What Are The Different Types Of Legal Immigration Available To Someone?
There are numerous ways through which a person can immigrate to the United States legally. For example, a couple of ways are they can invest in a business here, they can be petitioned by a qualifying family member, they can find employment through company sponsorship, and they can study here in the United States.
WHAT ARE THE FACTORS CONSIDERED BY THE US CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES IN GRANTING IMMIGRATION STATUS?
Every single path to immigration in the United States is going to have different standards that have to be met. There are many different paths to living in the United States on a temporary basis or living here permanently. Immigration is going to make sure that you qualify and meet the standards of whatever path it is that you choose to come to the United States. Beyond meeting the standards for the visa that you may be applying for Immigration will look into previous criminal records or violations of status and entry into the US.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GETTING AN APPROVED VISA, GETTING A GREEN CARD AND BECOMING A US CITIZEN?
A visa allows you to enter the United States for a specific purpose. For example, you can have a visitor visa, which does not allow you to work in the United States or have any rights here other than to come here to primarily vacation as opposed to a work visa. There are specific visas for working in the United States that would allow you to work for a specific employer under certain restrictions. A visa allows you to come to the United States on a temporary basis for a specific purpose for a limited amount of time.
Permanent residency, which is oftentimes referred to as a Green Card, allows you to live in the United States indefinitely as long as it is renewed. However, a Green Card holder has many privileges in the United States with the exceptions that a Green Card holder cannot vote and can be removed from the United States if they violate certain terms of their agreement, for example, if they commit a crime. A United States citizen has all rights and privileges that would be granted to anyone in the United States, including voting, and can never be removed from the United States for any reason.
WHAT ARE THE INITIAL STEPS SOMEONE NEEDS TO TAKE TO BEGIN THE IMMIGRATION PROCESS?
People often come to my office and want to stay in the United States, but they have no idea how to do it. Every single situation is always going to be unique. The thing that I am always looking for is, first of all, do they have family in the United States? Are their parents citizens? Perhaps, they have derivative citizenship. What is their highest level of education? Do they have a company that would sponsor them? Are they from a country that would make them eligible for investing in the United States for a business? Is there any fear of persecution if they go back to their home country? There are going to be a wide variety of factors that I would evaluate to come to a conclusion for each person specifically.
DOES EVERYONE NEED TO CONTACT AN ATTORNEY TO INITIATE THE IMMIGRATION PROCESS?
You are dealing with the law, so it’s always advisable that you work with somebody that is a trained professional. For example, if something happens to my car, I would want to take it to a professional, so it’s the same thing in dealing with immigration. You would want somebody that knows the law that has seen your situation before and knows how to handle it so that it comes to the best outcome.
WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP TO TAKE AFTER INITIATING THE IMMIGRATION PROCESS?
I meet people at all different stages of the immigration process: from somebody who perhaps came to the US on vacation and bonded well with the country but has no idea how to stay here to somebody who wants to make an investment in the United States.
Depending on case-specific factors, it would be advisable, if they want to figure out how to open up a business, to perhaps start to compile those documents that you think would help in the first consultation. At every consultation, whichever route we choose, I provide my client with a list of documents that are necessary to complete the case.
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