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Dec 15, 2023

Navigating the Immigration Process: From Visas to Citizenship

The immigration process is different for everyone. In certain parts of Arizona, most of the.

Navigating the Immigration Process: From Visas to Citizenship

The immigration process is different for everyone. In certain parts of Arizona, most of the adults you meet were born outside the United States.  Each of them has a different story about how he or she arrived and eventually gained permanent residency or citizenship.  Which one of them should you take as a basis for your expectations about your own path to naturalization

There are so many different ways that a person’s immigration case can proceed that you should not expect your journey to settling permanently in the United States to be like someone else’s.  Some naturalized U.S. citizens first came to the United States as students, while others arrived through sponsorship by an employer or family member.  Whether you are wealthy enough to get an immigrant visa based on an investment in a U.S. business venture or vulnerable enough to be eligible for asylum, you must go through the process of obtaining a visa, and then you must adjust your status to permanent residency in order to get a green card.  The best way to avoid delays and complications with your immigration process is to contact an Arizona immigration lawyer.

How to Navigate the Immigration Process

What Is the Difference Between Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visas?

There are many different visa categories, but they can all be classified either as immigrant visas or as nonimmigrant visas.  The U.S. government issues nonimmigrant visas with the assumption that visa holders will remain in the U.S. temporarily and then return to their countries of origin.  Despite this, some nonimmigrant visas are valid for multiple years, whether they allow you a stay of several years or only a series of brief visits.  Visitor visas for tourism, medical treatment, or commercial activities are nonimmigrant visas, but so are student visas.

When you receive an immigrant visa, it means that USCIS already knows that you are planning to apply for a green card, and it grants you permission to enter the United States with that intention.  Some family-based visas are immigrant visas, including those for a spouse, fiancé, or recently adopted child of a U.S. citizen.  EB-5 visas for investors are another type of immigrant visa.  Likewise, some employers can issue immigrant visas.  The H1-B visa is technically a nonimmigrant visa, but in practice, many H1-B visa holders eventually adjust their status to permanent residency.

Becoming a Permanent Resident Through Adjustment of Status

If you have an immigrant visa, you become eligible to adjust your status to permanent residency; the amount of time you must wait before applying for adjustment of status varies according to your visa category.  For example, a fiancé visa is valid for 90 days from the time of your entry into the U.S., with the expectation that, during this period, you will marry the U.S. citizen who filed for the petition for you to receive the fiancé visa.  As soon as you have legally married your American fiancée, you become eligible to apply for adjustment of status.

While your adjustment of status case is pending, you may remain in the U.S., even if your previous visa expires before you receive your green card.  If you marry a U.S. citizen while residing in the United States temporarily, you have the right to apply for adjustment of status.  In fact, it is nothing unusual to find people who first met their spouses while one spouse was in the U.S. on a student visa or nonimmigrant work visa.  If you get a green card by virtue of your marriage to a U.S. citizen, the first green card you get is only valid for two years.  After two years, you may renew it, and the next green card is valid for ten years and renewable an indefinite number of times.

Becoming a U.S. Citizen Through Naturalization

After you have had permanent resident status for five years, you become eligible for naturalization.  The naturalization process involves an interview in which you must demonstrate English language proficiency and knowledge of civics.  Once you have become naturalized, you can pass on your U.S. citizenship to your children, even if they are born outside the United States.  You can also petition for family-based visas for your relatives.  As a naturalized U.S. citizen, you have the right to vote in elections and to run for public office.  As of 2023, 17 members of the House of Representatives and one U.S. senator are naturalized U.S. citizens.

Contact Singular Law Group About Child Support Disputes

An immigration attorney can help you navigate through the entire immigration process by obtaining an immigrant visa or adjusting your status to permanent residency. Contact Singular Law Group PLLC in Tempe, Arizona, to set up a consultation.

Sources

https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2023/02/28/immigrants-and-children-of-immigrants-make-up-at-least-15-of-the-118th-congress/

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/immigration/h1b

A Tempe, Arizona, immigration lawyer can represent you in cases involving immigrant visas, nonimmigrant visas, adjustment of status, or naturalization.

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