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Miami Immigration & Naturalization Law Blog

Understanding the types of family immigration visas under US law

Miami residents who wish to bring family members into the country may be interested in information about family immigration visas. Depending on the type of relationship, the number who may enter the country in any given year could be limited.

United States immigration law recognizes two types of family-based immigrant visas. The types of family members covered under an immediate relative immigrant visa include a spouse and unmarried children that have not yet turned 21. Orphans who have been or are being adopted by a U.S. citizen may also be allowed into the U.S. under these visa laws. Lastly, a U.S. citizen's parent who is over 21 years old may get an immediate relative immigrant visa. U.S. law allows an unlimited number of immigrants who qualify under these categories every year.

Florida real estate market could benefit from immigration action

As President Obama's efforts lead to immigration changes, experts indicate that Miami could experience an increase in real estate activity and development. The President's immigration reform includes recommendations for expanding EB-5 visas or implementing similar options for investors.

Foreign investments of at least $500,000 in approved real estate projects, which would also result in significant job creation in the U.S., allow the potential for an individual to seek citizenship. Florida reports indicate that this visa is being increasingly used in connection with both commercial and residential real estate development, especially in Miami. Investment is coming from Latin American countries as well as from Europe. Florida officials note that more investment in the area can be a positive influence on Miami's economy. In fact, the demand for such visas has been significant enough that the city has created a center to oversee related needs.

The process of obtaining asylum

Florida residents who are refugees from their home country may be interested in some information on the application process for asylum. This requires timely filing of forms and other legal matters, but the benefits of avoiding persecution in another country and the ability to bring family members for asylum can be great.

Those who are facing serious persecution in their home country may seek asylum in the United States. This persecution can come from any number of recognized causes. Political opinions, race, religion, group membership and nationality are all reasons that people have emigrated to the U.S. as refugees. However, in order to have this refugee status recognized and asylum granted, the specific process dictated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must be followed.

President Obama announces immigration plan

On Nov. 20, President Barack Obama released an immigration plan that may affect those who have either already settled in Florida or who are attempting to immigrate to Florida. In the address, Obama agreed that the current immigration system was not working and that changes needed to be made.

The plan would reportedly provide protection against deportation against approximately 5 million people who have children who are U.S. citizens. The plan would reportedly defer deportation action for 3-year periods, with the condition that the person had been in the United States for at least five years and on agreement that they would pay taxes. They would also be required to pass a criminal background check. The deferred action would also grant work authorization for those who were eligible.

Experienced immigration defense attorneys

Our immigration law attorneys at Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzeli and Pratt, P.A., are prepared to help individuals in Florida who are facing possible deportation from the United States. Whether your case involves criminal convictions or allegations of immigration law violations, we are ready to put our extensive knowledge of immigration defense strategy to work in an effort to help you stay in the country.

Depending on the type of crime that was allegedly committed, a non-citizen's immigration status could be seriously affected. For instance, if you were charged with an aggravated felony you could be barred permanently from naturalization. Moreover, some misdemeanors might be considered as aggravated felonies under immigration law. Due to the complexity of these cases, you might want to consider hiring legal counsel to defend you at immigration court hearings.

What is Temporary Protected Status and am I eligible?

Florida residents may have heard of the term Temporary Protected Status used by immigration officials when a country has been struck by a natural disaster or an armed conflict has broken out. The designation is issued to a foreign country by the Secretary of Homeland Security when it would be unsafe for its citizens to return home or conditions are such that their return would be impractical.

When a country has been designated as having Temporary Protected Status, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security may not detain any of its citizens who are in the U.S. due to their immigration status. Individuals who are not citizens of one of the countries affected by such events may also be protected by Temporary Protected Status if they previously resided there.

What are the requirements of the naturalization test?

Individuals in Florida who want to obtain citizenship may be concerned about the administration of the naturalization test that must be passed. The testing is conducted in order to determine whether an applicant has successfully met the requirements for knowledge of U.S. government and history as well as the English language. The English language portion assesses an applicant's ability to understand the language. An applicant must be able to speak, read, and write the language proficiently. A civics test is administered to measure knowledge of history and government issues and facts.

These tests can be taken twice by an applicant. If the first exam is not passed, a re-examination interview is offered. If a candidate for citizenship does not pass any portion of the exams after both attempts, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will deny the individual's application for naturalization. A hearing related to a denial may be requested by the candidate, and officials are required to re-administer the failed sections of the exams in this situation. Failure to attend a second exam or to take the tests during attendance at an exam or hearing are considered failed attempts.

Can I help my son or daughter get a Green Card?

In immigration matters, children of naturalized U.S. citizens are granted special priority. The law makes a distinction, though, based on the marital status and age of the child involved. That is, unmarried children under 21 years of age are categorized as immediate relatives, while married children and children over 21 are placed in the family preference category. Immediate relatives living in Florida or elsewhere have a simpler path to permanent residency because an unlimited number of visas have been made available for people who meet the requirements of the category. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens need not wait for a visa number and may begin the process of securing permanent residency by filing Form I-485 at the same time that the citizen sponsor files Form I-130. Other forms may be required as well.

Those in the family preference category, on the other hand, must usually wait for a visa to come available. For a family member who is in the U.S., the citizen sponsor should file Form I-130 first, and then the parties must wait for approval and for the relevant priority date to come current. When that happens, the family member may file Form I-485.

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.

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