Throughout the centuries, individuals have immigrated to the United States to find their American dream and create a better life for themselves and their families. The earliest immigrants came primarily from England and other European countries in search of economic opportunity and religious and political freedom.
Throughout its history, America has experienced successive waves of immigration, with swells occurring during key historical periods, including the industrial revolution, and decreasing when immigration rules became more restrictive. When numerical constraints were lifted in 1965 and air travel became less costly, more individuals began to emigrate to the U.S. from Asian and Latin American nations. Regardless of when people came to America, all of these individuals overcame tremendous barriers, including public and political hostilities, and helped to build and transform America into the nation that it is today.
While it may no longer be as difficult or expensive to travel to the United States, our Towson immigration law firm knows that individuals trying to immigrate to the U.S. still face significant obstacles. The immigration process is complex and can be frustrating for people seeking to take advantage of it.
The first step in legally immigrating to the United States is to obtain an immigrant visa. The United States offers several types of immigration visas, which permit different activities in the country. Our Towson immigration law firm can help you determine which visa, if any, you qualify for.
Most individuals immigrating to America secure visas through the sponsorship of employers or close family members. In certain situations, such as where a person is fleeing persecution in their home country, an individual may qualify for a visa as an asylee or refugee.
In the United States, visas are issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate run by the U.S. Department of State. Upon arrival in the U.S., the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency monitors the entry process. When a foreign visitor lawfully enters the U.S. they are classified as either temporary visa holders (non-immigrants) or immigrants (lawful permanent resident status).
Non-immigrants are foreign nationals who intend to return to their home country and are only visiting, working, or living in the U.S. for a set period of time. These visitors can secure temporary visas for pleasure or business, including temporary employment. Students and certain relatives (including fiancées) of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents may also be eligible for temporary visas.
The United States has designated certain countries to be "visa waiver" countries and foreign nationals from these countries are not required to obtain a visa from the State Department for temporary visits. While non-immigrant visas are generally limited to a set period of time, once they are in the U.S. these temporary visa holders may be eligible to obtain an extension or adjustment of status to another visa type.
Unlike non-immigrants, immigrants come to the United States with the intent to remain in the country on a permanent basis and make the U.S. their new home. When an individual is approved to immigrate to the U.S., he or she obtains Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status, commonly referred to as a “green card.” Once an individual has obtained a green card, he or she has many of the same rights as a U.S. citizen and is permitted to work inside the country. Additionally, after a certain period of time, individuals with a green card are generally able to apply for full U.S. citizenship.
Before an immigrant is granted full citizenship status, he or she can be deported back to his/her home country. Deportation can occur for a number of reasons, such as if a person:
Even if an individual holds a green card, he or she can still be removed from the country.
Unfortunately, the deportation process often occurs quickly. As a result, individuals facing potential deportation need to act fast and contact a skilled Baltimore deportation attorney. The legal professionals at our Towson immigration law firm are highly knowledgeable in this area of immigration law and can identify legal options and strategies to help you avoid deportation.