Contrary to what many people might think, an immigration lawyer is not just someone you call after you’ve gotten in trouble. He or she is also someone to help you avoid getting in trouble in the first place. Entering the United States is always highly restricted, but it is even more so for individuals hailing from a country that is not one of the 36 that participate in a visa waiver program that allows people to come and go without having to apply for visas. For these individuals, applying for the necessary paperwork to travel to the United States can be a daunting and difficult process.
An immigration lawyer will be the first to tell you that there are over 30 different types of U.S. visas, each for a variety of different reasons. By far the two most common are immigrant and non-immigrant visas, which allow entry into the U.S. for two vastly different but very common reasons. Non-immigrant visas allow a person to enter the U.S. for a temporary stay. This could mean simply for a vacation or a business trip or to attend college at an American school. It could also be to visit family or friends. This type generally includes a time limit in terms of how long a person can legally remain at their destination.
An immigrant visa is the most difficult and time-consuming to obtain because it allows for entry into the country for no set amount of time, possibly for the purpose of earning the right to work through a green card or eventually full citizenship status as well. The catch with these documents is that they do not authorize the actual stay in the U.S. itself, only the opportunity to cross the country’s borders and petition for the right to remain. This is where an immigration lawyer can be most necessary, as those who have had visas issued are allowed to reach a U.S. port of entry, where their case is considered by a domestic immigration official. At this point that official could authorize the alien to enter the country and honor the terms of the issued visa, or he or she may turn that person away and refuse entry.
An immigration lawyer knows the rights and privileges of foreign nationals trying to enter the United States as well as anyone. They are best equipped to file effective and successful paperwork to allow the process to proceed as seamlessly as possible. He or she is also able to pick up a case already in progress and can help produce needed results as quickly as possible so that a resolution and final determination is ultimately reached.