At Babel Immigration Law, we are experienced in all categories of permanent residence, and the temporary work options that are sometimes required to support a successful transition to permanent status in this country. Additionally, we can help to support you where the unexpected occurs, and there is some form of inadmissibility (medical, criminal or other).
U.S. Immigration Services
WORKING WITH YOU TO FIND CLARITY IN IMMIGRATION
U.S. IMMIGRATION SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS
The pathway to permanent residency and citizenship can take many different forms.
We provide the following U.S. Immigration services for Individuals:
A “diversity green card” typically refers to a Permanent Resident Card (commonly known as a green card) obtained through the Diversity Visa (DV) Program, also known as the Diversity Visa Lottery. The Diversity Visa Program is a U.S. government program that provides a limited number of immigrant visas (green cards) each year to individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. Its main purpose is to promote diversity in the immigrant population by ensuring that people from a wide range of countries have the opportunity to come to the United States.
Here’s how the Diversity Visa Program works:
- Lottery Selection: The U.S. Department of State conducts an annual lottery in which individuals from eligible countries can enter. The entry period typically occurs several months in advance of the visa issuance.
- Random Selection: Entries are chosen randomly, and those selected have the opportunity to apply for a Diversity Visa. Not all lottery entrants are selected.
- Application Process: If selected, the applicant must go through a detailed application process, including submitting various forms, providing necessary documentation, and attending an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.
- Visa Approval: If approved, the applicant and their eligible family members receive Diversity Visas, which grant them the legal right to live and work in the United States as permanent residents.
It’s important to note that the Diversity Visa Program has specific eligibility requirements, and not all countries are eligible each year. The number of available visas and the list of eligible countries can change annually, so it’s essential to check the U.S. Department of State’s website for the most up-to-date information and entry instructions if you’re interested in participating in the program.
Obtaining a green card through the Diversity Visa Program is one of the ways individuals from underrepresented countries can become lawful permanent residents in the United States. It’s called a “diversity green card” because it promotes diversity by providing opportunities to people from countries with lower rates of immigration to the U.S.
Applying for U.S. naturalization, which is the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, involves several steps and requirements. Here’s a general overview of the process:
- Determine Eligibility: Before you can apply for U.S. naturalization, you must ensure that you meet the following basic eligibility requirements:
- Be a permanent resident (green card holder) for at least 5 years (or 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen).
- Have continuous residence in the United States during the 5-year period (or 3-year period if married to a U.S. citizen).
- Be physically present in the United States for at least half of the 5-year (or 3-year) period.
- Be of good moral character.
- Demonstrate basic knowledge of U.S. government and history.
- Demonstrate the ability to read, write, and speak English (with some exceptions for age and duration of permanent residency).
- Prepare Required Documents: Gather the necessary documents, which typically include:
- A copy of your green card (permanent resident card).
- Tax returns for the required period.
- Marriage certificate (if applicable).
- Any legal documents related to your immigration history.
- Two passport-sized photos.
- A completed Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- Submit Your Application: Complete and submit Form N-400, along with the required supporting documents, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You can file your application online or by mail. Make sure to include the filing fee, if applicable.
- Biometrics Appointment: After receiving your application, USCIS will schedule you for a biometrics appointment, during which they will take your fingerprints and photographs.
- Attend the Interview: You’ll be scheduled for an interview with a USCIS officer. During the interview, you will be asked questions about your application and tested on your English and U.S. civics knowledge.
- Take the Oath of Allegiance: If your application is approved, you will receive a notice to attend a naturalization ceremony. During the ceremony, you’ll take the Oath of Allegiance and officially become a U.S. citizen.
- Apply for a U.S. Passport: After becoming a U.S. citizen, you can apply for a U.S. passport to enjoy the full benefits of citizenship.
Renouncing your U.S. citizenship is a significant legal and personal decision. It is a process that involves certain steps and requirements, and it’s important to understand the implications before proceeding. Here’s a general overview of the process:
- Consider the Consequences: Before taking any steps, you should thoroughly consider the consequences of renouncing your U.S. citizenship. This may include losing access to U.S. government benefits, restrictions on future travel to the U.S., and financial implications, among others.
- Consult with a Legal Professional: It’s highly advisable to consult with a qualified immigration attorney or tax professional who specializes in expatriation and citizenship renunciation. They can provide you with personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances.
- Renounce in Person: If you decide to proceed, you will generally need to do so in person at a U.S. embassy or consulate in a foreign country. You’ll need to make an appointment for this purpose.
- Renunciation Statement: You will be required to complete a Renunciation Statement, typically called Form DS-4080. This statement will outline your reasons for renouncing citizenship.
- Oath of Renunciation: You will be asked to take an oath of renunciation. This is a formal statement in which you renounce your U.S. citizenship.
- Loss of Citizenship: Once the renunciation is approved, your U.S. citizenship will be terminated. You will receive a Certificate of Loss of Nationality as proof of your renunciation.
- Potential Tax Consequences: Renouncing your U.S. citizenship does not relieve you of your tax obligations. There may be an exit tax if you are considered a “covered expatriate” under U.S. tax law, which is a complex calculation.
- Inform Relevant Authorities: After renouncing, you should inform the Social Security Administration, the Department of State, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ensure compliance with various U.S. laws and regulations.
- Travel Implications: Renouncing U.S. citizenship may impact your ability to enter the United States in the future. You may need a visa for entry, and certain privileges may be limited.
An I-130 application is a form used in the United States immigration system. It is officially called the “Petition for Alien Relative” and is used by U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to petition for certain qualified family members to come and live in the United States.
Here’s how it works:
- Eligible Petitioners:S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can file an I-130 petition on behalf of their immediate relatives or certain other family members.
- Immediate Relatives:S. citizens can petition for their immediate relatives, including spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents (if the petitioner is at least 21 years old). There is no annual limit on the number of visas available for these categories, so there is typically no waiting period once the petition is approved.
- Preference Categories: Lawful permanent residents can also file I-130 petitions, but they are subject to annual limits, so there may be waiting periods before the family members can immigrate. The preference categories include unmarried adult children (F1), spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents (F2A and F2B), married adult children (F3), and siblings (F4).
- Filing Process: To file an I-130 petition, the petitioner submits the form to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The form requires details about the petitioner, the beneficiary, and their relationship.
- Approval: If the I-130 petition is approved, it establishes the qualifying relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary. Once approved, family members in preference categories (F1, F2A, F2B, F3, and F4) may need to wait until a visa number becomes available before they can proceed with the immigration process.
- Further Immigration Process: After I-130 approval and visa availability, beneficiaries can apply for an immigrant visa or adjust their status to lawful permanent resident if they are already in the U.S.
The I-130 petition is an essential step in the family-based immigration process, helping U.S. citizens and green card holders bring their eligible family members to live with them in the United States.
Consular processing is a method used in family-based immigration to the United States. It is a process that allows individuals who are outside the United States to apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. This is typically done when a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder) wishes to sponsor a family member for immigration to the United States.
Here is an overview of how consular processing for family immigration works:
- Petition Filing: The process begins with a family member who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident filing a family-based immigrant visa petition on behalf of the foreign relative. The petitioner must demonstrate the qualifying family relationship with the intended beneficiary (the person seeking to immigrate).
- Visa Petition Approval: After the petition is filed and approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing.
- Visa Application: The intending immigrant, upon receiving notification from the NVC, must submit a visa application and pay the required fees. This includes providing supporting documentation, such as police clearance certificates, medical examinations, and financial sponsorship evidence.
- Consular Interview: Once the NVC has processed the case and determined that all required documentation is in order, the case is forwarded to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the beneficiary’s home country. The beneficiary is scheduled for an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Visa Issuance: If the consular officer approves the visa application and the beneficiary is found eligible for immigrant status, they will be issued an immigrant visa. This visa allows them to enter the United States for the purpose of becoming a permanent resident.
- Travel to the United States: Upon receiving the immigrant visa, the beneficiary can travel to the United States. Once they arrive, they become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) of the United States.
It’s important to note that the consular processing route is generally used when the beneficiary is outside the United States. In contrast, adjustment of status is used when the beneficiary is already inside the United States and is eligible to apply for permanent residency without leaving the country.
The specific requirements, procedures, and processing times can vary depending on the family relationship and the country in which the U.S. embassy or consulate is located.
Adjustment of status is a process in the United States that allows certain individuals to become lawful permanent residents (green card holders) while already residing in the U.S. This process is typically used by individuals who are already in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa, like a tourist or student visa, and are eligible to apply for a green card through a qualifying family relationship with a U.S. citizen.
When you mention “adjustment of status family of a U.S. citizen,” you are likely referring to a situation where a family member of a U.S. citizen is eligible to apply for a green card through a family-based preference category. This process allows certain family members to obtain lawful permanent residency and ultimately, U.S. citizenship.
Family-sponsored preference categories for U.S. citizens typically include:
- Immediate Relatives (IR): This category includes spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents of U.S. citizens. There are no annual numerical limits on the visas available to these immediate relatives.
- Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children.
- Family Second Preference (F2): This is divided into two subcategories:
- F2A: Spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents.
- F2B: Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of lawful permanent residents.
- Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
- Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
To apply for adjustment of status through a family relationship with a U.S. citizen, the sponsoring family member (the U.S. citizen) typically needs to file an immigrant petition on behalf of the beneficiary family member (the intending immigrant). Once the petition is approved, the intending immigrant can apply for adjustment of status to obtain a green card.
It’s important to note that the specific eligibility criteria and requirements for adjustment of status can vary based on the family relationship, the family preference category, and the current immigration laws and regulations.
An I-140 petition is a form used in the United States for the immigration process. Specifically, it is used to petition for an employment-based immigrant visa, which allows foreign nationals to live and work in the United States permanently. The I-140 petition is typically submitted by an employer on behalf of a foreign employee who is seeking to become a permanent resident, also known as a green card holder.
The I-140 petition is used for various employment-based immigrant categories, including but not limited to:
- EB-1 (Employment-Based First Preference): This category is for individuals with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational managers or executives.
- EB-2 (Employment-Based Second Preference): This category is for individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability in their field.
- EB-3 (Employment-Based Third Preference): This category is for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers.
The I-140 petition involves the employer demonstrating that they have a legitimate job offer for the foreign national and that the foreign national meets the criteria for the specific employment-based immigrant category. The approval of the I-140 petition is an important step in the green card application process, as it establishes the basis for the foreign national to become a permanent resident of the United States. After the I-140 is approved, the foreign national can then move forward with the adjustment of status or consular processing to obtain their green card.
In the context of U.S. immigration, a waiver is a legal mechanism that allows certain individuals to overcome specific grounds of inadmissibility and obtain a visa or green card despite these issues. Grounds of inadmissibility are factors that can prevent a foreign national from entering the United States or obtaining lawful permanent resident status.
There are several types of waivers available in U.S. immigration law, including but not limited to:
- I-601 Waiver (Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility): This waiver is typically used to forgive certain grounds of inadmissibility such as unlawful presence, fraud or misrepresentation, criminal convictions, and more. It is often used in the context of family-based immigration or when a person is trying to adjust their status in the U.S.
- I-212 Waiver (Permission to Reapply for Admission): This waiver is used when someone has been previously removed or deported from the U.S., and they want to reapply for admission after a specified period.
- J-1 Waiver: Exchange visitors with a two-year home-country physical presence requirement may apply for a waiver to avoid returning to their home country for the required two years before they can apply for other U.S. visas or adjust their status.