Citizenship & Naturalization
We can assist you in obtaining United States citizenship through the naturalization process. If you are a current “green card” holder (permanent resident) interested in full citizenship, or have not yet obtained a green card but are interested in the long-term options that may eventually be available to you, our attorneys can help you understand the requirements and processes involved with becoming a citizen.
Citizens enjoy greater benefits and more freedom than permanent residents, including the right to vote and the right to be elected in federal or state elections and access to social services. It also eliminates the need to renew your “green card” every ten years.
In general, permanent residents who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years are eligible to apply. Only three years are required if the permanent resident is married to a U.S. citizen, and even less if he or she has served in the military. Please call us for a consultation to learn more about other eligibility requirements and the application process and timeline.
If you wish to enter the U.S. for a temporary period of time, a non-immigrant visa permits you to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security to visit for a specific purpose. That purpose might be work, schooling, a conference, or to visit the country, friends or family.
A non-immigrant visa differs from an immigrant visa in that the non-immigrant visa only allows a person to enter temporarily, whereas an immigrant visa holder can enter and stay permanently.
The length of time someone can stay in the U.S. depends on the visa status under which they are admitted. An individual admitted in one status can often change their status in order to stay longer--or to perform different activities. For instance, a university student may want to change his or her status to an employer-sponsored non-immigrant visa once they graduate and find employment. Several types of non-immigrant visas also allow a person to extend their status and thereby extend their stay in the U.S.
The process can be confusing and complicated. Our firm can make it much easier, determining the visa category that is right for you and assisting you with changing status from your current category to the new category. In appropriate cases, we can also obtain legal status and work authorization for your dependent family members.
The following is a brief list of the most commonly used nonimmigrant visa categories:
B-1/B-2 Visitors Visa
This Visa is designed for foreign nationals who are coming to the United States for business (e.g. attending meeting and conventions), tourism purposes or to obtain medical treatment. You may also use the visa for a short-term training if your foreign employer is covering your salary. You are not allowed to use this visa to work in the US and / or to study.
Travelers from certain eligible countries may also be able to visit the U.S. without a visa, under the Visa Waiver Program, which exempt citizens from certain countries from the Visa requirement, provided they are holding a machine readable passport. These countries include: Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Visa applications may ONLY be made at a US Consulate in your country of residence. There is a presumption in the law that every Visa applicant is an intending immigrant. In order to overcome this presumption you will have to convince the Consular Officer that you have a residence, which you have no intention to abandon, i.e. that you have binding ties that will insure your return at the end of the trip.
Extension of Stay in the US and Change of Status?
When you come to the US with a B-1/B-2 Visa the Immigration Officer at the port of entry will usually grant you permission to stay (A Status) for a period of up to six months. This Status may be EXTENDED or CHANGED to another status, for example, to H, R, L, E-1, E-2, or F/J/M OR Green Card.
Call our office today for further information as to how to extend or change your visitors visa
H1-B Specialty Occupation
The H-1B visa is a visa for an individual who will be employed in a “specialty occupation”. A “specialty occupation” is an occupation that requires an individual who possesses, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in a specific field or the equivalent experience.
H-1B1 Visa (Singapore and Chile)
The H-1B1 visa is a visa that is set aside for nationals of Singapore and Chile in accordance with each of the U.S.-Singapore Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement. The substantive requirement of the visa is substantially similar to the H-1B visa described above.
E-3 Visa (Australia)
The E-3 visa is a visa that is set aside for nationals of Australia. The substantive requirement of the visa is substantially similar to the H-1B visa described above.
L-1 Intra-company Transfers
The L-1 visa permits multinational companies to transfer high-level and essential employees from their international offices to the United States. The non-immigrant would work at the affiliate or subsidiary of that same employer in the U.S. in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.
E-1 Treaty Traders
The E-1 visa is a visa for an individual who is coming to the United States to work in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity for an entity carrying on substantial trade between the treaty country and the United States. The home country of the non-immigrant must have a treaty with the United States.
E-2 Treaty Investor
The E-2 visa is a visa for an individual who is coming to the United States to work in an executive, managerial or “specialized knowledge” capacity for an entity that has made a substantial investment in the United States. The entity must be owned at least 50% by nationals of the same country as the E-2 visa applicant.
F-1 Student Visa
F-1 visas will only be issued by a US Consulate to International students that intend to be full time students. The following information is provided as a guide. An F-2 visa will be issued to the dependents of an F-1 student. Call us today to learn more on how to obtain a student visa.
O-1 Individuals of Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
The O-1 visa is designed for foreign nationals who have “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics”. The extraordinary ability must be demonstrated by “sustained national or international acclaim”. This visa is also available to foreign nationals in motion pictures and television who can demonstrate a record of “extraordinary achievement”. O-1 occupations include almost any creative field, for example, photographers, chefs, carpenters and lecturers, businessman, dancers. The person must be coming to the United States to work in his or her field of ability, but the position need not require the services of a person of extraordinary ability.
In order qualify for an O-1 visa; you must demonstrate that you possess extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, business, education, athletics, the motion pictures or television industry. You must show that you have achieved or sustained international acclaim. You must be coming to the United States to perform temporary services for a U.S. employer relating to an event or events.Highly talented or acclaimed individuals may be eligible for an O visa for entry into the U.S.
The TN visa is a visa reserved for certain professional classifications for individuals who are nationals of Canada or Mexico in accordance with the North American Free Trade Agreement. There are various categories of professions that qualify under the statute.
J-1 Visa Trainees and Interns
The J-1 visa is an exchange visitor visa for trainee and internship programs. The J visa is used for individuals who will come to the U.S. for training and will depart the U.S. after the completion of the training.
R-1 Religious Workers
The R-1 religious worker visa is for ministers, those in a traditional religious occupation, and those with a religious vocation. The R-1 visa allows for a maximum 5 year stay for the R-1 worker and dependent spouse and children (R-2 visa holders).
R-1 Visa Requirements:
1. The R-1 sponsoring organization is bona fide religious organization with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, or one that would qualify for 501(c)(3) status if it applied.
2. The R-1 visa applicant must have belonged to the religious denomination of the organization for at least two years.
R-1 Visa Filing Process
R-1 religious worker status can be obtained both abroad and in the United States. In each case, it is a one-step process.
R-1 Change of Status in the United States. You can apply for a change of status to R-1 nonimmigrant religious worker if you are currently in the United States in another valid nonimmigrant status.The R-1 visa permits religious workers to come to the U.S. to work in a religious occupation and perform services for their religious organization. The religious organization must already be established in the United States.
If you are engaged and are a United States citizen, a K1 Visa will permit your fiancé to legally come into the country for a 3-month period. Once your fiancé is here, we can then prepare and submit the proper documentation for an application for conditional permanent residency. As the visa process can be complex and an incorrectly filled out form or missing information can stall your application or cause its denial, it is vital to have an attorney who is not only experienced but is willing to fight for approval of your visa.
If you are a citizen of the United States and are married to a foreign national, you are qualified to file for a K3 visa. After the overturn of DOMA, this includes same-sex married couples. The K3 visa permits your spouse and children (under a K-4 visa) to be in the U.S. while undergoing the process of immigration.
A U Visa is offered to aliens who have been victims of a crime, and have assisted, are assisting, or will assist in the investigation and prosecution of the defendant, a suspect, or any other person who committed the crime. The U Visa victim must possess information concerning the criminal activity which have been, currently is or will likely be helpful to a Federal, State or local law enforcement official. The U Visa victim must have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse.
The U visa is part of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and was established as a humanitarian relief for victims of certain serious crimes who have suffered substantial physical or mental harm and who can demonstrate that they have cooperated with law enforcement.
Individuals who obtain a U visa are granted permission to leave and work in the United States for up to four years.Find out about MANY other means of obtaining a non-immigrant visa to the U.S., by contacting us today to arrange a consultation.
Obtaining a “green card”— indicating lawful permanent residency in the U.S. -- is the primary goal of our clients who are planning to enter this country.
If that is your goal, too, please contact our office today to arrange a consultation and to learn how we can help you.
Having lawful permanent residency enables you to live and work in the U.S indefinitely. However, obtaining permanent residency is a complicated process and applicants regularly require assistance navigating the process.
We can assist you in obtaining permanent residence through the categories (listed below) within two main types of permanent visas:
1. Employment-based immigrant visas
In order to apply for a Green Card based on employment you must have an approved Labor Certification OR you must be exempted from filing a Labor Certification (e.g. if you are a High Level Employee, Multinational Manager and or a Schedule A Employee).
A labor certification is a document issued by the US Department of Labor (US DOL), which basically indicates that there is a shortage of US employees in certain occupation. Before filing a labor certification application the US employer MUST try to recruit, subject to the supervision and regulations of the US DOL, American Workers for the position, which has been offered to the foreign national. Certification may be approved ONLY if the employer can show that the position cannot be filed by an American Citizen and the foreign national candidate is in fact qualified to fill the position. Effective March 28, 2005 the US DOL is processing Labor Certifications within 60 days.. We can help you navigate this procedure as well.
Once a labor certification has been approved and a Visa number becomes available you may file the green card application. This may be done by applying for an Immigrant Visa (if you are outside the US) OR for an Adjustment of Status (if you are in the US and eligible to adjust). During the process of the application you may request a temporary work authorization so you can start work before your green card application is approved. You must not leave the US until your green card application is approved. If you do leave before you get the green card, your application may be denied. There is an exception to this rule and you may get a special permission to leave the US for a short period of time in cases of emergency. Except in rare cases a green card through employment does normally require personal interview.
2. Family-based immigrant visas
• You are an immediate relative of U.S. citizens, such as parent, child or spouse
• You are the adult child, married or unmarried, of a U.S. citizen
• You are the spouse or unmarried child of a lawful permanent resident
• You are the brother of sister of a U.S. citizen
• You are being adopted by a U.S. citizen
Call us today to learn to how to petition for your relative whether he lives in the USA or abroad.
3. Diversity Lottery Visa
Each year, the Diversity Lottery Program makes 55,000 new immigrant visas available for individuals from underrepresented nations. Administered by the U.S. State Department, the Diversity Lottery Program requires that you have either a high school education, its equivalent, or two years work experience within the last five years in a job which demands two years of training. You or your spouse must be a native of a nation eligible for the Diversity Lottery Program.
Find out more about this program, as well as other means of obtaining legal permanent residency in the U.S., by contacting us today to arrange a consultation: (516) 567-5233
In addition to our Visa and Naturalization services, we also offer assistance with:
1. Deportation Defense
Actions which threaten national security or are considered terrorist activities, violations of immigration laws and certain criminal activities call all result in your removal from the country. You can be deported for criminal offenses involving dishonesty, immorality or violence. You can also be removed for a crime related to controlled substances and what are referred to as “aggravated felonies.” Unfortunately, the statutes on these offenses are open to interpretation and it may be difficult to understand what constitutes a deportable crime.
Our will help you to understand why you may be deported and what can be done to fight being removed from the country.
You can apply for asylum whether you are legally in the country or not. Eligibility depends upon proof that you have suffered or fear you will suffer persecution because of your nationality, religion, race, membership in a particular social group or a political opinion that you hold. The process can be very complex, involving interviews, compiling extensive documentation and submissions and attending any hearings as needed. This is why being granted asylum is best accomplished by utilizing a firm that not only understands immigration law, but combines this with the ability to aggressively strive for your goals.
3. Cancelation of Removal Proceedings
If you are a non-lawful permanent resident, your eligibility to have your removal cancelled is based on:
We work hard to prove these points with documentation and witnesses and to argue your case before the Immigration court. Terms such as “good moral character” can be vague and require knowledge of what a judge will be looking for in order to prevail. Likewise, we know what immigration laws state regarding the type of crimes that can and cannot be a basis for removal from the country.
Our attorneys understand that keeping your family together and staying in the U.S. is important and we take our efforts to represent you in these matters seriously.
4. Employment Eligibility
Our office will guide and assist you in applying and renewing your existence work authorization card and will direct you in any related issues.
5. Abused Spouse Cases
The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, was passed in 1994 in order to protect immigrants from abusive spouses. Under this act, a woman (or man) who is being abused by a spouse who is a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen will be able to obtain his or her own permanent residence or green card independently of the spouse. This method of seeking permanent residency in the United States is referred to as “VAWA self-petitioning”. Call our office today to see if you can benefit under the VAWA Act.
6. Conditional Residence Including Waiver of the Joint Filing Agreement
If you possess a green card that is only valid for two years, it is important that you file to have the time restriction removed before the card expires. The petition must be filed 90 days before the card’s expiration date. Second interview at the immigration offices is required at times, especially if the I-751 is filed as a waiver after the couple divorced and no longer co habitat. please call us for further information.
7. Renewal of Green Cards.
If you have a 10-year green card that has already expired or will within the next 6 months, we can get your application for a renewal correctly prepared and filed in a timely manner. Call us today to find out how to renew your card.
8. Advance Parole Documents
Advance Parole Document enables you to travel abroad while your immigration case is pending. It can be obtained on an emergency basis. Call us today to find our how to obtain permission to travel while waiting in the USA for your green card.
Addition to our visa and naturalization services, we also offer assistance with:
• Deportation Defense
• Employment Eligibility
• Abused Spouse Cases
• Conditional Residence
• I-751 Conditional Removal Including Waiver of the Joint Filing Agreement