Immigration has long been a part of the United States. Excluding Native Americans, everyone in the U.S. today has a history of immigration to this country at one point or another in their lineage. While immigration has obviously brought many skilled, talented, and brilliant people to this country, some of whom are very important in our history, immigration and immigration law have become hot button issues politically in recent times. Still, there are a great number of ways one can enter the United States legally including naturalization, asylum, and visas. If you have any questions about these processes, you can contact an immigration attorney or learn a bit by reading below.
A visa is a type of limited time agreement to allow someone into a foreign nation for a stated purpose. Common visas include education, work, and tourism visas.Obtaining a visa into the United States is on paper quite simple, but you must have a legitimate reason to apply for the visa (particularly work and education visas) if you expect your application to be accepted. There are several steps to getting a visa, including having a photo taken that matches specific criteria, filling out the required application form, paying fees, setting up an interview with a consulate, undergoing fingerprinting, and finally having the actual interview.
Asylum or refugee status is granted under certain conditions to individuals who meet specific criteria in the United States. This includes individuals who have been persecuted and fled their home country or believe that if they return will be persecuted on basis of race, religion, nationality, membership to a certain social group, or political opinion. If you believe that you are eligible for asylum or refugee status, the best course of action is to speak with an attorney who is experienced in immigration law as the process for obtaining asylum or refugee status can be both long and confusing for those who do not have such experience.
Those who are already in the U.S. legally may obtain citizenship through a process known as naturalization. The process is fairly lengthy but also fairly simple. The first step is to determine eligibility. This is most easily done by completing a government-produced document known as the naturalization eligibility worksheet. Once you have determined eligibility, you must prepare some paperwork (known as form N-400) and submit it. From here you may be required to go to a biometrics appointment, as assigned by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After this, you are ready for your naturalization interview with a representative of the USCIS. Around this time you should also receive a decision on your N-400 form indicating whether you are eligible for citizenship or not. Finally, you will be assigned a date and time to complete the naturalization process by taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.