Immigration Law

– Overview

At Empire Law, Inc., we understand that our work has enormous impact on the lives of immigrants and their families. Immigration law is extremely complex and having an experienced immigration attorney guide you through the process is absolutely essential. With any kind of immigration petition, you’ll need to submit a complete background history to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or other government organizations. Immigrants who have been arrested or convicted may be ineligible for immigration relief and even face deportation. That’s why Empire Law, Inc. specializes in a wide variety of immigration services:

  • Family Based Petitions
  • Immigrant Work Visas
  • Non-Immigrant Visas
  • Consular Processing Overseas
  • Naturalization Matters
  • U-Visas
  • VAWA Petitions
  • Live Scan

We begin by carefully analyzing your situation and recommending the best approach for you, because at Empire Law, Inc., we are dedicated to providing individual attention and counsel to each and every client.

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Do I need an immigration lawyer?

Immigration law is one of the most complex areas of law. Beware of businesses that offer immigration services without having immigration lawyers. These immigration services are usually illegal and can not act as your lawyer. To ensure the best chance of success, it is recommended that you consult with a lawyer.

What is the difference between U.S. Citizenship & Lawful Permanent Residency?

U.S. citizens are not subject to immigration laws. They may travel outside of the United States without immigration restrictions. In addition, U.S. citizens are also entitled to a number of rights and privileges not available to non-citizens such as voting in U.S. elections. In contrast, a lawful permanent resident, often referred to as “green card” holder, entitles a person to live and work indefinitely in the United States. Those with lawful permanent resident status have many benefits, but are potentially subject to deportation under certain circumstances. Furthermore, lawful permanent residents may also lose their status if they reside outside the United States for an extended period of time.

How long will my Green Card remain valid?

Although some Permanent Resident Cards, also most commonly known as Green Cards, contain no expiration date, most are valid for 10 years. If you have been granted conditional permanent resident status, the card is valid for 2 years. It is important to keep your card up-to-date and our legal office is happy to help you from the initial application, the processing period, and after to make sure you can maintain your legal status.

Once I obtain a Green Card, what do I need in order to obtain citizenship through naturalization?

Naturalization is the way that an alien not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen. The most common way that you can become a U.S. citizen is through naturalization by being a lawful permanent resident for at least five years. Our law office can help you determine what the earliest accepted filing date would be for your naturalization application, or you can do so yourself using the USCIS Early Filing Calculator.

Before you can apply for naturalization, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. Depending on your situation, different requirements may apply to you, but here are the typical guidelines:

  • Be at least 18 years old when you submit your application for Naturalization
  • Show you have been a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States for at least 5 years.
  • Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least five years immediately before the date you file your application.
  • Show you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the five years immediately before the date you file your application.
  • Show you have lived for at least three months in a state or USCIS district having jurisdiction over your place of residence. (If you are a student and are financially dependent on your parents, you may apply for naturalization where you go to school or where your family lives.)
  • Show that you are a person of good moral character and have been a person of good moral character for at least five years immediately before the date you file your application.
  • Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Be able to read, write and speak basic English.
  • Have knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government of the United States.
  • Take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

Of course, this is a lot of information that our immigration law office is more than willing to help you digest and prepare for if you need help with obtaining and maintaining your Green Card status.

What do I do if my Visa expires?

Sometimes understanding the difference between the visa expiration date and the length of time you have permission to remain in the United States can be confusing. The visa expiration date is shown on the visa along with the visa issuance date. The time between visa issuance and expiration date is called your visa validity. The visa validity is the length of time you are permitted to travel to a port-of-entry in the United States.

In order to better understand what is happening or what may happen with your visa, please give us a call to better understand the details of your situation. From there, we can give you the best advice to help you individually.

How can I check the status of my application?

The immigration system is notoriously slow. We do our best to keep you updated on each and every change that may happen throughout your immigration case, even regarding the application process.

Depending on the category you applied under, you might find that you have to wait several weeks or months to hear back from the office processing your case. Most likely, that is an office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Don’t panic! Such delays are normal, although certainly bothersome. At least USCIS offers various procedures by which you can check the status of your petition or application. We will be sure to keep your receipt number and other identifying information handy to you as well should there be any questions about the status of your case.

I'm an undocumented immigrant, do I have options?

You may have more options than you think. Don’t give up hope. Contact our office today to explore what options may be available.

What is deportation?

​When a person is deported that individual is removed from the United States and is returned to that person’s country of origin. A significant legal consequence that may occur from deportation is a prohibition against reentering the United States. There are a number of situations that can lead to a person being deported. In fact, simply being in the United States unlawfully may lead to removal proceedings.

What is the best way to immigrate to the US?

Many non-citizens enter the United States every year in temporary legal statuses. There is no “best” way to immigrate to the U.S., because the options will vary from person to person. An experienced immigration attorney can provide you with a strategy plan outlining your most viable options.

What types of visas are available if I want to come to the U.S. for a visit or temporary stay?

There are many reasons to come to the United States for a short period of time whether it’s for work, school, to see family or a significant other… the possibilities are endless. However, all non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents will still need a visa.

The type of visa you may need is called a “nonimmigrant visa.” These temporary visas allow the holders to visit the United States for specific purposes, as long as their stays are temporary and have a clear departure date.

Nonimmigrant visas are temporary, so you would not be able to use them to live in the United States permanently. They usually have an end date or a set amount of time that can be spent in the country.

What type of visa should I get if I want to become a permanent U.S. resident?

If you are looking for more permanency in the US, then we are happy to explore immigrant visas with you. These usually require either family to be a relevant reason for moving or employment sponsorship.

If you want to stay in the US permanently, we can help you get your green card! Everyone’s situation is different, so we really encourage you to get in contact with our office as soon as possible. There is a legal process to everything, so we recommend getting started sooner than later.

I have received a deportation order. Is there anything I can do to avoid being deported?

Here at Empire Law, Inc., we understand that receiving a deportation order can be very stressful to you and your family. We do everything in our power to take some of the worry off of you and your loved ones shoulders by exploring the best way that we can keep you here with them.

There are only a few defenses against deportation from the U.S.

The different options may vary from citizenship, cancellation of removal and 212(c) Waiver if you do not have a felony, asylum, adjustment of status, cancellation of removal and suspension of deportation, voluntary departure, and there is also a refugee waiver.

Determining the best approach will depend on the details of your immigration case. Consulting an immigration lawyer is the best thing you can do to save time, money, and stress for you and your family. Don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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