Addressing Your Concerns In A Stressful Time
Across the spectrum, whether you seek to obtain temporary or permanent immigration status, or face the prospect of deportation, immigration matters are complicated and intricate. At Hicks & Funfsinn, PLLC, our attorneys understand the challenging nature of immigration matters and the importance of having dedicated, competent legal representation throughout the process.
If you’re currently involved in an immigration matter, you likely have many questions and concerns. In an effort to address some of the frequent immigration questions we receive, we’ve compiled responses to several reoccurring inquiries:
What Types Of Visas Are Available?
A variety of visa types are available under current U.S. immigration laws.
A temporary, or “nonimmigrant visa” may be issued if you intend to enter the U.S. for a limited purpose, and for a temporary amount of time. Some of the bases for the issuance of a nonimmigrant visa include: tourism, business tourism, education, exchange visitor programs, seasonal employment, and employment in a “specialty occupation” position.
Immigrant visas may be issued to qualifying applicants based on marriage to a U.S. citizen or resident, other qualifying familial relationships, extraordinary ability or skill in a given profession, among other bases.
Who Can Apply For Asylum?
You may apply for asylum regardless of your immigration status. With limited exceptions, you must file for asylum within one year from the date of your last entry to the United States.
You may qualify for an exception to the one-year asylum filing deadline if you can demonstrate:
(1) Changed circumstances materially affecting your eligibility for asylum
(2) Extraordinary circumstances relating to your delay in filing
Can I Help My Family Member Become A Legal Permanent Resident Or U.S. Citizen?
If you are a U.S. citizen, you may petition for select family members to become legal permanent residents, more commonly referred to as “green card holders.” U.S. citizens may petition for current spouses, children, parents, and adult siblings. U.S. citizen petitioners must be at least 21 years old to be eligible to file an immigration petition for their parents and/or siblings.
If you are a permanent resident of the United States or a “green card holder”, you may file an immigration petition for your current spouse and your unmarried children.
When Can I Apply For U.S. Citizenship?
Generally, permanent residents may apply for U.S. citizenship, or naturalization, five years from the date they obtained their green card.
In the case of individuals who obtained their green card based on marriage to a U.S. citizen, they are eligible to apply for naturalization three years from the date their green card was issued but only if they remain married to the petitioning U.S. citizen spouse.
In every type of family-based immigration case, in order to petition for a relative’s green card, you must establish your familial relationship, and provide proof that you have sufficient financial resources to support the family member once they enter the U.S.
If I Have A Green Card, Does That Mean I Can Never be Deported?
No. Green cardholders may still be placed in deportation or removal proceedings for certain criminal charges and/or convictions.
What Is The Deportation/Removal Process?
Generally, deportation and removal proceedings are initiated when an individual receives a formal Notice to Appear in removal proceedings, which sets a date and time to appear in immigration court. Failure to appear at your immigration court date will result in the issuance of a final order of removal in absentia by the immigration judge. Consulting with an immigration attorney before your court date can help you to understand your options, if any, for relief from removal or deportation.