If an individual wants to come to the United States and remain, they must be aware that there are many responsibilities and obligations that come with the opportunity. There are procedural laws and requirements that an individual must follow if they wish to enter into and stay in the United States for any length of time.
Immigration laws are those laws that regulate how an individual from another country may qualify for a visa and under what circumstances that individual may be deported. There are many different types of available temporary and permanent visas. Depending on the purpose for an individual’s entry into the United States, there will be a visa that suits their needs.
Individuals who are already in the United States must abide by immigration laws. Many immigrants who already legally reside in the United States have a green card, or a permanent visa.
Individuals with green cards may seek to be citizens. They must, however, refrain from any activities that may bring deportation upon them. It is always wise for an individual to make whatever attempts are possible to reside legally within the United States.
Immigration laws are one of the most complicated areas of law. It can be a very complex system for many individuals to understand. If an individual needs help resolving an immigration law issue, they should contact an immigration lawyer.
What are Citizenship and Naturalization Applicants?
Citizenship and naturalization applicants are individuals who are applying to be citizens of the United States. Becoming a citizen of the United States is a very personal decision.
Having an understanding of the naturalization process as well as the correct information regarding citizenship is very important. The links below provide information for those individuals interested in United States citizenship and learning more about eligibility requirements as well as the application process.
- Applying for U.S. Citizenship;
- Dual Citizenship;
- What is Naturalization?;
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS);
- Establishing Permanent Residency; and
- What If I Can’t Receive Citizenship?
What are Deportation or Removal Proceedings?
An individual who is a non-resident may be deported from the United States in several different ways. These may include:
- Being arrested as an immigrant;
- Having an application rejected by the USCIS; or
- Having a request for asylum denied.
An immigrant’s rights and their claim for relief will be decided by an immigration judge. For more information on these issues, see the articles below:
- Regulating Removal / Deportation;
- Suspending Deportation for Hardship;
- Fraudulent Marriages; and
- Alien Immigration.
What are Permanent Visas or Green Cards?
Immigration terminology such as a “visa” and a “green card” may be confusing. These labels are often used interchangeably, even though they refer to two different things. It is also common for these terms to be used in ways that are different from their original meanings.
A visa provides an individual with the right to enter the United States legally. It is a physical stamp that an individual receives on their passport or an equivalent document.
A visa typically has to do with entry into the United States. The term visa also refers to a category in which an individual comes to the United States for a temporary stay, including a student visa or a temporary worker visa.
The term green card is a slang term that refers to the process of obtaining United States citizenship, rather than simply entering into the country. The term green card application may refer to a process regarding immigration, including an adjustment of status or naturalization.
The emphasis of a green card is on citizenship and residency status rather than admissibility into the United States. Physically, a green card is a plastic photo identification card that an individual receives when they are granted lawful permanent resident status.
It is important to note that a green card is known as a permanent visa, even though the term visa typically refers to temporary visa categories. This may provide some clarification regarding these terms.
An individual immigrating to the United States may be eligible for multiple types of visas. The type of visa an individual applies for will depend on whether they intend to stay permanently or for a short time.
For more information on these issues, see the articles below:
- What Should I Know About Green Cards?;
- Green Card Renewal;
- What Is The Visa Lottery?;
- Family Member Visas;
- Marriage Visas;
- Work Visas; and
- The Green Card Application Process.
What is Political Asylum and What are Refugees?
Political asylum is provided to individuals who immigrate to the United States in order to flee persecution or civil disturbances in their own country. Political asylum allows an individual to stay within the United States rather than returning to their home country and facing possible violence. The term for the individuals is refugee.
For more information on these issues, see the articles below:
- Seeking Refugee Immigration Status vs. Political Asylum;
- What U.S. Agency Decides Political Asylum and Refugee Issues?;
- What Is Temporary Protected Status?; and
- What Else Should I Know About Refugee Status?.
What are Temporary Visas?
If an individual is a non-immigrant that resides outside the United States and wishes to enter the country for business or travel, they may be eligible to receive a temporary visa. This type of visa allows the individual to travel to the United States for a short period of time.
See the articles below for more information on this topic:
- Applying for a Temporary Visa;
- Overstaying A Visa; and
- Classes of Aliens Who Can Legally Be Employed.
What Role Does an Immigration Attorney Play in Terms of Visas and Green Cards?
An immigration lawyer can provide an individual with assistance with applications for both visas and green cards. A lawyer can help an individual obtain a visa so they can travel to the United States. There may be restrictions that cause an individual to be inadmissible, such as a criminal record. A lawyer can assist the individual in obtaining a waiver or assist with an appeal if their original claim is denied.
Once an individual has legally entered into the United States, they may begin considering how to obtain permanent resident status, or a green card. This is typically the first step towards obtaining full United States citizenship.
A lawyer can assist in determining whether an individual is eligible for a green card. A lawyer can also advise an individual how to keep green card privileges, so they do not lose their chance at obtaining citizenship.
These applications typically involve large amounts of paperwork. After applying for a visa, the applicant will most likely be required to attend immigration hearings at several points during the process. An attorney can provide advice on these matters as well as representation during any immigration proceedings.
How Can I Contact an Immigration Attorney?
If you need help with any immigration matters, including a visa application or a green card application, it is essential to contact an immigration attorney. Immigration laws are complex and have many deadlines that must be met. An experienced attorney will help determine which type of visa is right for you and help you obtain that visa.