immigration lawyer Philadelphia, PA

U.S. Immigration Lawyers Serving Immigrants in Wilmington, DE

Individuals seeking immigration legal services have many options. They could try to complete the applications online, but mistakes could cause delays, denials, or even prevent future applications from being successful. Individuals could also rely on document preparation companies or websites, but these services do not help you complete the paperwork or answer your questions. Finally, individuals could rely on an immigration lawyer to provide assistance to complete paperwork and guide them through the process. While this is often the best course, it can also be expensive and difficult to find a trustworthy immigration lawyer. That is why individuals seeking immigrant law services need to call our immigration attorneys.

Here at MC Law Group, LLC, our compassionate and experienced team offers effective and efficient immigration law services at a fair and reasonable price. Our immigration team is dedicated to helping individuals and their family members complete the immigration paperwork required so they can get a visa, green card, or asylum. We can also represent individuals and families on appeal or in removal hearings. To learn more about our immigration lawyers, call to schedule a free consultation.

Understanding Immigration Laws in the United States

Immigration law in the United States is a complex network of statutes, regulations, and precedents governing the entry and stay of non-citizens. At the heart of U.S. immigration policy is the principle of reunifying families, admitting immigrants with skills valuable to the U.S. economy, protecting refugees, and promoting diversity. Undocumented immigrants seeking to enter the United States can do so through various channels, including family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, refugee or asylum status, and the Diversity Immigrant Visa program. Each pathway has its own set of criteria and requirements that must be met, making the process of navigating U.S. immigration laws challenging without professional guidance.

For those looking to attain documented status in the U.S., such as a visa or green card, precision in application completion and adherence to the correct process is crucial. This encompasses accurately filling out required forms, providing necessary documents, and following the specific legal procedures as outlined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Mistakes or omissions during this process can lead to significant delays, denials, and sometimes, it may jeopardize the chances of future applications. It’s vital to understand the eligibility criteria for the specific visa or status you are applying for and to provide comprehensive evidence to support your application.

At MC Law Group, LLC, we understand the intricacies and the high stakes involved in immigration applications and processes. Our professional team is adept at navigating the complexities of U.S. immigration law, offering expert guidance and support through every step of your immigration journey. Whether you are applying for a family-based visa, seeking asylum, or facing a removal hearing, our experienced immigration lawyers are equipped to handle your case with the attention and dedication it deserves. We stand committed to helping you and your family achieve your American dream with as little stress as possible.

Visas for Permanent and Temporary Stays

A visa is a temporary authorization to perform certain actions in the United States. Whether to work seasonably or for a project, train or go to school, come to get married, perform at a sporting event or show, or for any other purpose, all individuals will need to apply for and receive a visa before entering the United States. Each type of visa application has different requirements, some being stricter than others. If you or a loved one need to apply for a visa, or if your visa application has been delayed or denied, learn how we can help you and your family obtain a visa.

If you are seeking to establish permanent residence in the United State or begin the green card application process, there are several different paths available. These include employment-based immigration, family-based immigration, and humanitarian programs such as refugee or asylum status. Each option has its own set of requirements and eligibility criteria that must be met. Our immigration lawyers can help you understand your options and guide you towards the best path for your unique circumstances.

Some of the most common types of visas include:

  • B-1/B-2 Visa: Visitor or Travel Visas for Business (B-1) or Pleasure (B-2). These are for individuals who want to visit the U.S. for short-term business meetings, conferences, or tourism purposes. Applicants must fill out the DS-160 form to apply.

  • F-1 Visa: Student Visa is designated for international students who are attending an academic program or English Language Program at a US college or university. F-1 students must maintain the minimum course load for full-time student status. The DS-160 form, along with Form I-20, is required for the application.

  • H-1B Visa: Specialty Occupations Visa is for professional employees with at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in the field of their occupation. Employers must submit a Form I-129 on behalf of the applicant.

  • J-1 Visa: Exchange Visitor Visa is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. It includes au pairs, summer work travel, interns, and scholars. Applicants need to complete the DS-2019 form to apply.

  • L-1 Visa: Intracompany Transfer Visa is for managers, executives, or specialized knowledge employees transferring to the U.S. from a related international company. The application requires Form I-129.

  • O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. This visa requires a petitioner to file Form I-129 and evidence of the individual’s extraordinary abilities.

  • E-2 Visa: Treaty Investors Visa is for investors from countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce. Investors must make a substantial investment in a U.S. enterprise. Form DS-160 and evidence of investment are required.

  • K-1 Visa: Fiancé(e) Visa is for the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen. K-1 visa applicants must marry their U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of entry into the United States on a K-1 nonimmigrant visa. Form DS-160, along with Form I-129F, is required for the application.

  • U-Visa: Victims of crime Visa is for individuals who have been victims of certain crimes and are willing to cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of that crime. Applicants must submit a Form I-918 along with evidence of cooperation.

These are just a few examples of the wide variety of visa types available for different purposes and individuals’ qualifications. Each visa type has specific eligibility criteria and required forms, and it is crucial to understand the details of the visa for which you are applying to ensure a successful application process.

Changing Immigration Status

For immigrants residing in the United States, changing their immigration status is a critical step towards achieving new goals and pursuing further opportunities within the country. For instance, an individual on a student (F-1) visa may wish to transition to a work visa (H-1B) upon completion of their studies, enabling them to remain in the U.S. and contribute their skills to the American workforce. This process, known as “change of status,” requires careful planning and an understanding of the eligibility criteria for the new visa category. It often involves demonstrating to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the individual has maintained their current status and that their intentions align with the requirements of the visa they are applying for.

Similarly, a person in the U.S. on a temporary work visa may seek to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) to lay down roots and build a life in the United States. This transition often involves sponsorship by an employer or a family member who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. The process includes submitting extensive documentation to USCIS, proving the individual’s eligibility for permanent residency, and sometimes waiting for a visa number to become available. Successfully navigating from one immigration status to another not only opens up new possibilities for immigrants but also reflects the dynamic nature of U.S. immigration law and the opportunities it provides for those seeking to make the United States their long-term home.

Applying for Visa Extensions

For individuals already in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa, extending your stay requires careful attention to the process and timelines established by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Applying for a visa extension includes filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, before your current visa expires. It’s crucial to note that the application should be filed at least 45 days before the expiration of your current visa to allow sufficient time for processing. However, it is recommended to start the process as early as 3 to 4 months prior to expiration, especially given that processing times can vary significantly based on the type of visa and individual circumstances.

When filing for a visa extension, applicants must provide evidence that they have maintained their status since their arrival in the U.S. and that they intend to return to their home country after the extended stay. This includes showing financial stability to cover the extended period and a detailed explanation of why the extension is necessary. For example, a business traveler on a B-1 visa may need to extend their stay to conclude negotiations or contracts, while a tourist on a B-2 visa might seek an extension for medical reasons or to continue visiting American landmarks. USCIS evaluates these requests on a case-by-case basis, assessing the merits of each application and the credibility of the reasons for the extension.

Citizenship and Naturalization

Obtaining citizenship in the United States, also referred to as the naturalization process, is a significant milestone for many immigrants, providing them with rights, freedoms, and opportunities identical to those born in the U.S. To be eligible for naturalization, applicants must generally have been a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) for at least five years (or three years if married to a U.S. citizen), have continuous residence and physical presence in the United States, demonstrate good moral character, have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government, and be able to read, write, and speak basic English.

When it’s appropriate to file for naturalization depends on several factors, including meeting the residency requirements and being prepared for the citizenship test and interview. The application process begins with Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Applicants must also undergo a biometrics appointment and pass the U.S. civics and English language tests, unless exempted. The decision to apply for U.S. citizenship is a deeply personal one that can offer a sense of permanence and belonging in American society, as well as the ability to vote in elections and access certain benefits and opportunities reserved for citizens.

Deportation Defense & Removal

Deportation defense and removal proceedings are some of the most daunting challenges that immigrants in the United States may face. These proceedings are initiated when the U.S. government determines that an individual has violated immigration laws or is no longer eligible to remain in the country. The process can be lengthy and complex, often requiring the individual to appear before an immigration judge. Factors that might trigger deportation include unlawful presence, criminal convictions, or breach of visa terms. Once in removal proceedings, individuals have the opportunity to argue their case for staying in the U.S., which might involve seeking asylum, applying for cancellation of removal, or requesting adjustment of status, among other defenses.

An experienced immigration lawyer can be invaluable in navigating the intricacies of deportation defense. These immigration attorneys are equipped with the knowledge and resources necessary to build a strong case on behalf of their clients. Immigration lawyers can help by providing guidance on the best defense strategy, preparing and submitting necessary documentation, representing individuals in immigration court, and advocating for their rights throughout the immigration process. Additionally, an immigration lawyer can assist in filing immigration appeals if the initial decision is unfavorable. Given the high stakes of removal proceedings, the support and advice of a knowledgeable immigration attorney can make a significant difference in achieving a positive outcome.

Asylum Cases

Seeking asylum in the United States offers protection to individuals who have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion in their home country. To be eligible for asylum, an individual must demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution if they were to return to their homeland. This fear must be backed by credible evidence and align with one of the five protected grounds mentioned above. For instance, someone who has been targeted and threatened by their government for participating in political protests may qualify for asylum on the basis of their political opinion.

The process of filing for asylum requires the individual to be either at a port of entry to the United States or physically present in the country, irrespective of how they arrived or their current immigration status. Applicants must file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year of their arrival to the United States. Exceptions to this deadline might apply under certain circumstances, such as changes in conditions in the applicant’s home country or personal circumstances that would significantly affect eligibility for asylum. Gathering detailed documentation and evidence to support one’s case is crucial, as the immigration process involves rigorous scrutiny by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).

Do You Need an Immigration Lawyer? You Can Trust Our Team to Help You

If you or a loved one are looking for an experienced immigration attorney, call MC Law Group, LLC.  Our compassionate and experienced immigration lawyers can help you and your family apply for and obtain whatever types of immigration paperwork that you may need at an effective and reasonable cost. To learn more about our services, please contact our office to schedule your free consultation by calling (215) 496-0690 or by sending us a message on our private and confidential “contact us” box available here.

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