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Immigration Law 101: An Overview of Business- and Family-Based Immigration

Posted by attorney Dana Bucin

*DISCLAIMER\* This guide is not intended to provide, nor does it provide, any legal advice. By viewing this guide you understand and expressly agree that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the attorney who authored the guide. Should you need legal advice, please contact a licensed attorney who practices Immigration Law. Readers of this guide and the information contained herein should not act upon any information contained on this presentation without seeking legal counsel.


General Immigration Categories

  • Business/ Employment
  • Family
  • Asylum/ Refugee Status
  • Diversity Visa Lottery
  • Other (VAWA, Cancellation of Removal, NACARA, Cuban Adjustment)

General Principles of Immigration Law

Visa Duration

  • Temporary (Nonimmigrant)
  • Permanent (Immigrant)

Typical Path to Citizenship

Non-Immigrant Visa ↓ Green Card (Permanent Residence) ↓ Citizenship through Naturalization

Government Agencies

  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS a/k/a former INS)
  • Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Department of State (DOS)
  • Department of Labor (DOL)

Basic Immigration Documents

  • Passport issued by home country
  • Visa from a U.S. Consulate (DOS)
  • I-94 arrival/departure form (CBP/USCIS)
  • Employment Authorization Document (USCIS)
  • Notice to Appear in Deportation Proceedings (ICE)
  • Green Card (USCIS)
  • Certificate of Naturalization (USCIS)

Non-Immigrant Business/ Employment Visas

  • B-1 Visitor Visa
  • Visa Waiver Program
  • F-1 Student Visa/OPT
  • J-1 Exchange Visitor
  • H-1B Professionals
  • H-2B Temporary
  • H-3 Trainee
  • L Intra-company Transferees
  • E Treaty/ Traders
  • TN Canada/Mexico
  • O-1 Extraordinary Ability
  • P-1 Athletes

The “Green Card"

  • Priorities and Preferences
  • Labor Certification Process (PERM) applies only to certain preferences

Employment-Based Immigration Preferences

  1. Persons of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors and Researchers, Multinational Executives and Managers
  2. Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability
  3. Skilled Workers, Professionals and Other Workers
  4. Certain Special Immigrants: religious workers, NATO employees, etc
  5. Employment Creators: investors

Family-Based Immigration PReferences

  • Immediate Relatives (spouse, minor child and parent) of US citizens 1. Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens 2. Spouses and Children, Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents A. Spouses and Children B. Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) 3. Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens 4. Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens

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