Immigration Businesses and individuals alike seek the experienced counsel and assistance of lawyers at the immigration law offices of Mooney & Associates, Attorneys at Law. We provide personalized service and guidance to workers and others from abroad in the visa, green card, and citizenship application process. Schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration law attorney at Mooney & Associates, Attorneys at Law, regarding any of the following: Citizenship and Naturalization Refugee Status Eligibility Capital Investment Visas Immigrant Visas Employment Visas Student Visas Cultural Exchange Visas Family Visas Diversity Lottery Visas Asylum Green Cards (permanent residency) by way of: Employment Family Sponsorship Diversity Lottery Asylum The immigration system in the United States is designed to allow people from other countries to live and work legally in the country based on factors such as family reunification, supply of needed work skills, and attraction of major capital investment. Each immigration track (visa, asylum, naturalization) has stringent requirements and deadlines. Laws frequently change. Too often, visa applicants experience needless delays and rejections because application procedures were not followed properly. We are committed to alleviating the stress that often accompanies immigration applications. To be as accessible to as many clients as possible, we maintain offices in eight locations: Carlisle, Chambersburg, Gettysburg, Hanover, Harrisburg, Mercersburg, New Oxford, and York, Pennsylvania, with daily extended hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Background Since September of 2001, immigration law practice has become more complex. Immigration is the act of entering a country with the intention of permanently living and working there. The multi-step process in becoming an immigrant can be daunting. An experienced immigration attorney can be a valuable resource and advocate in pursuing this process. If you are facing an immigration issue, contact Mooney & Associates to assist you in this complicated process. The immigration system in the United States is set up primarily to grant immigration status based on factors such as family reunification, needed work skills, and capital investment. The immigration system recognizes refugees and provides a “lottery” for immigration status to people who have less pressing immigration needs. The process for gaining legal immigrant status will depend on the path which you are eligible to pursue based upon your employment, education, family, and other characteristics. For individuals seeking immigrant status based on the fact that they have a relative who is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, the following is required: 1) the individual must be eligible for lawful permanent residency based upon a family relationship defined under the immigration laws, 2) Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, must be filed with the individual’s relative (sponsor) along with proof of the family relationship, and the petition must be approved by the government. Additional steps may be necessary for a successful petition, and not every relative is instantly eligible. Your immigration attorney can help you understand all of the necessary steps needed for your petition to succeed. If an individual is seeking immigrant status based on a permanent employment opportunity that he may have, the following is required: 1) the individual must be eligible under one of the five categories of employment-based immigration, 2) the individual’s employer must complete and submit a labor certification request (Form ETA9089) to the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, 3) the individual’s employer must file an immigration via petition using (Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker is the usual form), and the government must approve the petition. Employment-based visas can be tricky, and the U.S. employer may have to make a showing that no American workers are available for the job. Both the immigrant and the U.S. employer may need to consult with an experienced immigration attorney. Capital Investment For an individual to make a qualifying capital investment in the United States, the individual may be eligible for immigrant status if the following is provided: 1) the investment meets certain dollar figures which benefit the U.S. economy or creates or saves a specific number of jobs, 2) Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, is filed with and approved by the government. Capital investment immigration is very rare, and the requirements are very stringent. Some people think that these immigrants have “bought their way into the country,” but the complex rules surrounding this type of immigration require that only those who will benefit this country will be allowed to proceed. Refugee To be eligible for refugee status, an individual must have suffered past or fear future persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political views, or membership in a certain group. An individual who is found eligible for refugee status must then satisfy certain medical and security criteria. Political pressures make refugee status difficult to prove, but an experienced immigration attorney can help present your case in the best possible way. Lottery Immigrant visas are made available annually through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program to people whose country of origin has low immigration rates to the United States. Each year the State Department selects 110,000 applicants from all the qualified entries. However, once 50,000 immigrant visas are issued or the fiscal year ends, the lottery is closed. Immigrant visas are not available for people whose country of origin sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the past 5 years. Although there are several paths to gaining immigrant status, each has a different process with complicated rules. An immigration attorney, the attorneys at Mooney & Associates, can help explain this process. If you are interested in obtaining immigrant status, please contact us to discuss your options. Citizenship and Naturalization The United States recognizes citizenship according to two fundamental principles: 1) jus soli, right of birthplace and 2) jus sanguinis, right of blood. Under jus soli, a person receives American citizenship by virtue of being born in the United States. Under jus sanguinis, a person receives American citizenship if he or she is born to at least one U.S. citizen anywhere in the world. A person who does not qualify under either of these two principles may seek U.S. citizenship through the process of naturalization. The United States citizen enjoys many rights and privileges. These rights and privileges include the right to vote-participate in government elections for government officials who create and enforce the laws, the right to serve in any public office, except the Vice-President or President of the United States, the right to travel using a U.S. passport, as well as to receive government protection and assistance when traveling to countries supporting our embassies, the right to extend your citizenship to their children-permanent residents under the age of 18 who are in the legal and physical custody of the naturalized parent automatically become U.S. citizens when their parents become naturalized (children born after naturalization also receive citizenship through jus sanguinis) and the privilege of reuniting families-helping immediate relatives such as spouses, parents, minor, and unmarried children to obtain visas without extended delays. A foreign citizen can become a U.S. citizen through a process called naturalization. The privilege of citizenship in the United States requires allegiance to our country. In return, a citizen is entitled to its protection. Many permanent residents choose to further formalize their relationship to the United States each year. They are motivated by loyalty and love of their adopted new country as well as an interest in the benefits they will receive as citizens. The application must be completed correctly and the applicant must pass two tests in order to be naturalized. An experienced immigration attorney will make sure that your application complies with all requirements and that you are well prepared for the tests. Along with the rights and privileges of being a United States citizen come responsibilities. Responsibilities include giving up prior allegiance to other countries, supporting and defending the Constitution and the laws of the United States, swearing allegiance to the United States, and serving in the United States military when required. It is important to understand thoroughly what is required of a U.S. citizen before determining that you want to proceed with the naturalization process. An immigration attorney, the attorneys at Mooney & Associates, can help you achieve your goal of becoming a U.S. citizen and explain all of the responsibilities and benefits involved. Immigration Visas – Green Cards A permanent immigrant visa, also known as a “green card” can be a step in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. Foreign nationals can receive immigrant visas in a variety of ways including employment, family sponsorship, the Diversity Lottery, or asylum. There are very different requirements that must be followed exactly, and the rules vary greatly, depending on the category of the visa requested. The success of each visa application depends upon the particular circumstances of each applicant. The law and the process are complicated. Many people are rejected and suffer delays because they do not understand what is required. A competent immigration attorney is vital to assuring that your immigrant visa application is prepared and submitted correctly. If you have any questions about immigrant visas, contact Mooney & Associates to assist you in this process. The four types of immigrant visas include employment, family, Diversity Lottery and asylum (or refugee status). Anyone seeking to reside in the United States, either indefinitely or permanently, needs to obtain a visa through one of these methods. Businesses, individuals, and relatives can play an important role in this visa process. The United States federal law determines the means by which foreign nationals must proceed to receive an immigrant visa. Immigrant visas usually take more time to process than non-immigrant visas. For most immigrant visa classifications, the United States limits the number issued each year. Cases involving immediate relatives are usually the quickest to be approved. Employment-based visas can also move through the system fairly expeditiously, but there are fewer of these available. A delay in obtaining employment-based visas is the need to obtain employment certification for the U.S. Department of Labor. One of the most difficult areas of U.S. immigration law is determining which visa or immigration options are available, and the best suited for the particular person because there may be more than one option for their situation. An experienced immigration attorney can advise you as to which type of visa would be most easily obtained. Processing times for labor certificates can vary greatly among regional offices. The higher the number of applicants, the greater the delay can be. Processing visas through the United States National Visa Center can take a few weeks to a few months to a year. Filing proper paperwork and documentation prevents unnecessary delays. Simple mistakes on the forms create unnecessary delays. Completing the application correctly the first time will significantly reduce the delay time. Mooney & Associateswill not only assure that the application is correctly filed but will track the process of the application. If you have questions regarding immigration visas, or general immigration questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mooney & Associates. Se habla español. We will make sure that you receive accurate information in this complex area of law.