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How to Seek Asylum in the U.S.

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, you know that the United States admits many immigrants under the asylum process. But who qualifies for asylum in the U.S., how do you get it, and is it different from refugee status? This guide explains how to seek asylum in the United States and a few things you need to know before you apply.

How to Seek Asylum in the U.S.

Asylum is a form of protection that allows a foreigner to stay in the United States when necessary. In many cases, the United States grants asylum to people who fear persecution or harm in their home countries. However, asylum isn’t always easy to get, and if you want the U.S.’s protection, you must apply for it.

What Qualifies You for Asylum?

You may qualify for asylum in the United states if you have fled your home country because you fear persecution or harm based on your:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Political opinion

Related: Who’s eligible for asylum in the U.S.?

Can You Bring Your Children and Spouse if You’re Seeking Asylum in the U.S.?

If you have a spouse and children, They may also be eligible for asylum based on the same reasons you, yourself are eligible. Generally, you may include a child on your application if your child is under the age of 21 and is unmarried at the time you apply. Otherwise, your child must have their own application for asylum.

When Can You Seek Asylum in the United States?

You can seek asylum in the United States at a border crossing or port of entry, or within one year of your most recent arrival in the country. That means if you are already in the United States and wish to ask to stay, you can do so if your most recent entry was less than one year ago.

Is Asylum Different From Refugee Status?

Asylum is different from refugee status, but primarily only in one way: You apply for asylum when you are at a border crossing or port of entry, or when you are already present in the United States, and you apply for refugee status when you are located outside the United States.

Related: What to know about refugee status in the United States

Can You Work as an Asylee in the United States?

If you have a pending asylum application with the U.S. government, you can apply for work authorization. You can’t apply for permission to work at the same time you apply for asylum. If you’re not sure whether you qualify to apply for work authorization, you should consult with an attorney who can give you the guidance you need.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Asylum in the United States?

If you are considering filing an asylum application in the United States, you may wish to speak to an attorney about your situation. An attorney can help you fill out and file the appropriate paperwork, as well as explain work authorization and how to get it. Please feel free to call our office at 414-383-6700 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with an attorney. We may be able to help you obtain asylum in the United States.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-05-20T20:52:56-05:00May 10th, 2022|Immigration Law|0 Comments

How a Company Can Sponsor a Foreign Worker to Become a Permanent Resident

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re an employer who wants to sponsor a foreign worker to become a permanent resident, there are a few steps you need to take. Many employers choose to work with a Wisconsin immigration attorney because the process can be complicated. With that said, here’s what you need to know.

How Can My Company Sponsor a Foreign Worker to Become a Permanent Resident?

The first thing you should do is consult with an attorney. U.S. immigration law is notoriously complicated, and doing the wrong thing could land you in hot water with the government.

Generally, your attorney will help you apply for permanent labor certification through the U.S. Department of Labor to kick off the process. When the Department of Labor approves your labor certification, your attorney will fill out and file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, on behalf of the person you want to hire. (Your workers can’t fill out and file their own petitions – the government requires your company to do it.)

Related: All about work visas

What Workers Can Your Company File For?

You can sponsor a prospective or current employee who’s already in the U.S. or one who’s outside the country. The person must likely be able to qualify under one or more of the following employment-based immigrant visa categories:

  • EB-1 priority workers
  • EB-2 professionals with advanced degrees or people with exceptional ability
  • EB-3 professional or skilled workers
  • EB-4 special immigrants

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About How Your Company Can Sponsor a Foreign Worker to Become a Permanent Resident?

It may benefit you to work with an attorney to file for immigrant visas for your workers. Your attorney can help simplify the process for you by handling the heavy lifting. If you’d like to set up a consultation with an experienced immigration professional, call our office at 414-383-6700. We’ll be happy to give you the guidance you need.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-05-20T21:06:35-05:00April 6th, 2022|Immigration Law|Comments Off on How a Company Can Sponsor a Foreign Worker to Become a Permanent Resident

Visa Classifications for Nonimmigrant Workers at Your Company

By Carlos Gamino

Many companies need to hire nonimmigrant workers for temporary jobs – jobs that there just aren’t enough Americans to fill. But where do you even begin if you want to lawfully hire immigrants? This guide explains how to get visas for nonimmigrant workers at your company.

Visas for Nonimmigrant Workers: Classifications

Nonimmigrant workers need sponsors – they can’t simply come to the U.S. and start working. That means if you want to hire a nonimmigrant, temporary worker, your company needs to petition the United States government for visas. Many professionals choose to work with a Wisconsin immigration attorney to do so.

There are several types of nonimmigrant visas, which the following table outlines. You must hire a worker who fits into one of these visa categories.

Nonimmigrant ClassificationDescription
CW-1CNMI-only transitional worker
E-1Treaty traders and qualified employees
E-2 and E-2CTreaty investors and qualified employees, and long-term foreign investors in the CNMI
E-3Some specialty occupation professionals from Australia
H-1B1, H-1B2 and H-1B3Free Trade Agreement workers in specialty occupations from Chile and Singapore; specialty occupations related to Department of Defense research and development projects; fashion models of “distinguished merit and ability.”
H-1CRegistered nurses who work in an area with a health professional shortage
H-2A and H-2BTemporary or seasonal agricultural workers and temporary non-agricultural workers
H-3Trainees in fields unrelated to medicine or academics
IWorkers in the foreign press, radio, film or other media
L-1A and L-1BIntracompany transferees
O-1 and O-2People with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, the arts, business, or athletics, as well as TV production, and the people who support them
P-1A and P-1BInternationally recognized athletes and entertainers, as well as members of internationally recognized entertainment groups
P-2 and P-3Performers who are participating under a reciprocal exchange program, as well as artists or entertainers who are going to perform, teach or coach under a culturally unique program
Q-1People participating in an international cultural exchange program
R-1Religious workers
TNNAFTA temporary professionals who are from Canada or Mexico

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Getting Visas for Nonimmigrant Workers at Your Company?

Bringing in foreign workers can be a complex process, and it’s one that requires your company to stick to the letter of the law. If you want to get visas for nonimmigrant workers at your company, you can benefit from working with a skilled and knowledgeable attorney. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with a professional now.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-05-20T21:12:56-05:00March 13th, 2022|Immigration Law|Comments Off on Visa Classifications for Nonimmigrant Workers at Your Company

What is an Investor Green Card?

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re an investor who has significant capital to put into a U.S.-based company, you could be eligible for a United States green card – and that conveys lawful permanent residency here. That means you can live and work anywhere you’d like, and that you can eventually apply for naturalized citizenship. This guide explains.

What is an Investor Green Card?

In U.S. immigration, a green card is a person’s proof that they’re a lawful permanent resident of the United States. With a green card, you’re legally allowed to live or work anywhere you’d like. A green card is the precursor to naturalized citizenship, too; after you’ve had your green card for a period of five years, you can apply for U.S. citizenship.

What is the EB-5 Investor Program?

The U.S. government created the EB-5 investor program to attract foreign nationals and encourage them to invest in U.S. businesses.

What Are the Requirements for the EB-5 Investor Program?

The standard minimum investment to qualify for the EB-5 investor program is $1 million, though if you plan to invest in a company in a Targeted Employment Area, or TEA, you only need to invest $500,000. The company you invest in must be a new commercial enterprise that was established after November 29, 1990, or that was purchased before that and then restructured or expanded to increase net worth or number of employees by at least 40 percent.

Related: Green card FAQ

You must also commit to creating full-time positions for at least ten qualifying employees (unless the business is “troubled,” in which case you may be allowed to rely on maintaining the current jobs the company has created).

Generally, the best way to find out whether you qualify for participation in the EB-5 investor program is to speak with a Milwaukee immigration attorney for guidance.

Related: All about green card denials

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About an Investor Green Card?

If you’re considering immigrating to the United States while investing significant capital in a U.S.-based business, we may be able to help you. Call us now at 414-383-6700 to discuss your options.

Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2022-01-28T13:06:45-06:00January 15th, 2022|Immigration Law|Comments Off on What is an Investor Green Card?

COVID-19 Vaccine Now Required for Entry

By Carlos Gamino. Click here for audio version.

If you’re applying to immigrate to the United States, you’ll have to prove that you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 during your required medical exam – and if you’re not vaccinated, you’ll have to become vaccinated or show a reason that you’re unable to do so. Here’s what you need to know.

Immigration: COVID-19 Vaccine is Mandatory

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requires immigrants to prove several vaccinations. In fact, you must have been vaccinated against hepatitis A, polio and chickenpox, as well as several others when you apply to immigrate to the U.S.

USCIS recently added the COVID-19 vaccine to that list. The agency says “If the applicant has not received any of the listed vaccinations and the vaccinations are age appropriate and medically appropriate, the applicant has a Class A condition and is inadmissible.” That means unless you have a medical exemption or you’re not old enough to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (such as kids under the age of 12, as of the time of this writing), you must have valid proof of a COVID shot or USCIS will deny your petition.

Related: Can you immigrate to the U.S. with a criminal record?

Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Rule Apply to All Immigrants?

All immigrants are required to comply with the vaccine requirement. That includes people who wish to become permanent residents, citizens, workers and those who fall into a number of other categories. If you must take a medical exam for your immigration action, you’re required to be vaccinated or prove that you have a valid exemption.

Are There Waivers Available to Immigrants With Religious Objections to the COVID-19 Vaccine?

There are waivers available to immigrants who have genuine religious or moral objections to the COVID-19 vaccine – but you can’t simply say you object to the COVID-19 vaccine. You must demonstrate that you have an objection to all vaccines. USCIS evaluates waiver petitions on a case-by-case basis, but there’s no guarantee that yours will be accepted.

Related: Can you be deported for committing a crime?

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Lawyer About Coming to the U.S. or Adjusting Your Status?

If you’re looking at immigration proceedings, whether you’re coming to the U.S. in the near future or you’re here and ready to adjust your status, we may be able to help – with or without your COVID-19 vaccine. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule an immigration consultation now; we’ll answer your questions and determine the best path forward for you.

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-11-23T11:37:47-06:00November 9th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on COVID-19 Vaccine Now Required for Entry

How to Read the Visa Bulletin

By Carlos Gamino. Click here for audio version.

If you’re planning to apply for a family-based green card, you’ll need to read the visa bulletin each month to find out which green card applications can move forward. But how do you read the visa bulletin, and what does it tell you? Find out now.

How Do You Read the Visa Bulletin?

The visa bulletin is a monthly update issued by the U.S. State Department. The bulletin contains information on which green card applications can move forward next, and the data is based on when an I-130 petition was filed to begin the process. The bulletin also allows you to estimate how long it will take for you to get your green card – and though circumstances can change, it generally provides a good snapshot.

Related: What is an E-2 visa?

The reason the visa bulletin is necessary is that there are limits on how many green cards are available each year. Each preference category has a different number of visas available, which means that your wait times may vary significantly depending on what preference category you fall under.

The most important parts of the bulletin include:

  • Section A: Final Action Dates
  • Section B: Dates for Filing

Here’s a closer look at each.

Section A: Final Action Dates

Final action dates are listed in a chart that shows which priority dates are coming up next. These people are at the “front of the line.” That means these green card applications are ready for approval when the bulletin is released.

Related: What is a marriage green card?

Section B: Dates for Filing

Dates for filing are also presented in a chart. It shows the dates that certain green card applicants living outside the U.S. should submit their applications with the National Visa Center, or NVC. These dates don’t mean that a green card is ready; they mean that they’re getting close and it’s time to file an application.

Related: What happens if you divorce before getting a green card?

Do You Need to Talk to a Wisconsin Immigration Attorney About Applying for a Green Card?

If you need to speak with a Wisconsin immigration attorney about applying for a green card for yourself or someone else, we may be able to help. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule your immigration consultation and get the legal advice you need now.

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

By |2021-11-23T11:47:23-06:00October 11th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on How to Read the Visa Bulletin

How Much Money Do You Need for an Investor Visa in the U.S.?

By Carlos Gamino

The EB-5 immigrant investor program, run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, provides a way for investors to get lawful permanent residency in the United States. This guide explains the EB-5 program and its requirements.

The Basics of the EB-5 Investor Program

If you make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States and plan to create (or preserve) ten permanent, full-time jobs for U.S. workers, you could be eligible to apply for a green card. Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may also be eligible to apply.

How Much Money Do You Need for an Investor Visa in the U.S.?        

The current minimum investment amount is $1.8 million unless you invest in a Targeted Employment Area. In a Targeted Employment Area, you must invest $900,000.

What is a Targeted Employment Area?

A targeted employment area is a rural area or an area that’s experienced high unemployment. In this case, high unemployment means at least 150 percent of the national average unemployment rate. The reason the U.S. government requires only half the investment in Targeted Employment Areas is largely to encourage investors to boost employment rates.

Related: What are preferences for employment visas?

How to Apply for an Investor Visa

Many people choose to work with a Wisconsin immigration attorney to obtain an investor visa and participate in the EB-5 immigrant investor program. That’s because the process is often time-consuming, and filling out the appropriate forms can be complex.

When you apply for your investor visa under the EB-5 immigrant investor program, you must also pay a filing fee. The current filing fee for Form I-924, one of the forms that you need to file, is available on the USCIS website.

Related: Employment-based immigration visas

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney About the EB-5 Investor Program?

If you’re considering becoming an immigrant investor, we may be able to help you. Call us today to discuss your options under the EB-5 immigrant investor program and find out if you have other options, as well. We’re available at 414-383-6700, so call now.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T09:10:26-05:00September 13th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on How Much Money Do You Need for an Investor Visa in the U.S.?

Can You Immigrate to the U.S. With a Criminal Record?

By Carlos Gamino

Sometimes it’s possible for a person to get a visa or obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States with a criminal record. Though that’s not always the case, here’s what you need to know.

Can You Immigrate to the U.S. With a Criminal Record?

To visit the United States for work or leisure, you must usually obtain a visa (unless the Visa Waiver Program is available from your country). With a criminal record, getting a visa can be difficult – but not all crimes make you ineligible for admission to the U.S. In fact, you may even be eligible for a waiver of grounds of inadmissibility. The best way to figure out whether your criminal history will preclude you from getting a U.S. visa may be to speak with an experienced Wisconsin immigration attorney who can evaluate your situation.

Related: How to work in the U.S. as a temporary, non-immigrant worker

Permanent Residency in the U.S. With a Criminal Record

If you want to come to the United States and obtain permanent residency, your criminal record may affect the outcome of your case. If you’ve committed a serious crime, it may be impossible for you to obtain a green card. However, if you have minor crimes (such as misdemeanors) on your record and they’re not considered “significant” under U.S. immigration law, it may still be possible. You should contact a Wisconsin immigration attorney and let them know:

  • The circumstances of your case, including the actual crime you were convicted of committing
  • How old you were at the time of the incident
  • How many convictions you have on your criminal record
  • How much time you spent in jail or prison for the crime

Related: Common U.S. immigration forms

Do You Need to Speak to an Immigration Attorney About Coming to the U.S. With a Criminal Record?

If you have a criminal history and are interested in learning about your visa or green card options, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your consultation now; we’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you determine how to move forward.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-07-17T09:08:08-05:00August 9th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on Can You Immigrate to the U.S. With a Criminal Record?

Can You Be Deported for Committing a Crime?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many immigrants, you know that the United States government can (and does) deport people for a wide range of reasons. But can you be deported for committing a crime? Here’s what you need to know.

Can You Be Deported for Committing a Crime?

If you’re a visa-holder or a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., some crimes can get you deported. That means an immigration judge can order you to leave the country, even if you have family here, a job, and a home – and even if you’ve been here most of your life. (In rare cases, even naturalized U.S. citizens can be deported.)

Related: Will you get in trouble for making a false confession?

What Crimes Are Grounds for Deportation?

If you’re convicted of the following crimes, you could be deported from the United States:

  • Aggravated felonies
  • Crimes of “moral turpitude”
  • Document fraud (such as on your immigration application)
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug crimes
  • Espionage
  • Firearms trafficking
  • Fraud
  • Human trafficking
  • Money laundering
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Sabotage
  • Smuggling
  • Terrorism

This isn’t a complete list, either. Some crimes fall into larger categories, such as crimes of moral turpitude or aggravated felonies.

Related: Is it okay to tell your lawyer you’re guilty?

What Should You Do if You’re an Immigrant Accused of a Crime?

For most immigrants, the best possible thing to do when accused of a crime is to get in touch with a Wisconsin criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can evaluate your case and find the best possible defense – and if the state ends up dropping the charges or you’re found not guilty in court, you won’t have to worry about whether a crime makes you deportable.

Naturally, there’s no way to predict how a judge will rule in any case – but when you have a lawyer on your side, there’s someone knowledgeable in your corner who can fight back against the charges leveled against you.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney Because You’re an Immigrant Who’s Accused of a Crime?

If you’re an immigrant who’s been accused of any crime – whether you’re a visa-holder, a lawful permanent resident with a green card, or a naturalized U.S. citizen, we may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now to speak with a caring, knowledgeable Wisconsin criminal defense attorney in a free (and confidential) consultation.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-08-08T14:07:43-05:00July 21st, 2021|Criminal Law, Immigration Law|Comments Off on Can You Be Deported for Committing a Crime?

What is an E-2 Visa?

By Attorney Carlos Gamino

If you’re interested in immigrating to the United States, you’ll need a visa that permits you to come into the country. There are dozens of different types of visas – some that can eventually lead to naturalization and some that cannot – and for many people, the best solution is to talk to a Wisconsin immigration attorney to figure out what type of visa is appropriate. In some cases, it’s an E-2 visa

What is an E-2 Visa?

An E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for people who wish to come to the U.S. to be admitted to the country to invest a “substantial” amount of capital in a U.S. business. Unlike many other types of visas, you can petition for an E-2 visa for yourself – you don’t need an employer or family member to do it for you.

Who Qualifies for E-2 Visas?

You must be a national of a country with which the U.S. has a treaty of commerce and navigation, and you must have invested (or be in the process of investing) in a U.S. business. You must also be seeking to enter the U.S. for the purpose of developing and directing the “investment enterprise” – the company in which you’re investing.

Related: What is an EB-5 visa?

Can Your Family Come With You if You’re in the U.S. on an E-2 Visa?

In many cases, you can bring your spouse and unmarried children who are under the age of 21 if you’re coming to the United States on an E-2 visa.

Related: Nonimmigrant visas

How Long Can You Stay in the U.S. on an E-2 Visa?

You can remain in the United States for two years on your initial E-2 visa. You can request that the government extend your stay in increments of up to two years after that. There’s no limit on the number of extensions you can file, either.

What is a “Substantial” Amount of Capital?

The U.S. government, in this case, defines a substantial amount of capital as:

  • An amount that’s substantial in relationship to the total cost of purchasing an established business or establishing a new one
  • Enough to ensure that the investor is financially committed to the business’s success
  • Large enough to support the likelihood that the applicant will be successful at developing and directing the business

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Obtaining an E-2 Visa?

If you’re interested in obtaining an E-2 visa to invest in a U.S. business, we may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now to discuss your options and get the answers you need.

Carlos Gamino

By |2021-08-08T14:12:02-05:00July 13th, 2021|Immigration Law|Comments Off on What is an E-2 Visa?

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