U. S. Immigration Eligibility. and Procedures

f you’re considering immigrating to the United States, or are helping someone who is, then this book was written for you. unlike many books about immigration law, this one was written for real people, not for lawyers.

We try to give you a realistic view of your immigration possibilities and how to succeed in reaching your chosen goals.

If you’ve already tried to research how to immigrate to the united states, you may have come away more confused than enlightened. We’ve heard immi­grants ask frustrated questions like, “Are they trying to punish me for doing things legally?” or “I can’t tell whether they want to let me in, or keep me out!”

The trouble is, the U. S. immigration system is a little like a mythical creature with two heads. One head is smiling, and granting people the right to live or work in the United States, temporarily or permanently—especially people who:

• will pump money into the U. S. economy (such as tourists, students, and investors)

• can fill gaps in the U. S. workforce (mostly skilled workers)

• are joining up with close family members who are already U. S. citi­zens or permanent residents, or • need protection from persecution or other humanitarian crises.

This creature’s other head wears a frown. It is afraid of the United States’ being overrun by huge numbers of immi­grants, and so it tries to keep out anyone who:

• doesn’t fit the narrow eligibil­ity categories set forth in the U. S. immigration laws

• has a criminal record

• is a threat to U. S. ideology or national security

• has spent a long time in the U. S. illegally or committed other immi­gration violations

• is attempting fraud in order to immigrate, or

• will not earn enough money to stay off government assistance.

Not surprisingly, these two heads don’t always work together very well. You may find that, even when you know you have a right to visit, live, or work in the United States, and you’re trying your best to fill out the applications and complete your case properly, you feel as if you’re being treated like a criminal. The frowning head doesn’t care. It views you as just another number, and as no great loss if your application fails—or is, literally, lost in the files of thousands of other applications.

Have you heard people say that a U. S. citizen could simply invite a friend from overseas to live here? Those days are gone. Now, every immigrant has to find a legal category that he or she fits within, deal with demanding application forms and procedures, and pass security and other checks.

The good news is that huge numbers of people successfully come from other countries to the united states every year—approximately one million receive green cards, and 30 million receive tem­porary visas (mostly tourist visas, but also, including a number of other visas such as labor and student visas). With the right information and preparation, you can be one of them. This book will help you:

• determine your eligibility

• learn what difficulties you’ll have to overcome

• strategize the fastest and safest way to make your way through the application process

• deal with bureaucrats and delays, and

• know when it’s time to consult a lawyer.

Almost everyone should at least attend a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney before submitting an application. Unless your case presents no complications whatsoever, it’s best to have an attorney confirm that you haven’t overlooked anything. However, by preparing yourself with the information in this book, you can save money and make sure you’re using a good attorney for the right services.

ExAMPLE: An American woman was engaged to a man from Mexico, and figured, since she herself had been to law school, that she didn’t need an attorney’s help. she read that a foreign-born person who was in the U. S. on a tourist visa could get married and then apply for a green card within the united states. unfortunately, what she didn’t realize was that this possibility only works for people who decide to get mar­ried after entering the United States. Applying for a tourist visa with the idea of getting married and getting a green card amounts to visa fraud, and can ruin a person’s chances of immigrating. Are you already con­fused by this story? That’s alright, the U. S. immigration system doesn’t always make a lot of sense. This is why an attorney’s help is often needed —to get you through legal hoops that you’d never imagined existed.

Updated: 18th July 2015 — 3:10 pm