Immigration

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We know how important it is to have a legal immigration status in the country of opportunities. We share each client’s concern in this regard and are committed to treating our clients with sensitivity and respect.

U.S. immigration law is complex, and there is much confusion as to how it works.
We can help you with:

  • Family Immigration (green cards through marriage and other qualifying relationships)
  • Business Immigration (temporary working visas, green cards through permanent employment, investor visas)
  • Asylum
  • Removal Defense (cancellation of removal, “criminal immigration” representation)
  • Appeals of non-favorable decisions
  • Naturalization/Citizenship

Family-Based Immigration

The family-based immigration category allows U.S. citizens and LPRs to bring certain family members to the United States. Family-based immigrants are admitted either as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or through the family preference system.
In order to be admitted through the family-based immigration system, a U.S. citizen or LPR sponsor must petition for an individual relative, establish the legitimacy of the relationship, meet minimum income requirements, and sign an affidavit of support stating that the sponsor will be financially responsible for the
family member(s) upon arrival in the United States or adjustment to LPR status within the United States.
The individual relative also must meet certain eligibility requirements that include submitting to a medical exam and obtaining required vaccinations, an analysis of any immigration or criminal history, as well as demonstrating that they will not become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.

Employment-Based Immigration

The United States provides various ways for immigrants with valuable skills to come to the country on either a temporary or a permanent basis.
Temporary employment-based visa classifications permit employers to hire and petition for foreign nationals for specific jobs for limited periods. Most temporary workers must work for the employer that petitioned for them and have limited ability to change jobs.

Temporary visa

Temporary visa classifications vary in terms of their eligibility requirements, duration, whether they permit workers to bring dependents, and other factors. In most cases, they must leave the United States if their status expires or if their employment is terminated. It may be possible, depending on the type of job and the foreign national’s qualifications, for an employer to sponsor the worker for permanent employment.

Permanent visa

The overall numerical limit for permanent employment-based immigrants is 140,000 per year. This number includes the immigrants plus their eligible spouses and minor unmarried children, meaning the actual number of employment-based immigrants is less than 140,000 each year. The 140,000 visas are divided into five preference categories. For some categories, the sponsor must first test the U.S. labor market under terms and conditions established by the Department of Labor, and the Secretary of Labor must certify that the petitioner’s application met certain requirements before the sponsor may file a petition with USCIS. For some categories, the sponsor’s first step is to file a petition with USCIS or the foreign national may self-petition. The final step is the foreign national’s application for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad or an application to adjust status to LPR if in lawful status in the United States. For consular processing, the immigrant visa application cannot be filed until after USCIS approves the immigrant petition. For adjustment of status, the time to file the application depends on whether a visa number is considered to be immediately available.

Refugees and Asylees

There are several categories of legal admission available to people who are fleeing persecution or are unable to return to their homeland due to life-threatening or extraordinary conditions.
Refugees are admitted to the United States based upon an inability to return to their home countries because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” due to their race, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, religion, or national origin. Refugees apply for admission from outside of the United States, generally from a “transition country” that is outside their home country. Each year, the president, in consultation with Congress, determines the numerical ceiling for refugee admissions.
Asylum is available to persons already in the United States who are seeking protection based on the same five protected grounds upon which refugees rely. They may apply at a port of entry at the time they seek admission or within one year of arriving in the United States. There is no limit on the number of individuals who may be granted asylum each year, nor are there specific categories for determining who may seek asylum.

The Diversity Visa

The Diversity Visa lottery was created by the Immigration Act of 1990 as a dedicated channel for immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Each year, 55,000 visas are allocated randomly. To be eligible for a diversity visa, an immigrant must have a high-school education (or its equivalent) or have, within the past five years, a minimum of two years working in a profession requiring at least two years of training or experience. Spouses and minor unmarried children of the principal applicant may also enter as derivatives.

Other Forms of Humanitarian Relief

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is granted to people who are in the United States but cannot return to their home country because of “natural disaster,” “extraordinary temporary conditions,” or “ongoing armed conflict.” TPS is granted to a country for six, twelve, or eighteen months and can be extended beyond that if unsafe conditions in the country persist. TPS does not necessarily lead to LPR status or confer any other immigration status.

Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) provides protection from deportation for individuals whose home countries are unstable, therefore making return dangerous. Unlike TPS, which is authorized by statute, DED is at the discretion of the executive branch. DED does not necessarily lead to LPR status or confer any other immigration status.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program established in 2012 which permits certain individuals who were brought to the United States under the age of 16 and who had resided continuously in the United States since June 15, 2007, to remain in the United States and work lawfully for at least two years, so long as they have no significant criminal record and have graduated high school or college or received a degree equivalent. It does not confer any path to permanent legal status and requires renewal every two years. In 2017, the Trump administration ended DACA, but due to a court order, individuals who had DACA before the program was ended are still permitted to renew their work authorization and protection from deportation.

Parole: Certain individuals may be allowed to enter the U.S. through parole, even though they may not meet the definition of a refugee and may not be eligible to immigrate through other channels. Parolees may be admitted temporarily for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.

U.S. Citizenship

In order to qualify for U.S. citizenship through naturalization, an individual must have had LPR status (a green card) for at least five years (or three years if he or she obtained the green card through a U.S.-citizen spouse or through the Violence Against Women Act, VAWA). There are other exceptions including, but not limited to, members of the U.S. military who serve in a time of war or declared hostilities. Applicants for U.S. citizenship must be at least 18 years old, demonstrate continuous residency, demonstrate “good moral character,” pass English and U.S. history and civics exams (with certain exceptions), and pay an application fee, among other requirements.

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