Can you obtain a work permit while waiting for an immigrant visa?

This week in my column in La Opinión I answer questions from readers. Remember that I answer your questions in a general way. Each case is different, so you should consult an attorney to receive personalized legal advice.

I am a permanent resident and was arrested in the past, can I apply for U.S. citizenship? - Ingrid R.

To become a citizen you must meet several requirements, including demonstrating that you are of good moral character. Certain crimes make a person ineligible for citizenship. Take your criminal record to an immigration attorney to evaluate your case and determine if you are eligible before applying for citizenship.

My wife and I are Mexican nationals. We entered the United States on a tourist visa and are staying. We have three U.S. citizen children. The oldest is 22 years old. On my oldest son's birth certificate they misspelled my name. Can my son petition me for permanent residency? - Marco C.

Your adult child who is a U.S. citizen may petition for you and your spouse. The birth certificate must correctly list your names to prove the relationship. In addition, you will have to fill out other requirements. To correct your name on your child's birth certificate, you will need to ask for help from the California Department of Public Health, Office of Vital Records. They will tell you what documents you will need to submit to amend your child's birth record.

I am Mexican and my father is a permanent resident of the US. He filed the I-130 petition for me in 2000 and we were approved. I am currently 34 years old and single, when will a visa be available for me, can I get a work permit while I wait? - Delfino P.

The application your father filed for you is under the F2B category that benefits children over 21 years of age of permanent residents. According to the June 2012 Visa Bulletin, the U.S. Department of State is processing cases of Mexicans in that category with a priority date before January 1, 1992. These dates sometimes change. You should monitor the Visa Bulletin to see how your case is going. While you are waiting for your visa, you will not be able to obtain a work permit through your father's application.