The United States of America is the land of opportunity. Thousands from around the world try to immigrate the U.S. each year. But the process of immigrating to this country is a slow, frustrating process. An experienced Douglas immigration attorney at The George McCranie Law Firm can help address your concerns, as well as help you with your immigration matters.
What Is Immigration?
Immigration is the process of entering a country that you are not native of, or possess citizenship from, with the intent to remain and work in that country. The immigration process is quite complex. A Douglas immigration attorney at The George McCranie Law Firm can help you navigate the system.
Basic U.S. Immigration Law
Federal immigration laws establish the rights and obligations of a foreign citizen who is in the U.S. These laws delineate both a person’s immigration status and opportunity in immigration matters. Federal laws also designate whether an individual is illegally in the country or whether a non-citizen should be removed from the country.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a sub-sect of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is responsible for the following:
- Processing naturalization and immigration applications, and
- Establishing immigration service policies.
Obtaining a Visa
As a foreign citizen, you must first get an immigrant visa if you wish to permanently reside in the U.S. To be able to apply for an immigrant visa, a U.S. lawful permanent resident, U.S. citizen relative, or a prospective employer must sponsor you. The sponsor must first file a petition with USCIS to begin the immigration process on your behalf.
For an immediate relative to become a lawful permanent resident through the family-based immigration, the sponsoring relative must be a U.S. citizen. An immediate relative is one of the following:
- Unmarried child under the age of 21
A Douglas immigration attorney at The George McCranie Law Firm can assist in filing an immigration petition (Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative) on behalf of your immediate relative.
Your foreign-born spouse can legally enter the U.S. by one of the following two ways:
- CR-1 immigrant visa – foreign spouse becomes a permanent resident immediately upon arrival in the U.S.
- K-3 spousal visa – spouses reunite faster, but after entering the U.S., the foreign-born spouse must then adjust his or her status to become a permanent resident.
You may bring a foreign national into the U.S. to marry by filing a fiancé(e) visa, known as a K-1 visa. After your marriage, your foreign national spouse may apply for permanent residency and employment authorization.
Minor Children Visa
Two different visas permit unmarried children under the age of 21 to legally enter the U.S.:
- K-4 dependent visa – must be an eligible K-3 applicant’s child
- K-2 derivative visa – must be an eligible K-1 applicant’s child
A foreign national who is legally present in the U.S. can adjust his or her status to become a permanent resident and then receive a green card. This does not require you to return to your home country; thus, you can complete the whole process in the U.S.
The consular process is an alternate route to obtain legal permanent residency. It is more complex than Adjustment of Status, however. Under the consular process, a foreign national is in the U.S. illegally. They must therefore go back to their home country in order to complete the process.
This is the legal process that occurs when a foreign citizen becomes a U.S. citizen. To be eligible for naturalization, you must:
- Have legally entered the U.S.
- Be at least 18 years old, and
- Have been a lawful permanent resident for a specified number of years.
Your parentage may also give you legitimate claim for U.S. citizenship:
- At least one parent is a U.S. citizens
- Adoptive parent is a U.S. citizen
- At least one foreign-born parent is a naturalized U.S. citizens.
Recent Immigration Law Changes
In September 2017, the “willful representation” definition was broadened. The new guidelines expanded the 30-day waiting period to 90 days. Thus, if you have a triggering activity within 90 days after entering into the U.S., your visa may be revoked. These acts include: filing your application for permanent residency, marrying a green card holder or U.S. citizen, studying without a student visa, or working without a work permit.
How Does an Arrest Affect the Immigration Process?
If you are in the U.S. to visit, on a visa, or as a permanent resident, and you are arrested, it is vital you obtain assistance from a Douglas immigration attorney. An arrest or a conviction can threaten your immigration status and rights. This may include removal from the country.
Speak to a Douglas Immigration Attorney at The George McCranie Law Firm
A Douglas immigration attorney at The George McCranie Law Firm can provide assistance if you wish to immigrate, or sponsor someone, to the U.S. Contact us at (912)-383-7581 today. Call (912) 383-7581 today. Or visit our website, www.georgiaimmigrationhelp.com. Or stop by one of our offices in both Douglas: 301 E. Jackson St, Douglas, GA 31533 & Valdosta: 1400 Baytree Rd, Valdosta, GA 31602.