Foreign nationals looking to live or work in the United States must go through our country’s immigration process. A foreign national can live, work, or go to school here temporarily (having the intent to return home) and be on a very specific type of visa. A foreign national who intends to spend the rest of his or her life living in the United States must become a Lawful Permanent Resident (or LPR). Such a person cannot be here on a temporary visa (with some limited exceptions). Persons who want to become citizens of the United States must go through the naturalization process after having been an LPR for a period of five years (again with some exceptions).
Individuals looking to become LPRs of the United States face a complex and lengthy process to first obtain an “immigrant visa.” There are four primary avenues by which an individual can obtain an immigrant visa: through family, employment, asylum or refugee status, or the diversity lottery. After an individual has successfully obtained an immigrant visa, he can seek to adjust his status to become an LPR. There are certain requirements that must be met in order to become a permanent resident of the United States. Upon achieving this status, the government issues the “green card” or proof that a person is in fact an LPR.
We represent clients in a range of immigration law matters. For more information, please follow the links below or contact our law office in Cleveland, Ohio.
Family Visas and Citizenship
A citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States can sponsor a spouse, child, parent, or other family member for an immigrant visa. Only a citizen can sponsor their fiancé or fiancée. There are a limited number of family visas available, and waiting times vary depending on the relationship between the sponsor and the immigrant.
Find out more about family visas and citizenship and these related topics:
- Marriage and Fiancé/Fiancée Visas
- Parent and Child Visas
- Visas for victims of domestic violence under Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
- Conditional Residence
- Citizenship and Naturalization
A U.S. employer can sponsor a current or potential employee for temporary or permanent residency. It may also be possible for certain highly qualified individuals to come to the United States without sponsorship by an employer. Most cases for permanent resident status through employment must begin while the foreign national is on a dual intent visa such as an H-1B or an L. Additionally, it is important that all employers know that all people, regardless of whether they are U.S. citizens or foreign nationals, must be authorized to work in the United States and must complete a Form I-9 with their employer within three days of beginning their employment.
Find out more about employment immigration and these related topics:
Removal and Deportation
The U.S. government may commence deportation or removal proceedings if an individual has violated immigration or certain criminal laws. When an individual is deported, he or she cannot reenter the United States. However, several options (including becoming a lawful permanent resident) may be available for individuals who have been targeted for deportation.
Find out more about deportation and removal and these related topics:
- What Is Deportation and Removal?
- Deportation and Removal Defense
- Relief From Deportation
- Deportation and Detention for a Criminal Violation
- Padilla Advisements and Motions to Withdraw
- Deportation and Removal Appeals
Immigration Appeals and Litigation
In certain cases, it may be appropriate to appeal a negative immigration decision. Appeals must be filed before the appeal deadline or you may lose your chance to continue your case. When new evidence comes to light after a negative decision, an appeal may not be appropriate. In those cases, the individual should file a motion to reopen. There are also time limits on filing motions to reopen, and you can only file one. It is critical to consult with an experienced immigration attorney immediately after a denial to determine what your options are going forward. A denial is not always the end of the case. Many cases succeed after an initial denial, but it is important to act quickly or potentially lose your chance to continue the case. Find out more about immigration appeals and litigation.
Attorney Case Assessment – Cleveland, OH or Charlotte, NC
To learn more about the U.S. immigration process and your specific immigration options, please e-mail us or call 216-970-7102 to schedule a case assessment.