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Immigration FAQ's

Answers to Common Immigration Questions

Navigating U.S. immigration laws can be difficult, especially for those who are not natives of the United States and who speak English as a second language. At The Law Firm of Ruiz Dougherty, PLLC, we understand the concerns that can affect immigrants, and we provide comprehensive legal help in matters involving immigration law. to address the varied needs of immigrants. We strive to provide our clients with the information they need to address immigration concerns effectively. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about immigration laws and procedures.

What Does it Mean to Sponsor Someone for Immigration?

A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may apply for immigrant visas or Green Cards on someone else's behalf. Sponsoring someone for immigration involves accepting financial responsibility for them after they come to the U.S. Along with other applications and documentation, a sponsor will be required to submit an Affidavit of Support to show that they have sufficient income or assets to support the immigrant while they are living in the United States.

What Types of Visas Are Available for Family Members?

U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can provide sponsorship for family members when applying for visas and helping them immigrate to the United States. The primary categories of family visas are:

  • Immediate Relative visas (IR): These visas are for people with close family relationships with U.S. citizens, including spouses, unmarried children younger than 21, and parents.
  • Family Preference visas (F): These visas are for certain family members of U.S. citizens or those who have close family relationships with lawful permanent residents. They include married children or unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens, spouses and children of permanent residents, and siblings of U.S. citizens.
  • Fiancé visas (K): These visas allow U.S. citizens to bring foreign fiancé(e)s to the United States so that they can get married.

What Are the Requirements for Employment-Based Visas?

Employment-based visas require cooperation between employers and potential employees. Employers who sponsor employees for immigration must typically prove that they could not fill a job with a U.S. worker and that hiring a foreign worker will not have a negative effect on the opportunities available to workers in the United States. Employees must meet the specific qualifications for the job offer, and the category of visa. Documentation, labor certification, and demonstrations of an immigrant's abilities or credentials will typically be required.

How Can an Immigrant Obtain a Green Card?

There are several pathways to obtaining a Green Card, including through family sponsorship, employment, refugee or asylum status, and special programs. The process generally involves:

  • Establishing eligibility through an immigrant visa petition (filed by a family member, employer, or the applicant themselves in certain cases).
  • Applying for a Green Card through Adjustment of Status (if residing in the U.S.) or Consular Processing (if residing outside the U.S.).
  • Attending an interview and completing biometric screenings.
  • Approval and issuance of the Green Card.

What Is a Conditional Green Card?

When a person receives permanent resident status through marriage to a U.S. citizen, and the marriage is less than two years old at the time they become a permanent resident, they will receive a conditional Green Card. This type of Green Card will expire after two years, and the couple must apply for a permanent Green Card together before the expiration date. Failure to do so can result in the termination of the immigrant spouse's permanent resident status and potential deportation.

What Should Immigrants Do if They Have Experienced Domestic Violence or Other Crimes?

Immigrants who are victims of domestic violence or other serious crimes may apply for immigration relief through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), U visas, or other forms of relief that may be available. These options may allow victims to stay in the U.S., obtain work authorization, and potentially qualify for a Green Card. It is important to seek legal assistance to navigate these applications properly.

How Do Good Moral Character and Crimes of Moral Turpitude Affect Immigration Cases?

Good moral character is a requirement for naturalization and some other immigration benefits. Crimes of moral turpitude—which are generally crimes that involve violence, deceit, fraud, or harm to others—can disqualify an applicant from proving good moral character and can lead to deportation. Legal guidance is crucial to address these issues, as they can have a significant impact on a person's immigration status.

When Can Immigrants Qualify to Become U.S. Citizens?

Immigrants will usually be able to apply for naturalization and become U.S. citizens after five years of being a permanent resident, or three years for those who are married to U.S. citizens. Applicants must meet requirements regarding residency, physical presence, good moral character, and knowledge of English and U.S. civics.

Contact Our Herndon, Virginia Immigration Lawyers

For detailed assistance with any of these issues or to discuss your specific immigration needs, please contact The Law Firm of Ruiz Dougherty, PLLC at 571-441-2233 and set up a free consultation. Our team in Herndon, Virginia is ready to provide experienced guidance and dedicated legal representation when addressing matters related to immigration law.

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