FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. WHY SHOULD I USE AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER TO PROCESS MY CASE?
A. In short, because the consequences of a mistake can be expensive and inconvenient and sometimes even disastrous. The U.S. immigration regimen is one of the most dynamic processes of U.S. jurisprudence with almost daily modifications of procedure as well as substance which most lay people cannot monitor effectively. An immigration application is for most people a once in a lifetime event which is all the more reason to consider utilizing a professional.
Q. WHY CAN'T I JUST GO TO THE LOCAL OFFICE OF THE USCIS OR TO THE U.S. CONSULATE FOR ADVICE AND GUIDANCE?
A. Government immigration officers, whether employed by the USCIS or the Department of State at U.S. consulates abroad are not charged with the responsibility of providing advice to individuals. They are trained and charged to adjudicate applications fairly and objectively and to provide answers to specific questions. They generally will not answer the question which should have been asked nor do they have the time or inclination to delve into the specific circumstances of the person which might dictate which immigration path to pursue.
Q. WHY DO MOST IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS CHARGE FEES FOR INITIAL CONSULTATIONS BEFORE THEY EVEN KNOW IF THEY CAN HELP ME?
A. Unlike other areas of law in which the lawyer may be compensated by another party, either through a contingency fee arrangement or because of a contractual or statutory provision, immigration counseling often requires an in-depth analysis of a person's individual circumstances such as family obligations, education, experience, police background, financial capacity as well as personal goals. This requires time and attention to detail which cannot be compromised by a need to limit the amount of "free" time given to a prospective client. In addition, a person should receive objective information which should not be compromised by an attorney's need to maximize his billable time. This is an area of law in which cheaper is usually not better.
Q. WHAT SHOULD I CONSIDER IN DECIDING TO HIRE AN IMMIGRATION CONSULTATION NON-LAWYER AND A LAWYER WHO SPECIALIZES IN IMMIGRATION LAW?
A. A lawyer is regulated by the state licensing authorities which impose ethical standards as well as minimum levels of competency. While this is not a guarantee that a particular lawyer is honest or capable, generally a prospective client can inquire of the attorney's reputation and standing in the community by consulting with other professionals and state licensing authorities. A non lawyer has no license to lose and therefore presents to the general public a higher risk of loss. Additionally, there is almost no objective method of determining a non-lawyer's competency in the field. Of course there are organizations which employ non lawyers who are dedicated to advancing the cause of immigrants but these are generally not for profit entities which are limited in their ability to serve the immigrant community.
NON-IMMIGRANT STATUS
Q. WHY IS IT DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN A VISA JUST TO VISIT THE UNITED STATES?
A. The law presumes that aliens seeking admission to the United States have the intention of remaining here indefinitely unless they can establish objectively that they have strong ties to the country of origin which militate against their remaining in the United States beyond their period of admission. The government adopts a methodology similar to insurance underwriting in which certain profiles of individuals are deemed to present a greater risk of overstay than others. Thus a great deal of documentation is often required before a non-immigrant visa is issued.
Q. WHICH ARE THE PRINCIPAL VISA CATEGORIES FOR BUSINESS PEOPLE AND INVESTORS?
A. The following is a brief synopsis: Employment authorized denoted by [EA]
  • B-1/B-2 Issued to visitors for pleasure or for business (non-employment)
  • E-1/E-2 Issued to nationals of countries [link to another page] with which the U.S. has signed either treaties of navigation and commerce or bi-lateral commercial treaties. Enables a person to invest in and direct and manage a U.S. business enterprise. [EA]
  • F-1 Issued to students who have matriculated into a U.S. educational institution
  • H-1B Issued to a person who engages in a "specialty occupation" which requires as a minimum a baccalaureate degree and who is sponsored by a U.S. employer for a temporary period of time. [EA]
  • H-2B Issued to a person who is sponsored by a U.S. employer for a temporary period of time for a job which is also temporary in nature.[EA]
  • J-1 Issued to a person who has been accepted into an exchange program for training and education.[EA]
  • K-1 Issued to a person who intends to enter the U.S. to marry a U.S. citizen.[EA]
  • L-1 Issued to a person who seeks to work for a U.S. subsidiary, affiliate or branch of a company which conducts a "qualifiying” business abroad.[EA]
  • O-1 Issued to a person who has "extraordinary ability" in field of endeavor.[EA]
  • P-1 Issued to a person who is an essential part of a professional group in the performing arts or sports
Q. HOW LONG CAN A FOREIGN PERSON REMAIN IN THE U.S. AFTER ADMISSION?
A. The period of admission is established by the date set in the Form I-94, known as the Arrival/Departure record and not by the expiration date of the visa in the passport.
IMMIGRANT STATUS
Q. WHICH ARE THE PRINCIPAL FAMILY BASED CATEGORIES FOR IMMIGRANT STATUS?
A. Spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens. Adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens. Spouses and unmarried children of Lawful Permanent Resdents ("LPR"). Adult unmarried sons and daughters of LPRs. Each of the above categories or "preferences" have specific requirements and conditions which are more fully explained later in this website.
Q. WHICH ARE THE PRINCIPAL EMPLOYMENT BASED CATEGORIES FOR IMMIGRANT STATUS?
A.
Q. AS AN EMPLOYER WHAT IS INVOLVED IN SPONSORING AN ALIEN FOR IMMIGRANT STATUS?
A. A U.S. employer, the sponsor, must demonstrate that the local labor market will not be prejudiced by the hiring of a foreign worker and must also establish its need for the worker and its financial ability to pay the wage of the worker.  The process requires careful compliance with the statute and regulations of the U.S. Department of Labor as well as the Department of Homeland Security acting throught the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Q. GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES REGULATE THE IMMIGRATION PROCESS ?
A. The Department of State, through its Consulates abroad, adjudicates the applications for visas from persons outside the United States. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicates certain petitions for immigrant and non-immigrant status from within the United States. The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE) investigates possible violations of U.S. customs and immigration law and enforces these laws. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) enforces the law at the borders. These three Bureaus are all under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
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