is now legal in Illinois, it is essential to understand how the new law relates to U.S. immigration if you are currently living in the country (or visiting) as a non-citizen (i.e., you are not a U.S. Citizen).

Previous Convictions for Non-Citizens

The new Illinois marijuana law also affects people who had previous convictions for possession of the drug. As of January 1, 2020, those who were charged with having under 30 grams of cannabis prior to legalization will have their records automatically expunged if the charges were dismissed or if they were acquitted. Those who were convicted of possession of less than 30 grams will have their records referred to the state’s Prisoner Review Board and then to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker for a pardon. However, the convictions must not have involved a violent crime. 

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Carol Stream green card attorney family preferenceWhen citizens of the United States have relatives who live overseas, they are likely to want to bring their loved ones to live with them. This is a primary concern for parents, since they will want their children to live in a safe community and take advantage of the excellent educational opportunities that are available in the United States. However, it is important to understand the legal procedures that must be followed when helping a family member immigrate to the U.S.

Obtaining an Immigrant Visa

While there are a limited number of visas available for most categories of people who wish to immigrate to the United States and become a lawful permanent resident, immigrant visas for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are unlimited. Immediate relatives include the children of citizens, as long as those children are under 21 years old and are not married.

To obtain an immigrant visa for an immediate family member, a citizen can file Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative). 

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Oak Brook fiance immigration lawyerWhen a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) plans to get married to someone who is a citizen of a foreign country, they will likely want to bring their loved one to live with them in the United States. However, there are strict procedures that must be followed in order to do so. There are two options available for people who plan to help their future spouse immigrate to the U.S. and become a lawful permanent resident:

Marriage Inside the United States

A U.S. citizen can apply for a fiancé visa (known as a K-1 nonimmigrant visa) that will allow their loved one to come to the United States for the purpose of getting married. To receive this type of visa, both spouses must be free to marry, and they must have met each other in person within the previous two years before applying for the visa.

To apply for a K-1 visa, a citizen can file Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)). After receiving a visa, the fiancé may come to the United States, and the marriage must take place within 90 days after their entry. After getting married, a spouse can apply to become a lawful permanent resident by filing Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).

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DuPage County green card attorneyLiving in the United States provides people with great opportunities, and after someone has immigrated to the country and attained U.S. citizenship, they will likely want to have their family members join them. In these cases, people should be aware of the options available for family members to immigrate to the U.S. and obtain their green card as a lawful permanent resident.

Immediate Relative Green Cards

Immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens are eligible to apply for an immigrant visa and green card if they fall into one of the following categories:

  • A spouse of a U.S. citizen
  • Children of a U.S. citizen who are under the age of 21 and unmarried
  • Parents of a U.S. citizen who is over the age of 21
  • A widow or widower of a U.S. citizen

There is no limit on the availability of immigrant visas for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, and once these relatives are living in the United States, they are eligible to apply for a green card. 

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