Navigating the U.S. Immigration System
By: Rebecca Anderson
You don’t necessarily need to be an expert or lawyer to comprehend various immigration policies and laws, but there are a few steps one needs to take before officially declaring citizenship. It’s also important to understand the four types of immigration status in the U.S. and what makes up each category. Here are the four classes of status:
According to masslegalhelp.org, a United States citizen is simply “someone who was born anywhere in the U.S. or its territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Individuals from the American Samoa or Swain’s Islands are also considered citizens.”
Those who are “naturalized”—citizenship given to someone who later becomes a resident through the U.S. Naturalization process—is also bunched in with this group. The process permits nationals who are 18 years or older to naturalize as citizens.
When someone is born outside the country to parents who are already U.S. citizens, that child is typically able to obtain a citizenship certificate as well. “If you were born abroad and at least one of your biological parents was a U.S. born citizen at the time of your birth—and lived in the U.S. at any time prior to your birth—you may have “derived citizenship”. If you were born abroad and both your parents naturalized to U.S. citizenship before you turned age 18, you may also have derived citizenship.”
Permanent or Conditional Residents:
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “a conditional permanent resident receives a Greed Card that is valid for two years.” To eventually remove the conditions on the permanent resident status, one must file a petition within a 90-day period before the Green Card expires. If the conditions aren’t eventually removed, a foreign national could lose permanent resident status and can even be forced from the U.S.
How can these conditions be removed? Usually, marital status or certain entrepreneurial ventures and employment could help life these restrictions.
For Green Card employment purposes, Park Evaluations offers a reputable service that handles the required steps of advertising the position in various media outlets. These steps are also in compliance with Department of Labor (DOL) guidelines. For more information/quote request, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
According to the UC Berkeley International Office, “a nonimmigrant status is for people who enter the U.S. on a temporary basis—whether for tourism, business, temporary work, or study. Once a person has entered the U.S. in nonimmigrant status, they are restricted to the activity or reason for which they were allowed entry.”
Some individuals may have more than one visa in their passport, but they can only be admitted into the U.S. in one type of nonimmigrant status at a time. Most nonimmigrant visas are issued only to applicants who can demonstrate their intentions to return to their home country.
Nonimmigrant visas can be a little tricky. If a U.S. visa officer believes an applicant is using this visa as a pretext or a guise to stay permanently (once allowed in the country), they may deny the application overall. Usually, this is because that applicant can’t show or prove family or employment ties to their country of origin. Some of the most common nonimmigrant visas include H-1B, TN, L-1, and O1.
According to USLegal.com, “The term “undocumented immigrant” refers to foreign nationals residing in the U.S. without legal immigration status. It includes persons who entered the U.S. without inspection and proper permission from the U.S. government, and those who entered with a legal visa that is no longer valid. Undocumented immigrants are also known as unauthorized or illegal immigrants.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE, is a federal law enforcement agency that acts under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and works alongside border control to make sure those coming in from other countries do so legally.
Many undocumented immigrants travel from various countries where war, poverty and the lack of opportunity is prevalent. Many will seek asylum from their home country due to imminent threats. According to USCIS, every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to:
- Membership in a particular social group
- Political opinion
There are various avenues that an individual can go down to gain access to the U.S. and legally declare citizenship, but finding the right route takes research, a secure team of lawyers, and just a little bit of patience. Although these categories don’t necessarily define a person, they help immigration officers determine the next steps in the process.
As an Operations Analyst at Park Evaluations, Rebecca Anderson works with the proofing team to review evaluation letters for candidates looking to attain their visa of choice. When not at the office, Rebecca devotes time to curating news and kickboxing.