Immigration Status

Relocating to a different country involves a complicated process to determine eligibility. Simply crossing the borders and claiming allegiance is not enough, although many people try. In an effort to bring order to this process, prevent threats to national security, curb illegal drug trafficking, and maintain order in America, the United States implements a consummate and complex process for immigration. In America, immigration status falls under three main categories:

  • Undocumented immigrant
  • Temporary worker
  • Legal immigrant

Undocumented Immigrant

Undocumented immigrants are individuals crossing the United States borders in violation of immigration laws. Typically, illegal immigration is illegal in itself, however, once entering into the United States, residing in the country in itself is not a violation of criminal law. Thus, this status makes it impossible to receive the benefits of citizenship immediately, however, once inside the country, these immigrants can begin a legal immigration process with the help of an immigration attorney. During this process, however, there is a high risk of being deported, but many immigrants chose to pursue this option regardless.

Temporary Worker

In contrast, a temporary worker receives permission to enter the United States legally for temporary employment. A good example of this process is seasonal workers. Agriculture is an industry facing a shortage of help during peak seasons. Thus, immigrants gladly accept the opportunity for employment and must acquire a worker's visa. Additionally, the immigration policies in the United States favor workers in high demand industries or those possessing innate, lucrative, or unique skills, which will allow the immigrant to easily adapt to employment sector of their choice in the United States, and in turn, support the American economy at large. An immigration attorney can help professionals seeking employment visa immigration status in the United States well before their expected dates of employment.

Legal Immigrant

The third and best status is known as legal immigrant status. Except for the right to vote, legal immigrants have the many rights and privileges of Americans. For immigrants and their loved ones, this can include social services, welfare assistance, medical benefits, as well as education opportunities for their children and other dependents. Oftentimes, becoming a legal resident is the first step to becoming a naturalized citizen. During the process of attaining legal immigrant status with permanent residency, an immigration attorney will file and document all the paperwork necessary to avoid any legal snares in maintaining you and your loved ones' residency in America. Additionally, the process of naturalization requires extensive document filing, court appearances, testing, and will be impossible to undergo without the guidance of a competent immigration lawyer.

Many reasons exist for individuals to request legal resident status, which typically include:

Unfortunately, immigrants may enter the United States seeking asylum. When the country of origin is mistreating a citizen for issues such as political or religious beliefs, and the individual feels his or her life is in danger, America will weigh the request and grant residency if the situation is valid.

Alternatively, many people come to America seeking a green card. However, a sponsor is necessary. For example, an individual may meet and marry an American citizen. Thus, he or she needs a green card to establish permanent residency. Similarly, others have relatives already residing in the states, and they come to America seeking the same opportunities and benefits their family members now enjoy.

Refugees also seek the same opportunities and benefits afforded to United States citizens. However, these individuals are also seeking asylum for safety reasons. The difference is in the request. He or she is granted legal entrance into the country based on the imminent harm waiting at home, before entering the country, due to beliefs contrary to the government.

Finally, non-citizens can also request a visa to enter the United States. The most common reason is often education. Many students opt to come to America, and pay the high foreign student fees, to receive a quality education not available in their country of origin.

America provides many opportunities for non-residents to obtain legal immigration status. Then, many of the same benefits afforded to all Americans are made available to individuals who come from other countries.

Do you or your loved ones wish to verify immigration status in the United States, possibly seeking permanent residency? Contact an immigration attorney to assist in verifying immigration status and help make any necessary changes.

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