How to Choose an Immigration Lawyer
Immigrating to the United States can be an extremely stressful and anxiety-inducing process. The laws, rules, and procedures are so technical and complex that it can be difficult to decide where you even need to start. Questions such as “What is a green card?”; “What is a marriage visa?”; “What is EB-5 visa?”; or even just “What type of visa do I need?” are all common when it comes to immigrating to the United States. An experienced immigration lawyer will be able to help you with all of your questions and put your mind at ease. Here is some information on different types of immigration and a few tips on choosing the best immigration attorney for you.
There are several paths to immigration and permanent residency in the United States. The most common and well-known for is the attainment of a green card. But what is a green card, exactly? The phrase green card can refer to two things. The actual, physical identification card that proves that you are a permanent resident, and the process of becoming a permanent resident. The identification card is extremely important for any immigrant, and must be kept on their person at all times. Failure to carry your green card with you can result in a fine up to $100 and/or imprisonment for up to 30 days for each offense.
Besides simply beginning the application process, there are several other ways one can obtain a green card and permanent residence in the United States. Some people may become permanent residents through refugee or asylee status or other humanitarian programs. But one other alternative is the EB-5 visa. The EB-5 visa is officially known as the Immigrant Investor program and requires immigrants to invest money in the United States before obtaining a green card. In order to qualify for the visa, the immigrating individual must invest $1,000,000 (or at least $500,000 in a “Targeted Employment Area” – high unemployment or rural area)to help create or preserve at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers. This program has seen some success with more than $6.8 billion and 29,000 EB-5 visas having been given out since 1990.
Beyond knowing the basics of what is a green card and the different routes to obtaining one, there is a very complex legal aspect to immigration, and finding an experienced immigration lawyer will help you navigate it. When looking for an immigration lawyer make sure they are part of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Attorneys who are part of the AILA must be in good standing with their state Bar Association and must not have had any disciplinary action taken against them by any such authority.
Your immigration lawyer should also practice immigration law exclusively. As mentioned above, immigration law is extremely technical and complex. You want to ensure that your immigration attorney is focused solely on immigration matters, and not concerned with other parts of the law. Additionally, there are several sub-disciplines to immigration law itself, so make sure your immigration lawyer is experienced with your specific type of immigration matter. For more, read this link.