US immigration law is composed of very complicated details. Here, we present some of the basics concerning US immigration laws with the understanding that this is only a brief overview. The nuances of US immigration law are daunting; but Lawit Law’s seasoned attorneys can thoroughly sort through your personal situation and provide the clarity you, your family, or your business desires and/or requires.
As a full-service immigration law firm, Lawit Law is family-based and very passionate about immigration issues; and we offer more than 40 years of expertise within this very complex arena. We have helped many individuals, families and employers journey through the intricate maze of immigration-related issues.
The Green Card
Individuals who wish to enter the United States and declare America their permanent home must establish ‘permanent residence’ through a green card. With a legitimate green card, immigrants have the right to live, work and travel anywhere in the US, as well as exit the US, with minimal restrictions. Legally, green-card holders cannot vote and can be deported if US laws are broken or if a green-card status is abused.
Humanitarian components of immigration come into play regarding those who take on ‘refugee status’ or ‘asylum status’ where fleeing from persecution is a very real issue. Those with refugee status or asylum status can receive green cards.
Top-Priority Green Card Applicants
There are certain qualifications attached to receiving a green card, which identifies the holder as a permanent US resident. Some individuals are in a position to receive top priority status regarding applying for US permanent residence. Those who qualify for top priority would include: 1) those who are immediate relatives of US citizens such as spouses of US citizens 2) non-married individuals, under the age of 21, with at least one US-citizen parent 3) parents of US citizens, as long as the US citizen son or daughter is at least 21 years old 4) stepchildren and stepparents of US citizens – the marriage which brought about the ‘step’ relationship must have occurred prior to the child’s 18th birthday and 5) adopted children of US citizens or permanent residents – certain conditions must be met; and any adoption must have taken place prior to the child’s 16th birthday.
Those who qualify as a ‘top priority’ have the advantage of an unlimited number of green cards that are made available, at any time. Once the entire application process is completed, top-priority applicants can receive their green cards, assuming their US-citizen relatives petition for them.
Preference-Category Green Card Applicants
Some individuals seeking green cards do not qualify as a ‘top priority’ but fall into what is called ‘preference categories’. Here, eligibility for green cards may exist, but only a certain number of cards would be given from year to year; and the wait time can be lengthy and very uncertain. Some examples of those who qualify within the ‘preference category’ would be: 1) unmarried adults, 21 or older, who have at least one US-citizen parent 2) spouses of a green-card holder//unmarried children of a green-card holder, where the children are under 21//unmarried children of a green-card holder, where the children are older than twenty-one 3) any-aged married person who has at least one parent that is a US citizen 4) siblings of US citizens, as long as the age of the US citizen is 21 or older.
A myriad of other details go into the qualifications of becoming a recipient of a green card including green cards that are offered to ‘preferred employees and workers’. This category deals with individuals who possess job skills that are desired in the US market – from persons who are gifted in the arts, sciences, etc to managers and executives and unskilled workers. Stipulations exist regarding who can acquire a green card as a ‘preferred employee and worker’.
Unlike top-priority applicants, there are annual limits on the number of green cards given to those who fall into the ‘preferred employee and worker’ grouping since these people qualify, too, as ‘preference category’ individuals.
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To better understand the many immigration details surrounding your specific situation, you need an experienced ally on your side!
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