Temporary (nonimmigrant) visa categories
B/Visa Waiver (visitors for business or pleasure)
E-1 and E-2 (treaty traders and investors)
E-3 (Australian specialty occupation workers for individuals with relevant college degrees)
H (specialty occupation workers for individuals with relevant college degrees)
J (exchange visitors)
L (intracompany transferees from affiliate organizations abroad)
O (individuals of extraordinary ability)
R (ministers and religious workers)
TN (professional workers from Canada and Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement)
Permanent (green card) categories
EB-1 – Employment-based First Preference:
- Individuals of extraordinary ability
- Outstanding professors and researchers
- Multinational managers
EB-2 – Employment-based Second Preference for individuals seeking a National Interest Waiver (NIW)
Labor Certification (PERM)-based preference petitions:
EB-2 – Employment-based Second Preference for individuals whose jobs require an advanced degree and who have a relevant degree
EB-3 – Employment-based Third Preference
- Professional workers with relevant bachelor’s degrees
- Skilled workers with at least two years of relevant experience
Our family immigration practice includes helping U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents sponsor family members for green cards, i.e. to become lawful permanent residents. Examples include the following:
- U.S. citizens sponsoring a spouse, child, parent or sibling.
- Permanent residents sponsoring a spouse or child.
- U.S. citizens sponsoring a fiancée for a K-1 visa to enter the U.S. and then a green card following arrival and marriage.
- Joint petition by spouses to remove the conditions on the resident status of a spouse who was married fewer than two years when receiving the green card.
- Waiver of the joint petition requirement for persons who obtained conditional residence through marriage but since have divorced.
- Same-sex marriage family cases.
Applying for U.S. Citizenship
In many cases, the naturalization process to obtain U.S. citizenship is straightforward. The times when we recommend engaging an attorney to assist with the process are when there has been a criminal charge or conviction beyond a minor traffic violation or there has been an extended period of time outside the U.S. since becoming a permanent resident. In other cases, some clients ask for help, because they are unsure or uncomfortable filling out lengthy application forms. They also want added reassurance and someone who can monitor the application and take care of any required rescheduling or other follow up with USCIS.
Automatically Becoming a U.S. Citizen
A note on automatic acquisition of U.S. citizenship. In some cases, such as a child born to U.S. citizens abroad or a lawful permanent resident child living in the U.S. with a parent who becomes a citizen, a person becomes a U.S. citizen automatically. We review these situations carefully and advise on options and requirements to document citizenship.
The Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, is only four pages long and seemingly simple. Yet it’s also one of the most nuanced forms employers and employees encounter in the hiring process. Regulations require employers to use the form to verify that their employees have work authorization for employment in the United States. The employee has the option of choosing which documents to provide to evidence work authorization. The government manual, Handbook for Employers M-274 contains 94 pages of instructions and examples.
The balance the employer must strike is to complete the I-9 thoroughly and correctly while not engaging in unlawful citizenship status or national origin discrimination or unfair documentation practices.
We routinely advise employers on I-9 compliance to make sure their employees are work authorized and that their I-9 Forms are properly completed. We have experience with proactive self-audits employers periodically conduct as well as government audits when the government comes knocking.