Immigration is a very broad and complex body of law in the United States. Immigrant categories available to individuals who would like to enter the United States are broad. However, all visa types may be classified under two broad categories; Immigrant and non-Immigrant visas. Immigrant visas are meant for those persons who intend to reside in theUnited States on a long term or permanent basis. Non-Immigrant visas are meant for those persons who intent to be present in the United States on a short term or temporary basis. In order to be granted any type of United States visa, any individual who is not a natural-born United States Citizen needs to complete and submit an application or petition along with supplemental information to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS").
Categories of non-immigrant visas include work visas, student visas, visitor visas, fiancée visas, and exchange visas. The threshold for obtaining a non-immigrant visa is slightly lower than obtaining an immigrant visa. Generally, for visitor visas, an immigrant must show he intends to return to his home country, and has the financial means to do so. For fiancée visas, an alien must prove that he intends to marry the United States citizen within 90 days of arrival. For work visas, aliens must prove they have secured employment in a specialty occupation, the employer will conform to certain labor guidelines, and that the employee is qualified to work in the position. For student visas, aliens must prove they have been accepted to certain United States institutions for post-secondary education, and they will be able to finance their education.
Immigrant visas may be granted on the basis of employment, investment, family, domestic abuse, asylum/refugee, and diversity lottery. Employment immigrant visas are granted through various circumstances, for some, an alien must show that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available in the geographic area where the immigrant is to be employed and that no American workers are displaced by foreign workers, for others an Aliens of "Extraordinary Ability" or certain National Interests, and for some being employed in a specialized occupation of great need to the United States may qualify an alien for an immigrant visa. Certain aliens who invest $1,000,000, or at least $500,000 in a targeted employment area (high unemployment or rural area), and guarantee at least ten positions will be reserved for United States Citizens may be granted a green card. Anyone who are granted asylum or refugee status are eligible to apply for an immigrant visa after one year of presence in the United States.
Family based immigrant visas are numerous. These include VAWA self-petitioners, spouse, birth child, adoptive child, siblings, and parents, of United States Citizens and, more limitedly, Legal Permanent residents. When applying for immigrant visas under these categories, applicants must prove the familial relationships and, in some cases, the bona fide nature of the relationship. In proving a bona-fide familial relationship, the applicant must prove the relationship was not entered for fraudulent purposes, or to evade immigration laws to receive some immigration benefit. Certain circumstances, such as an alien being in removal proceedings, increase the burden the alien must overcome to prove the relationship is not fraudulent.
It is crucial, that prior to submitting any application or petition to the USCIS, an individual should consult an experienced attorney to discuss the nature of the application or petition, as well as ensure the alien has no grounds of inadmissibility or removability from the United States. While immigration applications and petitions may look straight forward and simple, they are long, require a substantial amount of supporting documentation, and can be quite confusing. The petitions also require a substantial amount of knowledge about immigration law, and failing to fully understand the law, or failing to hire a knowledgeable attorney, and failure to understand the application can lead to waiving your eligibility for immigration benefits up to and including deportation.
Failure to be properly informed before submitting an immigration application or petition may have devastating consequences, short and long term, as well as physically, emotionally, and financially. Our professional and knowledgeable staff can assist you will every immigration matter with which you are faced. Our attorneys and legal staff are experienced in complex immigration matters, and dedicated to assisting you with your immigration and all other legal needs.