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Immigration Law Practice Guide

The United States has always been a nation of immigrants. In fact, the U.S. has the highest immigrant (foreign-born individuals) population of any other nation in the world. America has relied on the expertise, creativity, culture, and industry of immigrants since its inception. After all, the founding fathers were actually from Europe. Though the U.S. welcomes an unrivaled amount of tourists, workers, and those seeking to become citizens, it is not necessarily easy to gain access to the 50 states. Immigration policies and procedures are notoriously complex. Furthermore, policies can easily change when there is a party-change or political shift within the country. If you are seeking to visit, work, or seek permanent residence within the U.S., working with an experienced immigration attorney can exponentially increase your chances of being approved for the visa that you are applying for. Learn more about U.S. immigration practices throughout our immigration law practice guide below. If you have further questions, give our experienced attorneys at the Florida Immigration Law Counsel a call to discuss your immigration ambitions. 

How the U.S. Immigration System Works

Aside from tourism, the U.S. immigration system is built on the following foundation: Reuniting families, welcoming foreign-born individuals that have skills that are valuable to the nation’s economy, offering protection to refugees, as well as diversifying the U.S. population. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) was signed into law in 1952. It is essentially the backbone of all immigration policies in the U.S. The INA covers everything from general immigration policies to refugee assistance. Since then, there have been a bevy of additional immigration laws enacted. There are two visa types that a foreign national can apply for; temporary visa and permanent visa (otherwise known as an immigrant visa). The U.S. grants approximately 1 million green cards each year. Learn more about the breakdown of green cards grated below. 

  • 45% of all green cards are granted to those who are immediate relatives of current U.S. citizens
  • 21% are family-sponsored (marriage/fiance visas)
  • 14% are employment-based
  • 13% are granted to those seeking refugee status or asylum
  • 4% come from the Diversity Visa Program (Visa Lottery)
  • 3% of green cardholders represent other categories

Who is Eligible to Immigrate to the U.S. 

In general, there are four typical ways to immigrate to the U.S. Each method has its own set of requirements and qualifications that you must meet. However, some requirements are uniform and must be met no matter what type of immigrant status you are seeking. This includes passing extensive criminal background checks and meeting certain health requirements. Learn more about the four main immigration paths below. 

Family-Based Immigration 

This is the largest category of visas granted by far. Family-based visas can be granted to those that have a familial relationship with someone that is already a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. You  may be eligible for a family-based immigrant visa if you meet one or more of the following qualifications (but not limited too):

  • You are immediately related to a U.S. Citizen (i.e. Spouse, unmarried child under 21, parent of citizen that is older than 21)
  • You are related to a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Fiance or Widower of a U.S. Citizen
  • Victim of abuse at the hands of a U.S. citizen. This can include children, spouses, and parents. 

Employment-Based Immigration 

The U.S. is focused on offering a pathway to immigration to those that are talented and can positively contribute to the U.S. economy. There are non-immigrant work visas. However, the qualifications below are for those that are interested in eventually applying for a green card.  

  1. EB-1 Visa: Those that show an extraordinary ability within their field, outstanding professors and researchers, or managers/executives from multinational companies. Applicants are given “first preference” and do not need to have a job offer. However, there are many strict requirements that must be met in order to qualify for an EB-1 Visa. 
  2. EB-2 Visa: This category is given “second preference”. Applicants must hold an advanced degree and show an exceptional ability within their field. Furthermore, you must be actively applying for a job or work opportunity. 
  3. EB-3 Visa: Given “third preference”. These individuals are comprised of unskilled workers, skilled workers, and professionals. Each category has its own set of qualifications that must be met. 

Investor Immigration 

Officially known as the EB-5 Visa. Those that make an investment of $500,000 to $1 million in a new U.S. business opportunity may be eligible for the EB-5 Visa. The investment made must include provisions for hiring at least 10 full-time U.S. based employees. Contact the Florida Immigration Law Counsel to learn more about the specific requirements. 

Student Immigration 

A student visa is not considered an immigration visa. However, those that have studied in the U.S. can go on to apply for a work-based visa and potentially a green card in the future. There are a number of stringent qualifications that must be met and maintained throughout a student’s time studying in the U.S. 

The Process to Apply For a U.S. Visa

In general, people applying for a U.S. visa must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or U.S. employer. Once their petition has been approved, a foreign citizen can begin the application process. You can complete the first steps of the application process online via the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC), next you must choose an agent, and then pay your fees. Once your forms and supporting documents have been collected and submitted to the National Visa Center (NVC) you must wait for your Visa interview to occur. Shortly after the interview has concluded, you will learn whether or not you have been approved. Give the Florida Immigration Law Counsel a call to learn more about the process of applying for an immigrant visa today. 

What is DACA?

The Deferred Action Action for Childhood Arrivals, better known as DACA, was enacted in June of 2012 by President Barack Obama. It granted a reprieve from deportation to certain people that came to the U.S. unlawfully as children. It affects more than 700,000 people. Though it is not citizenship, it does DACA protected individuals to legally work and drive in the U.S. without the threat of deportation. Those with DACA status must renew and the U.S. government is not currently accepting new applicants. 

U.S. Immigration Glossary of Terms

Alien

A term that represents any person that is not a citizen of the United States. Another term commonly used is “foreign-national”.

Asylee

Foreign-national seeking protection that arrives at a U.S. port of entry that cannot or is not willing to return to their country due to being persecuted on the basis of nationality, religious affiliation, membership in certain social groups, or political opinions. 

Lawful Permanent Resident

A foreign-national that is living in the United States and is legally recognized as a permanent resident. 

Green Card

Issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, a green card offers proof that a foreign-national is a lawful permanent resident. Green cards can be valid for two years, 10 years, or indefinitely.

Sponsor

The term “sponsor” generally means to “petition for” or bring to the U.S. Most paths to becoming a lawful permanent resident or citizen requires a sponsor (family, school, job, etc.). 

Diversity Visa

Otherwise known as the “Visa Lottery”. Each year, the U.S. randomly chooses 55,000 applicants from underrepresented countries to receive Diversity Visas and become eligible for permanent residence. 

Immigration Frequently Asked Questions

Why Would I Be Denied For a Visa?

Though most visa applications are approved, a visa application can be denied for many reasons. It is important to note that in most cases, you are eligible to reapply after a denial. Furthermore, the USCIS will tell you why you were denied. Listed below are some of the most common reasons for application denial.

  • Lack of sufficient information to determine eligibility
  • The applicant does not qualify for the type of visa they applied for
  • The applicant’s past actions (criminal convictions, drug use, etc.) have made them ineligible.

What Are Visa Bulletins?

Visa Bulletins are produced by the U.S. Department of State. They provide information regarding the waiting list for applicants that are applying under visa programs that have an annual quota that cannot be surpassed. 

What is a Biometric Screening?

Though the term sounds scary, a biometric screening is how USCIS records your identity. At your biometrics appointment, you will be required to give fingerprints, take photos, and give your signature. 

Which Visa Should I Get if I Want to Become a Permanent Resident?

If you plan on becoming a lawful permanent resident, you should not apply for any type of temporary visa. The immigration visa types (family-based, employment-based, investment, student, and diversity) mentioned above are great paths the become a lawful permanent resident.

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Testimonials

Saman was referred to me 5 years ago by a family friend who had used her services and was happy with them. When I contacted her, even though she was not my attorney yet, she did not hesitate to talk to me about my case. Later, as my marriage-based case progressed and became more complicated, she was able to help us through each step successfully. Our case got approved thanks to her! Also, my parents were selected in the DV lottery but with the new immigration complications and the fact that my family comes from one of the countries on the banned list, we have been concerned. However, she has managed to help us through their case as well. We appreciate Saman’s knowledge of the system, her availability, and her patience. I feel comfortable texting her at any time to ask her questions when I don’t have the chance to call or write an email. She is on top of it and responds to all of my questions thoroughly and promptly. Would definitely recommend her! Even if you are not sure you need an attorney I would give her a call

- Arvin

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I really appreciate the help from Saman. Her professionalism and knowledge helped me to get my case approved. I also appreciate her patience throughout the whole process as well and make sure I understand her approach for my case. Would definitely recommend her!

- Anonymous

Having to request the services of an Immigration Lawyer is a daunting experience. Saman has the most reassuring attitude, which instantly put me at ease. She and her staff are diligent in planning the appropriate course of action and executing it without delay. She is approachable, warm, knowledgeable, direct and genuine. To me, she is the modern face of Immigration lawyers! If you are reading those reviews here, look no further. Contact her. She'll help you.

- Anonymous

Her professionalism is excellent. She helped us through with patience and respect. Everything went smoothly. An important ally in an overwhelming process.

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I am extremely happy to have had Saman guide us through an immigration case. She was extremely helpful and dedicated to our case; and ultimately, delivered great results. Would definitely recommend!

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My partner won the diversity visa lotery and We werent married at the time. My wife and I filled the forms and we made a mistake. Saman helped us to fix our mistake and updated our case with the US office. She was kind and efficient with us. Thank you for your help Saman!

- Silverio

Excellent service and staff. Always responded and answered all of my questions right away.

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My experience with Saman & her office was exceptional. Alba, the paralegal in her office was always a call or email away. Efficient in their responses made me at ease throughout the process. I would definitely recommend them to anyone!

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There is no better feeling than to be taken step by step though the overwhelming process of becoming an American Citizen with flawless professionalism and expert knowledge. Saman does this with perfection. She is patient, honest, organized, fast and very experienced. There is no question in my mind that I could not have done this with out Mrs. Saman Movassaghi and her outstanding firm. Thank you for taking me every step of the way

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I am very happy to know that I was approve for my green card today thanks to her, and I love the way how she work to help me she make time and talk to me about my case and when I text she would always text me back on time and I most admit I was a little annoying but she put up with me and she did all my paperwork the right way and now I am a happy man . And she also help me with my dui charge so I am grateful to have mrs saman as my attorney she is the best and I will introduce my friend to her . So she can help her and her husband

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My wife and I hired Saman to help us with a permanent residency application. My wife is a U.S citizen and I am Canadian. Right from the start she was very easy to deal with and schedule time with. I was in medical school and in the process of applying for residency. Saman was able to get me an Employment Authorization Document while awaiting my greencard, which meant that I was eligible to apply to significantly more programs because I would not require any visas. Also, during our in-person interview, the interview stated that he has been doing this for 21 years and has never seen anyone this well prepared. Because of this, we were asked very few questions and I was given my green card a week later. I would highly recommend you chose Saman for any and everything to do with immigration.

- Anonymous

It is with pleasure I would like to compliment the executive and legal staff of the Florida Immigration Law Counsel, for their kind, human and professional attention to our most recent process with the Government Immigration Services departments. In particular I would like to commend Saman Movassaghi on her highly detailed preparation of the process resulting in a trouble-free conclusion and the issuing of our required visas. I highly recommend the professional services of this Law Office and Saman for services related to Immigration and wish them well for the future.

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We are very pleased with the experience we had with Saman. She guided us through a very cumbersome process and made it much less stressful. With her help we were able to obtain green cards for some of our employees. We would highly recommend her!

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I am very happy to know that I was approve for my green card today thanks to her, and I love the way how she work to help me she make time and talk to me about my case and when I text she would always text me back on time and I most admit I was a little annoying but she put up with me and she did all my paperwork the right way and now I am a happy man

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If your looking for and excellent immigration lawyer look know more, Saman Movassaghi is so great in her practice she just recently got my papers for me in less then a year , I really taught it want be possible , because of simple mistakes in the pass, but if she said she can do it , I would recommend any one not to hesitate and go with her she’s is awesome with a lovely staff , I thank u so much again

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Great experience with this law firm! Very generous, enthusiastic, and stuck to their word.

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Saman and her staff were able to assist us in what we felt to be a difficult case which took over 9 months. I want to especially thank Lianette, one of Saman's paralegals, who was continuously diligent and handled the matter with a sense of urgency as if it was a personal matter for herself. If ever needed, we will definitely return. Thank you!

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(Translated by Google) My experience with Saman as my representing attorney was exceptional. She is an extremely professional individual with a clear and focused mind and attitude. She is very knowledgeable and was quick to provide solutions to any unexpected conflicts, and was very patient throughout my entire legal process. Saman was also very reliable and responsive, as was her team at her legal firm, thanks for all you did for us !! we are a super happy customers we strongly recommend her. Our experience with lawyer Saman Movassaghi as a representative was very positive and exceptional, a human person and with a lot of dedication to his work, always pending and accessible to any concerns of his clients, a person who knows what he does very smart and eagerly to solve as difficult as the case may be, I have plenty of words of thanks in the way she and her team handled our case. With professionalism and ethics., we will be forever grateful, I recommend it with closed eyes. Thank you!! (Original) My experience with Saman as my representing attorney was exceptional. She is an extremely professional individual with a clear and focused mind and attitude. She is very knowledgeable and was quick to provide solutions to any unexpected conflicts, and was very patient throughout my entire legal process. Saman was also very reliable and responsive, as was her team at her legal firm, thanks for all you did for us!! we are a super happy customers we strongly recommend her. Nuestra experiencia con la abogada Saman Movassaghi como representante fue muy positiva y exepccional, una persona humana y con mucha dedicacion a su labor, siempre pendiente y accequible a cualquier inquietud de sus clientes, una persona que sabe lo que hace muy inteligente y con muchas ganas de solucionar por mas dificil que sea el caso, me sobran las palabras de agradecimiento en la forma como ella y su equipo llevaron nuestro caso. con profesionalismo y etica., estaremos por siempre agradecidos, la recomiendo con ojos cerrados. Gracias!!

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Saman and her team are very professional, warm and thorough. She used her vast knowledge to ensure my husband and I were well prepared for our interview. Interesting enough the immigration officer expressed how impressed he was with the packet and her knowledge— making for a smooth interview. Additionally, she is just a delight to work with and treated us with such kindness we thought we were only clients. I would recommend her services any day of the week. Can’t say thank you enough!

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If you want the best results, then Florida immigration Law Counsel is your way to go. Saman took all the time in the world to explain every detail about the Labor Cert/EB2 process plus her confidence in the process was unbelievable. She is extremely knowledgeable which automatically gave me so much confidence, because she knew what she was talking about. Saman and Lianette are super-fast to answer e-mails, are always available for calls and they explain everything in detail. Thanks to them my process had no set-backs, plus they always gave me great advise—they know their way around every situation, and their customer service is top of the line!

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Saman Movassaghi provided detailed and precise correct guidance on an immigration matter that my family and I were facing. Her communication and responsiveness is unparallel. I highly recommend hiring her to take care of all your immigration needs. I never expected her to be so in tuned with my situation and really care about the welfare of my family and I as much as she did. 5-Star Service.

- Jacob Rahamim
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