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Immigration FAQ

From our office in New York City, Prizant Law helps people throughout the United States and from around the world with their family-based, employment-based and business-based immigration law needs. Below are answers to some of the questions we hear most often from people in need of immigration legal help. If you have other questions or need assistance with a visa, adjustment of status, green card, asylum, citizenship, deportation defense or other immigration matters, call Prizant Law at 718-407-0871 to speak with a skilled and knowledgeable U.S. immigration attorney.

What is the difference between an immigrant visa and a non-immigrant visa?

Immigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals who intended to live in the United States permanently, while nonimmigrant visas are for those entering temporarily, such as to study, work, obtain medical treatment, for business reasons or as a tourist.

Examples of immigrant visas include family-based visas such as relative, marriage or fiancé(e) or marriage visas; employment-based visas such as EB-1 and EB-2 visas and religious workers; diversity immigrant visas and returning residents. Non-immigrants include athletes, artists and entertainers; au pairs and exchange visitors; business visitors; intra-company transferees; workers in specialty occupations; temporary agricultural or seasonal workers; victims of certain crimes or human trafficking, and many more.

Can a person with a non-immigrant visa get a green card?

Yes! In many cases, a person on a temporary visa can apply for an adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence (Green Card). There are more than 40 different ways persons on temporary, non-immigrant visas can apply to stay in the U.S. permanently, including being a relative of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, a fiancé(e) or widow(er) of a U.S. citizen, a victim of certain crimes or human trafficking, an asylee or refugee, an alien investor, being here through the Diversity Visa program, and many others.

Don’t just overstay your visa and risk deportation. Call Prizant Law to see if you are eligible for an adjustment of status and get the process started for permanent residence.

Can immigrants apply for government benefits like Medicaid, food stamps or social security?

Yes and no. USCIS can rule you inadmissible (or deport you) on grounds that are or likely to become a “public charge,” meaning you are or are likely at any time to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. Just because you receive government benefits does not necessarily make you a public charge, though. In fact, some programs specifically authorize immigrants to receive benefits and services, such as victims of human trafficking who obtain a T Visa.

In deciding whether an alien is self-sufficient or likely to become a public charge, USCIS looks at a number of factors, including the immigrant’s:

  • Age
  • Health
  • Family status
  • Assets, resources, financial status
  • Education and skills
  • Prospective immigration status and expected period of admission
  • Affidavit of support, if required (sponsorship)
  • The presence of heavily weighted positive factors (has income, assets, resources and support; is currently working and earning 250% above the federal poverty guidelines; has health insurance) or negative factors (is authorized to work but is not working or in school; is currently receiving benefits; has a debilitating or expensive medical condition).

Can I get an employment-based immigration visa without a sponsor?

In some instances, yes. For example, if you fit the criteria for an EB-2 visa (professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), you can self-petition for an EB-2 visa without a permanent job offer or labor certification. This process involves applying for and receiving a National Interest Waiver. This type of waiver is different from waivers from the grounds for admissibility. For more information on those kinds of waivers, see our page on waivers.

Will I be deported if I come in on a marriage visa and later get divorced?

If your immigration status is based on a fiancé(e) or marriage visa, then getting married and staying married are conditions of your residence. If you wish to get divorced and stay in the U.S., we can help by filing a Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence (I-751). If you are in an abusive marital relationship, get to a safe place and call Prizant Law for advice regarding your options.

What is the difference between a citizen born in the U.S. and a naturalized citizen?

Persons born on U.S. soil or born of U.S. citizens either here or abroad are granted citizenship by birth. Persons who acquire nationality after birth are known as naturalized citizens. Regardless of how citizenship was acquired, natural-born citizens and naturalized citizens share all the same rights and privileges of citizenship. The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution clearly states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” If you want to know more about the benefits of citizenship through naturalization, call our office at 718-407-0871 or contact us online.

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