Thursday, January 22, 2009

Areas of Practice in Immigration Law

The quality of immigration lawyer you hire can determine your status in the United States, which is something that shouldn't be taken lightly. But how exactly can an immigration lawyer help you? Here are a few of the most significant areas of practice in immigration law that your lawyer can help you figure out.


One of the most significant areas of immigration law practice is the ins and outs of becoming a U.S. citizen. An immigration lawyer can help you determine if you meet the exacting requirements of becoming a citizen of the United States.

In order to become a U.S. citizen, you must meet the following requirements:

1. You have been admitted to and have maintained lawful permanent residence for five years (three years if Green Card obtained through marriage to U.S. citizen);
2. You must be 18 years old;
3. You must be physically present in the U.S. for at least half of the 5 years (or half of the 3 years if you obtained a Green Card through a U.S. citizen spouse);
4. You must be a person of good moral character for the 5 years (or 3 years if the alien obtained a Green Card through a U.S. citizen spouse);
5. You must demonstrate an elementary level of English (reading, writing, understanding); and,
6. You must have knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of history and government of the U.S.

The government makes special exceptions to some of these general requirements for the disabled, members of the military, veterans, spouses to married U.S. citizens living overseas, and Legal Permanent Residents who work for organizations that promote U.S. interests abroad. Also, exemptions from the English language requirements are available for those over 55 years old who and have lived in the United States as a Legal Permanent Resident for 15 years, or are over 50 years old and have lived in the United States as a Legal Permanent Resident for 20 years.


For those fleeing political, religious, or social persecution, the U.S. Government offers protection under two basic sets of laws: refugee law and asylum law. The legal test for both groups is the same. In both groups, they must prove a "well-founded fear of persecution" for their political opinion, race, religion, nationality, or membership to a particular social group in their home country. Individuals who apply while they are in the United States are asylum applicants. It is important to be aware that although someone has suffered persecution in his or her home country and are now in the United States, there is no guarantee that the individual will receive asylum.

Other important areas of immigration law include obtaining immigrant visas, which falls under the categories of employment immigration and family immigration; deportation and waivers; consular processing of immigrants; and non-immigrant visas. The latter category can be broken up into further areas, including tourist visas, business visitor visas, trader treaty visas, and investor visas.

Berd & Klauss, PLLC ( provide you with an immigration lawyer in New York who will review your situation, strategize a plan of action, and prepare the case for filing - in every aspect of U.S. immigration law. Billings Farnsworth is a freelance writer.

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