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Waco Immigration Lawyer

Immigration Lawyer in Waco, TX

Waco is the county seat of McLennan County, located halfway between Dallas and Austin, and the city ranks 22nd in terms of population in Texas. Waco is perhaps best known for the law enforcement siege on a Branch Davidian compound in 1993 that resulted in 86 deaths and immense criticism.

Affordable housing, good schools, and a variety of recreational activities make Waco a very popular destination for many immigrants looking for immigration services in Texas, but the area can also be one of the hardest for people to move to. Surrounding cities in the area include Woodway, Hewitt, Robinson, Bellmead, Elm Mott, Lacy-Lakeview, Northcrest, and Beverly Hills.

The Brazos River cut through Waco Texas

Common Immigration Law Concerns

Waco immigration lawyers at Sparks Law, PLLC, assists clients with many different kinds of immigration law issues. Some of the most frequent areas of concern can include, but are not limited to:

Adjustment of Status

Adjustment of status relates to people applying for lawful permanent resident status or Green Cards while they are still present in the United States, but they do not have to return to their home country to complete visa processing. Consular processing is the common alternative in which applications are processed at a United States Embassy or Consulate while a person remains outside the United States until the application is approved. 

Adjustment of status may take as many as two years to complete, and there can also be significant fees for adjustment of status applications that may be as much as $1,225. Some refugees could get their filing fees waived. Required initial evidence in these cases can include several different forms of immigration law paperwork and other documents, so a person will want to have immigration lawyers to ensure they are submitting everything that is required.

Green Card Renewal

Not all Green Cards necessarily contain expiration dates, but the ones that have them usually indicate that they will expire ten years from the dates they are issued. When a person hopes to continue working and living in the United States, they will have to apply to renew their Green Card. It is frequently recommended that people begin the renewal process when the Green Card is set to expire in six months. 

The paperwork people will file will depend on their situation, as individuals hoping 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 on their permanent resident status will 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 on their residence must file Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status.

Fiancé Visas

If a person who is a United States citizen wants to bring their foreign fiancé(e) to the United States to get married, they must file Form I-129F, Petition For Alien Fiancé(e) to obtain a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for the fiancé(e). Obtaining a K-1 fiancé(e) visa means that a person and their fiancé(e) must intend to marry within 90 days of the fiancé(e) entering the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant and their marriage must be valid, meaning that both people will have a bona fide intent to establish a life together and the marriage is not for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration law benefits.

U Visas and T Visas

Both U visas and T visas are immigration benefits made available to people who are willing to help law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of certain kinds of criminal activity. U nonimmigrant status or the U visa applies to victims of certain kinds of crimes who suffered mental or physical abuse, while T nonimmigrant status applies to certain victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons that allow them to remain in the United States for up to four years. Severe forms of trafficking include sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Seek legal help from tx immigration lawyers.


Any person who needs legal services and hopes to become a naturalized citizen of the United States must meet several requirements. These include: 

  • Being a permanent United States resident or Green Card holder who has resided in the United States continuously for at least five years
  • Resided in the state the application will be filed in for at least three consecutive months
  • Being present in the United States for at least two and a half years in the last five years of required residence
  • Able to satisfy the requirements of the English Test, the United States History, and Government Test
  • Being of good moral character
  • Residing in the United States continuously from the filing date of the application for naturalization until actually being granted United States citizenship
  • Being at least 18 years of age
  • Committed to the principles of the United States Constitution. 

Children can also obtain certificates of citizenship when they are younger than 18 years of age, are in the custody of one United States parent, already hold permanent residency and reside in the United States, and have already had a full adoption if they were adopted.

Waivers of Inadmissibility

Some people who otherwise qualify for American visas may be barred from entering the United States on one or more grounds of inadmissibility. These people then need to file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. Grounds of inadmissibility can include criminal convictions, unlawful presence in the United States, immigration law fraud, certain health issues, or prior removal orders.

Waivers of Unlawful Presence

An unlawful presence waiver will let a person remain in the United States during the green card application process, even if they were in the country unlawfully or overstayed their visa. Although several undocumented immigrants can be forced to leave the United States before applying for permanent residency and may also be barred from reentry for several years for a breach of immigration law, USCIS has the ability to waive the right to make a person leave during the green card process and allow them to stay.

Advance Parole

civic test to get a us citizenshipAn advance parole matter often relates to a person’s ability to reenter the United States after traveling abroad. Immigrants applying for advance parole on the basis of pending applications for adjustment of status must be approved for advance parole before leaving the United States to avoid the termination of their pending applications for adjustment. 

Immigrants in the United States should obtain Advance Parole prior to departure to reenter the United States after travel abroad if they have filed an application for adjustment of status but have not received a decision from United States Citizenship and Immigration law Services (USCIS), hold refugee or asylee status and intend to depart temporarily to apply for a United States immigrant visa in Canada, and/or an emergent personal or bona fide reason to travel temporarily abroad.

Employment Authorization

An employment authorization document (EAD) will allow a person to work in the United States and is typically valid for two years. The numerical limits to employment-based immigrant visas mean that people must be certain they are applying at the best times.

Removal Defense for Immigrants

Asylum deportation removal refugeesIt is important for all immigrants who find themselves involved in criminal cases to understand that they have certain rights in these cases. The United States Supreme Court held in Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356, 130 S. Ct. 1473, 176 L. Ed. 2d 284 (2010) that counsel has a duty under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution to inform a noncitizen alleged offender that their plea would make them eligible for deportation.

Any time that an immigrant is facing any kind of criminal charges, they should quickly contact immigration lawyers in Waco,TX to determine how the criminal charges may impact their immigration status. Many people can find resolutions to their situations depending on multiple factors, so it is important for people to fully understand all of their rights in these cases. We have experienced lawyers on your behalf, we are on your side on hte entire process.

Contact Our Experienced Immigration Lawyer in Waco, TX

If you are in the midst of an immigration issue that you believe could be threatening your ability to work and live in the United States, you should not wait another moment to find yourself legal representation. J. Sparks Law, PLLC, can be your voice in the courtroom and help you secure all of the benefits to which you are entitled.Our firm has helped scores of immigrants from various nations around the globe, so we can confidently represent people in a wide variety of different immigration matters. Call (512) 877-7482 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation with our Waco immigration lawyers.¿Hablamos Español! An Spanish speaking legal assistant can help you.

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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….


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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.