We handle all of the non-immigrant categories, both at the inception and for extensions, including: B1 & B2 – visitors for pleasure and for business; E1 & E2 – treaty investors and treaty traders; F1, M1 – students; H1A – registered nurses; H1B – professionals, performing a specialty occupation; H2A – agricultural workers; H2B – seasonal and short term workers; H3 – trainees; H4 – dependents; I – journalists, news media; J & Q – exchange visitors; K – fiancées; L – intra-company transferees; O – aliens of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences or business; P – performing entertainers and athletes; P1 – internationally known athletes and entertainment groups; P2 – artists performing under a reciprocal exchange program; P3 – culturally unique entertainers; P4 – dependents; R – religious workers; V – spouses and minor children of permanent resident aliens for whom a family petition was filed prior to December 21, 2000, and has been pending for over three years.
In the case of Canadians and Mexicans, the NAFTA and/or U.S./Canada Free Trade Agreements contain some reciprocal provisions that may be applicable in individual cases, depending on circumstances.
Lastly, other types of visas include C, D, TWOV, S, T and U. They are narrowly tailored and somewhat obscure visa categories, such as for crewmen, witness and informants, and transit visas.
Adjustment of Status (Green Card)
U.S. immigration law basically provides two primary paths to permanent resident status. One is adjustment of status, and the other is consular processing. Adjustment of status is the process by which an eligible individual already in the United States can get permanent resident status (a green card) without having to return to their home country to complete visa processing. By contrast, consular processing is the process for an individual outside the United States (or who is in the United States but is ineligible to adjust status) to obtain a visa abroad and enter the United States as a permanent resident).
More specifically, adjustment of status refers to how the law permits the change of an individual’s immigration status while in the United States from nonimmigrant (temporary) to immigrant (permanent) if the individual was inspected and admitted or paroled into the U.S. and is able to meet all required qualifications for a green card (permanent residence) in a particular category.
Most of our clients that we help get green cards get them through a petition filed on their behalf by a family member or employer. Others become permanent residents through first obtaining refugee or asylum status, or through a number of other special provisions. Below is a list of some of the categories in which we may file for your green card, depending on your circumstances:
- Family based categories require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for you.
- Employment based categories most often require the intending U.S. employer to file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for you. Entrepreneurs who intend to invest significant amounts of capital into a business venture in the United States may file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” on their own behalf.
- Special Classes of Immigrants
In some cases, certain immigrants may file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), and Special Immigrant, or have one filed on their behalf.
- Humanitarian Programs
Most humanitarian programs do not require an underlying petition, although individuals may need to meet additional requirements before they can adjust status. For more information, see the “Humanitarian” link to the right.
In addition, depending on the category you wish to adjust under, you may be eligible to have the petition filed at the same time that you file your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This is called “concurrent filing.” Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen may be able to file concurrently. Also, other certain classes of individuals who have a visa immediately available may be able to file concurrently. Most categories, however, require that you first establish your eligibility for the immigrant category by having an approved petition before you are allowed to file Form I-485, for these categories you will not be able to file concurrently.
Naturalization offers the maximum rights available to persons in the United States. The benefits of U.S. citizenship are numerous, and include the right to vote, and the ability to sponsor relatives and family members so that they can immigrate to the United States. In addition, U.S. citizens can live and work permanently in the United States, and cannot be deported or denied entry into the country. U.S. citizens have the right to get a U.S. passport, which is advantageous when traveling abroad. U.S. citizens are also eligible to receive additional services and assistance from U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
However, in applying for citizenship/naturalization, one gives the federal immigration authorities information that could result not only in the denial of their citizenship application, but could put them in removal (deportation) proceedings. For example, if their immigration history includes some unusual circumstances, they may expose themself to unwanted government scrutiny. Similarly, if they were outside of the United States for an extended period of time, they may have unknowingly abandoned their permanent residency (green card). In addition, they may have a criminal history that they forgot about or do not realize makes them deportable. There are many more such examples of situations that could make applying for citizenship inadvisable without first consulting experienced immigration counsel. In short, there are risks involved in applying for citizenship without the advice of an immigration attorney, and your immigration status is too important to risk by applying for citizenship blindly. Instead, consult experienced immigration counsel to discuss your particular situation prior to applying for citizenship.
We fight hard and smart in protecting the rights of our clients who are facing removal. No two cases are alike, so we individualize each one and pursue all feasible legal remedies. Depending on the facts, possible strategies may include Cancellation of Removal, Applications for Political Asylum, and if available, Adjustment of Status and Suspension of Deportation. At a removal hearing, we also seek, wherever appropriate, Voluntary Departure, if no other remedy is available, or indefinite Deferred Departure in cases where no remedy applies except compassionate circumstances. Where appropriate, in the worst case scenario where no remedy is available for our client to remain in the U.S. and they get deported, we apply for a Waiver in order to enable our client to return to the U.S.
With the experience and expertise of a large law firm, and the flexibility and lower costs of a small law firm, Reid Kelly, P.C. is committed to ensuring that individuals have access to competent representation in immigration matters at rates that are reasonable and affordable.
Call us at (718) 412-8452, or contact us online here.
For information on our Business Immigration practice, click here.