In the United States, immigration law deals with the admission and expulsion of aliens, as well as obtaining (and in rare cases losing) citizenship. This specialized area of law is complex, and it is helpful to obtain the services of an Immigration Attorney. View qualified Immigration Law Firms in your area to find Immigration Lawyers (Estados Unidos Abogados).
Those applying for temporary entry to the country are considered non-immigrants and legally enter with a visa. There are several types, including:
- Work visa
- Tourist visa
- Visa for investors and business people who must supervise a project
- Travel visa
- Student visa
Those looking to make the U.S. their home apply for a permanent visa or green card. These visas may be awarded on many bases, including:
- Being a family member of a citizen
- Adoption of a foreign child
- Permanent employment in the U.S.
- Having refugee status (for those who request before they enter the U.S.) or seeking asylum (for those who request when they enter or after they are already in the country)
These visas are frequently a first-step in the process of becoming a citizen.
Those born in the U.S., or to a parent who is a U.S. citizen, are called natural-born citizens. All others must go through a process called naturalization, which generally includes showing the following:
- Reside in the U.S., in a particular United States Citizenship and Immigration Services District, for a continuous and set period of time
- Possess good moral character
- Demonstrate knowledge of U.S. government and history
- Able to write and read in English
- Adopt the philosophy and tenets of the U.S. Constitution
The process is relatively simple and involves three basic steps:
- Complete an application
- Pass a citizenship test
- Take an oath of loyalty to the United States
Denaturalization, or revocation of the grant of naturalized citizenship, can occur if the certificate of naturalization was obtained as follows:
- Concealment or willful misrepresentation of a material fact (although relatively unimportant facts will not get you denaturalized, such as lying about the date and place of birth)
- Illegally procuring the certificate, including having a history of bad moral character (such as habitual drunkenness)
Deportation, now combined with “exclusion” to mean removal from the United States, can happen to any non-citizen for any of a variety of violations, including:
- Entering the country without inspection or proper entry documents
- Overstaying past the authorized time on the visa
- Failing a background check
- Committing a serious crime
Illegal immigration accounts for an additional 500,000 people entering the U.S. each year. Apprehending them is the responsibility, generally, of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Before being removed, those alleged illegal immigrants who are caught are detained and given a hearing to determine if deportation is appropriate.
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