Mayo Law Firm offers a full range of legal services in the area of U.S. Immigration Law:
- Naturalization Services Family Based Immigration
- Employment Based Immigration
- Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card)
- Non-immigrant Visas Processing
- Visa Extensions
- Change of Status
- Visa Waiver Program
- Immigration Counsel Representation
As the Immigration Laws continuously amend with new regulations, it is our responsibility to monitor such developments in order to deliver successful results to all of the prospective and existing clientele. Immigration Law is Federal; therefore, we are prepared to handle legal inquiries from all 50 of the United States as well as other selected Countries.
Non-Immigrant Temporary Status
“A non-immigrant is a foreign national seeking to enter the United States (U.S.) temporarily for a specific purpose. Non-immigrants enter the U.S. for a temporary period of time, and once in the U.S., they are restricted to the activity or reason for which his/her visa was issued. ”
– U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services
Specific types of visas, such as educational purpose, business related or pleasure trip, are based on the main reason for your visit. The Consular Officer at your country embassy or consulate will make the decision as to what type of visa you should be issued, reserving the right not to issue a visa at all.
Therefore you should always obtain professional advice from an Immigration Attorney before submitting your Visa request with the Consulate.
General requirements for foreigners seeking temporary admission include:
- The purpose of the visit must be temporary
- The foreign national must agree to depart at the end of his/her authorized stay or extension
- The foreign national must be in possession of a valid passport
- A foreign residence must be maintained by the foreign national, in most instances
- The foreign national may be required to show proof of financial support
- The foreign national must be admissible or have obtained a waiver for any ground of inadmissibility
- The foreign national must abide by the terms and conditions of admission
Family Based Immigration
“A lawful permanent resident is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of permanently living and working in the United States. If you want to become a lawful permanent resident based on the fact that you have a relative who is a citizen of the United States, or a relative who is a lawful permanent resident, you must go through a multi-step process”
– U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services
United States government provides various opportunities for U.S legal residents to invite their dependents (children / spouses) on accompanying visas. Obtaining such dependent (usually temporary) visa for a qualified relative does not mean that this relative will get the same privileges as the primary visa or status of that U.S legal resident.
Family Based Immigration
The United States allows its Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents to apply for permanent legal residency for their relatives, by providing sponsorship.
Only certain relatives may be sponsored as immigrants, depending on the Permanent Status of the sponsoring family member
If the sponsor is a U.S. Citizen, he/she may petition only for their:
- Husband or wife
- Unmarried child under 21 years of age
- Married son or daughter of any age
- Brother or sister, if the sponsor is at least 21 years old, or
- Parent, if the sponsor is at least 21 years old If the sponsor is a Lawful Permanent Resident, he/she may petition only for their:
• Husband or wife, or
•Unmarried son or daughter of any age
In both cases, the sponsoring family member must be able to present proof of the direct relationship, by filing an Immigrant Visa Petition (I-130 Petition for Alien Relative) with the proof of your relationship to the sponsoring relative. Such petition must be approved by the USCIS at all times.
The Department of State then determines an immediate availability of an immigrant visa number, even if you are already in the United States. Once an immigrant visa number is available, you may apply to have a visa number assigned to you, the status of which can be checked in the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin.
If you are already in the United States, you may apply for change of your status to a lawful permanent resident after a visa number becomes available.
If you are outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, you must visit the U.S. consulate in your country in order to complete the final processing. There are some exceptions to obtaining the final immigrant visa number:
Immediate Relatives of U.S. citizens, do NOT have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available.
Once the visa petition filed for them is approved by USCIS, an immigrant visa number becomes available immediately.
Such relatives are: Parents, Spouses and Unmarried children under the age of 21.
- Any Relatives, falling under the Four Preferences, must wait for an available immigrant visa number:
- First preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. Adult means 21 years of age or older.
- Second Preference: Spouses of Lawful Permanent Residents, their unmarried children (under twenty-one), and the unmarried sons and daughters of Lawful Permanent Residents.
- Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. Citizens.
- Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. Citizens. Please note that your sponsoring relative must be a Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident of the U.S., able to supply documentation proving such status.
He/She must also submit evidence that they can support you at 125% above the mandated poverty line, by filling out an Affidavit of Support.
For better results, it is highly recommended to have an Immigration Attorney to prepare and submit all the necessary documentation for the USCIS and Department of State since all improper filings will delay your case proceedings. That is why all paperwork should be arranged correctly during the initial filing attempt.
Receiving professional consultation for both the sponsoring relative and a sponsored immigrant regarding all involved legal issues may enhance the outcome of a consular interview. Employment Based Immigration “An immigrant is a foreign national who has been authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. If you want to become an immigrant based on the fact that you have a permanent employment opportunity in the United States, or if you are an employer that wants to sponsor someone for lawful permanent residency based on permanent employment in the United States, you must go through a multi-step process.”
– U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services
- Mainly, there are five categories for granting permanent residence to foreign nationals based upon employment:
- EB-1 Priority workers
- Foreign nationals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics
- Foreign national that are outstanding professors or researchers
- Foreign nationals that are managers and executives subject to international transfer to the United States
- EB-2 Professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability • Foreign nationals of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business
- Foreign nationals that are advanced degree professionals
- Qualified alien physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the U.S. which is underserved.
- EB-3 Skilled or professional workers
- Foreign national professionals with bachelor’s degrees (not qualifying for a higher preference category)
- Foreign national skilled workers (minimum two years training and experience)
- Foreign national unskilled workers
- EB-4 Special Immigrants
- Foreign national religious workers
- Employees and former employees of the U.S. Government abroad
EB-5 Employment Creation Investors Employers, planning to sponsor a foreign professional for work in the United States on permanent basis, must file a Form I-140 (Petition for Alien Worker) at the USCIS Service Center.
Such Form contains all detailed information on filing requirements, which differ for each of the five categories.
The very first step for the U.S. based employer before filing EB-2 or EB-3 petitions is to file a Labor Certificate with the U.S. Department of Labor and once certified, submit the petition to the USCIS for the approval.
The Labor Certification requirement is waived for a National Interest Waiver petition under EB-2 and is not required in an EB-1 petition. We recommend consulting with Immigration Attorney on your eligibility for the National Interest waiver of the EB-2 or EB-1 categories.
For better results, it is highly recommended to have an Immigration Attorney to prepare and submit all the necessary documentation for the USCIS and Department of State as well as for the process of Labor Certification since all improper filings will delay your case proceedings. That is why all paperwork should be arranged correctly during the initial filing attempt. Receiving professional consultation will also help to determine an exact Category for granting permanent residence to your prospective employee. This will ensure the correctness of the initial Petition, which may improve the timing of the filing process. Green Card (Lawful Permanent Residence) Green Card, or an Alien Registration Receipt Card, is a proof of lawful residence within the U.S., which must be obtained upon the approval of the immigrant visa or the adjustment of status. Upon such approval, foreign nationals may apply for a Social Security number, legal employment, and are eligible for permanent residence in the United States.
- There are several available types of petitions applicable to obtaining a Green Card: • Family Sponsorship
- Employment Sponsorship & Labor Certification
- Adjustments of Status
- Diversity Visa (Green Card Lottery)
- Asylum/Refugee Status
We recommend involving services of an Immigration Attorney in order to properly prepare and process any Green Card petition or an application even if you are a self-petitioning individual. It is important to determine which type of petition would be most appropriate for your case. An Attorney may be able to suggest a winning solution specifically for your situation. Citizenship & Naturalization Services “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
– XIV Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
- Most people become U.S. citizens in one of two ways: 1. By birth (within the territory of the United States or to U.S. citizen parents)
- By Naturalization
In addition, in 2000, Congress passed the Child Citizenship Act (CCA), which allows any child under the age of 18 who is adopted by a U.S. citizen and immigrates to the United States to acquire immediate citizenship.
Permanent Residents may also apply for Citizenship, only if they are able to meet certain criteria.
Dual Citizenship is permitted as well by the U.S. government. However, if a U.S. citizen gains a second foreign citizenship and voluntarily renounces his U.S. Citizenship, he will no longer remain as an American citizen.
Dual nationals must use their U.S. passports entering the U.S. but they may use their foreign passport to enter and leave another country.