When you’ve left everything you knew to come to the United States, you knew it wouldn’t be easy. Though you dreamed of a new life and new opportunities, you also expected that there would be challenges. Will you be allowed in the country? How long can you stay? What steps do you need to take to become a permanent resident, to get the “green card” that grants permanent residency?
The American immigration laws can be difficult to understand, even when language and culture are not barriers. The more you understand about immigration, visas, citizenship and asylum, the more you’ll be able to work in partnership with an immigration attorney, protecting and securing your rights.
GetLegal.com’s Immigration Law Center provides accurate and up-to-date information on a broad range of immigration issues, including the types of visas available, as well as the requirements to qualify for asylum, or to obtain U.S. citizenship.
A person may seek permanent legal residency in the United States through a family or business relationship. Upon successful completion of the process, you will be issued a “green card,” or immigrant visa.
Temporary, or non-immigrant, visas are for tourists, students, business visitors and patients seeking medical treatment.
A green card does not convey U.S. citizenship and the benefits that come with it. To become an American citizen, you must go through the naturalization process.
The naturalization process allows foreign-born residents of the United States to pursue all the benefits of American citizenship.
The asylum process allows certain foreign nationals to remain in the United States, if there is evidence of potential persecution for religious, political or other reasons, should they be forced to return to their native country.
Congress enacts the nation’s immigration laws. Several agencies within the Department of Homeland Security establish procedures and rules for enforcement.
Here are some terms commonly used in immigration law.
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