Minnesota Immigration Attorneys
As our Minnesota immigration attorneys from Johnston Martineau, PLLP know, there are many situations where hiring a lawyer experienced in immigration cases will be helpful for you or a family member. In the United States, you are not required by law to have an attorney when sending in paperwork for a green card or immigrant visa. If you meet all the criteria, have no history of criminal activity, and have a straightforward case, then you may be able to proceed to obtaining your visa or green card without legal assistance.
However, if you are someone with a more complex situation, or just want to make sure your application process goes smoothly, then we suggest having an attorney to turn to. Don’t hesitate to call us now if you need immediate guidance.
Overwhelmed By Paperwork? You’re Not Alone
Even the most basic immigration applications for the U.S. involve completing forms and obtaining documents to prove your eligibility, and then having to abide by strict instructions while doing so. If you make a mistake, you may receive notice that your application was denied, delayed, or returned. Our immigration attorneys have had to deal with this paperwork many times before with previous clients, and have the insight to see that things go as smoothly as possible.
Our MN immigration attorneys at Johnston Martineau, PLLP know that there are online programs out there where you can enter your information and it gets generated onto a document within seconds. But please keep in mind that this leaves plenty of room for error, and it’s imperative that your application is complete and accurate. If you are overwhelmed by immigration paperwork, let us help.
Reconsider Information Officer’s Advice
Do not rely on advice provided to you by an immigration information officer. There are times when people have come to us because of a failure of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We can understand the frustration you may be feeling with their inconsistent advice. You may be waiting to receive an update from them about an application and have yet to hear back. We have heard numerous complaints about how the USCIS has failed, and will prioritize your case when it feels as though they have not.
Aside from general topics such as procedure, fees, and where to file an application, we suggest taking any input from a USCIS information officer with a grain of salt. But depending on the level of experience and knowledge that your immigration officer has, they may give you inaccurate or outdated details that hinder your case.
Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer
Many people think they absolutely need an immigration lawyer for immigration issues. This is not always true. For some simple, or straightforward, cases, it may be possible to submit any documents or applications to the government, go through the interview process, and wait for an outcome on your own.
That said, being successful with your own pursuit of immigration is not always easy. As Minnesota immigration attorneys, we would recommend anyone who is seeking a visa, green card, or naturalization to weigh out their options before taking any action.
Benefits of an Immigration Lawyer
The U.S. Immigration system is very complex, and changes often. There are benefits to hiring an immigration attorney in Minnesota. Moreover, the complexity of the immigration system is one of the reasons why it is essential to have a lawyer that understands the ins and outs of the immigration system.
Knowledge and Experience
When you hire an immigration attorney, you are choosing to have someone who knows the ins and outs of the system represent you. These people have worked hundreds, even thousands, of cases and know how to navigate each one in the best way possible. This can be very valuable.
There are strict deadlines you must meet. If you do not, your immigration process can be delayed, or hindered. A good immigration attorney in Minnesota will understand the relevant deadlines for your case.
Higher Success Rate
One mistake or error on any immigration form can cause you to have to wait longer. In a worst case scenario, and one that is becoming more common, your application could be denied. Navigating the process is very difficult – no matter how focused you might be. Choosing to have a legal advocate on your side can make a difference. Immigration lawyers know what paperwork needs to be filed, how, and when. They also know what should be avoided during the application process. A lawyer can explain to you the steps, what you can expect, and what you will need to do while you wait for the outcome.
When Do You Need to Call Minnesota Immigration Attorneys
Minnesota Immigration Attorneys should be called, as soon as there is a case, that requires the need of essentiality. This includes but is not limited to asking questions about immigration processes, asking questions, pertaining to why one may need an immigration lawyer, etc.Moreover, calling Minnesota Immigration Attorneys should be done swiftly, when there is a need that has to be met. The reason is because not calling on time, can lead to delays through backed up schedules, etc.
You Are Overwhelmed
One of the most common reasons people decide to call a lawyer for immigration help is because they are overwhelmed or frustrated with the process. There are so many forms to complete, deadlines that have to be met, and information that has to be submitted in a timely manner. One little error can slow everything down.
You’re Facing Delays
Getting a decision can take months. If there is a delay, you could be waiting more than a year. Apart from errors that cause delays, if at any time you move, or make changes to your life in the U.S., your application may need to be transferred or updated; both of which can cause delays. A lawyer can find out the status of your application and let you know what is going on. Moreover, sometimes people tend to forget that when it comes to immigration, such a complex issue, has caused many people to have to wait for the needs to be met, over a span of months. As such, waiting for long periods of time, for decisions to come through, should be expected.
Your Application Has Been Denied
If you were pursuing an immigration matter on your own, and have had your application denied, don’t give up hope. There are many factors that can lead to a denial. Some can be waived, others can not. Working with a lawyer from the beginning can help you to know what factors might impact your immigration ability.
Employment Opportunities and Immigration
You may be wondering if you are legally allowed to work in the United States with a green card or immigrant visa. Minnesota Immigration Attorneys can advise you on the circumstances in which you may be able to accept employment. In some cases, foreign citizens in certain classes (for example, students and spouses) may be qualified to apply for and obtain a work permit or other documentation required to work in the United States.
A number of immigrants working in the United States are sponsored by their employers and are able to work under specialized visas. These numerous categories of visas are granted to certain foreign nationals based on preferred categories, including but not limited to those who:
- Have a degree or exceptional expertise in a highly specialized field
- Possess skills in a career field or industry where the U.S. has a limited number of qualified applicants
- Will be fulfilling a business or industry’s seasonal need for temporary help
- Are a Canadian or Mexican citizen participating in business activities on U.S. soil under NAFTA
- Are transferring from your company’s location outside the United States
These types of permits and visas are limited in number, and most are based on business and industry needs and/or a lottery system. Minnesota Immigration Attorneys can help walk you through the process if you want to work in the United States and believe you may qualify for an employment-based visa.
If an employer will be sponsoring your immigration, the lawyers at Johnston Martineau PLLP can assess your individual needs and work with your sponsoring employer to assure that the terms of your employment agreement will not endanger your immigration status. In addition, your lawyer can review your employer-sponsored visa and determine how to support your family members with the separate applications they will be required to submit if they are qualified to join you.
My Documentation Expired—Now What?
Unauthorized employment is a contentious topic in the United States. The penalties for working beyond the timeframe allowed by your original permit or visa are harsh and can reach as far as deportation or denial of re-entry. To avoid punishment, you must obtain an authorized extension or new documentation or an extension authorizing you to continue your work. Contact an attorney at Johnston Martineau PLLP if you are a foreign national wishing to extend your employment in the U.S. and we will advise you on the action required to maintain your employment.
Four Ways You Can Help Your Immigration Case Move More Quickly
Immigration is a time-consuming process under the best of circumstances. You will have to be patient and endure a lot of waiting. However, there are things you can do to help your case move along more quickly.
1. File As Soon As You Can
Immigration cases can take over a year to complete. Get started right away so that the process is moving ahead. A big life change like immigration can be overwhelming both emotionally and physically due to the sheer amount of work it requires. If you get that application filed, you can then focus on other aspects of your immigration while it is pending.
Minnesota immigration attorneys can assist you with the application. They’ll make sure you’ve filed correctly so that no more time is wasted.
2. Stay One Step Ahead
Applying for immigration involves a lot of submitting paperwork and waiting. Then you submit more paperwork. And wait. Cut down on those wait times by preparing the next set of documents during the wait.
Your immigration attorney can let you know the order of the steps. You can use this information to be prepared for the next step before it arrives. Ask your attorney to tell you, in advance, what you need to have ready for each stage of the process.
3. Respond to Requests Promptly
When those requests for further documentation come, and they will, respond in a timely manner. Don’t let days or weeks go by between communications. If you keep all your documents and evidence in one location, carefully organized, it will help you to stay on top of the requests.
You also need to reply properly. Any inaccuracies or confusion can delay your case. Talk to your Minnesota Immigration attorneys about any and all messages you receive from immigration officials. Let them sort out the requests and ensure that you are responding in a manner that will help your case.
4. Use All the Tools Available to You
The USCIS has a processing times tool that indicates how long immigration cases are taking, on average. Use that tool to know what to expect, and to know if your case is taking inordinately long. If it becomes clear that your case time is much longer than the average, your Minnesota Immigration Attorneys can step in and ask the USCIS for clarification and answers.
For cases that are inexplicably delayed, immigration lawyers can also help you to contact your congressperson for assistance.
Immigration Law FAQ
Immigrating to the United States is no easy task. Questions will almost certainly arise. Despite the following information provided below in this immigration law FAQ, you should know that immigration matters are often complex. Legal advice from our Minnesota immigration attorneys should be sought.
What Is the Difference Between an Immigrant Petition and a Non-Immigrant Petition?
An immigrant petition is when an immigrant is lawfully seeking to obtain permanent residency in the United States. A non-immigrant petition is a filing to obtain temporary status only.
What Is a Green Card?
The term green card is actually a slang term for a lawful permanent resident card. Once obtained, it is proof of U.S. residency. Our Minnesota immigration attorneys can discuss with you the many ways to obtain a green card.
Is a Green Guaranteed After Marrying a U.S. Citizen?
No. As our Minnesota immigration attorneys will explain to you, it can take three months to two years, or more to complete the process.
Do I Need to Hire an Immigration Attorney?
Technically you do not need a lawyer to immigrate to the U.S.; however, immigration law is very complicated. Having an attorney to represent you can ensure you are following all procedures correctly. What you include in your application, such as evidence, can impact your case. Your attorney will be able to handle all documentation and forms so that you get the best possible chance at staying in the United States.
What Options Are Available for My Fiancé Who Lives Abroad?
In general, you have two options. You can sponsor the individual for a Fiancé visa petition. Or, you can marry them in their home country or a third country; after which, you can file a spousal petition. Each option has different requirements. A Minnesota immigration attorney can talk with you about the best strategy for your own needs.
How Can I Sponsor a Family Member?
Your relative can enter the U.S. on a temporary or permanent basis. How they immigrate or visit the U.S. will depend on your circumstances. Generally, whether you family members can immigrate will depend on their relation to you, as well as your current status in the country (i.e. resident, citizen, temporary visitor, student, etc.). Immediate family members can often immigrate immediately to the U.S.; whereas, non-immediate members may have to wait. The waiting period can be several months to several years, or more.
Why Should I Sponsor a Family Member?
The reason why one should sponsor a family member is so that the individual’s needs can be met. However, there is more to it than that. One of the strongest reasons why a family member should be sponsored, is to demonstrate how and why immigration issues can be beneficial. In other words, sponsoring will better help to demonstrate that the person is in need of relatable everyday issues of immigration, that others can connect to.
What Alternatives Are Available if I Cannot Get a Visa, or What If I Am Scared to Return to My Country?
There are alternative options for those who are concerned about returning to their home country. For example, Temporary Protected Status and Asylum are two examples of relief that may be available. You should talk with an immigration attorney to learn more about your eligibility, and other options. Due to dangerous risks that can occur, when one returns to their country, it is always important to plan ahead, in case things do not go as expected.
I Am the Victim of Abuse in the U.S., What Can I Do?
If you are the victim of an abusive relationship, we would encourage you to leave right away. There are many agencies and shelters that will be able to help you regardless of your immigrant status. There may be a visa available, as per the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act. An attorney should be contacted to learn about the requirements and eligibility.
If you have any questions or concerns about immigrating to the U.S., or remaining in the country, please reach out to one of our Minnesota immigration attorneys.
Do’s and Don’ts to Follow When Applying for U.S. Citizenship
Becoming a naturalized citizen in the United States can be a complex process. Working with an attorney is helpful when you’re trying to navigate the challenges of the immigration system. However, there are also things you should do and pitfalls to avoid when applying for citizenship. Following these do’s and don’ts can help.
Do Prepare Citizenship Documents
Dealing with the immigration system is more straightforward when you have all of your documentation prepared and organized. You can ask your Minnesota immigration attorneys for guidance on which paperwork you need to keep on hand. For example, you may need to file the form N-400 to apply to be a citizen. In general, it’s important to have your permanent residence card or green card accessible. You may also need to submit your alien residence number when filing crucial paperwork. Depending on your circumstances, you may also need documents such as your marriage certificate, military service record and proof of residence.
Don’t Hide Facts From Your Lawyer
Although you may feel nervous or embarrassed when discussing the details of your immigration status, you should not conceal information from your Minnesota immigration attorneys. Lawyers are obligated to protect your rights and your privacy. At Johnston Martineau PLLP, we can handle a variety of life situations and help you resolve your immigration issues. However, remember that lying on an immigration application can jeopardize your status in the country. Therefore, it’s better to be honest when working with an attorney.
Do Learn About the Benefits of Citizenship
Before you become a citizen of the United States, you should familiarize yourself with the benefits and responsibilities you might encounter. For example, as a citizen, you will be able to vote and even run for political office. You can work for the federal government, too. Having a United States passport can allow you to travel internationally with fewer restrictions. Furthermore, it is easier to obtain citizenship for your children and move your other relatives to the United States if you’re a citizen. However, you must also consider that some new responsibilities come with citizenship. You will have to give up loyalties to other countries and swear allegiance to the United States and its constitution. In addition, you may be obligated to serve the nation in wartime.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for Help
If you’re accustomed to handling difficult situations on your own, you may not realize that you need help when dealing with the immigration system. Minnesota immigration attorneys can guide you through the process to avoid missing important details that could compromise your status. Contact an immigration lawyer at Johnston Martineau PLLP for a consultation if you have any questions when applying for citizenship.
Johnston Martineau, PLLP
The path to becoming a citizen, getting your green card or visa, can surely be a bumpy one if you don’t have the right information and guidance from someone with experience. Family and friends may give you advice about how they went about applying, but each person’s situation is unique. So please call Johnston Martineau, PLLP to get factual legal recommendations from our immigration attorneys in Minnesota.
Common Myths About Immigration
Many people try to immigrate to the U.S. every year, but there are still so many misconceptions about the process. Here are some common myths about immigration:
Undocumented immigrant who came to the U.S. as children have amnesty: One of the most common myths about immigration is that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) pardons immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children. The truth is that DACA is not equivalent to amnesty.
It is not worth it to hire an attorney. Some foreign nationals who wish to gain immigration benefits in the U.S. may believe they can’t afford to hire Minnesota immigration attorneys. Although working with an attorney can be expensive, it is completely worth the cost. An experienced attorney will have extensive knowledge about immigration laws and improve your chance of achieving a successful outcome.
It is easy to get a green card: Many people are under the impression that obtaining a green card is pretty. However, this could not be further from the truth. Immigration laws in the U.S. actually make it challenging for immigrants to get green cards, especially if they are low-skilled workers. To obtain a green card, foreign nationals either have to have a qualifying family member petition for them or work for a U.S. company that will sponsor them.
The immigration process lets dangerous criminals in the country: Unfortunately, some Americans believe that the immigration process makes it easy for dangerous criminals to enter the U.S. However, you can be rest assured that immigrants have to go through extensive screening processes that check their employment and criminal backgrounds. While it is possible for dangerous criminals to fall through the cracks, it is very rare.
There is a one-size-fits-all approach with immigration issues: As Minnesota immigration attorneys can confirm, there is not just one way to resolve immigration issues. Since people immigrate to the U.S. for various different reasons, they need customized solutions.
Immigrants are taking all the jobs away: A common complaint Americans have is that immigrants are stealing their jobs. However, immigrants account for a small percentage of the U.S. population, so they can’t actually dominate the workforce. In fact, many people who immigrate to the U.S. are entrepreneurs, so they create more jobs for people in the country and grow the economy.
Common Immigration Mistakes
Filing for immigration in the U.S. can be a complex process. In fact, many people make errors that get their applications denied. Here are some common mistakes Minnesota immigration attorneys want you to avoid:
Not putting the correct names on the application. This is one of the simplest yet biggest mistakes people make when applying for U.S. citizenship. It’s critical to use the exact name on your birth certificate on the application, not the one you are currently using in the U.S.
Sending documents that aren’t translated. To apply for citizenship, you will have to send in various documents, like your birth certificate and marriage certificate. However, many immigrants make the mistake of not getting these documents professionally translated before submitting them. They might bring a friend or family member who speaks English to translate the documents. This won’t work.
Forgetting to sign your application. Another major mistake immigrants make is forgetting to sign their application. There may be several places in the application you have to sign your name and some may slip your mind. To avoid this, double check your application to make sure you signed everything you needed to.
Paying the wrong fee. In order to get your immigration application approved, you will have to submit a fee. If you pay the incorrect fee amount, your application will get rejected. Check the application instructions towards the end to make sure you are paying the correct fee. Additionally, keep in mind that the USCI only accepts payments in the form of a check or money order from a U.S. institution.
Not being aware of your criminal history. The USCI will definitely check your criminal record when reviewing your immigration application. As such, it is important to be aware of your criminal history and be completely honest about it. Even if you only committed a traffic violation, you’ll need to list that on your application.
Not hiring a lawyer. As you probably understand now, immigration applications can involve many complexities. They can be very frustrating for the average person. The good news is that you don’t have to go through it alone. You have the option of hiring an immigration attorney. He or she will make sure that you are filling out the application correctly and take a lot of stress off your back.
Qualities to Look for in Immigration Attorneys
If you want to obtain citizenship in the U.S., it is important to have Minnesota immigration attorneys on your side. However, knowing who to hire can be tricky and stressful. Here are some important qualities to look for in these attorneys.
Experience. First and foremost, you want to work with attorneys who have many years of experience in immigration law. This field of law is very complex, so it is important for your attorneys to know the ins and outs of it. The more experience they have, the better job they can ultimately do for you.
Excellent communication skills. When you are dealing with an immigration matter, you naturally want to be kept informed about your case. As such, you should hire immigration attorneys with superb communication skills. They should be able to explain what is going on in your case in words you can understand and keep you updated. They should also be able to return your messages in a reasonable amount of time.
Honesty. The immigration attorneys you hire should be completely honest with you every step through the process. If a roadblock comes up in your case, they should be upfront with you. They should not just tell you what you want to hear. If attorneys promise you too much too soon, you may want to look elsewhere.
Speaks multiple languages. If possible, find immigration attorneys who are fluent in multiple languages. Even if you can speak English fluently, working with attorneys who speak multiple languages may come in handy if your immigration matters include family members who don’t speak English.
Compassion. Going through the immigration process can be stressful and intimidating at times. Therefore, it’s important to work immigration attorneys who show compassion to your situation. They should understand that you’re going through a difficult process and truly care about helping you.
Detail oriented. There is a lot of paperwork involved in the immigration process. If you make one small error in these documents, your case could get rejected. That’s why it’s critical to hire immigrations attorneys who are very detail oriented.
Thirst for knowledge. Immigrations laws are frequently changing. It is essential for immigration attorneys to frequently update their knowledge about these laws. They should be truly interested in learning more so that they can help you more.
A desire to grow beyond the current skills: While aspects such as compassion, being detail oriented, and more are important for immigration attorneys to have, there should be a continual desire to grow. Moreover, the foundation that an attorney has built upon, should be used to better look at how to improve upon the concepts that they already established.