Immigration, Residency, & Work Visas
We have assisted many individuals in sponsoring family members for permanent residency in the United States.
Our firm offers a wide range of immigration services for our clients. We have helped many of our clients obtain citizenship in the United States. We have assisted numerous corporations in obtaining temporary work visas for their employees as well as sponsoring them for permanent residency in the United States. The Immigration system is a complicated one and mistakes in filing can result in huge delays in the processing of applications. Our firm can ensure that your applications are correct. Please call for a consultation.
Companies can use temporary work visas to hire workers for set lengths of time. If the foreign worker decides he or she wants to remain in the United States, the company has the option of sponsoring the employee for permanent residency (a green card) while the employee continues to work in the United States on a visa. There are a number of different types of temporary work visas.
H1B visas are available to specialized workers with college degrees coming to work in their field of expertise. U.S. companies with foreign affiliates have the option of sponsoring employees who have worked for the foreign affiliate for at least a year for L visas, either an L1A visa for employees with specialized knowledge or an L1B visa for managers. Foreign-owned businesses may qualify to sponsor employees for either E-1 or E-2 visas if they conduct substantial trade with their home countries or make a substantial investment in the U.S. Employers can sponsor employees with extraordinary ability in their field for work visas in the United States. TN visas are available to Canadian and Mexican professionals in designated occupations.
There are other types of visas available for temporary stays in the United States including tourist visas, student visas and visas that are granted to individuals participating in cultural exchange programs. Temporary visas are also available for religious workers.
Permanent residence enables a person to live and work in the United States for the rest of his/her life. Most people obtain green cards by being sponsored by their employers or their relatives. Other people obtain permanent residence through the green card lottery, through asylum and through various other means
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.
First, foreign nationals and employers must determine if the foreign national is eligible for lawful permanent residency under one of USCIS' paths to lawful permanent residency.
Second, most employment categories require that the U.S. employer complete a labor certification request (Form ETA 750) for the applicant, and submit it to the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. Labor must either grant or deny the certification request. Qualified alien physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the United States which has been certified as underserved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are relieved from this requirement.
Third, USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition, Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for the person wishing to immigrate to the United States. The employer wishing to bring the applicant to the United States to work permanently files this petition. However, if a Department of Labor certification is needed, you can only file the application after the certification is granted. The employer acts as the sponsor (or petitioner) for the applicant (or beneficiary) who wants to live and work on a permanent basis in the United States.
Fourth, the State Department must give the applicant an immigrant visa number, even if the applicant is already in the United States. When the applicant receives an immigrant visa number, it means that an immigrant visa has been assigned to the applicant. You can check the status of a visa number in the Department of State's Visa Bulletin.
Fifth, if the applicant is already in the United States, he or she must apply to adjust to permanent resident status after a visa number becomes available. If the applicant is outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, he or she will be notified and must complete the process at his or her local U.S. consulate office.
There are four 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 who are advanced degree professionals
- Qualified alien physicians who will practice an underserved area medicine in the U.S. Read more about this particular program.
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
Obtaining Permanent Residency through Sponsorship by a Family Member
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.
The USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition, I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, for you. This petition is filed by your relative (sponsor) and must have proof of your relationship to the requesting relative.
The Deparment of State must determine if an immigrant visa number is immediately available to you, the foreign national, even if you are already in the United States. When an immigrant visa number is available, it means you can apply to have one of the immigrant visa numbers assigned to you. You can check the status of a visa number in the Department of State's Visa Bulletin.
If you are already in the United States, you may apply to change your status to that of a lawful permanent resident after a visa number becomes available to you. This is one way you can apply to secure an immigrant visa number. If you are outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, you must then go to the U.S. consulate servicing the area in which you reside to complete your processing. This is the other way to secure an immigrant visa number.
In order for a relative to sponsor you to immigrate to the United States, they must meet the following criteria:
They must be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and be able to provide documentation providing that status.
They must prove that they can support you at 125% above the mandated poverty line, by filling out an Affidavit of Support
The relatives which may sponsor an immigrant vary depending on whether the sponsor is a U.S. Citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
If the sponsor is a U.S. Citizen, they may petition for the following foreign national relatives to immigrate to the U.S:
- Husband or wife
- Unmarried child under 21 years of age
- Unmarried son or daughter over 21
- 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, they may petition for the following foreign national relatives to immigrate to the U.S.:
- Husband or wife, or
- Unmarried son or daughter of any age.
In any case, the sponsor must be able to provide proof of the relationship.
If you wish to immigrate as a relative of a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident, you must obtain an immigrant visa number based on the preference category in which you fall.
People who want to become immigrants are classified into categories based on a preference system. The immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, which includes parents, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available once the the USCIA approves the visa petition filed for them. An immigrant visa number will become immediately available. The relatives in the remaining categories must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available according to the following preferences:
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.
Once USCIS receives your visa petition (Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative), they will approve or deny it. Once approved, the USCIS notifies the person who filed the visa petition of the petition. USCIS will then send the approved visa petition to the Department of State's National Visa Center, where it will remain until an immigrant visa number is available. As soon as The Center receives the visa petition, they will notify the foreign national and again when an immigrant visa number is available.