U.S. Immigration: Simple Strategies for Staying Out of Legal Hot Water

Moving to the United States isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are multiple layers of regulation to navigate, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services doesn’t have a sense of humor. At the same time, they’re backed up with work, so it’s easy to think that you can slip through the cracks – you can’t.

Here’s how to stay out of trouble and avoid being deported.

U.S. Citizenship

Plan For Delays

If you’re in the U.S. and your work permit or status needs to be renewed, don’t wait. The USCIS is backed up with work. You can plan ahead for delays by turning in your application in advance. This is really important if your legal status has an expiration date on it.

If you do happen to let your work permit expire, the immigration authorities can arrest you. You may also be deported.

Keep Applying For U.S. Citizenship, Never Give Up

It’s not easy to get permanent citizenship here. However, if you have a green card, you should file for U.S. citizenship as soon as you’re legally able to do so. This will protect you from deportation (removal from the country) and it will also help you secure your status so that you can help your family move here.

Most people must wait at least 5 years after their green card is approved before they can apply for citizenship in the U.S. However, you might be able to apply sooner than that if you meet certain exception criteria. You should also review the legal requirements and exceptions for becoming a citizen.

There may be situations where it’s unclear what you should do, and you’re facing imprisonment or deportation.

According to Myrights Immigration Lawyers, you do have rights, even when you’re not a citizen of the U.S. so don’t give up and do not talk to federal, state, or local officials until you’ve talked with an attorney.

Avoid A Summary Removal

When you get to the U.S., you need to be ready to convince the border official that you deserve to be let into the U.S. These officials have a surprising amount of power over entry. And, if you don’t make friends with them, and make a convincing case for your entry, they can deny you entry into America.

If they believe you’re a security risk, for example, you could be denied entry under what’s called a “summary removal.”

If you’re visiting family temporarily, you should not bring things with you that make it appear that you’re attempting to live here permanently. For example, don’t bring a resume into the country or a wedding dress or anything else that hints that you might be extending your stay.

File Multiple Visa Petitions

When you’re applying for a green card, see if you can get more than one family member to submit the visa petition for you. This is like having multiple opportunities for a green card. If something happens to one of the applications, or a family member dies unexpectedly, or if one app is delayed for some other reason, you have another application in the system so you don’t have to wait and reapply.

Don’t Ever Be Late With A Scheduled Appointment

Never show up late to an appointment with the USCIS. In your home country, you might be accustomed to a more relaxed environment. In the U.S., Immigration Services expects you to be punctual.

Arriving late to a meeting at the USCIS, a U.S. embassy, or consulate, or the U.S. immigration court could result in delays in processing your paperwork. It could also result in you being deported.

Avoid Violations

Do not violate the terms of your entry into the country under any circumstances. For example, when you enter under a work permit, you must stay employed with your employer in order to remain in the country.

If you’re here as a tourist, you cannot smuggle a family member over the border.

Keep Track Of Paperwork

Your paperwork is what proves you are here legally. Keep a copy of everything because the USCIS is notorious for losing paperwork. When you send in an application, make a copy of it first, send it first-class mail, certified, so that you can be certain it arrives.

The certified mail option proves that you sent the mail and that someone received it. That way, if it turns up missing in the future, you have proof that you did everything you could on your end to turn in paperwork in a timely fashion.