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Immigration – An Overview

Immigration law controls the procedures for entering the U.S., determines who is and is not eligible for entry, sets the rules for obtaining citizenship and deporting foreign nationals who violate U.S. immigration or other laws. Immigration attorneys assist foreign nationals seeking to come to the U.S. to study, travel, conduct business and work. Immigration lawyers also help employers complete the application and certification processes to employ foreign workers for permanent and temporary positions. If you have an immigration-related issue, contact Ronzio & Associates in Los Angeles, CA, to schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer.

Attorneys practicing immigration law may handle various legal matters for aliens and U.S. citizens living both inside and outside of the country. The following sections introduce some of the issues for which a person may seek the assistance of an immigration lawyer.

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Visas for permanent and temporary stays

Immigration attorneys can help foreign nationals with visa selection and the application process, as well as clarify the types of documentation necessary to secure visas and explain any restrictions on their ability to enter the U.S. Immigration lawyers also can help employers determine the correct visa to apply for to hire foreign nationals as temporary or permanent employees, and help employers determine whether any special labor certifications are necessary from the federal Department of Labor (DOL).

Some of the more common visas include:

Employment-based visas

Family-based visas

Temporary-work visas

Student visas

Business visas

Travel visas

Exchange-visitor visas

Intracompany transferee visas

Spouse and fiancé(e) visas

Adopted-Child visas

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Immigrant status changes

When applying for a visa, the foreign national should choose the correct visa that will allow him or her to accomplish his or her goals in the U.S. Each visa category has special requirements and may include restrictions on the type of activity the visa holder may do during his or her stay. For example, student-visa holders are not permitted to work unless they have received special permission. Sometimes it may be necessary for an alien to change his or her immigrant status to another category, like a student visa holder who has been offered permanent employment in the U.S.

To learn more about how an experienced immigration attorney can help you, contact Ronzio & Associates in Los Angeles, CA, today.

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Visa extension applications

Foreign nationals entering the U.S. with temporary visas, also called nonimmigrant visas, are only permitted to remain in the country for a limited amount of time, depending on the type of visas they received. For example, normally seasonal agricultural workers are only allowed to remain in the U.S. for less than one year at a time before they have to return to their home countries. In some instances, the time allowed for the temporary visa may not be long enough for the foreign national to complete the purpose of his or her trip to the U.S. In this case, the foreign national may apply for an extension to remain in the U.S. longer. Extension requirements and application deadlines are strict, so it is important the foreign national not wait until the last moment to apply for one.

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Citizenship and naturalization

Foreign nationals who live as legal permanent residents in the U.S. for five years may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. This process, known as naturalization, includes many important steps. Usually, the immigrant must be able to demonstrate the ability to read, write and speak English; and to pass a U.S. history and civics exam. The immigrant also must be of “good moral character.” Certain types of criminal convictions may make an immigrant ineligible for citizenship. It is very important to prepare for the naturalization process and truthfully complete the application. Any material misrepresentations may result in removal (also called deportation).

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If an alien violates the terms of his or her immigration status or commits certain types of crimes, he or she may be deported by the U.S. government back to his or her home country. Aliens who may be deported include those with legal resident status, those with nonimmigrant or temporary visas, and those who have entered the country illegally. Some of the types of offenses an alien can be deported for include:

Marrying fraudulently to gain entry into the country

Overstaying visas

Assisting, encouraging, aiding or abetting others to enter the country illegally

Violating any other U.S. immigration or other law

Being convicted of certain crimes, such as most drug and firearms offenses, crimes of ``moral turpitude,`` domestic violence and ``aggravated felonies``

Engaging in any activity that endangers public safety or creates a national security risk, and convictions for crimes like spying and treason

Anyone facing removal proceedings is entitled to legal representation and should seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney. Aliens deported by the U.S. are usually ineligible to return for five years or more, and in some cases of serious criminal conviction, may never be allowed to return to the country again.

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Speak to an immigration lawyer

Immigration attorneys also may answer questions concerning:

Asylum and refugee status

Diversity lottery

Dual citizenship

Visa waiver program

Labor certification (PERM process)

To learn more about how an experienced immigration attorney can help you, contact Ronzio & Associates in Los Angeles, CA, today.

For strong legal guidance concerning immigration matters, CALL us now.