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The process for immigrating to the United States can be complicated and confusing. A Virginia immigration lawyer can help make sure you take all the right steps.
Coming to the U.S. on an Immigrant Visa
Before you can live in the U.S., you need an immigrant visa. The U.S. issues several different kinds of visas, based on why you are moving here. For some types, you need to have an employer or family member file a petition for you. You have to wait for the petition to be approved before you can apply for a visa.
The visa application process usually includes:
- Submitting photos
- A medical exam
- An interview at a U.S. consulate
If all goes well, you will receive a visa packet, which you can use to travel to the U.S.
Denial of Entry to the U.S.
Once here, a Customs and Border Protection agent decides if you can enter the country. Most of the time this is just a formality. Agents can turn you away if they have learned certain things about you:
- You have a criminal background
- You have a certain disease
- You have connections to terrorism
Once you've gained entry to the U.S. you can apply for permanent residency. If you completed consular processing for your green card prior to entering the U.S., you will receive it within a few weeks. If not, you should follow your visa type's rules for applying for permanent residence.
Laws That Affect Undocumented Immigrants
Legally immigrating to the U.S. can be frustrating and may take a long time. So some people simply cross the border illegally. Or they stay after their temporary visas have expired.
Both federal and state rules affect undocumented immigrants:
- Secure Communities: This federal program requires police to check a database for immigration status and criminal records of anyone they arrest.
- E-Verify: Virginia requires all state agencies to use this online system to make sure new hires are allowed to work in the U.S.
- Public benefits: Federal law bans illegal immigrants from getting any benefits other than emergency services.
The state also requires proof of legal residence or citizenship to get a driver's license.
Locate a Local Virginia Immigration Lawyer Today
If you need help with any part of the immigration process, a skilled attorney can offer valuable advice. Call now to speak with an immigration attorney in Virginia at 877-913-7222.