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Introduction to Immigration

Updated: Feb 21, 2022

The immigration process in the U.S. can be confusing and time-consuming but also extremely rewarding as we work helping families reunite, individuals become U.S. Citizens and dreams come true.

There are many different kinds of visas to enter or stay lawfully in the U.S. Under current immigration law, visas and processes can be divided into two main groups: non-immigrant and immigrant visas.

Immigrant Visas

Immigrant visas provide the visa holder a pathway to legal permanent residency (green card) and citizenship. This type of visa can be family-based or employment-based. Family-based immigration occurs when a U.S. Citizen, legal permanent resident (or green card holder) or refugee helps a family member come to the United States on a family-based visa. Here are some examples:

  • Spouse Visas

  • Fiancé Visas

  • Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas (for spouses, children and parents)

  • Family Preference Immigrant Visas (for spouses of LPRs, children, and brothers an sisters)

  • International Adoption

The immigration process for immediate relatives can last anywhere from a few months to over a year depending on the complexities of the case and whether the beneficiary of the visa is in the United States or in another country.

Family preference immigrant visas have a similar process and forms but can last much longer. A brother or sister of a U.S. citizen may have to wait almost 10 years or more to get their request approved.

Employment-based visas are obtained with the help of an employer who also serves as a sponsor for the applicant. The employer must file all the necessary paperwork on behalf of the alien employee and, in some cases, obtain the necessary accreditation or certification with the U.S. Department of Labor. Many employers in the U.S. sponsor foreign workers and offer programs for highly qualified or skilled individuals, especially in certain areas such as Information Technology.

Non-Immigrant Visas

As opposed to immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas do not lead to legal permanent residence or naturalization. However, they can provide the visa holder and family the opportunity to live, study and work in the U.S. for a period of time. Some non-immigrant visas can be renewed indefinitely as long as all the necessary requirements are met. Non-immigrant visas may also allow the visa holder enough time in the U.S. to request a change of visa status to an immigrant visa. Some examples of non-immigrant visas are:

  • Student Visas

  • Employment Visas

  • Investor Visas

Naturalization and Citizenship

The process of naturalization allows foreigners to become U.S. citizens. That means having a U.S. passport, voting and qualifying for jobs for U.S. citizens only. Unless a waiver is obtained, the final interview includes an oral exam in which 10 questions are asked and the applicant must answer at least five correctly. Once you pass the interview, the next step is the citizenship ceremony.

Whether you wish to reunite with family members currently abroad, work and live in the U.S. or apply for your green card or citizenship, U.S. Immigration law offers many possibilities. Don’t let the complexities of applying for a visa or changing your status derail you. Our highly experienced attorneys can help you choose the best option available to your specific needs, fill out all filing forms and expedite the entire process. Call us today at (385) 334-4030 or (801) 608-4706 (WhatsApp) for more information or schedule a one-hour immigration consultation at

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