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Immigration Law

Orange County Immigration Lawyer

Immigration Attorney Orange County, California

In addition to providing aggressive criminal defense and resolving personal injury matters, our attorneys are dedicated to providing effective immigration legal services with attention to detail and prompt service. The immigration law field consists of many variables and our firm provides a broad range of services with a particular emphasis/focus in the field of medicine, helping nurses and doctors quickly transition into the United States. Our goal is to bridge the gap in the transition from ones native country and the U.S. by successfully immigrating an individual into the US and also addressing all legal questions that may arise in connection with relocating to a new home.

Nonimmigrant Visas

An alien seeking admission as a nonimmigrant, to the United States, has the burden of proving that he or she fits into a specific nonimmigrant category and subcategory. The categories into which most nonimmigrants fall require that the alien have a permanent residence abroad and that he or she not have the intention to abandon it. In effect, the alien must satisfy the Consul that he or she does not intend to remain permanently in the United States. 

Often consuls are suspicious of nonimmigrant visa applicants, assuming many aliens are trying to "get a foot in the door" by first obtaining temporary visas, and that they will then try to become lawful permanent residents or simply disappear once here. This assumption will be found strongest in consuls processing applicants from Third World countries, especially countries from which large numbers of undocumented aliens have come to the United States, or among whose citizens a high incidence of fraud in visa applications is perceived. The Law Offices of Scott D. Hughes can assist you in preparing sufficient evidence to obtain a nonimmigrant visa from your consul.

Nonimmigrant visas must be obtained at a United States consulate or embassy abroad. The visa is a prerequisite to enter into the United States but does not determine how long the alien will be allowed to stay. The length of time the alien can remain is usually determined when the alien arrives. The information is set forth on the Form I-94, a small white card stapled into the alien's passport indicating admission to the United States in the nonimmigrant category specified on the visa and usually granting a specific amount of time to remain. Nationals of some countries are exempt from the visa requirement. 

The time the alien is permitted to remain can often be extended at an INS office in the United States. Similarly, the alien may sometimes be permitted to change his or her nonimmigrant category if the purpose for staying in the United States changes. 

Unless special permission is obtained, the nonimmigrant generally cannot work in the United States, except when employment is the basis for the alien's nonimmigrant category, in which case authorization to work is generally limited to the job which qualified the alien for nonimmigrant status. A nonimmigrant who performs unauthorized work generally becomes deportable, and will also with certain exceptions be ineligible to change to another nonimmigrant status or adjust his or her status to that of a permanent resident without leaving the country.

Common Nonimmigrant Visas

  • B-1 Visa: Temporary visitor for business
  • B-2 Visa: Temporary visitor for pleasure
  • B-1 and B-2 Visa: Temporary visitor for business and pleasure
  • EB-5 Visa: Is the only federal immigration program permitting foreign investors to obtain a green card, or permanent residence, in the United States.
  • F-1 Visa: Student—academic or language training program
  • F-2 Visa: Spouse or child of student
  • H-1A and C Visa: Temporary worker coming to perform services as a registered nurse
  • H-1B Visa: Temporary worker of distinguished merit and ability
  • H-3 Visa: Traines
  • H-4 Visa: Spouse or child of alien classified H-1, H-2 or H-3
  • J-1 Visa: Exchange visitor
  • J-2 Visa: Spouse or child of exchange visitor
  • K-1 Visa: Fiancé or fiancée of U.S. citizen
  • K-2 Visa: Minor child of fiancé or fiancée of U.S. citizen
  • K-3 Visa: Certain Spouses of U.S. Citizens
  • K-4 Visa: Unmarried Children of K-3 Visa Applicants
  • L-1 Visa: Intra-company transferee (Executive, managerial, and specialized personnel continuing employment with international firm or corporation)
  • L-2 Visa: Spouse or minor child of alien classified L-1
  • M-1 Visa: Vocational or other recognized nonacademic student
  • M-2 Visa: Spouse or minor child of alien classified M-1
  • P-1 Visa: Internationally recognized entertainers and athletes
  • P-2 Visa: "Reciprocal exchange" artists and entertainers
  • P-3 Visa: Culturally unique artists and entertainers
  • P-4 Visa: Accompanying spouses and children of P-1 through P-3 aliens
  • Q Visa: Cultural Exchange Visitors


Lawful Permanent Residents

Eligibility for permanent residence is determined under the Immigration and Nationality Act (the Act), Title 8, United States Code. These classifications are based almost entirely on the alien's close relationship to a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, upon the alien's having an occupational skill deemed in short supply in the United States, or upon the alien's length of residence or of certain employment in the country. If the alien falls within one of these classifications or can bring himself or herself within one of them, he or she may be able to obtain permanent residence.

The types of eligibility are also defined and separated by those categories which are subject to the quota limitations and those who are outside the numerical limitations. Special Immigrants and immediate relatives of United States citizens are not currently subject to any numerical limitation. Aliens who seek to immigrate through the preference system are subject to the country quotas.

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