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How do I immigrate to the United States?

Families in Florida may benefit from learning more about the process that enables people to immigrate into the United States. According to the U.S Department of State, the first step towards becoming a lawful permanent resident is for a foreign citizen to obtain an immigrant visa. Most foreign citizens are either categorized as immigrating for employment reasons or for family. In order to qualify for immigration, foreign citizens must be sponsored by a prospective employer, U.S. lawful permanent resident or a relative that is a U.S. citizen.

The process is initiated once the sponsor files a petition with U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services on behalf of the foreign person. U.S. citizens are permitted to file petitions for immigrants who qualify as a son or daughter, a parent, a sibling or spouse. U.S lawful permanent residents, otherwise known as green-card holders, may petition for a spouse or an unmarried daughter or son.

Employers in America sometimes recruit foreign workers with a specific skillset to perform work on a long-term or permanent basis in the states. In some industries, prospective immigrant workers may be permitted to sponsor themselves. Employers submit an I-140 petition for Alien Worker with the USCIS to initiate the process. Foreign citizens with extenuating circumstances may qualify under special visa categories as well. Once the petition is approved, the documents are processed through the National Visa Center before the final interview and reviews begin.

Since each situation is unique and depends on various factors, families or foreign citizens who need assistance with completing the immigration process may benefit from meeting with a lawyer. An immigration defense lawyer may also help prevent a foreign citizen from being deported as well. Immigrants who need representation in court or in administrative proceedings may also benefit from enlisting legal counsel for assistance.

Source: US Department of State, "The Immigrant Visa Process", August 28, 2014

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Our firm is a recognized leader in immigration law and litigation. We handle the spectrum from family and employment-based visas to deportation defense and immigration appeals. Founding partner Ira Kurzban authored the Immigration Law Sourcebook, widely used by immigration lawyers, judges and government officials as the authoritative field reference.

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