Q: My husband is going to the United States on an H-1B visa. Can I go to the United States with my husband on a dependent visa?

A: Yes, you can always join your husband on an H-4 visa. You will need an appointment with the consulate for an H-4 visa, copy of the marriage certificate, and the approval notice of your husband’s H-1B status. Check with the U.S. consulate in your jurisdiction regarding any other specific requirements that they may have. Note that one cannot work on an H-4 visa in the United States.

Q: I am a U.S. citizen. I want to go to India to get married. What should I do to bring my fiancé here? Should I file the application in India or U.S.?

A: As a U.S. citizen, you have the right to apply for a K-1 fiancée visa and have your fiancée come to the United States for 90 days. You will then need to get married to your fiancé and within 90 days file an application for her adjustment of status. Your can also get married in India and petition your spouse for either an immigrant visa (IV) or a nonimmigrant K-3 visa. The processing time for K-3 visa (about 5-6 months) is about half of what it is for IV (about 9-12 months). In arranged marriage circumstances or in relationships that lack continuous contact documentations it may be best to consider a K-3 or IV option instead of a K-1 visa. A stronger case can be built for you if you’re already married to a foreign national.

Q: I have been living in the United States for about 9 years, and recently received my first DUI. I had a prior record of public intoxication too, but I fulfilled probationary requirements for that particular case. Will my public intoxication record and one DUI affect my eligibility for a green card?

A: Generally, neither public intoxication nor DUI disqualifies you from adjusting your status. However, because any accusation, arrest, or conviction can have an impact on your good moral character (especially if it occurs within the last five years prior to submission of your “green card” application) it is always advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney regarding your specific situation before filing your application with the USCIS.

Q: I have heard that now there is retrogression of visas for nurses from India. My wife is a nurse and got a job offer from a hospital. Her visa application was approved on Aug. 29, 2006, and sent to the visa processing center. How long is this process likely to take?

A: It is very difficult to predict how long the process will take before visas become available for nurses. According to the most recent DOS visa bulletin (May 2007) the backlog for Indian nurses is as far as May 8, 2001. Once your priority date is reached the National Visa Center usually takes about three months to process your case and then transfers it to the U.S. consulate. Then, generally within 30-60 days, the applicant is asked by the U.S. consulate to come in for a visa interview.

James E. Root, Esq., manages an exclusive immigration law practice with two offices in L.A. and Orange counties. (888) ROOT-LAW. www.RootLaw.com