The United States offers freedoms and opportunities that most people cannot find in their own countries, which is why approximately 1,000,000 individuals enter the country legally each year in the hopes of making the Land of the Free their home. However, while the country affords many possibilities, getting here, at least legally, is a struggle. At Kriezelman, Burton & Associates, LLC, we strive to make the visa and migration process as easy as possible on our clients. Part of doing that is informing hopeful visa applicants of what the lengthy process entails. If you and your family plan on migrating to the U.S., there are five things you need to know regarding the process.
Most visa applicants understand that they are required to pay a filing fee, but most are shocked when they discover how much said fee is. Depending on from where a person originates, the filing fee can be upwards of $1,000—per person. For a family from a developing country, this amount can be bank breaking, if not impossible to come up with. Once in the U.S., visa holders are permitted to apply for permanent residency, which costs an additional $1,070 per person. To apply for citizenship, the fee is slightly less, at $680 per person.
Individuals who have not researched the application process or who have never had to go through it before assume that the application is just a page or two long. In fact, the “simplicity of the application” is often an argument used to put down illegal immigrants. The truth is that the application process is far from simple, and it often requires filling out dozens of forms, submitting just as many affidavits, and collecting phone bills, birthday cars, photos, and other pieces of documentation that most people do not think to keep. If you plan on gaining visa status in the U.S., you should start collecting as much documentation that proves your identity as possible—especially if you plan to seek residency through marriage.
Once you submit your application, your wait is not done. Though processing times vary depending on unique circumstances and one’s reason for wanting to move to the U.S., the processing time can take a year or longer. For instance, the processing time for a petition for an alien relative is between 18 and 113 months, depending on which relative is applying. The average processing time for an immigrant petition for an alien worker is between five and 12 months, a timeframe that should provide some perspective, as alien workers are usually on a strict deadline. The petition for an alien fiancé typically takes between five and seven months to process.
While there is no shortcutting the system, you can make the process easier on yourself by retaining the help of a Chicago immigration attorney. At Kriezelman, Burton & Associates, LLC, we strive to take the headache out of the immigration process by helping clients with every aspect of the application process, including the gathering of identifying documentation. If you wish to make America your home, start off on the right foot and call our office today.
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As we respond to the current events surrounding COVID-19, the health and safety of our clients and staff remains paramount. Effective March 21, 2020 until April 7, 2020, we remain open for business, as an essential service per Governor Pritzker’s March 20, 2020 “Stay at Home” Executive Order. However, we are temporarily suspending in-person client services at our office. Instead, we are offering user-friendly web-based video conferencing and regular teleconference appointments. The video conferencing feature is simple to use for those with internet access and comes at no extra charge to our clients -- we encourage its use whenever possible.
Please contact your attorney to set this up via email or call us at 312-332-2550 to set up a video conferencing consultation.
The KB&A Team