Immigration – Individuals
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Whether you need legal help for family, political, religious or work-related immigration issues, or whether you are facing deportation, the experienced immigration lawyers at Bailey & Galyen can provide the skills and know-how to guide you through complicated government procedures, and resolve your problem. Our attorneys urge you to call our office to seek legal advice before applying for any benefit regarding a visa, green card, political asylum or citizenship.
United States Immigration Law defines the legal process that allows individuals from other countries to stay in the U.S. on a temporary or permanent basis.
A visa is an authorization that permits entry into a country based on specified conditions. Immigrant visas are issued to individuals who intend to become permanent residents or eventually U.S. citizens. Non-immigrant visas are issued to individuals temporarily based on diplomatic, employment, education and other reasons.
In the United States, there are many different types of visas, which are part of a complex visa classification system. Here we will address visas based on family relationships and religion.
Family Based Immigrant Visa Petitions
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, U.S. immigration is allowed if the individual is related to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. These visas provide lawful permanent resident status for relatives ranging from spouses, unmarried minor children and parents to married sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.
U.S. citizens who wish to bring their prospective husbands or wives to the U.S. for marriage may apply for a Fiancee Visa, also called a K-1 Visa, which once approved can be obtained by the fiance (e) at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. The minor children of a fiance (e) may receive K-2 visas and accompany him or her. The couple must marry within 90 days of the prospective spouse’s entry into the U.S.
An R-1 or religious visa is issued on a temporary basis for religious workers. Religious workers are considered ordained clergy, individuals who have taken religious vows, along with religious professionals including teachers and choral directors.
A green card is an official USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) issued document, which is a small laminated card with a photo ID and fingerprint, given to aliens who are lawfully admitted to the U.S. as permanent residents. A green card holder (also called a permanent resident card holder) has the same rights as U.S. citizens for employment, healthcare enrollment and income purposes, but does not have the right to vote, hold particular public offices or federal employment in civil service positions. If the individual abandons residence, travels outside the U.S. for more than a year or violates certain criminal or immigration laws, the green card may be revoked.
Family Based Green Card/Permanent Residence
U.S. citizens can petition based on their family relationship for ”immediate relatives” such as spouses, children under 21, and parents to obtain permanent resident status. Green card holders may petition for spouses and children to obtain permanent residence.
The following sequence indicates the order of preference under which the following persons may obtain permanent residence status for non-immediate relatives:
- First Preference – Unmarried sons or daughters (over age 21) of U.S. citizens.
- Second Preference – Spouses and unmarried children (under age 21) of lawful permanent residents; Unmarried sons and daughters (over age 21) of lawful permanent residents.
- Third Preference – Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
- Fourth Preference – Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.
Immigration Benefits as a Battered Spouse or Child
In 1994 Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act, which allowed battered spouses and children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to file and obtain green cards without the abuser’s assistance or knowledge. This right to self-petition was granted as recourse for battered spouses and children to acquire independence and free themselves from abuse.
Religious workers and ministers of religion may apply under EB4 status for permanent residence.
People who are already in the United States (or who are in another foreign country and wish to enter the U.S.) because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution in their own country based on race, nationality, religion, political opinion or membership in a particular social group may apply for asylum in the United States. If your application for asylum has not been decided after 180 days, you are eligible for a work permit. After asylum has been granted and you have been in the U.S. for one year, you may apply for permanent residence.
Applying for U.S. citizenship requires extensive documentation such as a green card, birth certificate, marriage certificate, and copy of tax returns, proof of termination of earlier marriages and many other documents. An immigration lawyer’s assistance regarding paperwork as well as guidance during each step of the legal process can prove invaluable.
Bailey & Galyen’s immigration attorneys provide defense for clients facing deportation or removal. When ICE files for deportation, the reasons for removal must be stated. A notice to appear will be served to the alien who is targeted for removal, and he or she has the right to challenge deportation based on procedural or constitutional grounds. An immigration lawyer can defend your rights and also assist with appeals regarding court rulings. If you face deportation or removal, contact our law firm immediately. The sooner an attorney is involved in the process, the greater the chances of halting deportation.
The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 lists aggravated felony convictions as a deportable offense. Misdemeanor convictions can lead to removal proceedings as well. As a full-service law firm, Bailey & Galyen has criminal defense attorneys as well as immigration attorneys available to assist you.
Contact one of our convenient offices for additional information and assistance. The telephones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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Our Immigration Department offers legal help for individuals, and both small and large business enterprises in obtaining visas and resolving a wide scope of immigration problems.
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