Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to hire an attorney for my immigration work?
How much does it cost to hire an attorney?
What is the easiest way to immigrate to the United States?
What is the best way to work in the U.S.?
Do I need a job offer in order to get a work visa?
Do I need a visa to visit the United States?
What is the difference between a visa and a green card?
How do I get a green card if I am married to a U.S. citizen?
My spouse is in the U.S. on a visa – am I allow to work?
How can I study and attend school in the United States?
Nobody needs to hire an attorney, but the question really is whether you should hire an attorney. Attorneys are educated and trained in their areas of practice. Immigration law in particular is a complex area of law which is constantly changing and evolving. To ensure the best chance of success, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney.
Legal fees will vary not only from case to case, but also from attorney to attorney. The variables that go into determining the legal fee include: complexity of the case, the attorney’s experience, and potential obstacles (i.e., inadmissibility issues). While costs are an important factor for anybody, the quality of legal services and the attorney’s experience, should be given just as much importance.
There is no ‘easy’ way to immigrate to the U.S., as options will vary from person to person. An Italian citizen enrolled in university who is married to a U.S. citizen should consider a marriage-based green card instead of a temporary work visa. A prolific author from India should consider an EB-1 green card instead of an H-1B visa. An experienced immigration attorney can provide you with a strategy plan outlining your most viable options.
There are several types of U.S. work visas and the “best” way will vary on a case by case basis. Visas such as the H-1B or TN are intended for professionals in specialty occupations. Visas such as the O-1 are intended for individuals who possess extraordinary abilities in science, education, business, athletics or the arts. Investors looking to start a business should consider an E-2 visa, while employees of companies abroad can transfer to a U.S. office on an L-1 visa.
Generally speaking, you will need an offer of employment from a U.S. employer first before qualifying for a work visa such as an H-1B, TN, H-2B, O-1 or L-1 visa. In most cases, the employer must sponsor the candidate for a work visa by filing a petition with the USCIS. The employee is referred to as the beneficiary.
The United States requires citizens from certain countries such as India or China to obtain a B-2 visa before entering as a visitor. Citizens of other countries under the Visa Waiver Program, such as UK, Spain, Japan, Italy or France, do not need a visitor visa.
Generally speaking, a visa is approved authorization by the U.S. government to allow a foreign national to enter the United States for a specific duration and for a specific purpose. For example, a B-2 visa would allow someone to enter the United States for a two-week vacation, whereas an H-1B visa would allow someone to work for a specific employer for up to three years. In contrast, a green card is an approval by the U.S. government to allow a foreign national to permanently live and reside in the United States. This would permit him/her to live, work or study freely without any restrictions, unlike a visa.
As the spouse of a U.S. citizen, you are an immediate relative and therefore entitled to a green card. Depending on whether you are currently in the United States or residing abroad, you can either apply for a green card through adjustment of status or through consular processing. If you are currently in the United States in lawful status, such as on a student or work visa, then adjustment of status may be appropriate. If you are currently outside of the United States, then you may have to apply through consular processing.
Spouses of L-1, E-2 and H-1B visa holders may be entitled to work by filing an application for employment authorization. Currently, spouses of H-1B holders may only qualify for employment authorization if their spouse’s employer has filed an I-140 petition which has been approved, or if the spouse has been in H-1B status for more six years. Spouses of other visas, such as O-1, F-1, TN or J-1, are not entitled to employment authorization.
Foreign nationals who are accepted into a U.S. SEVIS approved school may be eligible for an F-1 visa which would allow that person to study on a full-time basis.