Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a nonimmigrant visa and an immigrant visa?
There are dozens of different types of visas available under the provisions
of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), but they can all be placed
in one of two categories: immigrant and
nonimmigrant visas. The former is for individuals who are hoping to establish permanent residency with a
green card and perhaps even to pursue the path to
naturalization and citizenship. The latter is for those who are only planning a temporary visit to the
United States, such as for the purpose of conducting
business or attending school.
How many immigrants are admitted to the United States every year?
The INA sets limits on the number of people who will be permitted to immigrate
to the United States each year using certain types of visas, while other
visas are unlimited.
Family immigration visas for the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are available on an
unlimited basis, while there are annual quotas set for the relatives of
lawful permanent residents and extended family of citizens, with a maximum
quota of 480,000. The number of employment immigration visas is limited
to 140,000 per year.
What are the eligibility requirements to become a citizen?
Pathways to citizenship include service in the United States military
and adoption, but a large percentage of all people who become citizens
do so through the process of naturalization. The basic qualifications
for naturalization include:
- Living in the U.S. as a permanent resident for 5 years (or 3 years for
a spouse of a U.S. citizen)
- Being at least 18 years of age
- Living within the state where you will apply for citizenship for at least
3 months prior to the application date
- Being physically present in this country for at least half of the past 5 years
- Maintaining continuous residence in this country from the date you submit
your application for naturalization
- Being able to read, write and speak English
- Have a basic understanding of U.S. government and civics
It is also necessary to supply evidence that you are a person of good moral
character and are attached to the principles of the U.S. Constitution.
We can assist you with proving these factors, as well as preparing your
petition and helping you get ready for the tests.
What is deferred action?
In June of 2012, the Obama Administration directed the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) to begin applying a policy that is referred to as Deferred
Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Under deferred action, DHS is exercising
discretion in its execution of the laws concerning deportation and removal
of immigrants who are illegally present in the United States. Deferred
action is not a change to the existing law, but is instead a change in
the way that the law is being applied. You may qualify for relief under
DACA if you were younger than 31 years of age on June 15, 2012, came to
the U.S. before your 16th birthday, have continuously resided in this
country since June 15, 2007 and are either currently in school or have
already graduated from high school or earned your general education development
(GED) certificate, among other criteria. With deferred action, you may
be able to avoid being deported, though it does not grant any change of
What factors does USCIS consider when reviewing an immigration petition?
In its review of immigrant visa petitions, the U.S. Citizenship &
Immigration Services (USCIS) weighs factors related to the ties that the
prospective immigrant has in the United States and the reasons why he
or she wants or needs to come to live in this country. For example, a
family immigration petition will not be approved unless the foreign national
has immediate relatives such as a spouse, mother or father, child or sibling
already living here as a citizen or green card holder. An employment immigration
petition is more likely to receive approval if the applicant has a job
offer in this country and is coming to fill a position that cannot reasonably
filled from the local labor market. A foreign national who is fleeing
persecution in his or her home country may be granted an immigrant visa
as a refugee or asylee.
How is it possible to prevent deportation?
There are many strategies for challenging a removal action. If the proposed
deportation is based on a criminal conviction, it may be possible to appeal
the conviction in order to have it overturned. Another option is to petition
for cancellation of removal, a type of immigration relief which is available
to people who are of good moral character and whose deportation would
subject a family member who is a citizen or permanent resident to extreme
hardship. The key to success in stopping deportation is to take immediate
action by hiring a
Virginia immigration attorney from our firm as soon as possible. Contact us now at Fayad Law, P.C. for
a confidential consultation and to let us get started on your case!
Where can I get help from your firm?
Fayad Law, P.C. maintains offices in Richmond and Fairfax, Virginia, as
well as in Raleigh, North Carolina. We work with individuals, families
and businesses across the world, providing them with assistance in resolving
the legal issues involved with helping their loved ones and employees
to immigrate to the United States. We work directly with foreign nationals
living abroad, guiding them through the process of obtaining immigrant
and nonimmigrant visas for entry to the U.S.