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U.S. Immigration Made Easy [NOOK Book]

Overview

Ready to move to the USA? Here’s the insider’s guide you need!

U.S. Immigration Made Easy covers every possible way to legally enter...
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U.S. Immigration Made Easy

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Overview

Ready to move to the USA? Here’s the insider’s guide you need!

U.S. Immigration Made Easy covers every possible way to legally enter and live in the United States. Learn how the immigration system really works and find out whether you qualify for:

. work visas
. student visas
. refugee status
. green cards
. citizenship
. and more

Get tips on dealing with paperwork, government officials, delays and denials. Plus, you'll get step-by-step instructions on filling out and filing forms, and learn the best way to approach the enormous U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) bureaucracy.

Thoroughly updated and revised, this edition has been updated and revised to cover the latest changes in immigration law, including new addresses for sending various immigration petitions, average processing times, how a spouse living overseas can prove ability to support immigrants in the U.S., how to find forms and case status information on the USCIS website, and much more.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Thoughtfully organized a vast amount of useful information."  Library Journal

"The clearest, most accurate explanation of immigration laws for nonlawyers thus far.  " Immigration Law Today

"Highly recommended.... Instructive and explanatory."  United States Information Agency

United States Information Agency
"Highly recommended.... Instructive and explanatory."
Immigration Law Today
The clearest, most accurate explanation of immigration laws for nonlawyers thus far.
India Worldwide
It is user-friendly [and] doesn't intimidate like some lawyers.
Irish Echo
Well worth the investment -- considerably less than what one would pay for an hour's consultation with a lawyer.
Asian Week
A new option.... Save $500 to $8000 in legal fees.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781413318623
  • Publisher: NOLO
  • Publication date: 1/31/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 16
  • Pages: 616
  • Sales rank: 562,757
  • File size: 7 MB

Meet the Author

Ilona Bray, J.D. is an award-winning author and legal editor at Nolo, specializing in real estate, immigration law, workplace wellness and nonprofit fundraising. Many of her books are consistent Nolo bestsellers, among them Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits, U.S. Immigration Made Easy and Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home. Her latest book is entitled The Volunteers' Guide to Fundraising. She particularly enjoys interviewing people and weaving their stories into her books.

Bray's working background includes solo practice, nonprofit, and corporate stints, as well as long periods of volunteering, including an internship at Amnesty International's main legal office in London. She received her law degree and a Master's degree in East Asian (Chinese) Studies from the University of Washington. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, going to open houses and gardening.

Bray also blogs on ideas for raising money for your nonprofit at Nolo's Fundraising Tips for Busy Nonprofits and provides tips for anyone buying or selling a home at Nolo's Real Estate Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers -- winner of the 2012 "Best Blog" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE). She is also an author on a popular Immigration Law Site.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

Your Immigration Companion

Part I

Getting Started: U.S. Immigration Eligibility and Procedures

1. Where to Begin on Your Path Toward Immigration
A. Roadmap to U.S. Immigration
B. Immigration Eligibility Self-Quiz
C. The Typical Application Process

2. Are You Already a U.S. Citizen?
A. Acquisition of Citizenship Through Birth to U.S. Citizen Parents
B. Automatic Derivation of U.S. Citizenship Through Naturalized Parents
C. Obtaining Proof of U.S. Citizenship
D. Dual Citizenship

3. Can You Enter or Stay in the U.S. at All?
A. Particularly Troublesome Grounds of Inadmissibility
B. Avoiding or Reversing an Inadmissibility Finding

4. Dealing With Paperwork, Government Officials, Delays, and Denials
A. Getting Organized
B. How to Obtain and Prepare Immigration Application Forms
C. How to Obtain Needed Documents
D. Before You Mail an Application
E. Dealing With Delays
F. Attending Interviews With U.S.CIS or Consular Officials
G. Procedures for U.S.CIS Interviews
H. What to Do If an Interview Is Going Badly
I. What to Do If an Application Is Denied
J. When All Else Fails, Call Your U.S. Congressperson

5. Special Rules for Canadians and Mexicans
A. Canadian Visitors and Nonimmigrants
B. Special Work Privileges for Canadian and Mexican Visitors
C. Simplified Procedures for Canadian Students and Exchange Visitors
D. Preflight Inspections for Canadians

6. How and When to Find a Lawyer
A. When Do You Need a Lawyer?
B. Where to Get the Names of Good Immigration Lawyers
C. How to Avoid Sleazy Lawyers
D. How to Choose Among Lawyers
E. SigningUp Your Lawyer
F. Paying Your Lawyer
G. Firing Your Lawyer
H. Do-It-Yourself Legal Research

Part II

Introduction to Permanent U.S. Residence (Green Cards)

A. Categories of Green Card Applicants
B. How Many Green Cards Are Available?

7. Getting a Green Card Through Family Members in the U.S.
A. Are You Eligible for a Green Card Through a Relative?
B. Quick View of the Application Process
C. Step One: Your U.S. Relative Files the Visa Petition
D. Step Two: Preference Relatives Wait for an Available Visa
E. Step Three: You Submit the Green Card Application
F. Step Four: You Enter the U.S. With Your Immigrant Visa
G. Removing Conditional Residence in Marriage Cases

8. Getting a K-1 Visa to Marry Your U.S. Citizen Fiancé
A. Do You Qualify for a K-1 Visa?
B. Quick View of How to Apply for a K-1 Visa
C. Step One: Your U.S. Citizen Fiancé Submits a Visa Petition
D. Step Two: You Follow Instructions from the National Visa Center
E. Step Three: You Apply at a U.S. Consulate
F. Step Four: You Enter the U.S. on Your Fiancé Visa

9. Getting a Green Card Through Employment
A. Are You Eligible for a Green Card Through Employment?
B. Quick View of the Application Process
C. Step One: The Prevailing Wage Determination
D. Step Two: Employer Advertising and Recruitment
E. Step Three: Your Employer Seeks Labor Certification
F. Step Four: Your Employer Files the Visa Petition
G. Step Five: You Wait for an Available Visa Number
H. Step Six: You Submit the Green Card Application
I. Step Seven: Entering the U.S. With Your Immigrant Visa

10. Getting a Green Card Through the Diversity Visa Lottery
A. Are You Eligible for a Green Card Through the Lottery?
B. Quick View of the Application Process
C. Step One: Registering for the Lottery
D. Step Two: The Green Card Application
E. Step Three: Entering the U.S. With Your Immigrant Visa

11. Getting a Green Card as an Investor
A. Are You Eligible for a Green Card Through Investment?
B. Quick View of the Application Process
C. Step One: You File a Visa Petition
D. Step Two: You Await an Available Visa Number
E. Step Three: You Apply for a Green Card
F. Step Four: You Enter the U.S. Using Your Immigrant Visa
G. Converting Your Conditional Residence into Permanent Residence

12. Getting a Green Card as a Special Immigrant
A. Do You Qualify for a Green Card as a Special Immigrant?
B. Quick View of the Application Process
C. Step One: You File the Visa Petition
D. Step Two: You Await an Available Visa Number
E. Step Three: You Apply for a Green Card
F. Step Four: You Enter the U.S. With Your Immigrant Visa

13. Humanitarian Protection: TPS, DED, Asylee, and Refugee Status
A. Do You Qualify for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
B. How to Apply for Temporary Protected Status
C. What Is Deferred Enforced Departure?
D. Do You Qualify as a Refugee or Asylee?
E. How to Apply for Refugee Status
F. How to Apply for Political Asylum
G. How to Get a Green Card as a Refugee or Asylee

14. After Your Approval for a Green Card
A. How to Prove You're a U.S. Resident
B. Traveling Abroad
C. Your Immigrating Family Members' Rights
D. Losing Your Permanent Resident Status
E. How to Renew or Replace Your Green Card
F. Green Cards and U.S. Citizenship
G. Green Cards and U.S. Taxes

Part III

Nonimmigrant (Temporary) Visas

A. Types of Nonimmigrant Visas
B. Difference Between a Visa and a Status
C. Time Limits on Nonimmigrant Visas
D. At the Border
E. Heightened Security Measures
F. Effect of Nonimmigrant Visas on Green Cards
G. Nonimmigrant Visas and U.S. Taxes
H. Status Overstays and Automatic Cancellation of Visas

15. Getting a Business or Tourist (B-1 or B-2) Visa
A. Do You Qualify for a Visitor Visa?
B. How to Apply for a Visitor Visa
C. Extensions of Stay

16. Getting a Temporary Specialty Worker (H-1B) Visa
A. Do You Qualify for an H-1B Visa?
B. Quick View of the H-1B Visa Application Process
C. Step One: Your Employer Files an LCA
D. Step Two: Your Employer Files a Visa Petition
E. Step Three: Applicants Outside the U.S. Apply to a U.S. Consulate
F. Step Four: You Enter the U.S. With Your H-1B Visa
G. Extending Your U.S. Stay
H. Your Rights as an H-1B Worker

17. Getting an H-2B (Temporary Nonagricultural Worker) Visa
A. Do You Qualify for an H-2B Visa?
B. Possibilities for a Green Card From H-2B Status
C. Quick View of the H-2B Visa Application Process
D. Step One: Your Employer Applies for Temporary Labor Certification
E. Step Two: Your Employer Submits an H-2B Visa Petition
F. Step Three: Applicants Outside the U.S. Apply to a U.S. Consulate
G. Step Four: You Enter the U.S. With Your H-2B Visa
H. Extending Your U.S. Stay

18. Getting a Temporary Trainee (H-3) Visa
A. Do You Qualify for an H-3 Visa?
B. Quick View of the H-3 Visa Application Process
C. Step One: Your Employer Submits an H-3 Visa Petition
D. Step Two: Applicants Outside the U.S. Apply to a U.S. Consulate
E. Step Three: You Enter the U.S. With Your H-3 Visa
F. Extending Your U.S. Stay

19. Getting an L-1 (Intracompany Transferee) Visa
A. Do You Qualify for an L-1 Visa?
B. Possibilities for a Green Card From L-1 Status
C. Quick View of the L-1 Visa Application Process
D. Step One: Your U.S. Employer Files a Visa Petition
E. Step Two: Applicants Outside the US Apply to a US Consulate
F. Step Three: You Enter the U.S. With Your L-1 Visa
G. Extending Your U.S. Stay

20. Getting an E-1 (Treaty Trader) Visa
A. Do You Qualify for an E-1 Visa?
B. Quick View of the E-1 Visa Application Process
C. How to Apply From Outside the U.S.
D. How to Apply If You're in the U.S.
E. Using Your E-1 Visa to Enter the U.S.
F. Extending Your U.S. Stay
G. Visa Revalidation

21. Getting a Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa
A. Do You Qualify for an E-2 Visa?
B. Quick View of the E-2 Visa Application Process
C. How to Apply From Outside the U.S.
D. How to Apply If You're in the U.S.
E. Using Your E-2 Visa to Enter the U.S.
F. Extending Your U.S. Stay
G. Revalidating Your Visa

22. Getting a Student (F-1 or M-1) Visa
A. Do You Qualify for a Student Visa (M-1 or F-1)?
B. How Long the Student Visa Will Last
C. Quick View of the Student Visa Application Process
D. Step One: Your School Issues a SEVIS I-20
E. Step Two for Applicants Outside the U.S.: Applying at a U.S. Consulate
F. Step Two for Some Applicants Inside the U.S.: Applying to U.S.CIS for a Change of Status
G. Step Three: You Enter the U.S. With Your Student Visa
H. Extending Your Student Stay512
I. Getting Permission to Work
J. Transferring to a Different School
K. Changing Your Course of Studies

23. Getting a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa
A. Do You Qualify for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa?
B. How Long the J-1 Visa Will Last
C. Students: Comparing J-1 Visas to F-1 and M-1 Visas
D. Can You Apply for a Green Card From J-1 Status?
E. Quick View of the J-1 Visa Application Process
F. Step One: Your Sponsoring Organization Issues a Certificate of Eligibility
G. Step Two for Applicants Outside the U.S.: Applying at a U.S. Consulate
H. Step Two for Some Applicants Inside the U.S.: You Apply to U.S.CIS for a Change of Status
I. Step Three: Entering the U.S. Using Your J-1 Visa
J. Extending Your J-1 Stay in the U.S.
K. Working as an Exchange Visitor
L. Annual Reports for Foreign Medical Graduates

24. Getting a Visa as a Temporary Worker in a Selected Occupation (O, P, or R Visa)
A. Do You Qualify for an O, P, or R Visa?
B. Quick View of the O, P, and R Visa Application Process
C. Step One: Your Employer Submits a Visa Petition
D. Step Two: Applicants Outside the U.S. Apply to a U.S. Consulate
E. Step Three: You Enter the U.S. With Your O, P, or R Visa
F. Extending Your U.S. Stay

Glossary
Index
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Introduction

Introduction

If you've already tried to research how to immigrate to the United States, you may have come away more confused than enlightened. We've heard immigrants ask frustrated questions
like, "Are they trying to punish me for doing things legally?" or "I can't tell
whether they want to let me in, or keep me out!"

The trouble is, the U.S. immigration system is a little like a mythical creature with two heads. One head is smiling, and granting people the right to live or work in the United States, temporarily or permanently -- especially people who:

  • will pump money into the U.S. economy (such as tourists, students, and investors)
  • can fill gaps in the U.S. workforce (mostly skilled workers)
  • are joining up with close family members who are already U.S. citizens or permanent residents, or
  • need protection from persecution or other humanitarian crises.

This creature's other head wears a frown. It is afraid of the United States being overrun by huge numbers of immigrants, and so it tries to keep out anyone who:

  • doesn't fit the narrow eligibility categories set forth in the U.S. immigration laws
  • has a criminal record
  • is a threat to U.S. ideology or national security
  • has spent a long time in the U.S. illegally or committed other immigration violations
  • is attempting fraud in order to immigrate, or
  • will not earn enough money to stay off government assistance.

Not surprisingly, these two heads don't always work together very well. You may find that, even when you know you have a right to visit, live, or work in the United States, andyou're trying your best to fill out the applications and complete your case properly, you feel as if you're being treated like a criminal. The frowning head doesn't care. It views you as just another number, and as no great loss if your application fails -- or is, literally, lost in the files of thousands of other applications.

Have you heard people say that a U.S. citizen could simply invite a friend from overseas to live here? Those days are gone. Now, every immigrant has to find a legal category that he or she fits within, deal with demanding application forms and procedures, and pass security and other checks.

Almost everyone should at least
attend a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney before submitting an application.
Unless your case presents no complications whatsoever, it's best to have an attorney confirm that you haven't overlooked anything. However, by preparing yourself with the information in this book, you can save money and make sure you're using a good attorney for the right services.


Example: An American woman was engaged to a man from Mexico, and figured, since she herself had been to law school, that she didn't need an attorney's help. She read that a foreign-born person who was in the U.S. on a tourist visa could get married and then apply for a green card within the United States. Unfortunately, what she didn't realize was that this possibility only works for people who decide to get married after entering the United States. Applying for a tourist visa with the idea of getting married and getting a green card amounts to visa fraud, and can ruin a person's chances of immigrating. Are you already confused by this story? That's all right, the U.S. immigration system doesn't always make a lot of sense. This is why an attorney's help is often needed -- to get you through legal hoops that you'd never imagined existed.Roadmap to U.S. Immigration

This book will cover a lot of territory -- almost all of U.S. immigration law, including your basic rights, strategies, and the procedures for getting where you need to go. Any time you cover this much ground, it helps to have a road map -- particularly so you'll know which
subjects or chapters you can skip entirely.

Take a look at the imaginary map below, then read the following subsections to orient you to the main topics on the map.

[Roadmap to U.S. Immigration Image] omitted for online sample chapter.

As you can see, the first stop along the way is The Inadmissibility Gate. This gate represents a legal problem that can stop your path to a visa or green card before you've even started. If you have, for example, committed certain crimes, been infected with certain contagious diseases, appear likely to need welfare or government assistance, violated U.S. immigration laws, or you match another description on the U.S. government's list of concerns, you are considered "inadmissible." That means you won't be allowed any type of U.S. visa or green card, except under special circumstances or with legal forgiveness called a waiver. This gate gets closed on a lot of people who lived in the U.S. illegally for more than
six months, which creates either a three-year or ten-year bar to immigrating. Even if you think you haven't done anything wrong, please read Chapter 3 for more on the problem of inadmissibility.



Words You'll Need to Know

We try not to use confusing legal language in this book. However, there are a few words that will be helpful for you to know, especially if you look at other books or websites. For further definitions, see "Words Commonly Used in Immigration Law," at the back of this book.

Citizen (U.S.). A person who owes allegiance to the U.S. government, is entitled to its protection, and enjoys the highest level of rights due to members of U.S. society. A person can become a U.S. citizen through birth in the United States or its territories; through parents or grandparents who are citizens; or through naturalization (after applying for citizenship and passing the citizenship exam). Citizens cannot have their status taken away except for certain extraordinary reasons.

Immigrant. Though the general public usually calls any foreign-born newcomer to the United States an immigrant, the U.S. government prefers to think of immigrants as only including those people who have attained permanent residence or a green card.

Nonimmigrant. Everyone who comes to the United States legally but with only a short-term intent to stay is considereda nonimmigrant. For instance, students and tourists are nonimmigrants.

Green card. No longer green, this slang term refers to the identification card carried by lawful permanent residents of the United States. The government name for the green card is an I-551, or Alien Registration Receipt Card (ARC).

Lawful permanent resident. See Permanent resident, below.

Permanent resident. A green card holder. This is a person who has been approved to live in the United States for an unlimited amount of time. However, the status can be taken away for certain reasons, such as having committed a crime or made one's home outside the
United States. Usually after five years, a permanent resident can apply for U.S. citizenship.

Visa. A right to enter the United States. An immigrant visa gives someone the right to enter the United States permanently; a nonimmigrant visa gives them the right to enter for a short-term, temporary stay. Physically, the visa usually appears as a stamp in the applicant's passport, given by a U.S. consulate overseas.

If you forget these words, or encounter other words that you don't understand, check the list at the back of this book.

If you get past the inadmissibility gate, the next stop along your theoretical journey is The Eligibility Bridge. This is where you must answer the question, "What type of visa or green card are you eligible for?" Answering this question will involve some research on your part. You might already know the answer -- for example, if you've just married a U.S. citizen, it's pretty obvious that you want to apply for a green card on this basis, and should read the appropriate chapter of this book (Chapter 7). Or, if your main
goal is to attend college in the United States, then you probably know that you need a student visa, and can proceed straight to the chapter covering that topic (Chapter 22).

If you don't already know you're eligible for a certain type of visa or green card, however, then start by reading Section B, below, which reviews the possibilities for spending time in the U.S. and directs you to the appropriate chapters for follow-up. You'll see that this book covers more than just permanent green cards -- we know that not everyone will
either want, or be eligible to receive, the right to live in the United States their whole life. However, there are many useful ways to stay in the United States temporarily, for example on a student or employment-based visa. And even if you don't fit into one of the usual categories, there may be an emergency or other special category that helps you.

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