How do I become a citizen?
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
What’s a “green card”?
A “green card” is a small laminated card
identifying the holder as a lawful permanent resident
of the United States.
What happens if I receive my green card and then have
to leave the United States because of my job?
Lawful permanent residents who remain outside of the
United States, continuously, for one year or more are
deemed to have abandoned their resident status.
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?
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.
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?
Persons who enter the United States using the
Visa Waiver Program cannot extend their stay.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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?
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.
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?
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.
How do I set up an appointment with Chandler Law Firm,
Just call or email our office,
and we’ll get it scheduled.
What are the firm’s hours?
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.
Do Chandler Law Firm attorneys charge a fee for consultations
to prospective clients?
The Firm charges $125 for a consultation which lasts
approximately a half hour.