Immigration Fact Center
Information About Immigration and Naturalization
When you are considering the process of immigration for yourself or for a friend, a relative, or your employees, you most likely have questions. An experienced attorney can offer advice tailored for your individual situation. At May Law Group, our practice is focused entirely on helping foreign nationals reach their immigration goals, whether you seek to work or study in the United States, join your family in the U.S. or bring family members to meet you. We understand the many factors that may be involved, and we are abreast of the latest and most current rulings and issues regarding immigration. At May Law Group, each lawyer is committed to helping every client attain the future they desire. We serve clients throughout the eastern U.S. including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. We are also available nationally and internationally. For a free consultation, contact us online or call 412-291-4400 today. We look forward to hearing from you.
Read on for a comprehensive overview about Immigration Law.
Immigration – An Overview
Immigration law covers the procedures for entering the US, determines who is and is not eligible for entry, sets the rules for obtaining citizenship and deporting foreign nationals who violate US immigration or other laws. Immigration attorneys assist foreign nationals seeking to come to the US to study, travel, conduct business and work. They also help employers complete the application and certification processes to employ foreign workers for permanent and temporary positions. If you have an immigration-related issue, contact our firm to schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer.
Attorneys practicing immigration law may handle various legal matters for aliens and US citizens living both inside and outside of the US. Some of the types of issues someone may seek the assistance of an immigration attorney include:
Visas for Permanent and Temporary Stays
Immigration attorneys can help foreign nationals with visa selection and the application process, as well as help them understand the type of documentation that will be necessary to secure a visa and explain any restrictions on their ability to enter the US. Immigration attorneys also can help employers determine the correct type of visa to apply for to hire foreign nationals as temporary or permanent employees, and help them determine whether any special certifications are necessary from the Department of Labor.
Some of the most common types of visas include:
- Employment-based visas
- Family-based visas
- Temporary work visas
- Student visas
- Business visas
- Travel visas
- Exchange visitor visas
- Intracompany transferee visas
- Spouse and fiancé(e) visas
- Adopted child visas
Changing Immigrant Status
When applying for a visa, it is very important that foreign nationals choose the correct type of visa that will allow them to accomplish their goals while in the US. Each visa category comes with special requirements and may include restrictions on the type of activity the visa holder may do during his or her stay. For example, holders of student visas are not permitted to work unless they have received special permission. Sometimes it may be necessary for an alien to change his or her immigrant status to another category, like a student visa holder who has been offered permanent employment in the US.
Applying for Visa Extensions
Foreign nationals entering the US with temporary, or nonimmigrant visas, are only permitted to remain in the country for a limited amount of time, depending on the type of visa they received. For example, seasonal agricultural workers are allowed to remain in the US for less than one year at a time before they have to return to their home countries. In some instances, the time allowed for the temporary visa may not be long enough for the foreign national to complete the purpose of his or her trip to the US. In these cases, the foreign national may apply for an extension to remain in the US longer. There are strict requirements and deadlines for applying for extensions, so it is important the foreign national not wait until the last moment to apply for one.
Citizenship and Naturalization
Foreign nationals who live as legal permanent residents in the US for five years may be eligible to apply for US citizenship. This process, known as naturalization, includes many important steps. The immigrant must be able to demonstrate the ability to read, write and speak English and must be able to pass a US history and civics exam. The immigrant also must be of “good moral character.” Certain types of criminal convictions may make an immigrant ineligible for citizenship. It is very important to prepare for the naturalization process and truthfully complete the application process. Any material misrepresentations during the process may result in removal (also called deportation).
If an alien violates the terms of his or her status or commits certain types of crimes, he or she may be deported by the US government back to his or her home country. Aliens who may be deported include those with legal resident status, those with nonimmigrant or temporary visas and those who have entered the country illegally. Some of the types of offenses an alien can be deported for include:
- Conviction for certain crimes, such as drug crimes
- Overstaying visas
- Using fraudulent or falsified documents or providing material misrepresentations to enter the country
- Entering marriage fraudulently to gain entry into the country
- Assisting, encouraging, aiding or abetting others to enter the country illegally
- Engaging in any activity that endangers public safety or creates a national security risk
- Violating any other US immigration or other law
Those facing removal proceedings are entitled to legal representation and should seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney. Aliens deported by the US may be ineligible to return for up to five years, and in some cases, may never be allowed to return to the country again.
Immigration attorneys also may answer questions concerning:
- Asylum and refugee status
- Diversity lottery
- Dual citizenship
- Visa waiver program
- PERM process
Frequently Asked Questions about Immigration
Q: Which family members may sponsor someone for a US visa?
A: A US citizen may sponsor a spouse, parent, sibling, minor child or adult child (regardless of marital status) for an immigrant visa. Additionally, aliens with legal permanent resident status (or a “green card”) may sponsor a spouse or unmarried child.
Q: How can a foreign national gain legal permanent resident (LPR) status?
A: The two main ways a foreign national can gain LPR status is to be sponsored by 1) family member already living in the US as a citizen or legal permanent resident; or 2) an employer for a permanent, full-time employment position in the US. Foreign nationals also may be eligible to register for the diversity lottery and refugees may be able to resettle in the US or apply for asylum.
To learn more about how an experienced immigration attorney can help you, contact our firm today.
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