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Immigration Lawyer San Marcos

Immigration Lawyer in San Marcos, TX

San Marcos is a city that is halfway between Austin and San Antonio, and it is the county seat of Hays County. Business Insider listed San Marcos as one of its ten most exciting small cities in America, and Business Week declared the city to be one of the best places to raise your kids in recent years.

While the United Census reported in 2020 that San Marcos has a population of 67,553, the Bureau also said San Marcos was the fastest-growing city in the country for two years in a row. San Marcos saw its population increase by 8.0 percent between July 2012 and July 2013, but it also had a 20.5 percent increase since 2010.

Architectural photograph of the historic Hays County Courthouse in downtown San Marcos - central Texas

San Marcos Immigration Attorney

Are you hoping to secure immigration benefits while living in the San Marcos area? You will want to be sure that you retain legal counsel so you can have the best chance at obtaining the most favorable outcome to your case, and J. Sparks Law, PLLC, can be your voice inside a courtroom.

Our firm has represented people from various countries all over the world, so we have a wealth of experience in helping people earn their immigration benefits. Call (512) 877-7482 or contact us online today to get a free consultation.

Common Immigration Cases Our Team Handles

When we are discussing immigration issues in Texas, there are a wide variety of issues that people could be seeking help with. Some of the most common concerns that J. Sparks Law, PLLC, handles include, but are not limited to:

Fiancé Visas

The K-1 nonimmigrant visa is also known as the fiancé(e) visa, and it allows the engaged partner of a United States citizen to enter the United States as long as the couple intends to get married within 90 days. The average K-1 visa application can cost more than $1,000 because of medical exam and application fees. The major concern with filing a Form I-129F, Petition For Alien Fiancé(e), will be proving the validity of the relationship and that a couple is not just seeking to exploit immigration benefits. It will be important to have a lawyer because there can be a wide range of required documentation that must be provided in these cases.

U Visas and T Visas

People who are willing to assist law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of certain kinds of criminal activity can become eligible for certain kinds of immigration benefits, such as the U visa or T visa. T visas are often awarded to people who have been victims of human trafficking, such as sex trafficking or labor trafficking, while U visas typically require much greater assistance with law enforcement and are available to victims of certain types of crimes involving mental or physical abuse. 

Employment Authorization

Certain visa holders must obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) or work permit before they can legally work in the United States. An EAD is typically only valid for one year, although there can be exceptions. An EAD is based on a person’s visa, as EADs are not provided to people without visas or other qualifying documents.

Adjustment of Status

When a person is hoping to apply for permanent resident status or a Green Card while they currently have nonimmigrant immigration status, they will often have to complete two forms: an immigrant petition and a Green Card application. Another person may have to sponsor an applicant, and applicants outside the United States will have to use consular processing. 

While adjustment of status often takes about one year, it can take up to two years in some cases. People can also be required to pay fees, and costs could be as much as $1,225, but some refugees could get their filing fees waived. These types of applications often require legal representation simply because of the massive amount of initial evidence that is required.

Green Card Renewal

An expired Green Card will not automatically make a person unlawful in the United States, but it can cause problems with the ability to work lawfully and travel. The Green Card renewal process can be completed in only a matter of months, although some cases could take up to one year. There is usually a $455 filing fee and an $85 biometrics fee associated with Green Card renewal applications. 

When a person’s Green Card expires within six months, they should file their renewal as soon as possible upon returning to the United States. If a Green Card has already expired, then a person will need to contact the nearest United States consulate, international USCIS field office, or United States port of entry. 

People will have to file different forms depending on their specific situations, as people wanting to renew permanent resident cards must file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), people who obtained conditional permanent resident status through marriage and are hoping to apply to remove the conditions must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, and conditional permanent residents who obtained their status through qualifying investments and now want to remove the conditions must file Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status.

Removal of Conditions

When a person obtains a green card through marriage to a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident, their Green Card has certain conditions attached, and the person must eventually remove the conditions before the conditional Green Card expires. Failure to do so will leave a person in violation of federal immigration law and may lead to removal from the country. 

A person can apply for removal of conditions if they are still married to the same United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident, although there are exceptions such as cases in which people are now widows or widowers, marriages ended in divorce or annulment, or people or their children were either battered or subjected to extreme hardship by their United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident spouse. 

People can seek removal of conditions while they are inside or outside of the United States, but a return to the country will be necessary to complete an interview. USCIS vigorously investigates these cases, so people will want to have an attorney working to make sure that their applications are as complete as possible.

Advance Parole

In Vidal v. Wolf, 501 F. Supp. 3d 117 (E.D.N.Y. 2020), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York ordered USCIS to begin accepting advance parole applications again after concluding that DACA recipients without advance parole would not be able to leave the country to see family, travel, or pursue career opportunities abroad. Advance parole is simply a document allowing immigrants to reenter the United States when they travel abroad but do not have an immigrant visa or nonimmigrant visa. 


Filing for citizenship will involve people born outside of the United States filing a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, with USCIS. There is a $640 filing fee and $85 biometrics fee, as well as a lengthy list of required initial evidence. USCIS does offer a number of exceptions and modifications to these applications, so people will want to work with an experienced lawyer who can make sure a person is taking advantage of all of the possible resources available to them. 

To apply for naturalization to become a United States citizen, a person must be at least 18 years of age at the time they file their application, and have been a lawful permanent resident for the past three or five years (depending on the naturalization category they are applying under), have continuous residence and physical presence in the United States, be able to read, write, and speak basic English, demonstrate good moral character, demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of United States history and government, demonstrate a loyalty to the principles of the United States Constitution, and be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance.

Waivers of Inadmissibility

Waivers of inadmissibility relate to people who have been found to be inadmissible, and people could become inadmissible on several grounds, including criminal convictions, health-related concerns, or security violations. People must file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility, with USCIS, and filing fees can reach $930.

Waivers of Unlawful Presence

Most people entering the United States on a visa are given specific dates they must leave, and a person who stays past the date they were required to leave can be deemed to be out of status and will begin accruing unlawful presence in the United States. After a person accrues 180 days of unlawful presence, they become inadmissible into the United States and will be barred from reentering for three years. The bar will increase to 10 years following the accrual of one year of unlawful presence.

Contact Our Experienced Immigration Lawyer in San Marcos, TX

If you or your loved one are currently struggling with any kind of immigration issue in the greater San Marcos area of Texas, you will want to be sure that you seek legal representation without delay. J. Sparks Law, PLLC, has experience handling many different types of immigration cases, and we always work hard to help people get the most desirable outcomes of their cases.

Our firm has represented countless clients from various countries all over the globe. Call (512) 877-7482 or contact us online to receive an initial consultation with our San Marcos immigration lawyer.

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Genuine advocate with service
oriented staff

Julie is an honest, trust worthy person and a lawyer, regardless of complex nature of my case, She is patient and receptive in understanding the situation, then researches in depth accompanied with her plethora of legal knowledge to articulate and form the arguments….


View all testimonials

Frequently Asked Questions

Over the years, we’ve found that there are a handful of very common, yet very important questions people have regarding immigration attorneys. Here are answers to some of our most Frequently Asked Questions.

When someone wants to directly help a family member gain legal status in the U.S., the first step is the filing of an I-130 petition.  Residency, which is the legal status that green card holders have, can only be considered and approved after an I-130 has been approved.

The approval of an I-130 petition means that the family relationship has been established and acknowledged by USCIS.  For example, if you have petitioned a child, an approval means that USCIS has acknowledged that the person you filed for qualifies as your child under the law.  The meaning of “child” can include not only biological children but sometimes stepchildren and adopted minors.

If you have petitioned your spouse, an approval of your I-130 petition indicates that USCIS has both acknowledged that your marriage is legal and that your relationship is genuine.

The person filing the petition must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR).  U.S. citizens qualify to petition more types of relatives than permanent residents.

Permanent residents qualify to file I-130 petitions for:

  • Spouses
  • Children of any age, as long as the child is unmarried

U.S. citizens qualify to file I-130 petitions for:

  • Spouses
  • Children of any age, whether married or unmarried
  • Parents
  • Siblings

The immigrant being petitioned must apply on their own for residency in order to obtain a green card.  That residency application cannot be approved without presenting an approved I-130 petition filed by the immigrant’s LPR or U.S. citizen relative.   Once the I-130 is approved, the immigrant may be granted a green card by applying for an immigrant visa from a consulate outside the U.S. or by filing for adjustment of status in the U.S.

All immigrants must prove that they are “admissible.”  This means, for example, that those with certain types of criminal convictions in their past may not qualify or may need a waiver.  The same is true for those with past violations of immigration law.

It is important to know whether your family member will qualify to receive residency before filing an I-130 petition.  An experienced immigration attorney can advise you as to whether your loved one will ultimately be able to receive a benefit before you file the case.

The question is far more complex than many realize.  First, everyone must wait for USCIS to process the petition.  USCIS posts its current processing times on its website.  But in addition to that normal processing time, some people must wait years after filing their I-130 petition before they can actually ask for residency.  Others, who are considered “immediate relatives,” do not have to wait in a long line and their process typically moves much faster. “Immediate relatives” are spouses of U.S. citizens, unmarried children (who are under 21) of U.S. citizens, and parents of U.S. citizens age 21 or older.  Many immediate relatives already in the U.S. choose to file the I-130 petition and the residency application at the same time.

A qualified immigration attorney can help you predict how long the entire process could take and can advise you as to whether your immigrant family member can ask for residency immediately or whether they must wait until their date becomes current in the visa bulletin.  Another factor that affects the processing time is whether the immigrant will have their interview at a consulate outside the U.S. or whether they will be interviewed locally inside the U.S.  Only certain immigrants are eligible to use an approved I-130 petition to seek adjustment of status in the U.S.

A 245(i) family-based petition is simply an I-130 petition that was filed on or before April 30, 2001.  “245(i)” is simply the name of the section of law that allows certain immigrants who would not other qualify to still get their residency if they pay a $1,000 fee.

The most common examples relate to immigrants who last entered the U.S. illegally without inspection.  Most immigrants who enter without inspection do not qualify to attend their green card interview in the United States.  Instead, they must leave the U.S. and go back to their country for an interview at a U.S. consulate abroad.  But if someone has an I-130 petition that was filed on their behalf, on or before April 30, 2001, they may qualify to obtain residency and have a green card issued without ever having to leave the U.S.

Some immigrants can qualify under this law even though they weren’t directly petitioned.  For example, some immigrants were children when a U.S. citizen’s aunt or uncle petitioned their parents.  That immigrant child could also qualify for benefits under 245(i) through the petition filed by their aunt or uncle.  Immigrants may also qualify for 245(i) benefits if they were sponsored by an employer on or before April 30, 2001.

Typically, those who live in another country outside of the U.S. will have their residency interview in their country of citizenship.  For those immigrants already in the U.S., some qualify to apply for adjustment of status and have their green card interviews at their local USCIS office.  For others in the U.S., returning to their home country is the only option.