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Immigration Law

Immigration matters are often complicated and because the laws relating to immigration and visa matters are complex and confusing, it is our job to provide our clients with the confidence that their cases will be handled by an expert who understands their needs.  If you are seeking to enter the United States legally for work, are interested in obtaining legal permanent residence or are facing removal/deportation we can help. Call us today for a free phone consultation.

PERMANENT RESIDENCE GENERALLY

The first step in the permanent resident process is for a family member or sponsoring employer to file an immigrant petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) on behalf of an individual. 

FAMILY BASED SPONSORSHIP

You may be able to help a family member obtain permanent residence in the United States. There is no limit to the number of individuals who can immigrate to the United States under the immediate relative category. Immediate relatives are spouses of United States citizens, children (under the age of 21) of United States citizens, and parents of United States citizens who are over 21. This means that such a person can immigrate as soon as the USCIS approves their case.

For family-based immigrants who are not immediate relatives, there is a Family Preference System that limits the number of immigrant visas to different foreign nationals.


There are four family preferences:

  1. First preference - sons and daughters over 21 years old of United States citizens.
  2. Second preference – unmarried sons and daughters and spouses of permanent residents, divided into two categories:
  • 2A - sons and daughters under 21 years old and spouses.
  • 2B - sons and daughters over 21 years old.
  1. Third Preference - married sons and daughters of United States citizens.
  2. Fourth Preference - brothers and sisters of United States citizens.

The United States Department of State publishes a monthly Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin lists the availability of immigrant visas during the month of publication, and is intended as a guide for all individuals who would like to know if visas are immediately available for a particular category. If a Category is “Current” (indicated by the letter “C” in the Visa Bulletin) then visas are immediately available for issuance. When visas are not available for a particular category, only individuals with a “priority date” earlier than the one listed on the Visa Bulletin may be issued visas. 

Adjustment of Status 

Adjustment of Status is a procedure that allows an eligible individual become a lawful permanent resident of the United States without having to leave the country.

Advance Parole:

Most individuals who have pending applications for adjustment of status are eligible to obtain an advance parole document in order to leave the United States without abandoning the pending application and to return to the United States after traveling abroad.

 

Employment Authorization Document (EAD):

Individuals who have pending applications for adjustment of status are eligible to obtain an Employment Authorization Document. An EAD card will allow an individual to lawfully work in the United States while their case is pending.

 

Consular Processing

Consular Processing is an alternative to Adjustment of Status. If the applicant is outside of the United States or selects this option instead of Adjustment of Status, he/she may make an appointment at the United States consulate in their home country, where a consular officer will adjudicate their case.

TEMPORARY WORK VISAS

Non-immigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals coming to the United States to work temporarily. We handle non-immigrant categories, both at the inception and for extensions:

  • B1 & B2 - visitors for pleasure and for business
  • E1 & E2 - treaty investors and treaty traders
  • F1 - students
  • H1B - professionals, performing a specialty occupation
  • J & Q - exchange visitors
  • K - fiancées
  • L - intracompany transferees
  • O - aliens of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences or business
  • P - performing entertainers and athletes
  • R - religious workers
  • TN-1- NAFTA and/or U.S./Canada Free Trade Agreement
  • TN-2- NAFTA and/or U.S./Canada Free Trade Agreement

CITIZENSHIP

There are many ways to become a United States citizen. One way is through naturalization. Generally, a lawful permanent resident can qualify to apply for United States citizenship if he or she has been a permanent resident for the required period of time, has been physically present in the United States for at least half of that period, has good moral character, can pass a test on U.S. civics, and can read, write, speak and understand English.

REMOVAL/DEPORTATION

The government may initiate a removal/deportation proceedings against an individual for entering the U.S. without proper documentation, visa overstay, visa violations, commission of certain crimes among other things. If you are in removal proceedings you may have relief available to you.

Asylum

Those afraid of being persecuted due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion if returned to their home country, may qualify for asylum or withholding of removal.

Cancellation of Removal

Individuals who are lawful permanent residents or nonpermanent residents and who are subject to removal may apply for cancellation of removal so long as certain eligibility requirements are met.

  • Lawful permanent residents who have been placed in removal proceedings may qualify for cancellation of removal if they: 

Have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five (5) years;

Have resided in the U.S. continuously for seven (7) years after being admitted in any status (e.g. tourist visa); and

Have not been convicted of an aggravated felony. 

  • Non-lawful permanent residents may qualify for cancellation of removal if they:
    • Have been physically present in the U.S. for a continuous period of not less than ten (10) years immediately preceding the date of such application 
    • Have been a person of good moral character during those ten (10) years;
    • Have not been convicted of certain criminal offenses; and
    • Show that removal would result in extreme and unusual hardship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent, or child. 

Voluntary Departure

Eligible individuals subject to removal may request voluntary departure in order to avoid the restrictions to reentry that apply under formal removal or deportation orders. Failure to depart voluntarily within the time allowed will subject the individual to severe penalties.

This information is meant to be simply informative and not meant to be considered legal advice as each case varies. Please call the Flores Harbour Law Office today and speak with one of our attorneys for a free consultation.