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#365 Immigrating to the United States

mp3 #365 Immigration - Entering the United States (mp3 file)


There are a number of document preparation agencies, notaries and immigration information providers that offer their services to the public. While many of these organizations may help you file immigration applications, ONLY an attorney may represent you in court. Many times when applications are filed incorrectly the risk of denial increases tremendously. Hiring an experienced immigration attorney will save you time, money and reduce the risk of denial and deportation. Continue below to be referred to an experienced and insured immigration attorney

If you are a citizen of another country you may enter the United States either as a non-immigrant or as an immigrant.

All non-immigrants enter the United States in a temporary status. A temporary status may be for as short as one day or as long as several years. If you wish to enter the United States as a non-immigrant, you may come in under one of the following categories: a visitor for business or for pleasure, a treaty trader or treaty investor, a student, a temporary worker, an exchange visitor, the fiancé or fiancée of an American citizen, a transferee of an Americans company or transferee of an American company abroad. You may enter as a treaty trader if your country has a treaty with America, which allows you to enter and run a business which trades goods or services between your country and the United States. You may enter as a treaty investor if there is a treaty between your country and the United States, allowing you to enter the United States and invest money here to begin a business. A temporary worker, who is classified as a professional, or one who is of distinguished merit and ability can enter the United States to take a job here for up to five years. You may enter as a temporary worker to do agricultural employment or as a trainee.

If you wish to enter the United States as an immigrant on a permanent basis, then you may do so if you have a close family relative such as a spouse, child, mother or father, who is already a United States citizen, or is already a legal permanent resident. For some of these categories based upon family relationships, there is no waiting period, but for others the waiting period can be as long as ten years. Other forms of permanent immigration are available to ministers of religion, United States government employees, foreign medical graduates, and certain officers and employees of international organizations and their immediate family members.

A final category of admission is extended to those people who are willing, able and qualified to do work in the United States which a United States citizen is not available to do. Again, waiting periods in this category can be very long, or they can be as short as two or three months.

In 1986 congress passed the marriage fraud amendments act, because it is easy to marry a United States citizen in order to obtain permanent resident status. Under the new law a temporary (two year) status is granted to foreign citizens who marry United States citizens. This is called a conditional status. At the end of the two years, the spouses must again apply, this time showing that the marriage has not been a sham. Acceptable evidence is documentation of joint ownership of property, a lease showing joint tenancy of a residence, evidence of joint bank accounts, birth certificates of children of the marriage, and other similar documentation. If the immigration service is suspicious that the marriage is a sham, then the service can do a field investigation to learn from co-workers or neighbors whether the couple have been holding themselves out as being really married. If it is discovered that the marriage is a fraud, then any one convicted of the felony of knowingly marrying for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration law, can be imprisoned for up to five years and fined up to $250,000 or both. This law applies to the United States Citizen, to the foreign citizen, and to any attorney who may help them in their fraudulent application for a visa.

If you are a refugee from another country, you may enter the United States if you can show that you have a well-founded fear of persecution if you return to your country of origin. Or if you have been in the United States illegally for an extended period of time, there is a possibility that your stay may be legalized through the registration system.

In short, there are many ways to enter the United States. You are strongly advised to consult a qualified immigration attorney before you petition to enter in any of the categories which have been mentioned in this message. The immigration and naturalization act is a very complicated federal statute, and it has been interpreted by thousands of court and administrative decisions. The importance of seeking proper legal advice cannot be overstated. If you need the name of an attorney to help you with immigration questions, please contact the lawyer referral service of your county bar association for assistance.

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