Immigration

IMMIGRANT VISAS

Employment Based

Obtaining permanent residence through employment invariably involves wading through a complex set of federal immigration laws and regulations.  It is not uncommon for an employment-based case to involve working with several major government agencies, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of State.

Many of these cases involve a complicated process called labor certification, whereby the employer must go through a series of steps to prove the following: (1) that it needs the foreign national’s skills, etc., (2) the employer has tried to find qualified U.S. workers for the position, (3) the job is being offered to the foreign national at the prevailing wage (not to be confused with minimum wage), and (4) that no qualified U.S. workers were found.  If required, labor certification is only the first of three main steps toward obtaining permanent residence.  After labor certification, a petition is normally required, followed by an application for adjustment of status or consular processing.

Other employment-based visas do not require the full labor certification process.  For example, this process may be avoided when hiring a foreign national to fill a position as a physical therapist.

Additionally, foreign nationals who have a significant amount of money to invest in the United States might qualify for an investor visa.

There are many different kinds of employment-based visas.  As with any immigration matter, we recommend that you schedule a consultation with us to determine if you or your prospective employee qualifies.

Family Based

This type of immigration case generally involves a family member petitioning for a foreign national to become a permanent resident.  There are two main categories of individuals who can immigrate based upon family relationship, immediate relatives and those who are in family-sponsored preference categories.  Generally, close cooperation of the U.S. citizen or permanent resident family member is required.  However, in certain instances, a foreign national might be able to file a petition alone based upon abuse caused by a family member.

While many of these cases might seem simple, this area of law is quite complex.  The simplest family-based case involves far more than completing forms.  Even the selection of which forms to file or the decision to file anything at all involves a complex set of laws and regulations.  If hired to represent you, we will carefully evaluate your case and guide you through this complex process.

 

Visa Lottery

This program involves two basic steps.  The first step is to simply apply for the lottery.  Most people do not need a lawyer for this step.  You can read about how to apply for this program at www.state.gov.  If you are selected in the lottery, you must then proceed with your application for permanent residence either through Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing.  Once you have been selected in the lottery, it is highly recommended that you consult with a qualified immigration lawyer.

Timing is critical for these kinds of cases.  Applying too early or too late could cause you to lose this tremendous opportunity to become a permanent resident.  If you have been selected in the visa lottery, we recommend that you call us without delay.

 

NONIMMIGRANT VISAS

With only a few exceptions, nonimmigrant visas are for foreign nationals who do not wish to remain in the United States permanently.  For example, a foreign national who would like to attend college in the United States and then return to her home country might apply for an F-1 visa.

Other nonimmigrant visas allow one to work in the United States.  The H-1B visa, for example, allows one to work for a specific employer in a specialty occupation.

The K-1 (fiancé) and K-3 (spouse) nonimmigrant visas are specifically for those who wish to remain permanently in the United States with a U.S. citizen spouse.

If you would like to come to the United States temporarily, or perhaps change your classification while on a temporary visit here, call us for a consultation.

 

Naturalization

Naturalization is often the final step for those wish to live permanently in the United States.  It is the process through which an alien obtains U.S. citizenship.  In most instances, an alien must maintain permanent residence for five years before applying.  Others, such as permanent residents who are married to U.S. citizens, may sometimes apply sooner.

Becoming a U.S. citizen has many benefits, including the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury, protection against being removed from the United States by immigration authorities, and the ability to live outside the United States without losing the right to return.

The laws in this field are complex.  Naturalization is often a wise and practical option for many immigrants.  However, not everyone who is a permanent resident should apply for U.S. citizenship.  In some cases, this could actually cause more harm than good.  Consult a qualified immigration lawyer for advice.  If you are considering applying for citizenship, we recommend that you call us to schedule a consultation.