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Miami Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

What is a K-1 visa?

U.S. immigration law provides a prescribed way for American citizens, both in Florida as well as elsewhere, to be able to bring their significant other from a foreign country into the United States in order to get married. To facilitate this, the foreign-born fiancé of a U.S. citizen must apply for and obtain a K-1 visa. If that individual has children, they may then apply for K-2 visas based on their parent's status.

A K-1 visa allows the person to travel to the United States in order to marry their intended spouse. The marriage must occur within 90 days of the fiancé's arrival. It is a non-immigrant visa and must be applied for while the fiancé is outside of the United States prior to his or her arrival.

Does your firm's success hinge on employment immigration?

Employment immigration is a critical resource for many Floridian firms. Companies use it to add talent to their workforces, gain fiscal benefits and explore vital new modes of operation. It's critical that your firm employs employment immigration correctly in order to derive the results you desire while avoiding the negative consequences of failing to stay compliant with the law.

Part of our mission is to disabuse you of the notion that employment immigration is a simple road to corporate riches. While it bears significant potential, you must learn not only to observe the laws that govern you but also select the best kind of employment immigration program or status for your firm and its employees. Choosing from the extensive range of visa classifications is not to be taken lightly; for instance, certain visa category holders may have to go through extra steps to petition for permanent residency status. In the end, it's essential to consider your future needs as well as your current motivations.

Employers must follow strict standards when hiring immigrants

Since Florida is a popular destination for immigrants, it is imperative that employers keep tabs on the legal status of those individuals who are working for them. The state's immigration law statutes make several requirements of employers when it comes to verification and storage of workers' data.

Both federal and state laws require that employers verify the status of all employees through the use of an I-9 form. This document must be completed within 72 hours of an individual's employment and includes important information, such as the person's Social Security number, name, birth date, and proof of immigration status. These forms may be filled out and stored by employers in electronic formats as long as the records are maintained in a safe, secure, and accurate fashion. At any time, the government must be given access to the required I-9 records kept by all employers.

Immigration concerns as families fail to report

As a state affected by the massive immigration of young families into the country earlier in the year, Florida is dealing with its share of the individuals who have been released into communities. Although those released have been instructed to report to immigration agents, representatives of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have noted that only 30 percent have followed through. Reports were made confidentially as ICE met with advocates who are working on policy development, but an audio recording of the meeting in question was obtained.

Reports do not clarify the number of immigrants released with such instructions. However, it is estimated that more than 40,000 may have failed to comply with the requirement to report to immigration officials. Deportation has been directed for more than 800 of these individuals, but only 14 of these people have complied with orders to report since May. ICE has clarified that many individuals may be in the process of reporting and that many deportation cases are still in progress.

Some of the ways to obtain a green card

A majority of green card applicants in Florida have a family member legally residing in the United States or a job offer from a U.S. emplolyer. However, there are some other ways that immigrants without a family member or job in the United States can apply for permanent residency.

One of the most well-known ways to apply for a green card without a job or family in the country is through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. This program is commonly referred to as the 'Green Card Lottery" and provides as many as 50,000 green cards each year to people from countries that have few immigrants already living in the United States. In addition to this program, there are also paths to obtaining a green card for citizens of certain countries like Cuba, Nicaragua and Afghanistan.

United States deporting fewer immigrants

Individuals in Florida who wish to remain permanently in the United States may be interested to learn that deportation numbers are dropping. In 2014, the fewest number of immigrants since at least 2007 will be deported from the country. This will be the case despite the fact that President Obama is delaying until after the November 2014 elections the implementation of policies that could lead to even fewer deportations.

From October 2013 through July 2014, deportations occurred at a rate 20 percent lower than the previous year and 25 percent lower than the year before that. The total number of immigrants who have been deported since President Obama began his presidency is more than 2 million, but he says that immigration reform is on its way. Some of that reform has already taken place. Since 2011, the administration has focused on deporting criminals or individuals who may be a threat to national security. The court system has become so backlogged that it can take several years for an deportation order to become final for individuals who are not in these categories.

Understanding the refugee process

Refugees desiring to come to Florida need to understand the process that must be followed. First, the individual must have received a referral to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Once a referral has been received, the applicant will be interviewed by an immigration officer who will determine the applicant's eligibility for resettlement.

In addition to the individual, the applicant's petition may include the spouse, unmarried children under 21 years of age and, in some cases, other family members. Same-sex partners who are legally married may also be included. It may be possible for same-sex partners who are not legally married to have their cases cross-referenced in such a way that they can be interviewed together and resettled in the same geographic region of the U.S., if approved. An applicant is not required to pay any fee.

Florida residents need special visas for foreign fiancee

Those who wish to marry a foreign national may need to apply for a special visa. Whether or not one is needed will depend on where the marriage is to occur.

When the fiancee is a citizen of another country and resides there, the one residing in the United States may apply for a visa to bring the future spouse into America to be wed. If the marriage is to take place on U.S. soil, this documentation must be applied for. If the marriage is to take place in another country, a visa will not be necessary. Any U.S. citizen applying for the visa must marry the intended within 3 months after the prospective spouse arrives in America. In addition, the couple must have met at least one time within the two years prior to the application. In some cases, that requirement can be waived.

How do I immigrate to the United States?

Families in Florida may benefit from learning more about the process that enables people to immigrate into the United States. According to the U.S Department of State, the first step towards becoming a lawful permanent resident is for a foreign citizen to obtain an immigrant visa. Most foreign citizens are either categorized as immigrating for employment reasons or for family. In order to qualify for immigration, foreign citizens must be sponsored by a prospective employer, U.S. lawful permanent resident or a relative that is a U.S. citizen.

The process is initiated once the sponsor files a petition with U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services on behalf of the foreign person. U.S. citizens are permitted to file petitions for immigrants who qualify as a son or daughter, a parent, a sibling or spouse. U.S lawful permanent residents, otherwise known as green-card holders, may petition for a spouse or an unmarried daughter or son.

What is dual citizenship?

Many Florida residents may desire to hold citizenship in the U.S. and another country. While the United States does not formally recognize dual citizenship, a Florida resident can still seek seek citizenship without any negative consequences.

Having dual citizenship means that someone is considered to be a citizen of two different countries. This has a number of benefits, including the ability to easily have residences in both countries and to be able to access government programs in both countries more easily. However, dual citizenship also can add complications. For example, someone with dual citizenship may have tax obligations to both countries. The only time a person may lose U.S. citizenship is if they attempt to harm the U.S.

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