Immigration FAQs

Immigration to the United States, Residency, Naturalization and Visas

While we have tried to answer the most commonly asked questions with our Immigration FAQs. However, each client is unique. To reach an attorney about your personal situation, contact us.

Question: How do I become a citizen?

Answer: Many people don’t distinguish between the process of becoming a citizen and the process of becoming a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Generally, persons must become permanent residents of the United States before they become citizens and then must maintain their permanent resident status for several years before applying for naturalization. To naturalize, one must generally meet several legal requirements including having maintained permanent resident status for several years, be physically present in the United States for a specified period of time and be a person of good moral character. Naturalization – How to Become a Citizen explains Chandler Firm LLC’s naturalization services.

Question: What’s a “green card”?

Answer: A “green card” is a small laminated card identifying the holder as a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Learn more about Chandler Law Firm, LLC’s Permanent Residency (“American Green Card”) services.

Question: What happens if I receive my green card and then have to leave the United States because of my job?

Answer: Lawful permanent residents who remain outside of the United States, continuously, for one year or more are deemed to have abandoned their resident status.

Question: I have a visitor visa that is valid for ten years, but when I entered the United States, I was given a little card that says I can stay for only 6 months. How long can I really stay?

Answer: The little card, called an “I-94,” that is given to all persons coming temporarily to the United States controls how long any particular stay may last.

Question: I entered the United States without a visa, using the Visa Waiver Program. I have a friend who is getting married in the United States after my 3-month stay expires. Can I extend my stay and attend the wedding?

Answer: Persons who enter the United States using the Visa Waiver Program cannot extend their stay.

Question: I am a United States citizen and would like to petition for my uncle to come to the United States. He is retired and can support himself.

Answer: The immigration law allows lawful permanent residents and citizens of the United States to petition for certain relatives, including spouses and children. Citizens may also petition for parents and siblings. Aunts, uncles and cousins are not included in the list of relatives who may benefit from a visa petition.

Question: My brother, a United States citizen, filed a visa petition for me, which was approved. Despite the approval, my brother told me that it will be at least 10 years before I’ll be able to move to the United States! Why does it take so long?

Answer: There is a quota system applicable to most persons who immigrate to the United States and currently a long waiting list for persons who are citizens of certain countries including Mexico, China and India. The wait is particularly long for specific categories of persons, including siblings of United States citizens. The waiting list is subject to change monthly.

Question: I was recently offered a job by a United States employer, who filed a petition to change my status to H-1B. The petition was approved. My employer tells me that I don’t need to leave the United States to get a new visa now, but my visa isn’t an H-1B visa, it’s a visitor’s visa.

Answer: There’s no problem with working in the H-1B category. The first time you leave the United States, however, after starting your work, you will need to obtain an H-1B visa from a U.S. Consulate outside of the United States.

Question: I am planning to travel outside of the United States and will need to obtain a visa at a United States Consulate. I’ve been told that it may take several weeks to get the visa and that I should not plan on returning to work in two weeks, as I had intended. Why does it take so long to get a visa?

Answer: U.S. Consulates operate under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of State. The Department of State runs security checks on all applicants for visas. Generally, those checks are run quickly and with no complications. However, when a name brings up one or more “hits,” those hits must be individually researched and cleared before a visa is issued. That process can be time-consuming.

Question: I raise hogs and cannot find a sufficient number of American workers to assist me. Juan, a citizen of Mexico and a current employee, just confessed that the documents I collected for I-9 purposes are fraudulent. I’ve terminated him but would like to bring him back to work legally. How do I do that?

Answer: You may not be able to legally hire Juan, despite the fact that you cannot find American workers. To hire Juan as a temporary worker, you would need to prove that you have a temporary need for his services. Your need sounds like it’s permanent. To hire him as a permanent worker, you would need to initiate the process of obtaining his permanent residency, which would require you to prove that there are no American workers able and willing to do his job. Since this job requires unskilled labor, it’s doubtful that your recruitment efforts would result in no responses from American workers. The fact that American workers have, historically, not shown up for work and/or not worked well is not relevant for purposes of this process.

Question: How do I set up an appointment with Chandler Law Firm, LLC?

Answer: Just call or email our office, and we’ll get it scheduled.

Question: What are the firm’s hours?

Answer: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.

Question: Do Chandler Law Firm attorneys charge a fee for consultations to prospective clients?

Answer: The Firm charges $125 for a consultation which lasts approximately a half hour. While we hope these Immigration FAQs have answered your questions, we know that each situation is unique. Contact us to schedule a personal consultation.