Under immigration law, all people are classified into citizens and nationals on the one hand, or aliens on the other. Citizens are people who were born in the United States or later naturalized under the law. Nationals are people born in areas considered to be U.S. territories, such as American Samoa or the Northern Mariana Islands. In contrast, aliens are foreign-born people who have not become naturalized citizens. Aliens are sub-divided by the law into immigrants and non-immigrants.
Immigrants are aliens who intend to reside in the United States permanently. The law does not require these permanent residents to be in the United States year-round, but they are required to be here for a certain amount of time or they will be considered to have relinquished their claim to residency. Immigrants are also called "green card holders," because the actual lawful permanent residency card is now green in color. Green cards may be obtained through being sponsored either by a family member or through an employer, through a lottery system, or in certain cases the alien may self-sponsor.
Non-immigrants are aliens who do not intend to reside in the United States permanently. The law classifies non-immigrants into certain classes, which correspond to the type of visa the non-immigrant holds. For example, the most common visa for non-immigrant is the B1/B2 visitor visa. Additional visa category examples include F student, H1B temporary worker, or J foreign exchange visitor visas. Visas are either obtained at a U.S. consulate or through changing an existing visa to another category here in the United States.
Most aliens will have to interact with USCIS at some point, as USCIS is the agency responsible for giving out immigration benefits. At Muennich & Bussard, LLP, an attorney will handle your case exclusively from start to finish. You will never be handed off to a paralegal, and never leave messages with a receptionist. At Muennich & Bussard, LLP, we believe that a cursory glance-over by an attorney is not the due diligence you deserve in ensuring there will be no issues with your petition. We will explain all procedures in detail, answer any questions you may have, prepare you fully through mock interviews, and accompany you to your hearing.
For more information about the immigration-related legal services available from Muennich & Bussard, LLP, please click one of the links below.