(209) 728-6224 fulencheklaw@gmail.com

Services Offered

Fulenchek Law focuses on immigration law.  Contact us for a consultation to see how we can help you.

Family Petitions

What is a family petition?

A U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident may petition for a green card on behalf of certain family members.  The application for this can be difficult.  Contact Fulenchek Law so we can successfully prepare your application.

What family member can qualify?

You, as a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, may petition for certain family members which includes:

  • Your spouse, including same sex spouses, widows, and widowers
  • Your children, including adopted and stepchildren
  • Your parents
  • Your siblings

Please contact Fulenchek Law to see if you can apply for your family member.

Removal Defense

When do you need removal defense?

You will need an experienced deportation lawyer to provide removal defense when you have received a Notice to Appear for a removal proceeding in immigration court.  Contact us to determine what your options are and develop a strategy to fight your case.

What does a removal proceeding involve?

A removal proceeding will determine whether you will be deported or have the right to remain in the U.S.  The opposing party bringing the hearings will be an attorney from the Department of Homeland Security representing the government.

What are the reasons they bring these hearings?

A case in immigration court for possible deportation is usually brought by the Department of Homeland Security for one or more of the following, which are not all-inclusive:

  • You entered the U.S. without the proper paperwork (illegally)
  • You applied for an immigration benefit and was denied
  • You hold a green card but was found guilty of a serious crime
  • Your visa has expired and, therefore, have no lawful status to remain in the U.S.

You have the right to be represented by a deportation lawyer of your choice.

What should you expect in immigration court?

Depending on the particular circumstances of your case, you may have only one hearing or a series.  Your attorney will argue your case before the court (judge), and depending on the witness statements and evidence presented, the court will decide whether you shall be deported from the U.S. or not.

VAWA Petitions

What is a VAWA Petition?

VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) allows domestic violence victims to apply for green cards on their own behalf, instead of having to rely on their partner, who is a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen, to sponsor them.

What is the purpose of a VAWA Petition?

A VAWA petition protects victims of abuse by U.S. Citizens or lawful permanent residents.  This helps prevent an abusive spouse from threatening a non-citizen victim with deportation, i.e., that they will call immigration if the victim does not do what they say.

The protections provided by VAWA also applies to both men and women, same-sex relationships, parents, children and certain other categories of abused victims.  Call us for more specific information.

What are the eligibility requirements?

To qualify under VAWA, you must provide the following among other things:

  • Proof that the abusive spouse is a U.S. citizen or green card holder
  • Proof that you are legally married to the abuser
  • Evidence that your marriage was bona fide and not entered into to evade immigration laws
  • Evidence that the both of you live together
  • Evidence that the abuser committed extreme cruelty and/or battered you during the marriage
  • Evidence that you, as petitioner, are a person of “good moral character.”

Abuse other than physical may also be considered under the extreme cruelty requirement.

How does divorce or remarriage affect VAWA?

In the case of a divorce, you must file a VAWA petition within two years of the date the divorce became final.

If you get remarried before you complete the VAWA petition, you become ineligible.


What is an immigration waiver?

An Immigration waiver is a “pardon” for a specific immigration violation. For example, when a person is applying for a US visa or a green card, an Immigration (or consular) officer has to determine if the person violated the US or other laws and is inadmissible. 

What types of waivers are available?

Some waivers are automatic.  For example, a waiver exists that is related to unlawful presence or work authorization for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens in the U.S..

Other waivers require application.  These types of waivers must not only meet the statutory requirements for the waiver, but must also demonstrate that the waiver is deserved.  Most of these require demonstration of hardship to the U.S citizen or lawful permanent resident family members.

There are many types of waiver.  Contact us for more information.

Are there waivers for all violations?

No.  There are immigration and conduct violations for which no waivers exist.  For example, there is no waiver for submitting false asylum claims.  Waivers are complex, contact us so we can help you identify what waivers you may apply for.

Are there time restrictions for filing waivers?

Depending on the situation, the timing of filing for a waiver varies and is important.  For example, some waivers may be filed only after the consul determines that a person is inadmissible, and other types of waivers must be filed in the middle of a process, etc.



What is asylum?

Asylum is a protection granted to foreign nationals already in the U.S. or arriving at the border who meet the international law definition of a “refugee.” 

Who is a refugee?

A refugee is a person who is unable or unwilling to return to their home country because they cannot get protection based on past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future “on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” 

How do you apply for asylum?

There are two methods for applying for asylum.

The first is called affirmative asylum.  These are applications submitted by people who are not in Immigration Court.  Once you submit your application, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services will notice you for and interview where an asylum officer will ask you about your claim for asylum.

The second method is called Defensive Asylum.  Those who are already in removal or deportation proceedings may defensively submit an asylum application.  The Court will then schedule your case for a hearing where you can present your case.

It may take several weeks to several years for an asylum interview to be scheduled.

Is there a time limit for filing for asylum?

Yes.  In general, you must file for asylum within one year of entering the U.S.  There are certain exceptions.  Contact us for more information.

Adjustment of Status

What is adjustment of status?

An adjustment of status is the application process to obtain permanent resident status, commonly known as a “green card.”

What needs to be filed and how much?

Form I-485 must be filled completely and properly, and all of the necessary documents and additional forms must be included.  If any of the information provided on the form is incorrect, or you forget to send a required document your application may be denied or delayed. 

The fee for this form is costly, therefore, it is important that the form is done correctly.  Call us for help with your adjustment of status application.


What is DACA?

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  DACA recipients are often called “Dreamers.” DACA provides discretionary relief that allows the applicant to have a work permit, a valid U.S. Social security number, and delays action to remove undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. at an early age and have been residing here since that time.  This relief lasts for a period of two years, subject to renewal.  Currently, new DACA applications are not being accepted. However, the status of the DACA program has been changing rapidly. If you believe you are eligible for this program, please contact Fulenchek Law and we can advise you of the most up to date DACA information.

What are the benefits of DACA?

DACA provides the following benefits:

  • Protection against deportation
  • Provides permission to get a Social Security number and thereby, a driver’s license
  • Makes you eligible for a work permit
What are the eligibility requirements?

DACA’s requirements:

  • Applicant arrived in the U.S. before their  16th birthday
  • As of June 15, 2012, the applicant was 30 years old or younger
  • The applicant has been living continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 until the present
  • The applicant was physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time of making the DACA request
  • The applicant is currently in school, graduated from high school or has a GED, or is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces
  • The applicant has not been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanor offenses and does not pose a threat to public safety or national security
  • The applicant must be at least 15 years old (except for special circumstances)
What does the DACA application require?

If you are eligible to apply, you will need:

  • Proof of immigration status
  • Proof you entered the U.S. before your 16th birthday
  • Proof of identity such as a passport or military ID with name and picture
  • Proof of presence in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and that you have lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007
  • Proof of student status or honorable discharge from military

Some documents must be originals.  Call Fulenchek Law for assistance in properly submitting your DACA application.


How To Become a U.S. Citizen?

Citizenship can be proven or obtained by:

  • Being born in the U.S.
  • Being born to at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen
  • Through the process of naturalization
Who is eligible for naturalization?

Before you can become a U.S. citizen through naturalization, you must be a green card holder.  After having a green card for three to five years, then you may be eligible for U.S. citizenship if:

You are at least 18 years old

You can pass an English test (some exceptions)

You can pass a test on U.S. Civics and History (some exceptions)

You have been a green card holder – 5 years or 3 years if you have been married to and living with a U.S. citizen

You have been continually physically present in the U.S.

You are a person of good moral character

You have been in the state and U.S. where you are filing the naturalization application for at least three months

You support the Constitution and form of government of the U.S.

What is the natualization process?

A typical naturalizaiton process is as follows:

1. If you are eligible, Form N-400 needs to be filled out and submitted with filing fee and documentation. 

2.  You will receive a notice your application was received with a personal number so you can check your case status online.

3.  You will receive a notice for a biometrrics appointment where your photo and fingerprints will be taken.  The government will complete a background check, and schedule an interview with you.

4.  At the interview, you will be tested for your ability to read, write and speak English and on U.s. civics and history.  Your N-400 application will be reviewed and confirmed.

5.  At the end of the interview, the officer will give you the results of the tests and if you are recommended for approval.  They will prepare the information for your naturalization certificate and let you know when to expect your oath notice.

6.  You will be mailed an oath notice telling you when and where your swearing in ceremony will take place.  The day you have your swearing in is the day you become a U.S. citizen.


What is a U Visa?

U Visas allow nonimmigrants who are victims of certain qualifying crimes to stay in the U.S. for up to four years as long as the victim assists law enforcement with the investigation and prosecution of the crime the nonimmigrant was a victim of.

What are the benefits of a U Visa?

There are many benefits of a U Visa. 

1. Crime victims with a U Visa status may be eligible for a green card after three years.

2.  A green card means the victim can apply to become a U.S. citizen.

3.  A U Visa allows the nonimmigrant to work in the U.S.

4.  A U Visa may make the nonimmigrant eligible for certain public benefits.

Who is eligible for a U Visa?

There are three main requirements to be eligible for a U Visa:

1.  You must be a victim of a qualifying crime.

2.  You must have been harmed physically or mentally by the crime.  In other words, you must have suffered substantial harm or abuse from the crime.

3.  You must agree to be helpful to law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting the crime.


Are you a victim of a qualifying crime?

Qualifying crimes include:

  • Abusive sexaul contact, incest, female genital mutilation, sexual assault, rape, sexual exploitation, prostitution and trafficking;
  • Abduction, being held hostage, false imprisonment, unlawful criminal restraint and kidnapping;
  • Domestic violence, felonious assault, manslaughter, murder, stalking and torture;
  • Blackmail, extortion, perjury, obstruction of justice, fraud in foreign labor contracting and witness tampering;
  • Involuntary servitude, peonage and slave trade; and
  • Conspiracy, attempt and solicitation to commit any of the above identified crimes.

Many Types of Visas

What kind of Visa do you need?

The type of visa you require under immigration law is determined by the purpose of your intended travel and other facts.  Each different visa may have different requirements which you need to establish.

What are some types of travel visas?

Depending on the purpose of travel, there are many different Visas that are issued.  A purpose of travel could be one of the following:

  • Athlete, amateur or professional (competing for prize money only)
  • Au pair (exchange visitor)
  • Border Crossing Card: Mexico
  • Business visitor
  • Diplomat or foreign government official
  • Domestic employee or nanny – must be accompanying a foreign national employer
  • Employee of a designated international organization or NATO
  • Medical treatment, visitor for
  • Professor, scholar, teacher (exchange visitor)
  • Temporary worker performing other services or labor of a temporary or seasonal nature.
  • Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitor

There are many other types of visas not included in the above.  Call Fulenchek Law for assistance.

What types of visas are there for family sponsorship?

Immediate relative and family sponsored visas include:

  • Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
  • Spouse of a U.S. Citizen awaiting approval of an I-130 immigrant petition
  • Fiancé(e) to marry U.S. Citizen & live in U.S.
  • Intercountry Adoption of Orphan Children by U.S. Citizens
  • Certain Family Members of U.S. Citizens
  • Certain Family Members of Lawful Permanent Residents


What other kinds of visas are there?

Employer sponsored employment visas include:

  • Priority workers [First]
  • Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability [Second]
  • Professionals and Other Workers [Third]
  • Employment Creation/Investors [Fifth]
  • Certain Special Immigrants: [Fourth]

There are also visas for:

  • Religious workers
  • Iraqi and AfghanTranslators/Interpreters
  • Iraqis Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government
  • Afghans Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government
  • Diversity Immigrant Visa
  • Returning Resident

Note:  The above does not constitute a complete list of visas.

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