Many people see US immigration law as threatening and overcomplicated, while others consider it to be too lenient. Whatever a person’s opinion on the matter, anyone seeking to gain entry into the United States must follow these laws to the letter. The immigration laws were designed to give individuals the opportunity to stay in the US and become a member of American society, but also to keep out anyone with more questionable motives for entering the country.
Based on United States immigration law, individuals who are not citizens will need a visa before they can enter the United States. A visa is a special document that indicates to agencies such as Border Protection, Customs, and the Department of Homeland Security that you were given the right to enter on US soil via a land border, airport, or sea port. Immigration issues are dealt with through the Department of Homeland Security, who are responsible for deciding who enters the country via a visa.
There are several countries where citizens do not require a visa to enter the US. This is because these countries and the US are bound under a legal arrangement which allows its citizens to visit the US without the need of a visa.
US law dictates that there are two main categories of visa. The type of visa a person needs depends on the purpose of their trip and they are entering the country as an immigrant or a non-immigrant. Immigrant visa are only given to individuals who plan on living in the United States permanently. Non-immigrant visas are given to individuals who only plan to visit temporarily
Non immigrant visas are divided into various categories. These include visas that are issued for business people, athletes, students, members of a crew, etc. the type of visa that you will require will depend of the rules and regulations as defined by immigration laws.
Immigrant visas are used for individuals who plan on staying in the US permanently or for long periods. Before you are granted a visa, your application will have to meet certain criteria as established the National Visa Center. If your application meets all the requirements, then your visa will be processed.
So you have entered the US. What next?
The laws that govern immigration services in the United States are extremely complicated, and many areas require the services of a qualified immigration lawyer with many years of experience. If you need to renew your status or work permit, you should begin the process as quickly as you can, as the Citizenship and Immigration services will require a certain amount of time to respond to your request. If you are in the US with a limited work visa, you will need to expedite your renewal so as to avoid problems with immigration.
Avoid taking your resume along with you
Giving the immigration officer the correct perception of you is critical if you want them to grant your request. Avoid bringing documents that would indicate to the official that you are planning on spending a long time in the US. Officials by law can revoke your visa if they believe that you plan on staying longer than what is dictated by your visa.
If you plan on moving, update the USCIS
You will need to inform the US Citizenship and Immigration services of a change in address ten days before you change your address. This requirement is only applicable to individuals who will be staying for more than a month. Non citizens who change their address should send them in separate notifications using the AR-11 form. This can be downloaded from the USCIS webpage. You can mail this to the USCIS or change the address through the website.
If you have been given an appointment date and time to visit the USCIS or the US Embassy, always be on location before the appointment time. It’s a known fact that persons who do not follow this simple tip usually create additional trouble that goes on to impacting their stay in US.
Know the terms of your visa or permit
If you were granted a green card, visa or work permit, you are officially allowed on US soil. You will need to understand the terms of your stay, as they do come with some limitations and prohibitions. For instance, if you were granted a student visa you cannot work while you’re in the country. If you do not operate by these rules like these you will be deported.
Keep copies of all documents sent to the USCIS
Because government agencies are required to deal with thousands of applications on a daily basis, one or several of these documents can be misplaced. Making copies of the documents that you sent to the agency will prevent you from getting into trouble. If filing for a petition, keep your receipt as proof.
Talk to a Lawyer
There are scenarios in which you can be on vacation and the CIS calls to inform you there is a problem. If this has happened to you, the best recourse is to contact a qualified experienced immigration lawyer.
Want to become a citizen of the US?
Many people want to live in the US. If you are one such individual you can ask a member of your family who is already a citizen to file for you. If you receive a petition and become eligible for your green card then you can apply to become a citizen. You will need to be a green card holder for five years before you are eligible to apply for citizenship.
Be a model citizen
Once you have gained citizenship you will need to maintain this good standing with the government. You do not need to give them the impression that you are a threat to the security of the country.