Frequently Asked Questions
GENERAL IMMIGRATION QUESTIONS
What are the requirements for Natualization?
To apply for naturalization, you must: 1) be over 18 years old; 2) have had permanent resident status (“green card”) for at least five years (three years if you got permanent residence through marriage to a U.S. citizen, and you are still married to and living with that U.S. citizen; military service may also shorten your wait); 3) have been physically present in the United States for at least 2 1/2 years of the five years immediately before you file your application for naturalization. You must also have lived in the state where you file the application for at least three months before you file the application; 4) be functionally fluent in spoken and written English, and be able to pass a test showing you understand the basics of U.S. history and the U.S. system of government. (There are limited exceptions to this rule for some people, because of disability, or age and length of residency); 5) have “good moral character;” and 6) be willing to take an oath of allegiance to the United States. The oath includes being willing to bear arms on behalf of the U.S. if the law were to require it; 7) pass the civics exam.
What is a VAWA self petition?
VAWA stands for Violence Against Women Act. Several immigration laws passed in 1994, 2000 and 2005 are collectively referred to as “VAWA.” These laws are intended to help the spouses (male or female) and children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who have been the victim(s) of domestic violence without the involvement of the abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent to adjust their status.
any of these categories, you would be allowed to work only for the sponsoring employer.
Is the Adjustment of Status the same as the change of Status
Adjustment of status is the process a person uses to become a lawful permanent resident while in the United States. That individual’s immigration status is adjusted to lawful permanent residence. In contrast, change of status usually refers to the process by which one changes from one non-immigrant status to another such as from a visitor status to an investor status.
What is the diversity of a Visa Lottery?
The diversity visa lottery also known as the “greencard lottery” holds a lottery of 50,000 immigrant visas for persons from countries that have low rate of immigration to the United States. Those persons who are outside of the United Stated and are selected in the visa lottery may enter the U.S. as lawful permanent residents. Lottery winners may also apply for permanent residence in the U.S., if that individual is in the U.S. at the time he or she is selected and as long as they are in lawful status.
How can petition for an individual to come to the United States?
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How do I find what happended to my application I filed with USCIS?
After you have filed an application with USCIS, you will receive a receipt notice which will include a receipt number that has three letters and ten numbers. You can easily check the status of your pending application online at USCIS’s website. Another method of finding out the status of your application is by calling the toll free USCIS customer service number 1-800-375-5283.
Where can I find my immigration forms?
Most immigration forms are free on the USCIS website. www.uscis.gov The website also provides the fee schedule for each type of application and the instructions. Each application form has a specific purpose and determining what forms to use may be difficult. For assistance, please contact Root Law Group.
How do I get a lawful pernanent residence in the U.S.?
There are many ways to gain lawful permanent residence (LPR) in the United States. Five of the major ways is by entering the U.S. as a refugee, being granted political asylum, diversity visa lottery, employment petition and family petition. There are also other ways to get LPR status but it usually involves special immigration programs designated for nationals of certain countries.
WHERE DID THE IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE (INS) GO?
As of March 2003, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (also known as “INS”) was split into three separate agencies. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for enforcing immigration laws at the U.S. borders. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for enforcing immigration laws within the United States, such as seeking undocumented people. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) helps with multiple immigration service functions: such as processing applications for permanent residence, naturalization, political asylum, as well as extensions and changes of non-immigrant visa status
What Consulate must I use when I am applying for a U.S. Visa?
Generally, an individual applying for a U.S. visa must do so at the U.S. Consulate of the person’s country of citizenship. In the case where individuals reside in foreign counties other than their country of citizenship, permission should be sought from the U.S. Consulate of the country in which they are residing, to allow them to apply for a visa. For example, a Russian citizen has taken up residence in Canada and is seeking to enter the U.S. on a visitor visa. The Russian citizen must demonstrate that he or she has legally resided in Canada for more than six months before he or she may seek a visa at the U.S. Consulate in Canada.
Embassy vs. Consulate: What is the difference?
Diplomatic offices are often found around the world to aid and allow multiple foreign interactions to occur. Embassies and Consulates are the result of such diplomatic relationships.
Often, the terms Embassy and Consulate are used together yet they are different. An Embassy is often located in a county’s capital city. An Embassy is responsible for representing the home country abroad and handling foreign diplomatic affairs. In contrast, a consulate is generally found in the largest tourist city of a foreign country. Consulates generally handle minor diplomatic issues and are responsible for issuing visas to migrants and tourists.
How do I apply for a replacement of arrival departure record if it is lost?
Do not worry. You may apply for a replacement of your Arrival Departure Record by filing an application to replace your Arrival Departure Record (Form I-102) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) with the appropriate filing fee. The application must be filed at the USCIS office having jurisdiction over the place of your temporary residence in the United States.
What is an Arrival/Departure Record and do I need one?
The Arrival/Departure Record (I-94, I-95 or I-94W) is the document that is issued to you by a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer at the port of entry. This document contains your personal information but most important, it shows the date you arrived in the United States and it also shows the date until which you have been admitted. Consider your Arrival/Departure record as your temporary permit to remain in the U.S.
It is important that you surrender your Arrival/ Departure Record to the proper authorities on your departure. Returning your Arrival/Departure Records will serve as evidence that you have not violated U.S. laws by staying beyond the period of time which you were granted upon admission to the U.S.
HOW LONG AM I ENTITLED TO REMAIN IN THE U.S.?
The arrival and departure document (I-94 card) issued to foreign nationals upon arrival will generally indicate the length of time an individual is allowed to remain in the U.S. An immigrant visa will normally allow the individual to reside permanently in the U.S. A visa waiver will normally allow the individual to remain for approximately 90 days. When it comes to non-immigrant visas, the length of time an individual may be allowed to remain in the U.S. varies. For example: someone with a B2 visitor visa will normally be allowed to remain for approximately six months while another individual with an F1 Student visa may be allowed to remain for an undetermined period of time. This is also known as Duration of Status (D/S).
WHAT IS U.S. NON-IMMIGRANT STATUS?
Once a citizen of a foreign country has obtained a non-immigrant visa for the purpose of intended travel, and has been admitted to the United States, a stamp is placed on his or her passport at the port of entry.
That individual is issued an Arrival and Departure document (I-94 Card) which indicates the length of time the individual has been allowed to remain in the United States. Once the individual has been admitted on a certain non-immigrant visa they are considered to be in “status”.
For example: If the individual obtained a visitor visa (B2 Visa) and has been admitted to the U.S. Once admitted, that person is considered to be on B2 non-immigrant status.
What type of Visa do I need?
U.S. Immigration law defines the type of visa you must obtain before attempting to enter the U.S. The type of visa often relates to the purpose of your intended travel.
Most foreign nationals, require a non-immigrant visa to enter to the United States. There are multiple types of non-immigrant visas one can obtain to enter the U.S. The visa must be valid and unexpired at the time of making an entry to the U.S. For example: An individual coming to the U.S. for pleasure would require a visitor visa (also known as a B-2 visa). This type of visa generally allows the individual to enter the United States for a temporary stay.
In the case where a foreign national is seeking to permanently residence in the U.S., he or she must obtain an immigrant visa. This type of visa is generally obtained through a family sponsorship, employment sponsorship, investment or even visa lottery.
In addition, under the visa waiver program, nationals of countries designated by the U.S. State Department are allowed to enter the U.S. by simply being in possession of their valid unexpired passport. These individuals are generally allowed to remain in the U.S. for 90 days.
How do I obtain a U.S. Visa?
A citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must be in possession of a valid unexpired passport issued by his or her country of citizenship. This individual may apply for a visa, which is placed on his or her passport. This may be done at the U.S. Consulate having jurisdiction over the place of residence of the individual seeking a visa.
It is also important to know that there are generally two types of visas: non-immigrant and immigrant visa. A non-immigrant visa allows an individual to travel to the U.S. for a temporary period of time while the immigrant visa allows an individual to reside permanently in the United States. Note that under the visa waiver program, some foreign nationals may be eligible to travel to the U.S. without a visa, in the event they meet the necessary requirements for this type of entry.
Experienced Attorneys Supporting Immigration Services
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