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Immigration Law Is About A Lot More Than Citizenship

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When we think about immigration law, it's easy to picture the person who wants to move to the U.S. and become a citizen. Although that's certainly one of the things an immigration attorney helps clients with, there's a lot more than that. These four other situations are just as important to the people who seek a law firm's help.


Simply visiting the U.S. isn't always the easiest thing to do, especially if you come from a country that currently has shaky relations with America. Folks also sometimes encounter problems if their plans for a visit extend beyond the initial 6-month maximum for a standard tourist visa or the 90-day limit on a visa waiver. In both cases, you may need to provide documentation explaining your situation, and it can be helpful for an immigration attorney to help you present arguments before the court, if necessary.

Permanent Residency

Those who come to the U.S. to live permanently have a variety of reasons for why they might not want to obtain full-on citizenship. For example, E.U. residents often benefit from maintaining visa-free travel in other countries on their original passports.

Permanent resident status, though, requires sponsorship. This usually comes from either a family member in the U.S. or an employer. Folks working in the U.S. may be asked to prove that their skills are in limited supply in America or that they have exceptional talents. Permanent status might also be granted through a refugee, asylum or humanitarian program, and all of those options tend to require extensive background checks and documentation, too. Especially if you want to work, permanent resident status is highly desirable.


Coming to the U.S. to study has a long history in the nation, and America makes a number of accommodations for students from overseas. You'll have to provide evidence that you're currently enrolled in a program at an accredited institution. If you want to work while you're studying, you may also need to file a separate form for work authorization.

Renewals of and Changes to Status

Many visas have limits on how long they can be used, and some, such as work visas, may require that you leave the country and reapply. If possible, you'll want to avoid these challenges during the renewal process. Likewise, changes to your status may require new paperwork, such as when a student gets a job after college or the nature of someone's employment changes.