Commonly Asked Questions About Immigration
Immigration is a complex area of law. The particulars vary greatly depending on your unique circumstances. While we’ve compiled general answers to frequently asked questions, this information is no substitute for individualized legal advice.
Contact our lawyers at the Bellwoar Kelly, LLP to get professional help for your immigration matter. We have offices in Pottstown and West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Can I Get A Green Card?
To get a green card, you must qualify on the basis of certain grounds. The most common ground is family-based — that is, through marriage or through certain relatives who are either green card holders (lawful permanent residents) or U.S. citizens. However, you must meet numerous detailed criteria to qualify, which is why you should speak with an attorney about your particular situation.
How Do I Determine Which Family Visa Category I Qualify For?
Four visa categories determine priority or “preference” among those seeking a family-based green card:
- First preference: Unmarried adult children age 21 and older of U.S. citizens
- Second preference: Spouses of lawful permanent residents, and their unmarried children under age 21
- Third preference: Married children of U.S. citizens
- Fourth preference: Siblings of adult U.S. citizens
Because there are a limited number of visas available, applicants who fall under the first preference will have a far shorter wait time than those in the third or fourth.
Note that those who immigrate through an “immediate relative” — for example, a U.S. citizen spouse — aren’t subject to the quota. This means they don’t have to wait for a visa number to become available.
After Obtaining A Green Card, What Are The Eligibility Requirements To Become A Citizen?
You must be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) for a certain number of years before you can apply for U.S. citizenship. You must also:
- Demonstrate that you physically lived in the United States for a certain amount of time
- Demonstrate good moral character
- Pass a basic English and civic test
- Prepare a detailed application
- Undergo a naturalization interview
- Take the oath of allegiance
My Visa Expired, What Do I Need To Do?
Work with legal counsel to determine the best course of action for you. You may be eligible for an extension, change of status, or other legal options, depending on your situation. Visa issues are time sensitive so it is imperative to act quickly. Failure to take legal action can have serious repercussions.
What Can I Do To Avoid Deportation After A Criminal Conviction?
In general, criminal charges negatively impact your immigration status. You need an experienced immigration and criminal defense attorney to build your defense. Possible defenses to deportation include asylum, not removable as charged, 212(c) or 212 (h) waivers for a conviction, or cancellation of removal.