• March 21

The Immigration Process

The Immigration Process

When applying for U.S. citizenship, a visa or a green card and other immigration benefits, you may find that an immigration lawyer in the United States is going to be the best person to help you ensure your applications for these benefits are done properly, to hopefully speed up the process or keep it on track.

Most of the time an immigration lawyer is going to be independent from the United States immigration authorities. Because the immigration laws are federal, you can have help from a lawyer in any United States state, even if you’re living in another country.

Do not think that every immigration issue requires an immigration lawyer in the United States, such as the ones available at the Iowa Law Group.  Some issues that do not require an immigration lawyer are, say, you want to visit the United States for a vacation—and you are absolutely positive you would be out of the U.S. before 90 days have passed, you may not require a visa. Though, there are some countries (on a list) that travel in the Visa Waiver Program, this program may allow you to travel without needing a visa.

What is the Visa Waiver Program?

This program, called The Visa Waiver Program or VWP, allows citizens and nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or fewer without obtaining a visa. These travelers are required to have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approved prior to their travel and must meet all requirements, which will be briefly explained below.

You must be a citizen or national of a VWP designated country. While the list of countries that participate in this program is not exhaustive, it should give you an idea of the countries involved.

  • Andora
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Chile
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Denmark
  • Switzerland
  • Netherlands

There are many more countries, so make sure that you check with the country you reside in. You must have a valid ESTA, keep your ESTA updated (it expires after two years, usually), and have the correct type of passport. Again, check with your country and your rules before attempting to travel to the United States on this program.

When to Call An Immigration Lawyer?

You should consult an immigration lawyer in the United States if you are uncertain about whether you are eligible for a green card or other benefits at the most basic level. Have you received government assistance and think you may be inadmissible for another reason? Talk to a lawyer! If you request asylum or a waiver, which means you have to persuade authorities to make exceptions for you, you’ll want a lawyer to explain your case.

Sometimes you may require a lawyer because you are having trouble acquiring a green card, citizenship or benefits, perhaps you are asked to present additional documents. If you have an emergency immigration matter, you may want to get a lawyer, quickly, so that they can try to deal with the emergency issue. 

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