How Immigration Lawyers Can Assist Your Family with Immigration Procedures

U.S. immigration laws can be fairly complex, and hiring an immigration lawyer can help your family deal with immigration issues or legal trouble and save you time and money.

An immigration attorney is a private practitioner who provides immigration legal services to individuals interested in getting a green card, family visas, work visas, or students visas, and they aren’t connected to U.S. immigration offices like the Department of State, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the Department of Homeland Security. They deal with various issues relating to green cards, U.S. citizenship, immigration visas, and other U.S. immigration processes.

U.S. immigration laws are established by the federal government. Anyone who will be allowed to enter the U.S. or how long anyone can stay is determined by these rules. If a foreign national wishes to undergo the naturalization process to become a legal immigrant and become a U.S. citizen, or if they’re facing legal issues regarding their immigration status, they must be familiar with the provisions of these laws.

Seeking legal advice from immigration experts who are up-to-date with immigration news and laws is your best bet when facing legal immigration issues. A Nashville immigration and family law attorneys can help you understand the legal immigration process and make sure that your visa application goes smoothly.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help

There are different ways an immigrant lawyer can help immigrant families. In this article, we have provided you with three ways that Durham immigration lawyers can help.

1. Properly Explain the Immigration Process

Usually, new immigrants encounter problems such as deportation, overstaying, illegal entry, or even losing legal status because there are issues with the immigrant visas or visa application process they’ve chosen. A legal counsel that knows the process of immigration and the different immigration offices can help make your application a success.

The Department of Homeland Security have different federal agencies that are in charge of administrating different immigration laws and immigration policy :

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – the government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – monitors cross-border crimes and illegal immigration that threaten national security and public safety
  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – the largest federal law enforcement agency that is focused on border control and security

2. Assess the Right Type of Visa for You

Immigration ProceduresAn immigration attorney can guide you when choosing the type of visa or adjustment of status that is appropriate for your situation. The different types of U.S. visas are:

  • Immigrant visa – issued to foreign nationals who intend to live permanently in the United States
  • Non-immigrant visa – issued to foreign nationals wishing to enter the United States temporarily – for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, study, or other similar reasons
  • Visa Waiver Program (VWP) – enables foreign nationals from 38 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. A VWP can’t be used to apply for a student visa or work visa or to apply for a green card to become a lawful permanent resident

3. Assist You in Your Green Card Application

Aside from giving you immigration advice and helping you get familiar with the immigration process, experienced immigration attorneys can also assist you in preparing and submitting your application for family immigration and give you legal representation in an immigration court.

If you have plans of applying for family-based immigration, you’d have to submit your application and other supporting documents to the U.S. federal government. Immigration law can be complicated, and seeking the help of immigration law firms that specialize in immigration, such as Diener Law, can help you in your application.

How a Nashville immigration and family law attorneys Can Help

The immigration process can be very long and confusing. That is why it’s important to seek the immigration assistance of a highly-skilled attorney who specializes in immigration laws and procedures such as employment-based visas, obtaining a green card, or petition for alien relatives.

Our family immigration lawyers are here to help. If you’re an immigrant who needs legal assistance for yourself and your family or if you have immigration questions, consult with our Nashville immigration and family law attorneys today.

Everything You Need to Know About Becoming an Immigration Lawyer

Want to make a difference—and have a lasting career—as an immigration lawyer? Keep reading for answers to frequently asked questions about this rewarding legal specialty.

First things first…

Who might be interested in immigration law?

Does the thought of working on human rights issues excite you? Do you like interacting with people from other countries and cultures? Are you interested in criminal law, constitutional law, civil rights law, family law, education law, entertainment law, sports law, compliance, or business law? Do you hope to be a transactional lawyer or litigate in federal court?

If any of the above apply to you, you are likely to benefit from studying immigration law. Why? Because immigration law provides you with a foundation to represent people who have immigration matters to resolve, but it also allows you to recognize how a person’s immigration status might impact them in many seemingly unrelated ways.

What do immigration lawyers do?

The immigration issues that have seen intense political debate and media coverage in recent years are only part of the story.

The United States sees a constant influx of people hoping to live, work, and study within its borders, and immigration lawyers can help individuals, families, and businesses navigate those various and often complex immigration pathways. A person’s immigration status might impact and intersect with other legal matters too, such as family law, criminal law, business, and tax law, and being well versed in immigration law is necessary for attorneys practicing in those areas as well.

Immigration lawyers may represent clients in administrative courts, or they may counsel clients about their legal rights and obligations related to immigration, among other things. They also suggest courses of action based on their knowledge of immigration law.

For example, immigration lawyers might help citizens of other countries through the process of gaining legal status to work in the United States with the H-1B visa program. This program provides a framework for American employers to hire non-U.S. citizens in jobs where their skills are needed. Individuals hoping to come to the United States to fill such positions must gain approval through a complex and often intimidating process. They (or often the employers hoping to hire them) often turn to immigration lawyers, who provide assistance in completing forms and taking other required steps. The lawyers may also represent clients in dealing with government officials in matters related to the visa application.

Related: Meet professor Dina Francesca Haynes, Director of the Immigration Law certificate at New England Law | Boston

You can find immigration lawyers in various legal settings as well, from large law firms to smaller practices that include or specialize in immigration law, to government agencies to nonprofit organizations. (Every world-class performer or athlete has an immigration attorney behind them, advising on and securing necessary visas!) Some immigration attorneys provide services through a nonprofit or public interest law fair. Or they may prepare correspondence, meet with government officials, make presentations, and advise staff and volunteers, among other duties.

Finally, highly experienced immigration lawyers may pursue other career interests, such as teaching immigration law in law schools. Many universities have an immigration attorney on staff to advise incoming students and faculty as well. Other possibilities include becoming an immigration judge, a legislative aid (every member of Congress has an immigration advisor on staff), or an appointed or elected official.

Even criminal lawyers would be well-advised to understand immigration law, as they can be professionally sanctioned for failing to properly advise non-citizen clients of the immigration consequences of convictions, pleas, and sentences.

At the end of the day, immigration law can be a strong fit to students interested in human rights and international law, as well as those interested in business law or criminal law.

How can you become an immigration lawyer?

Regardless of the eventual practice area, completing a bachelor’s degree is the usual first step in becoming a lawyer, followed by earning a juris doctor (JD) degree.

A law school concentration or specialization in immigration law will help bolster your expertise in this specialty and give you an advantage in the field, though it is not technically necessary to practice. Rather, employers and clients will be looking for lawyers with ample exposure to the immigration field, particularly hands-on legal experience through clinics, legal internships, externships, clerkships, pro bono activities, and more, as well as through their law school course work.

A career in immigration law, as with most legal areas, also requires certain skills. High-level capabilities in reading and writing are a must, as is the ability to understand and communicate complex concepts and advocate for your client in an adversarial setting. Law schools both seek out these skills in applicants and cultivate them in their students.

In many situations, strong interpersonal skills are also needed. During any given day in immigration practice, an attorney may work with people who have undergone exceptionally traumatic experiences, including suffering persecution, human trafficking, or torture. The ability to communicate with compassion may be especially important in dealing with immigrants and immigrant families, who may need reassurance as well as technical assistance in dealing with the legal complexities of immigration.

If you’re not in law school yet…

If you’ve yet to enter law school (whether you’re an undergrad student, a working professional, or even still in high school), there are things you can do now to prepare yourself for the legal education ahead and your future career as an immigration lawyer.

Common undergraduate majors for students considering law school include political science, history, philosophy, economics, social sciences, language studies, and business—but no specific major is required. Even fields like nursing or engineering can serve as “pre-law” majors.

The American Bar Association (ABA) advises anyone interested in a legal career, regardless of the chosen specialty, to pursue educational, extracurricular, and life experiences that will foster the strengths and abilities needed for success in the legal world. Among them are analytical thinking, problem-solving, critical reading, writing and editing, oral communication, listening skills, and research.

The ABA also recommends getting involved in pursuits related to public service, promotion of justice, relationship-building, and collaboration. So seek out part-time or summer jobs, internships, or volunteer activities if you can. For instance, interning with a law firm that specializes in immigration issues can provide a first-hand look at the work involved while helping you polish relevant workplace skills. Such “real world” experiences can also help you assess the pros and cons of working in this field without making the commitment of full-time employment after law school. It will also provide a knowledge base you can build on later if you choose to pursue a career in immigration law.

The same can be said for gaining experience in a social outreach organization, business that relies on non-citizen employees, or government office that deals with immigration. If a direct connection with immigration is not available, any paid or volunteer activity that involves public speaking, writing, research, or other skills valued in the legal profession could be worth pursuing.

If you’re already in law school…

Once in law school, you’ll complete a combination of required courses and electives that match your individual interests and future aspirations. These may include courses or even concentrations or certificates in immigration law or related areas, which provide a vital academic foundation for a career in this specialty.

In addition to academics, and as noted above, you should also pursue as many opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the legal field as you can, particularly in immigration law–related work. You might find such opportunities through the clinical programspro bono activitiesinternships/externships, and student groups offered by your law school.

For most people planning to practice law, including immigration law, the JD is the standard degree. But some law school graduates go on to pursue other degrees or credentials requiring additional study, such as the Master of Laws (LLM) or the Doctor of Science of Law/Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD or SJD). Advanced degrees are generally pursued by those who hope to teach law or conduct scholarly research.

What does immigration law pay?

It’s no secret that legal careers tend to pay well, though individual lawyers’ salaries can vary considerably, even within the same legal specialty, like immigration law. The services you offer, clientele you serve, and area of the country you practice in can all affect earning potential.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual wage for all lawyers is about $120,000. Median salaries top $140,000 for those employed by the federal government, while pay for state and local government ranges from $85,000 to $93,000 annually. Lawyers employed by large, successful law firms or big corporations tend to earn more than those who own their own practices or work for nonprofit organizations.

Earnings for some lawyers who specialize in immigration may be lower than the average for lawyers in general. An attorney who accepts a position with a small immigration nonprofit, for example, may choose that option with the understanding that while the salary is lower than average, the work offers the opportunity to serve people in life-altering situations who lack the resources to obtain legal assistance otherwise. Not to mention the satisfaction rates are consistently higher for public interest lawyers. Many immigration lawyers go into solo practice as well.

Where can I learn more?

There are certainly plenty of online resources to help you learn more about becoming an immigration lawyer; however, you may find it’s helpful to start by connecting with people in the field. This might mean conducting an informational interview with a working immigration lawyer, perhaps through your undergraduate institution (ask the career or alumni offices at your school). Conversations with law school representatives can also be revealing, and it’s often easy to contact law school admissions folks and even professors directly. You might also get a chance to chat about immigration law at a law school fair.

Another helpful resource is the American Immigration Lawyers Association, a national organization of more than 15,000 attorneys and educators who practice and teach immigration law. This nonpartisan nonprofit provides continuing legal education, information, and professional services. Its goals are to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

As you explore immigration law through these and other resources, you may find it offers the right career potential for you.

Reasons Why You Should Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney You are here

Family law has always been among the most sensitive subjects of law because it involves loved ones. In many cases, having a family court case means directly fighting someone close. At this moment, you are highly likely to use whatever will negatively affect your partner to win the case. Unfortunately, this is not a wise way to solve your issues.

To manage your emotions and avoid a complicated legal process, hiring an experienced family law attorney will be an excellent idea. A family law attorney is a practitioner who specializes in cases such as divorce, child custody, spousal support, and child visitation. Here is how you can benefit from hiring one.

Family Law Knowledge

The most obvious reason for hiring family law attorneys is a better understanding of family law. An experienced attorney will always understand the loopholes, which can positively favor you to win the case. Additionally, they can also guide you or handle any technical legal aspects that may arise.

Keep in mind that without professional legal advice, you are highly likely to miss and misrepresent some facts. As a result, this can extensively damage your case.

Legal Proceedings Knowledge

Once you hire family attorney services, the lawyers tend to have a lot of knowledge on court proceedings. Remember that different states go through various procedures that relate to family matters. Therefore, if you do not belong to that state, there are higher chances that you have zero knowledge of the techniques involved.

Some laws even cover how you present your papers. In respect to that, only an experienced lawyer can help. The fact that judges are usually busy and do not like people who waste their time is another reason why a family law attorney is crucial.

An experienced divorce lawyer ensures that your papers are presented correctly in a way that abides by the law. Consequently, you will not have to sweat about your case being thrown out as early as possible.

Counseling

About two-thirds of women file for divorce. Since divorce is one of the most painful processes that any woman or couple can go through, counseling is vital. Unfortunately, it is something that most people will face in life. Remember that 48 percent of marriages come to an end after 20 years. Even so, you should avoid making hasty long-term considerations such as finances, property, and parenting arrangements.

Sometimes you only need a third party perspective and critical evaluation of your situation. Therefore, a lawsuit may not always be necessary.

A divorce lawyer will make sure that the decision you make is not based on stress and flying emotions. He or she will continue to advise on the consequences of a particular family disputes proceedings.

So, hiring a divorce lawyer is essential as most of them are also excellent counselors. With this, you will handle your situation with less tension and even minimal emotional breakdown.

Quality Services at an Affordable Price

Hiring an experienced family law attorney ensures that you enjoy lots of services that are not only limited to legal issues. These professionals always work around the clock to make sure that the interest of your family is protected. Also, they see to it that everything is working as planned within the minimum time possible and with less spending.

Negotiation Skills

In most cases, negotiations are usually necessary when it comes to divorce cases. Without a divorce lawyer, negotiating vital points of your separation can turn out to be challenging. To ease your stress and ensure your needs are met, do not hesitate to our law office.

Final word

Being involved in a legal case is never easy or straightforward. Fortunately, family law attorneys will always be there to ease your burden. Do not forget that they have a lot of experience and are continuously updated about recent developments in their field.

Top 6 Tips For Choosing A Good Family Attorney

Family Attorney

When a family problem is at its worst and reaches the courts, the need for a good attorney is the answer. Hiring a legal counsel requires specific measures to ensure that the desired outcome is achieved.

Before you hire a lawyer, look for qualifications such as professionalism, trust and confidence, and expertise that can help you win the case.

This post will help you decide on choosing a good family attorney

1. Ask Around Or Check Reviews

Your family and friends can help you search for the best lawyers. These referrals can provide the widest search range as the experiences and recommendations of your referrals will help in shortlisting the best lawyer among all possible candidates.

Further, other professionals, such as psychologists and accountants, who usually work with divorce lawyers, can give you the best possible recommendations.

Asking previous clients of a lawyer can also help you visualize how professional they are in dealing with the same case problems.

Moreover, reviews on websites can help speed up the search for good lawyers. For instance, Emily McFarling’s firm in Las Vegas, NV has a website that lays out their services and provides updated client reviews that can help you decide on hiring the best attorney.

2. Choose An Expert

Family law is complex, and trends are constantly evolving with the latest cases. The perspective of the judge on a specific case may change in the future. Thus, it’s important to hire specialist family lawyers with deep expertise and experience in family law.

Also, verify if the lawyer has a specific set of skills that suit your needs. For instance, choose a lawyer who has ample courtroom experience.

If you’re dealing with divorce matters, make sure that the lawyer is a good negotiator. It’s important to do your research and find out the attorney’s record.

Family Attorney

3. Meet With Your Lawyer

Meeting the lawyer in person can give you a bunch of information and the first impression you need to make an informed decision. Personal interviews with them can provide you with ideas on the lawyer’s work ethic and professionalism towards the case.

It’s important you can trust and confide with your chosen lawyer. After all, they’ll be working on personal issues involving your family. Make sure that you’re compatible with working with them.

4. Find Someone Accessible

A good lawyer is attentive to the client’s needs. If the lawyer can be reached out easily and provide prompt feedback, then that could be your choice. It would be nice if the lawyer talks or explains in a converse manner, avoiding legal jargon that’s difficult to comprehend.

Furthermore, the location of the lawyer is also a factor. It’s much more convenient hiring a lawyer in your local area to avoid stress in traveling during meetings.

It’s a plus point for a lawyer who updates their clients by keeping them informed during each step of the case.

5. Look For Warning Signs

Be cautious with red flags. If you’re sensing unethical behavior from your possible legal counsel, then it’s a downside. When carefully selecting a family lawyer, here are some of the warning signs you should avoid:

  • Sharing confidential information from previous clients
  • Unresponsive and distracted with phone calls and other consultations
  • Attitude issues like aggressiveness and laziness
  • Bold promises to clients
  • Poor reputation
  • Pushing deadlines
  • Not providing references
  • No personal connection

6. Pick A Lawyer With Reasonable Fees

Generally, family lawyers are expensive. Of course, some might choose a cheap lawyer to save themselves from the huge expense, but this might not always yield the most positive outcome overall. Family attorneys with a high hourly rate can be due to their efficiency at the job—that’s doing less time, but performing the best strategy for the case to win.

However, there is always a less expensive lawyer who has lower rates, probably due to their lack in demand and popularity. However, this doesn’t always correlate with their level of expertise, dedication, and professionalism.

It’s important not to rely on cost alone when deciding which family lawyer to hire. Look for a lawyer who can properly represent you and your family in court.

Bottom Line

The tips above can help you decide on choosing the right lawyer. Selecting a family lawyer is like searching for a name on the internet: it takes a lot of consideration, yet if you pick the right lawyer, you’ll find relief after that. A good family lawyer practices good work ethics and is an expert in the field. A compassionate and experienced legal counsel can provide effective representation in several areas of family law. After all, they should be your best representation in court, which is why professionalism, experience, expertise, personal compatibility, accessibility, and cost are taken into consideration. In the end, these measures will be worth it when you win the case.

7 Tips To Pass Your Immigration Interview

A very wise individual once said, “If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This expression especially rings true when it comes to your interview with your local United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. Yet every day, people will go to their immigration interviews unprepared, and the consequences can be horrific. Their cases may be denied, and some applicants may even be arrested by immigration at the time of the interview, and even deported back to their country of origin. How does one avoid becoming one of these unhappy statistics? How can you increase your chance of winning your immigration case? In this article, I will share some valuable information, which I hope you will find instructive.

1. Arrive on time.
Immigration officers expect you to be on time for your immigration interview. If you are late, the officer may deny your application. Be prepared to encounter long lines at the entrance of the immigration building, and therefore it is advisable to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled interview.

Also it is important to know that you will not be allowed to bring certain items into the immigration building, such as: matches, lighters, any liquids (including perfume), sharp objects, and pepper spray. If an guard stops you because you are in possession of any of these items, you will usually be given the choice of either throwing the item away or taking it back to your car, which may make you late for your interview, because you may be sent to the back of the line. Be aware that some immigration field offices do not permit cell phones.

2. Wait for your Attorney.
Occasionally an immigration officer will call you for your interview earlier than your appointed time, before your attorney has arrived in the waiting room. In these cases the immigration officer may pressure you to go ahead with the interview without your lawyer present. He may ask you to sign a form agreeing to be interviewed without the presence or assistance of your attorney.
It is a huge mistake to agree to be interviewed without your lawyer present. In this situation the intelligent thing to do is to respectfully ask the officer to allow sufficient time for your lawyer to be present at your interview. Without an experienced immigration attorney present to protect you, the immigration officer may trample all over your legal rights, and deny your case.

3. Dress appropriately.
Immigration officers, like most people, tend to judge people on their manner of appearance and dress. The immigration interview is a serious, official and formal situation, and I strongly recommend that you dress conservatively for the interview. It may increase your chances for success. Translation: no shorts or flip flops.

4. Listen to the Questions Asked and Respond Appropriately.
Practically nothing aggravates and disconcerts an immigration officer more than an applicant who does not directly answer the question asked.  In my years of experience, this is perhaps the number one cause of immigration interviews going sour. The immigration officer will ask specific questions and he expects specific, direct and logical answers. For instance, if an immigration officer asks the applicant “When did you last arrive in the United States?” The response should NOT be, “I entered on a tourist visa.” Instead of telling the official the date of his last entrance to the United States, the applicant told the officer the type of visa he used. This is the type of non-answer that is sure to get on an officer’s nerves. Another example: Question – “When did you first meet your wife?” Answer – “I met her at my friend’s house.” This is not responsive to the question. If one persists in providing these types of non sequitur answers, the officer will generally get so annoyed that he will determine that you are being evasive (lying), and will he deny the case. There are a multitude of types of questions that may be asked of you at the immigration interview. It is of paramount importance that you listen carefully to these questions, and that you be prepared for the questions so that you can respond effectively.

Another big misstep an applicant can make is to just guess when he does not know the answer to a question. Responding with “I do not remember” or “I do not know” is the appropriate answer if you do not know or do not remember. Guessing at an answer or making up an answer to avoid embarrassment will destroy your case.

Example 1: The husband is asked what he gave his wife for her last birthday. In fact, he did not get her anything for that birthday, however he was too embarrassed to admit that. So he tells the officer that he gave her a bottle of perfume. When the officer asked the wife what her husband had given her for her last birthday, she said that he had not gotten her anything.  Because of the differences in the responses, the officer doubts that the marriage is real.

Example 2: The officer asks the husband the date that he and his wife were married. The husband is nervous and as a result forgets the exact date. Instead of admitting to the officer that he is nervous and as a result could not recall the exact date, the husband guesses at an answer and gets it wrong! If the husband had just admitted that he could not recall the exact date, he might have saved his case.

A good immigration attorney will prepare you for the questions you will be asked at the interview, and help protect your rights in the process.

5. Bring an Interpreter.
Applicants who are not fluent in English are required to bring their own interpreter.  The interpreter must be lawfully present in the United States. The officer may not allow a relative to interpret. The interpreter must only interpret the questions asked and the answers given, or else the immigration officer may get annoyed, which can hurt your case.

6. Bring a set of original documents and a duplicate set of copies.
Bring a set of originals (or certified copies of the original documents) to your immigration interview. Also bring a photocopy of each of these documents. The immigration officer will examine the original and will ask for a copy to keep in his file.

7. More is better than less.
A very common mistake in marriage residency cases is when the husband and wife wait until they get the immigration interview notice before they start collecting documents and photos to prove that have a bona fide real marriage and live together. It may take several months to more than a year from the time an application is filed to the time of the final residency interview. Do not wait until the last minute to start collecting proof of the bona fides of your marriage. Some couples wait until the last minute to open a joint bank account, and as a consequence, at the interview they can only produce one or two bank statements in both their names. Or they wait until the 11th hour to enter into a lease, even though they have been living at that address for a long time. When the lease they present at the interview is only dated a few days before the interview, the immigration officer may be suspicious of the marriage and lower the chance of the application’s success. Another mistake is for the for either spouse to wait until its too late before applying to have a driver’s license changed to reflect the address where they are currently living. If the addresses on the driver’s licenses do not both accurately reflect the marital address, the immigration officer will likely doubt that the marriage is real.

Another big mistake is when the tax return does not properly identify the couple’s marital status. Instead of going to a certified public accountant (CPA), they go to an unprofessional tax preparer, and in many instances the tax returns will fail to correctly identify the marital status. If an immigration officer sees that you were married in 2008 but your taxes for 2009 and 2010 list you as single, the officer may well use that fact to question the bona fides of your marriage.

One of the worst missteps a marriage-based residency applicant can make is coming to the interview with little or no proof that the couple resides together. This failure to provide a sufficient quantity of documentation could doom the case. That is why when it comes to documenting your marriage, more is far better than less.

For example, let’s talk about photos. If a married couple is really living together in a normal, healthy, loving relationship, they should be able to produce photos of a wide array of situations and over a period of time. The photographs should not only be of the both of them together, but should reflect their wider world of friends, family and acquaintances. Wedding pictures are great, and in fact photo albums of the wedding are very persuasive. I have represented clients who have come into the interview with boxes full of photos and other evidence in support of the bona fides of their marriage, and their interviews proceeded very smoothly. On the other hand, the couple that brings in a paltry amount of evidence is likely to experience a difficult interview where each one is interrogated separately by a quizzical and doubting immigration officer, and their case is much more likely to be denied.

My friends, make no mistake, today in the United States obtaining legal residency is truly a battle, but with the right preparation you can win the battle for the green card.

This article does not constitute legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of an immigration lawyer familiar with the facts of your individual case.  

What Are the Four Types Of Immigration? Nelson Law Answers

What Are the Four Types Of Immigration?

What are the four types of immigration? This is a question we were asked recently here at Nelson and Associates Immigration Law, so we decided to share our answer here so that you could learn a little more about the immigration system too.

What Are the Four Types Of Immigration?

When people ask “what are the four types of immigration?” what they actually mean is “what are the four immigration statuses?” and not “what are the four types of immigration?” The four immigration statuses include citizens, residents, non-immigrants, and undocumented immigrants.

1. Citizens

A citizen is someone who pledges allegiance to the United States and who is given certain inalienable rights as granted by the United States Constitution.

There are two types of citizenship.

The first type of citizen is someone who was born in the United States and by their birthright, they are deemed to be an American citizen. Someone may also be born in a territory of the United States of America, for example, anyone born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941 is considered to be a U.S. Citizen by birth.

The second type of citizen is someone who becomes a citizen through the naturalization process. During the naturalization process, a person must meet specific criteria before they can be considered as a U.S. citizen.

Currently the USCIS requirements for someone to become a citizen through naturalization are as follows:

  • Be at least 18 years of age at the time you file the application;
  • Have been a lawful permanent resident for the past three or five years (depending on which naturalization category you are applying under);
  • Have continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English;
  • Demonstrate good moral character;
  • Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
  • Demonstrate a loyalty to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and
  • Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance.

2. Residents

A resident, also known as a lawful permanent resident, is someone who has been granted the right to indefinitely live within the United States. Lawful permanent residents are also referred to as “Green Card Holders” because they are granted a green card to prove their lawful status in the United States.

To be eligible for residency in the United States, you must qualify under one of the categories determined by the U.S. government. These categories include:

Once eligible, applicants for permanent residency must go through the application process which includes filling in an application for residence, paying a necessary fee, undergoing medical checks, and going through a biometrics process. Once all of the necessary criteria has been satisfactorily met, a green card will be issued.

3. Non-Immigrants

Non-immigrants are individuals who have a nationality other than American and who have been granted temporary permission to be in the United States for a specific purpose. Non-immigrants must have a non-immigrant Visa that proves their legal status as a temporary visitor in the country.

There are many different types of non-immigrant visas that someone can apply for to become a non-immigrant who is legally in the United States. The following chart from Travel.State.Gov explains these options in more detail –

Nashville Attorney Assisting with Family Immigration Issues

An immigration law firm that puts your family first

Ask anyone you meet in Nashville what the most important part of life is, and we guarantee you’ll get the same answer every time – family. Family is what keeps us whole, keeps us grounded and keeps us happy. We understand that for many immigrants, bringing their families to America to be with them is the driving force behind everything they do, and we’re willing to bet it’s what drives you, too.

At the Law Office of Perry A. Craft, PLLC, we want to help you make that dream come true. For more than 40 years, Attorney Craft has helped protect families in and around Nashville. His commitment to upholding the law and his practical advice take the stress and worry out of the immigration process, so you can focus on your loved ones. Let us help you reunite your family once again.

Keeping families together in Nashville

We know that every family is different; your immigration needs are just as unique as you are. We can prepare the right strategy for bringing your spouse, your siblings, your parents, and your children home to you in Nashville, and for protecting their rights once you’re together. At our firm, we help people with:

  • Obtaining K-1 visas. Also known as the “fiancé visa,” the K-1 allows a U.S. citizen to bring a foreign national into the country to get married. A K-1 visa allows for this and is good for 90 days; afterwards, your new spouse may apply for permanent residence, but must apply promptly.
  • Green cards. If you’re a U.S. citizen or a green card holder yourself, we can help your children, parents, spouse, or siblings apply for a green card themselves.
  • DREAM Act deferred actions. We want your children to stay in the country they know as home. We can help your eligible children obtain work authorization and begin the process towards naturalization.
  • Hardship waivers. In cases where your spouse is facing removal or deportation, we can apply for a hardship waiver. These are exceptionally complex documents and require a level of dedication to details that only a lawyer like Perry A. Craft should handle.

When you’re ready to begin the naturalization process, we’re ready to help. Attorney Craft works with you to explain what the steps are, what kinds of documents you need, and how long your path to citizenship should take.

How immigration laws affect divorce and child custody cases

Going through a divorce can be difficult enough, but the laws are more complicated when your immigration status can be affected. When you marry a U.S. citizen, your status as a permanent resident is conditional for two years; in other words, the U.S. government wants to make sure that you married for more than just your green card. If your marriage didn’t work out, however, you can apply to have that conditional status removed. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says you’re eligible for removal of those conditions if you:

  • Are a widow or widower who entered into your marriage in good faith;
  • Entered into a marriage in good faith, but the marriage ended through divorce or annulment; or
  • Entered into a marriage in good faith, but either you or your child were battered or subjected to extreme hardship by your U.S.-citizen or permanent-resident spouse.

At the Law Office of Perry A. Craft, PLLC, we can assist you through the process of removing those conditions. Attorney Craft’s diverse background in different areas of law allows him to view your case from a unique point of view. His experiences as a family law attorney give him an advantage when you’re going through a divorce. If you or your child was hurt by your spouse, he can handle the complexities of a child custody case. If you were falsely accused of harming your child or spouse, his background allows him to mount a defense and protect your right to see your children.

TIPS TO HELP YOU DETERMINE IF YOU CAN TRUST YOUR DIVORCE LAWYER

You’re facing divorce and it feels like your world is upside down. Your financial future’s at stake and if you have children, so is your future with them. The last thing you need is a divorce attorney who’s more interested in profit than your best interest.

A How-To Checklist for Hiring a Divorce Attorney in Connecticut

Determining whether your attorney is trustworthy can be difficult, especially at the outset, because you’ve never been through a divorce before and you don’t know what to expect.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should bury your head in the sand and hope for the best. There are some steps you can take and questions you can ask to assess whether a particular divorce attorney is someone you can actually trust.

1. Research the attorney online

There’s a wealth of information online about attorneys. It’s more difficult than ever to inconspicuously provide poor quality service. That’s because anyone after a miserable experience can hop online and warn their fellow consumers through reviews.

If the attorney’s a fraud, or maybe pretty sound at practicing law, but delivers terrible service, chances are people will post negative reviews about it. Google the lawyer’s name followed by “lawyer reviews” and you’ll see a number of directories on which people who have used the attorney may have left some feedback.

You can also ask around. Word of mouth is important on both ends of the spectrum: for positive and negative information. You may be able to contact someone who’s used the attorney.

Take advantage of the fact that it’s easier than ever to obtain information from third parties about the attorney. Consider that information carefully before making a decision.

2. Beware of being pressured to sign up.

Questions you have to consider about attorneys if you want a divorce | Jay  Hait | The Blogs

Attorney’s should have your best interest as a priority. It’s not in your best interest to be pressured into hiring an attorney. If it feels like the attorney is a little too desperate to sign up for you, that’s a red flag. Of course, there are some cases in which time is of the essence and it’s the attorney’s obligation to inform you of that.

But that’s not what we’re talking about here. You know that feeling when the person trying to sell you something is pushing instead of educating? If you get that sense, step back and don’t make a rash decision.

3. If the attorney is encouraging you to make emotion-based decisions, run!

Divorce can be difficult. And of course, it’s not uncommon for emotions to run high. However, if the attorney is using your emotions to try to convince you to take certain steps in the case that are not grounded in sound logic and reason, that’s a sign the attorney is more interested in your money than your interests.

One way to put yourself in a better position to detect this is to educate yourself on divorce at the outset. No need to go into this blind. There’s a wealth of information online about divorce. Learn about it. Ask a lot of questions.

Also, if the attorney’s taking the case in a direction that doesn’t feel right, you can consult with another attorney. Sometimes having another professional re-assess a case for you can shed some light on an issue. And it may give you the information you need to determine if your attorney’s leading you astray.

4. Don’t tolerate poor communication.

Tips to Help You Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer in Connecticut

The fact that many attorneys are poor at communication is a running joke. You leave a message and no one gets back to you for a couple of weeks because the lawyer’s “busy.” Nonsense! Poor communication results in information falling through the cracks, which compromises the lawyer’s ability to represent you effectively. Your information, goals, priorities are all lost in the shuffle if there isn’t a good client communication system in place at the firm.

It’s particularly troublesome when the communication is poor at the outset of the representation. If they’re not paying attention to you now, what makes you think things will get better going forward?

5. Be wary of attorneys that make no effort to compromise.

There’s generally give and take in divorce. Of course, the attorney should be looking out for your best interest and fighting to get you the best result.

But if the attorney has no flexibility and is making no effort to resolve the case, it may be that the attorney’s priority is making some extra money. Generally, if the case is resolved efficiently, the divorce lawyer is paid less. If your attorney is prolonging the case with no good explanation, you need to be asking more questions.

Attorneys have different styles and different personalities (they’re people too!). So understand that not everything about the lawyer or the firm will necessarily be perfect. However, if you keep in mind the principles above, you’ll be well on your way to sniffing out a fraud. Divorce can be expensive. If you hire someone who’s putting your interests on the back burner, it can be even more expensive, and frustrating.

Contact us for more information.

Family Based Immigration Applications

United States citizens and permanent residents can assist their qualifying foreign relatives in petitioning for citizenship and permanent residency in the United States. In order for a foreign relative to become a lawful U.S. permanent resident, the following general criteria must be met:

The Importance of Filing for Family-Based Immigrant Petitions Right Away |  Chicago Law Office of Christine Contreras

  1. The foreign national applying for a visa or green card must have a relative who is either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States. The applicant’s relative must be able to show documentation of their status as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, as well as proof of their relationship to the applicant
  2. The applicant’s relative must prove his/her financial income is 125% above the poverty line for his/her entire family, including the applicant. If the relative does not meet this financial criterion, then he/she can become a joint sponsor with another relative, or the applicant’s assets can be taken into account
  3. If the applicant’s relative is a U.S. citizen, he/she must prove that the applicant is his/her:
    • Children under the age of 21 years
    • Spouse
    • Unmarried son or daughter over 21 years old
    • Married son or daughter (any age)
    • Brother or sister of U.S. citizen (if sponsoring relative is at least 21 years old)
    • Parent of U.S. citizen (if sponsoring relative is at least 21 years old)
  4. If the applicant’s sponsoring relative is a U.S. permanent resident, he/she must prove that the applicant is his/her:
    • Husband or wife
    • Unmarried son or daughter of any age

If both the applicant and his/her relative meet these criteria, then the petitioning process can begin.

Immigration Options for Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens

U.S. Citizen Petition for an Immediate Relative to Become a Lawful  Permanent Resident | USCIS

“Immediate Relatives” means the parents, spouses, and children (who are unmarried and under 21 years of age) of a U.S. citizen. Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen are able to immigrate to the United States despite any numerical restrictions, unlike other close family members of U.S. citizens and/or permanent residents.

Family Preference Categories

The Family Preference Immigration Categories Explained | Khalique Law PLLC  | NY

Other family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents are divided into preference categories. Each preference category is provided only a limited number of immigrants per year to be allowed admission into the United States.

Relatives in these categories must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available according to the following preferences:

First Preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. Adult means 21 years of age or older.

Second Preference: Spouses of legal permanent residents, and the unmarried sons and daughters (regardless of age) of legal permanent residents and their children.

Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, their spouses, and their minor children.

Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens, their spouses, and their minor children.

Family Law clients and the Immigration Law issues they face in a COVID-19 climate

We continue our series of hot topics in family law in a COVID-19 climate. Manders Law Managing Partner, Mary-Ann Wright, speaks to Natasha Chell, Partner at Laura Devine Immigration on the pressing questions that clients want to be answered in relation to immigration law issues commonly faced by family law clients in the current crisis. If you are currently engaged in proceedings or are contemplating proceedings at this challenging time, the information and practical guidance below will be of relevance to you.

About the Interviewee

Natasha Chell is a Partner at Laura Devine Immigration, recognized by the legal directories as a top-tier firm specializing in UK and US immigration.  Natasha has over 19 years of experience advising high net worth individuals/executives and multi-national businesses on all areas of UK immigration, providing solutions-focused advice on navigating the ever-changing UK immigration landscape.

Question

How can UK immigration permission be affected by the breakdown of a relationship/initiation of divorce proceedings?

Some immigration categories require partners (spouse/civil partner/unmarried partner) to be in a genuine and subsisting relationship with their ‘sponsor’ in the UK. Should such a relationship break down, which may be at the point of separation, but certainly when divorce/dissolution proceedings are initiated for spouses/civil partners, the partner should notify the Home Office of this change in circumstances. It is important to be aware that such a breakdown in a relationship may also be reported to the Home Office by the sponsor or a third party.

If the Home Office becomes aware that a partner and sponsor are no longer in a genuine and subsisting relationship, it may determine that the partner ceases to meet the immigration requirements for which their permission was granted. This can lead the Home Office to curtail the partner’s immigration permission to 60 days, subject to certain exceptions including where there is an indication of domestic abuse.

Question

What immigration solutions are available if you find yourself in this situation?

Individuals who are at risk of having their permission curtailed should consider applying for new immigration permission, under a category that does not require a genuine and subsisting relationship with their original sponsor. For example, they may qualify for immigration permission based on their relationship with their British child or non-British child (if under the age of 12 and attending an independent school in the UK).  There may also be scope for obtaining alternative immigration permission because they have been a victim of domestic abuse. Specialist advice from an immigration practitioner is vital if you are in this situation.

Applications based on employment or investment may be viable options for some. Whilst such applications would have normally required the individual to apply from overseas, following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office does not currently require eligible individuals, who are in the UK with permission which expires between 24 January and 31 May 2020, to return overseas to apply.

Question

What should individuals do if their marriage/civil partnership ceremony in the UK is canceled due to COVID-19, but they need to be married/civil partners to qualify for family-based immigration permission?

Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies in the UK have been canceled until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individuals with immigration permission granted for the purpose of marrying or entering into a civil partnership with a British citizen, or person present and settled in the UK (also known as ‘fiancée visa’), are normally required to marry or enter the civil partnership within six months or the end date of their immigration permission, whichever is the earliest.

In some circumstances it may be possible for individuals to apply for an extension of their fiancée visa from within the UK, where the marriage or civil partnership did not take place during the prescribed timeframe and where there was a ‘good reason’ supported by evidence that it will take place within the next six months. Whilst the Home Office has not yet published guidance to include the COVID-19 pandemic as a ‘good reason’, we consider it reasonable to consider it as such.

Question

In cases of real urgency where your UK immigration permission has expired, or is due to expire shortly and you are unable to leave the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what options are available to you?

It is important to note that the Home Office has announced that an individual who was in the UK legally and whose immigration permission expired after 24 January 2020, or is due to expire, will not be regarded as an “overstayer” or suffer any detriment in the future if they cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A subsequent concession has been introduced, whereby an individual’s permission can be extended to 31 May 2020 if they cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to COVID-19, however, a formal request must be submitted to the Home Office using a prescribed application form,

If the individual planned to remain in the UK and to apply to extend their permission when it expired, they should continue to submit their online application and pay the prescribed fee, even though all application centers in the UK are temporarily closed at the moment. Consideration of the application will resume in due course, once the UK lockdown measures are lifted.

Some individuals who are in the UK, and would have normally been required to leave and apply for permission from outside the UK, may take advantage of an additional new concession, which allows them to apply from inside the UK, if their immigration permission expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020.

The Home Office is continuing to review the impact COVID-19 has had on immigration requirements and procedures and is regularly announcing concessions so it is very important to stay up to date with the latest announcements and consider seeking specialist immigration advice.

Note: the information contained in this blog is accurate at the time of publication on 5 May 2020. This blog is intended to give an overview (rather than comprehensive guidance and advice) on your legal position and is provided for information only.