US IMMIGRATION LAW

The way to enter the United States either to visit the United States or to remain in the United States for work, business or to join a family member or for other purposes, is by obtaining a Visa at a United States Embassy or consulate in a foreign country for this purpose. The Vice Counsel or Visa Officer in the United States Embassy or Consulate in the foreign country makes a decision on whether the Visa Applicant has satisfied the requirements for the particular visa applied for, and if so, issues the visa.

Visas are divided into 2 categories, Non Immigrant and Immigrant Visas. Each of these general categories have various separate sub categories. The Non Immigrant Visas categories include visas for tourists and visas for work or doing business in the US. Although visitor visas are issued only for a short period, business and work non immigrant visas can extend over many years and sometimes indefinitely. However these work and business visas are employer specific or business specific i.e. the visa holder is permitted to engage only in the activity that was specifically approved, and if he wishes to change his business or work, he must obtain the consent of the United States Government.

Immigrant visas are, on the other hand, for permanent residence in the United States. The holder of an Immigrant Visa can engage in any work or any business in the United States. Ordinarily, after 5 years of being a permanent resident in the United States, the immigrant is entitled to apply for United States citizenship. Immigrant visas can be obtained either through having a close family member in the United States or through the petition of a United States employer needing the applicant in the United States to work in the United States company. It can also be obtained through the grant of asylum or refugee status in the United States, through investment in the United States or through winning an annual Visa Lottery, a scheme that permits nationals from countries with low immigration rates to the United States to immigrate to the United States.

Although a few visas, such as Visitor visas can be applied for directly at the United States Embassy or Consulate in the foreign country, almost all visas require application to be made in the United States through the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Each visa application has to comport to a separate set of legal requirements and the requirements tend to be complex and legally specific to each visa category. Therefore it is essential that a good and experienced attorney be engaged to prepare the case to be forwarded to the United States Government department. This cannot be done by an Attorney in a foreign country who is not well versed with United States immigration law.

We are uniquely placed to be of assistance to you in all areas of United States Immigration law.