Frequently Asked Questions

Charlotte Immigration Attorney

What are some of the factors that the United States Citizen and Immigration Services use for allowing immigration?

The main factors which are considered in immigration are if you have an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, if you have been given an employment opportunity under the rules of employment-sponsored immigration, if you are making a capital investment in this country, or whether you qualify as a refugee who has suffered or fears persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political views, or membership in a certain group in your home country. All immigrants must meet the statutory requirements for admission to the United States. An immigration application may be denied if you have committed certain crimes, attempted to obtain immigration benefits by fraud, or are considered a danger to the United States.

What is the Diversity Lottery?

The Diversity Lottery Program each year grants immigrant visas to people who have applied who come from countries which have low immigration rates. There are more applicants than visas that are available so the visas are awarded randomly among those applicants who qualify.

How does the deportation process work?

A Notice to Appear is issued by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to those aliens who are suspected of being in violation of immigration law. The Notice states the reason why the alien should be removed from the U.S. and is sent to the alien and filed with the immigration court. After this, a hearing is held during which an immigration judge will decide if the individual should be deported and, if so, an order for removal will be issued.

I have been issued a notice to appear in immigration court. What happens if I do not show up for court?

You must attend your court hearing as scheduled. If you fail to do so, you may be ordered removed in absentia. Once ordered removed, there is no guarantee that the order can be stricken, even if you appear at a later date.

If I appear in immigration court, will I be forced to leave the United States?

Not necessarily. First, depending on the charges, you may not be found to be removable. If you are, there are many forms of relief from removal. An immigration attorney can assess your case and advise you of your options. As long as you appear for your court hearing, it is very unlikely that you will be ordered removed at your first hearing since you will be given time to prepare your case.

My family member was charged with a criminal offense and now has an immigration or ICE hold. What does that mean?

An immigration hold is a notation placed with state or local law enforcement agencies indicating that even if bail is posted on the criminal case, the individual will not be released from confinement, but rather, will be turned over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In order to be released from ICE custody, you must pay an immigration bond.

How do I get an immigration bond?

An immigration bond is a sum of money paid to ensure your appearance in immigration court. This is separate from any bond that may have been set in a criminal case. Once you are in ICE custody, your attorney can petition the immigration court for a bond hearing. At that time the court will hear information about you, your background, your pending criminal case, and your family situation. The immigration judge will then set the bond amount.

I am afraid to return to my country. Can I stay in the United States?

Possibly. You may be able to apply for asylum or withholding depending on the specifics of your situation.

Can a deportation order be appealed?

The person who has been ordered to be deported has 30 days to file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals. If unsuccessful, the case can then be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

How do I help my family member immigrate to the United States?

Please see family based immigrationfor possible options.

When can I apply for citizenship after being granted a green card?

Most individuals can apply for citizenship 5 years after being granted a green card. You can apply 3 years or less if your spouse is a U.S. citizen or you obtained your green card through marriage.

Can I file more than one immigration visa (green card) petition if I have more than one family member who can sponsor me?

Yes. If, for example, you have a parent and a brother who can both file a petition on your behalf, apply through both of them. This gives you more than one option if a petition is denied, lost or ignored, of if one of your family members dies.

What should I bring to the first consultation with my immigration attorney?

Please bring all documentation you have received from USCIS, ICE, or the immigration court. If you have previously filed any applications, bring a copy of each. If you have been convicted of any criminal charges, it is helpful if you bring copies of the judgments. If you do not speak English, please bring a trusted friend or family member to interpret for you.

For further information about immigrant and non-immigrant visas and other matters pertaining to immigration law, contact the Charlotte Immigration Lawyer at the firm today.