The nonimmigrant visa classification covers a broad range of visas for foreign nationals to enter the U.S. for work, pleasure or study. Nonimmigrant temporary visas typically require the foreign national to demonstrate nonimmigrant intent. To satisfy nonimmigrant intent, the foreign national must demonstrate that he/she has a permanent residence in their home country and do not plan on abandoning their residence abroad.


The duration of time in nonimmigrant status can vary from a few days to several years, depending on the type of nonimmigrant temporary visa obtained. Spouses and unmarried children under age 21 can usually enter the U.S. in dependent nonimmigrant status to accompany the primary nonimmigrant visa holder.   In very special circumstances, some nonimmigrant temporary visas permit “dual intent.”  This means that a foreign national may enter the U.S. with a nonimmigrant visa, but still be permitted to pursue permanent residence (a “green card”) in the U.S. while in that nonimmigrant status. This is common if the foreign national is enrolled in an American university or is working long term in the United States.


Student visas and work visa are both examples of temporary visas. There are a number of visa options for each of these situations and the visa required will vary on each individual situation. For example, F-1 visas are the most common for students entering the United States, however, special circumstances can require a J-1, M-1, or even Q visa.   There are even more options for work visas and the individual circumstance will determine which temporary visa is needed. Of course, you can find detailed information on all student and work visas by clicking on the visa options in the right-hand column.


Getting a temporary visa can be a complex process and legal counsel is always recommended. Please contact our firm to inquire more about the temporary visa option that is best for your situation.


Overview of Permanent Visas

Permanent immigration is the ultimate goal of many people entering or planning to enter the U.S. Lawful permanent residency offers individuals many benefits, including the freedom to live and work permanently in the U.S. Because new regulations significantly affect how foreign nationals may qualify for permanent visas, our law firm provides up to date information about these changes.


As a general overview, immigrants to the U.S. are divided into two categories of permanent immigrant visas: individuals who may acquire permanent residency without numerical limitation and individuals who are subject to a yearly limitation.


For the second category of permanent immigrant visas, there are three sub-categories: family-based; employment-based; and diversity immigrants.


Permanent Visas: General Requirements

Persons can be eligible for permanent visas through their family, employment, or asylum—in addition to numerous special provisions. Generally, those applying for permanent visas will also need to be eligible for one of the immigrant categories stated in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Additionally, a qualifying immigrant petition must be filed and approved. Finally, an immigrant visa must be readily available.


Family-based permanent visas work differently, however. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens do not have to wait for a visa to become available. Immediate relatives are defined as parents, spouses, or unmarried children (under the age of 21) of a U.S. citizen.


In terms of employment-based permanent visas, those who seek permanent residence can apply when an immigrant visa number becomes available under employment-based preferences, such as:

– First Preference: Priority workers, professors and researchers, and specific multinational executives and managers

– Second Preference: Members of professions which require an advanced degree

– Third Preference: Skilled workers, professionals, and other qualified workers

– Fourth Preference: Immigrants involved in religious vocations

– Fifth Preference: Employment creation immigrants, such as investors


For more information regarding immigration law, explore our website. You can also contact Orbit Law here or give us a call at 206.623.3352.


    Our Naturalization Experience


    We know how hard you have worked to obtain Permanent Residence, and for many of you, the ultimate dream is to become a U.S. Citizen. However, obtaining citizenship is far more complex than just filling out a form after you have been a Permanent Resident for a specified number of years. At Orbit Law, PLLC in Seattle, WA we have mastered the complexities of nationality law, and can guide you through the intricacies in your quest to become an American citizen. If you have criminal record, speaking to an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about the potential impact of a particular crime is even more important before you apply for citizenship.


    Applying for Naturalization


    In filing for naturalization, you will need to fill out and file Form N-400 Application for Naturalization. Within filing, there are a number of requirements you must meet in order to become a citizen of the United States and here at Orbit Law, PLLC, we can help you fulfill these requirements. If you are 18 years or older and have been a legal resident of the United States for five years, you meet some of the most important criteria for naturalization. There are exceptions to the later requirement and we can help determine whether or not you are eligible for an exception.


    Additionally, you will have to pass a rigorous citizenship test. This is notoriously hard and even many natural born citizens struggle with some of the answers. You will need to pass the citizenship test in order to become naturalized as a citizen of the United States.

    U.S. Citizenship Requirements


    • Must be 18 years or older when filing.
    • Hold a green card five years prior to filing for naturalization (Form N-400).
    • Must live in the state or USCIS district (with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence) for at least three months before filing.
    • Be a continuous U.S. resident as a green card holder for a minimum of five years prior to filing the application.
    • Be present in the U.S. for a minimum of 30 months out of the five years prior to filing for naturalization.
    • Remain within the U.S. from filing date to the time of naturalization.
    • Possess the ability to read, write, and speak English with an understanding of U.S. history as well as government.
    • Abide by the principles defined in the U.S. Constitution and be of good moral character, in addition to complying to the good order of the U.S. under law.


    If you desire to become a naturalized citizen of the United States, Orbit Law, PLLC is here to help. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help Seattle residents become naturalized citizens. Contact us here to get started today!


      Our Experience

      • Orbit Law, PLLC in Seattle has a proven track record of successfully litigating political asylum cases in immigration courts. We have helped clients from Africa, South Asia, South & Central America obtain asylum in the United States.

      Political Asylum Requirements

      • U.S. immigration laws permit citizens of other countries to remain in the U.S. if the applicant can show past persecution or a well founded fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, and that the applicant is fearful of returning to his or country of citizenship.

      Eligibility | Political Asylum

      To further explain the requirements above, a list of factors which impact eligibility are listed below:

      – Person must request political asylum at a port of entry (airport, seaport, border crossing) or file an application within one year of arriving in the U.S.

      – Person may request asylum after one year, so long as conditions in their country have changed in the past year and those changes impacted asylum eligibility.

      – In the case of certain circumstances which prevent the person from filing for political asylum within one year of arrival, the person may be excused from the one-year deadline.

      Applying for Political Asylum

      In addition to requesting asylum within one year of arrival to the U.S., as well as asking at a port of entry, other factors will impact the application procedure. Though denials of asylum are relatively seldom, failing to hold a scheduled appointment for interview without good cause is one reason for denial and deportation. See below for more information regarding the political asylum application procedure:

      – The USCIS is required to conduct an interview for asylum within 60 days of the claim being filed.

      – If the officer does not deem the claim grantable, the person will be referred for deportation to the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR).

      – To request asylum, the person must fill out a USCIS Form I-589. The form does not require a fee.

      – Asylum processing is often completed with 180 days after filing the request.

      – The political asylum applicant should send their form to the USCIS Service Center that has jurisdiction over their place of residence. If the person has been placed before an Immigration Judge, they should file the form within the Immigration Court.


        Our Experience


        • Orbit Law, PLLC provides high-quality legal representation for foreign nationals who face deportation (or “removal”) from the United States.We know that the removal process can be a confusing and scary ordeal that can separate individuals and families from their loved ones. With so much at stake, it is vital that you retain the services of a legal team that is experienced in winning removal cases. At Orbit Law, PLLC, we want to make our experience work for you, to give you the best possible chance of winning your case.

        Since the available forms of relief from removal depend on many factors, such as whether you are a legal permanent resident, whether you committed a crime, and the length of time you have been in the U.S, it is crucial that your case is well-researched and well-prepared. We have an established track record of helping individuals with difficult cases win relief in Immigration Court.


        Common Types of Relief Available in Removal Proceedings:

        • Cancellation of Removal for Non-Lawful Permanent Residents ( “Ten Year Cancellation”): applicant must prove continuous residence in the U.S. for ten years, be of “good moral character”, and “extreme and unusual hardship” to a U.S. citizen or a Permanent Resident spouse, parent, or child if the applicant were to be removed from the U.S.
        • Cancellation of Removal for Battered Spouses or Children (“VAWA Cancellation”): applicant must show continuous physical presence in the U.S. for three years, be of “good moral character”, and prove hardship to the applicant or his/her child or parent, and that the applicant or his/her child has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident spouse or parent.
        • Suspension of Deportation: Certain individuals in removal proceedings today may still be eligible to proceed under laws that were in place prior to April 1, 1997. To qualify, applicant must show continuous physical presence in the U.S. for seven years, “good moral character”, and extreme hardship to self and/or a US Citizen or Permanent Resident spouse, parent or child.
        • Cancellation of Removal for Lawful Permanent Residents: applicant to demonstrate Lawful Permanent Resident status in the U.S. for at least five years; continuous physical presence in the U.S.of at least seven years; no convictions for aggravated felony crimes, and hardship that would result to the applicant him/herself if removed from the U.S.
        • Adjustment of Status to Permanent Residence: If an individual in removal proceedings before an Immigration Court in the United States is eligible to receive Lawful Permanent Residence (“Green Card”); he/she may seek Adjustment of Status before the Court. In order to receive this relief, the applicant a “Green Card” must be currently available, and the applicant must not be ineligible for a green card due to other reasons (e.g., criminal record).
        • NACARA relief: Certain individuals from Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, and former Soviet Bloc countries are eligible to apply for NACARA as a form of relief from removal.
        • Asylum or Withholding of Removal: An applicant who can show that there was past harm or persecution or that there is a likelihood of future persecution on account of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, may be eligible to receive Witholding of removal as a form of relief.
        • Withholding of Removal under the Convention Against Torture: An applicant who can demonstrate either that he/she has been tortured in the past, or faces the likelihood of torture perpetrated against the applicant or certain third parties by the Government of their home country, or with the knowledge and acquiescence of the government, may be eligible to receive this form of relief.
        • Waivers: may be available for select offenses that render a person removable. Eligibility for relief often depends on the applicant’s criminal record or other discretionary factors that the Judge can take into consideration.

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