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How Do You Become a U.S. Citizen?

Through the process of naturalization, foreign citizens or nationals are able to become a United States citizen, so long as they fulfill the requirements that were established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Applying for citizenship can be an exhaustive and expensive process.

The costs associated with the application process can widely vary, and hiring an attorney to assist you throughout, may end up saving you money in the long run. Even the slightest error can cause an application to be denied or postponed, and having to reapply can double or triple your costs.

What is Deportation?

Deportation occurs when the United States orders an individual to leave the country. Deportation, also known as removal, can be a frightening situation for the individual as well as their family. The laws surrounding deportation are complicated and hiring a deportation/removal attorney is highly advised.

Experienced lawyers may be able to raise arguments against deportation, including any one of the following: cancellation of an order of removal, prosecutorial discretion, requests for asylum, arguments based on the U.N. Convention Against Torture, and appeal of order or removal. Your attorney will fight to help you remain in the country, and will be your best bet at staying where you are.

How to Get a Permanent Visa or Green Card

Lawful permanent residents of the United States receive a photo identity card, that is green in color. As such, permanent resident cards are known informally as "Green cards". Green card holders are immigrants who are given rights, privileges, and benefits to permanently and legally reside in the United States.

Immigrants who are seeking permanent resident status may apply for, renew, or replace a green card through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A green card gives an individual official immigration status in the United States, and is required if the individual wishes to naturalize as a U.S. citizen.

In order to apply for a green card, an individual must be eligible to do so under one of several categories, such as being a human trafficking or crime victim, through family, or through employment. If an individual thinks he or she may be eligible under one of the categories listed on the USCIS website, it is recommended to seek legal counsel in moving forward with a green card application.

Unfortunately, there have been instances of scammers who take advantage of people who are unfamiliar with the immigration, visa or green card process. This type of fraud typically involves obtaining personal information or money in exchange for the promise of getting the individual through the immigration process. Before agreeing to anything related permanent visas or green cards, speak with an immigration lawyer for advice.

Another method to obtain a green card is through the United States' Diversity Immigrant Visa (DV) Lottery program. Each year, the green card lottery allows for up to 50,000 immigrant visas to be awarded to foreign nationals in countries with a low rate of immigration to the U.S.

For more information on the DV lottery, check out the State Department’s DV lottery website. As mentioned before, beware of fraudulent scams, and do not hesitate to contact an immigration attorney for guidance.

What is a Temporary Visa?

A temporary visa is usually required for people who are planning a short trip to the United States. There are many types of nonimmigrant visas, and one must be chosen that authorizes that activity and no other. For instance, a B-2 visa for visitors for pleasure or medical treatment must only be used for those purposes. Academic or language students must apply for a F-1 visa, and are required to adhere to the purpose of the visa while in the United States.

In the previous example, if a person is in the U.S. on a F-1 visa, then the person is allowed to study in the United States, but he or she cannot work off-campus or stay in the U.S. permanently. The duration of a particular visa will vary from the next, as each category of visa serves a different purpose.

Of great importance is the expiration date on the visa. The expiration date only indicates the period of time that the person can enter the United States. The length of stay permitted will be the date shown on Form I-94.

Some visas are “multiple entry,” and allow the visa holder to re-enter the United States again. Single entry visas are just that, and do not allow the person to return without obtaining a new visa. Residents from a list of eligible countries may be permitted to travel to the United States for stays up to 90 days without a visa, under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). However, eligible travelers must have an e-passport in order to use the VWP.

Where Can You Find an Immigration Lawyer?

If you have any questions related to immigration policies within the United States, contact an immigration lawyer on LegalMatch. Not only will an experienced attorney give you peace of mind throughout the immigration process, but it could mean the difference between obtaining the type of visa you need, or not obtaining one at all

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