Legal Concerns of Immigration
UNITED STATES IMMIGRATION LAW
United States immigration law determines whether a person who is not a citizen or national of the United States may enter or be present in the United States, what rights, duties and obligations they are entitled to, how long they may stay, when they must leave, and how they may gain residence or citizenship within the United States.
U.S. immigration law is overseen by several agencies. When you enter the U.S., the U.S. Customs and Border Protection/ U.S. Border Patrol will be first government entity to inspect your papers and authorize you to enter the United States. If you are ever out of status, or there is a need to deport you, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be the agency that handles this.
The Department of State is the U.S. agency in charge of assisting those applying for a visa before entering the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deals with many matters outside of the U.S.
U.S. immigration law is very unique and specialized. Most attorneys are not familiar with the U.S. immigration laws. Therefore, it is important to work with an attorney that handles these types of cases and an attorney that you can trust.
FAMILY BASED IMMIGRATION
U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can sponsor certain family members to live lawfully in the United States. U.S. citizens may sponsor spouses, fiancé(s), parents, children of any age, and siblings. Lawful permanent residents may sponsor only spouses and unmarried children of any age.
LIST OF REQUIREMENTS FOR NATURALIZATION
To qualify for naturalization, you must:
1. Be at least 18 years old.
2. Be a lawful permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) for five years.
-- If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you need to be a lawful permanent
resident for only three years.
-- If you had refugee or asylee status, you do not need the full
five years of being a permanent resident. See a naturalization expert.
3. Have good moral character.
-- This means, among other things, not having certain problems
with the police or other authorities.
4. Be able to speak, read, and write English at a basic level.
-- There are exceptions for older people. You do not have to
know English if at the time you apply for naturalization:
-- You are 55 years or older and have had a green card for 15 years, or
-- You are 50 years or older and have had a green card for 20 years.
5. Be able to pass a test on U.S. history and government.
6. Swear that you are loyal to the United States.
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS FOR THOSE WISHING TO ENTER AND IMMIGRATE TO THE UNITED STATES:
If you have had any of the following problems:
• You made trips out of the United States for more than six months
• You moved to another country since getting your green card
• You are in deportation or removal proceedings–or–you have been deported
• You haven't filed your federal income taxes
• You haven't supported your children
• You are male and did not register for the Selective Service between
the ages of 18 and 26
• You are on probation or parole for a criminal conviction
• You have contradictory information on your application
• You lied or committed fraud to get your Green Card or you weren't
originally eligible for your Green Card when you got it
• You have been arrested or convicted of a crime or you have committed a crime
• You lied or committed fraud to receive or to continue to receive public benefits
• You helped someone enter the United States illegally, even if it was a relative
• You claimed to be a U.S. citizen but you weren't
• You have been charged with committing domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect
• You have voted illegally in the United States
• You have made a living by illegal gambling
• You have been involved in prostitution
• You have been a habitual drunkard, a drug abuser, or a drug addict
you must see an expert in immigration law before applying for naturalization. Be honest and try to remember if you had any problems in the past.
These things don't necessarily mean you can't apply for naturalization, but you should talk to an expert before you apply so you'll know whether you have a problem, and how you can best explain the problem to the immigration authorities.
Sawasky Law LLC provides caring, competent, personalized legal counsel to those needing assistance with U.S. immigration law.
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