The first step in adjusting your immigrant status is understanding where you or your spouse or family members stand on the scale. Luckily, you do not have to have a deep understanding of immigration law to familiarize yourself with the categories of immigration status.
If you or someone you care about needs advice or support regarding an immigration issue, The Law Office of Susan Han is here to help. Reach out to Ms. Han online today or call 410.599.3100 to learn more.
The Four Types of Immigration Status
Understanding the four categories of immigration status is an essential first step to knowing where you or your loved one stands concerning immigration law. They are as follows:
1. U.S. Citizens
Although it may seem obvious, U.S. citizens are individuals who were either born in the U.S. or who have become citizens through the process of naturalization. Naturalization is a process that takes either three or five years to complete. However, it can be somewhat complicated, and as such, it is worth seeking the advice of an experienced immigration attorney like Ms. Han.
Individuals who are citizens of the U.S. cannot be deported and can work legally in the United States. They are also protected by U.S. law, including freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship as they choose, the freedom to participate in free and open elections, and the right to a fair and speedy trial. Additionally, U.S. citizens — whether born in the U.S. or naturalized — can petition for the legal status of their family members, including spouses, children, parents, and siblings.
2. Permanent Residents and Conditional Residents
Legal permanent residents of the United States are individuals who hold a green card. This means that they have been granted the legal right to live and work in the U.S. permanently.
Individuals interested in applying for this status have several different ways they can do so. In most cases, family members or employers are responsible for sponsoring an individual’s green card application. In other cases, they can become permanent residents through their status as a refugee or asylum-seeker or through humanitarian programs aimed specifically at helping individuals in this circumstance. In certain cases, individuals can also apply for this status on their own, without sponsorship.
Individuals who have been married to a U.S. citizen for less than two years are considered conditional residents and can be issued a conditional green card. This status is “conditional” because it involves building a case that demonstrates that you have not gotten married to evade U.S. immigration law. Once you have successfully petitioned, you submit a second petition to remove your conditional status, and at that point, you will be given a 10-year green card.
3. Non-Immigrant Status
Non-immigrants reside in the U.S. legally but may only do so temporarily. Some examples include:
- Business visitors
- Those who have been granted temporary protected status
It is generally understood that non-immigrants do not usually wish to immigrate to the U.S. If your non-immigrant visa has expired, you will be considered “undocumented,” which can have negative consequences. In this circumstance, it is worth reaching out to an immigration lawyer like Susan Han.
Individuals who are in the U.S. without permission — illegally — are referred to as “undocumented.” They are not legally permitted to reside or work in the U.S., and they have no legal access to public benefits like healthcare. People who are undocumented either overstayed a temporary visa or entered the U.S. illegally.
Anyone who is undocumented may be deported.
Learn More About the Issues Surrounding Immigrant Status at The Law Office of Susan Han
If you or someone close to you has questions about their immigrant status or immigration law in general, reach out to The Law Offices of Susan Han today. Ms. Han has helped unite numerous families and helped countless individuals on their path to citizenship and permanent residence. Reach out to Ms. Han online or call 410.599.3100 to learn more.