Immigration Law in Raleigh, NC
Immigration into the United States can often be a very complicated process, it requires applicants to complete and submit several different applications. The rules and regulations change frequently, and this makes it essential for you to get expert advice to ensure you stay within the law.
Immigrating to the United States
Foreign citizens who want to live permanently in the United States must first obtain an immigrant visa. Most immigrants depend on a family member with legal status in the United States to file a family based petition, also known as form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
Family Based Petitions
U.S. Citizens: may petition for their spouse, parents, children (unmarried and under the age of 21), sons and daughters (married and unmarried over the age of 21), and siblings (if the petitioner is 21 and over).
Lawful Permanent Residents: may petition for their spouse and unmarried children to enter the United States with immigrant visas (otherwise known as green cards).
Fiancé Visas/Petition: U.S. Citizens may petition for their overseas fiancé to enter the United States with a fiancé visa in order to marry within 90 days, and apply for adjustment of status to obtain lawful permanent residency.
Adjustment of Status
An Adjustment of Status is the process by which an individual may obtain Lawful Permanent Resident status while being present in the United States. Individuals who entered the United States with a non-immigrant visa (i.e. with inspection) may apply for an Adjustment of Status if they are beneficiaries of a family based petition filed by a U.S. Citizen “immediate relative.”
Additionally, certain individuals who did not enter the United States with inspection, but are the beneficiaries of a petition filed on their behalf, on or before April 30, 2001, may be apply for Adjustment of Status under section 245(i), once their immigrant visa is immediately available.
Please understand, that if the application to Adjust Status is denied, the applicant may be placed in removal proceedings, please contact the Matta Law Firm before filing this application.
This is the method by which foreign nationals can obtain their immigrant visa/green card from outside the country, once they are the beneficiary of an approved petition, and their immigrant visa becomes available. The Matta Law Firm can help eligible candidates apply at their local U.S. Consulate abroad for admission to the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident.
Waivers for Unlawful Presence
If you are the beneficiary of an approved family petition, and currently live in the United States, but are not eligible for Adjustment of Status, you will have to travel abroad to obtain your residency at U.S. Consulate in your native country (see consular processing). If you have been unlawfully present in the United States (more than 6 months) you will trigger a 3 or 10-year bar when you leave the United States to attend your Immigrant Visa interview. If you have a U.S. Citizen, or Legal Permanent Resident, Spouse or Parent, you may be eligible to apply for a stateside waiver (a pardon) of the 3 or 10-year bar, before leaving the United States.
Employment Based and Non-Immigrant Visas
- B-1 Visas for Temporary Business Visitors
- B-2 Visas for Tourists
- H1-B Visas for Temporary Specialty Occupations
- H2-A Visas for Temporary Agricultural Workers
- H2-B Visas for Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers
- L-1 Visa for inter-company transferees
- E2 Investor visas, and
- F-1 Student Visas
Staying in the United States
Deportation Defense: If you or a family member are placed in removal proceedings, The Matta Law Firm will work diligently to protect your rights and keep your family together. We have more than a decade of experience representing clients in federal Immigration Court, fighting for Cancellation of Removal, Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and requesting Prosecutorial Discretion.
Cancellation of Removal For Permanent Residents: is a form of relief, which may be granted by an Immigration Judge, to certain individuals in removal proceedings. There is a different set of eligibility criteria for Lawful Permanent Residents and Non-Permanent Residents. In order to qualify for Cancellation of Removal as Lawful Permanent Resident, an individual most establish that they have been a Lawful Permanent Resident for at least five years, have resided in the United States for at least seven years from the time removal proceedings begin, and have not been convicted of an “aggravated felony.”
Cancellation of Removal For Non-Permanent Residents: In order to qualify for Cancellation of Removal, Non-Permanent Residents must demonstrate that they have continuously resided in the United States for at least ten years from the time removal proceedings begin, have been a person of good moral character during that time, are not subject to certain criminal bars, and can establish that their removal would result in “extreme and unusual hardship” to a qualifying relative (a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse, parent, or child).
Asylum: is protection granted by the U.S. Government to individuals who can demonstrate that they have a “well-founded fear” that they will be persecuted because of their religion, race, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group if they return to their home country. You may include your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 in your application. Individual granted Asylum are eligible for Adjustment of Status (to become a lawful Permanent Resident), a year after being granted Asylum.
- Asylum applications can be filed defensively, when you are in removal proceedings, or affirmatively, when you are not in removal proceedings.
- I-589 Asylum Applications must be filed within a year of entering the United States.
Withholding of Removal: is an order that can be issued by the Immigration Judge, allowing individual to stay in the United States if they can demonstrate that it is more than likely than not, that their life or freedom will be threatened in your home country due to their religion, race, nationality, political opinion or because they are members of a particular social group.
Withholding of Removal under the Convention Against Torture: is an order that can be issued by the Immigration Judge, allowing individuals to stay in the United States if they can demonstrate that it is more likely than not that they will be tortured if forced to return to their home country.
T-Visas: Allows Victims of Human Trafficking and certain family members to stay and work in the United States. This visa grants individual’s admission to the United States and a 4-year Work Authorization, as well as the ability to apply for an Adjustment of Status and become Lawful Permanent Residents 3 years after being granted a T-Visa.
If you were bought into the United States, as a result of coercion, misrepresentation or force, please contact the Matta Law Firm so we can determine if you and your family are eligible for a T-Visa.
U-Visas: enables victims of certain Qualifying crimes to legally live and work in the United States. If you have been the victim of one of the following crimes: domestic violence, robbery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, felonious assault, hit and run, incest, rape, sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, sexual exploitation, perjury, witness tampering, stalking and other related crimes, while living in the United States, you may be eligible for a U-Visa.
- A U-Visa will grant you, and certain family members, 4-year work authorization, as well as the ability to apply for Adjustment of Status to become Lawful Permanent Residents 3 years after being granted a U-Visa.
- If you are the victim of one of the above-mentioned crimes, please call the police, help with the investigation and prosecution, and The Matta Law Firm will do everything it can to help you obtain a U-Visa for you and your family.
VAWAs: Individuals who have suffered physical or mental abuse at the hands of their U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Spouse, Parent or Child may be eligible to adjust their status and become Lawful Permanent Residents. Please call The Matta Law Firm if you have been the victim of physical or mental abuse, and would like more information regarding VAWA or obtaining a Domestic Violence Protective Order. Our consultations are confidential and free of charge.
TPS: Temporary Protective Status is available for foreign nationals currently in the United States. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely. Countries currently designated for TPS include: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen
Naturalization (Becoming a U.S. Citizen)
After five years of Lawful Permanent Status you may be eligible to become a U.S. Citizen. If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident and have been married to a U.S. Citizen for 3 years, you may be eligible to become a U.S. Citizen after only 3 years of obtaining your residency. The Matta Law Firm will explain the naturalization process, prepare you for the exam, and inform you if you are eligible for an exemption of the English exam and/or a fee waiver.
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