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Soreff Law - Seattle Immigration Lawyers

We represent both individuals and corporations and have extensive experience in all aspects of immigration law.

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Immigration Information

  • Definitions/Acronyms
  • Common Immigration Status Acronyms

    USC – U.S. citizen
    CR – Conditional Resident
    LPR – Lawful Permanent Resident
    EWI – Entered Without Inspection

    Statuses and documents

    Immigrant – An immigrant is a person coming to the U.S. to remain permanently or for an indefinite period of time and who intends to make the United States the primary place of residence. A permanent resident of the U.S. is an immigrant. A person who plans to become a permanent resident is an intending immigrant. See our immigrant employment or family pages for more information.

    Nonimmigrant – A nonimmigrant is a person coming to the U.S. for a specific purpose, such as visitor, student, or employee. See our non-immigrant employment page for more information.

    Visa – A visa is a document placed in your passport by a U.S. consular officer. A visa permits a person to apply to be admitted to a U.S. port or inspection point for a specific purpose. A visa does not give you the right to enter the U.S. but only the right to apply to enter at a port of entry.

    Immigrant Visa – If you qualify for permanent residence, a consular officer will issue you an immigrant visa. An immigrant visa is a document placed in your passport by a consular officer. After arriving in the U.S., you will be mailed a green card. See our immigrant employment or family pages for more information.

    Nonimmigrant Visa – A nonimmigrant visa is a visa that allows a person to remain within the United States for a particular purpose for a limited time. A nonimmigrant visa is valid for entry only for the purpose for which it was issued. For example, a student visa (F-1) cannot be used for entry as a visitor. The validity period shown in a nonimmigrant visa relates only to the period during which it may be used in making application for admission into the U.S., it does not indicate the length of time the alien may spend in the U.S. See our non-immigrant employment page for more information.

    Branches of U.S. Immigration

    DHS – Department of Homeland Security
    ICE – Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    USCIS – Citizenship and Immigration Services
    CBP – Customs and Border Protection (this includes Border Patrol)
    ERO – Enforcement and Removal Operations

    Immigration Court

    Removal proceedings – this is another name for deportation proceedings; when the U.S. government has filed a case in the Immigration Court to try to prove that an individual should be deported from the U.S.

    EOIR – Executive Office of Immigration Review
    NTA – Notice to Appear
    IJ – Immigration Judge
    NWDC – Northwest Detention Center
    OSUP – Order of Supervision
    BIA – Board of Immigration Appeals
    DA – Deferred Action

    Employment

    DOL – Department of Labor
    PERM – (Program Electronic Review Management) – Electronic Labor Certification program
    LCA – Labor Condition Application – It is filed with DOL for some employment-based nonimmigrant visa petitions.
    FDNS – Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate

  • How do I become a U.S. citizen?
  • A person may become a U.S. citizen by birth or through naturalization. Generally, people are U.S. citizens if they are born in the United States or if one of their parents is U.S. citizen. If you were born in the United States (including, in most cases, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), you are an American citizen at birth. Your birth certificate is proof of your citizenship. Please refer to our citizenship page on who may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, or whether you may already be a citizen through your parents or grandparents.
  • What is Naturalization?
  • Naturalization is the act of making a person a citizen of the United States who was not born with that status. An application for citizenship is an application for Naturalization. Please refer to our citizenship page for more information.
  • How do I become a naturalized citizen?
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth, you may be eligible to become a citizen through naturalization. People who are 18 years and older use the “Application for Naturalization” (Form N-400) to become naturalized. Children who are deriving citizenship from naturalized parents use the “Application for a Certificate of Citizenship” (Form N-600) to become naturalized. Please refer to our citizenship page for more information.
  • What are the requirements for naturalization?
  • You may apply for naturalization if: (1) you have been a lawful permanent resident for five years, (2) you have been a lawful permanent resident for three years, have been married to a US citizen for those three years, and continue to be married to that U.S. citizen, (3) you are a lawful permanent resident child of United States citizen parents, or (4) you have qualifying military service. Children under 18 may automatically become citizens when their parents naturalize. Please refer to our citizenship page for more information.
  • How long will it take to become naturalized?
  • The naturalization process in Seattle, Washington is a short one. The average time for complete naturalization in Seattle is 4 to 6 months. Please refer to our citizenship page for more information.
  • Is my child a U.S. citizen?
  • Usually if children are Permanent Residents they can derive citizenship from their naturalized parents. Please refer to our citizenship page for more information on this topic.
  • Is it possible to be a dual citizen of the United States of America and another country?
  • Yes. If you have been a dual citizen from birth or childhood, and you become a U.S. citizen, you may retain dual citizenship as long as the other country does not have any laws or regulations requiring you to formally renounce either citizenship.
  • My family member or friend was arrested by immigration – what do I do?
  • You should contact an attorney immediately. Please refer to our Removal page for further information on the Northwest Detention Center and removal proceedings.
  • Can I work in the United States?
  • You may only work in the U.S. if you have work authorization. An individual may obtain work authorization through many different ways, such as through an employer’s petition, through an adjustment of status application based on marriage, or through filing an application in Immigration Court.
  • I have been a victim of crime or abuse, what do I do?
  • You may be eligible for a green card (Lawful Permanent Residence.) Please refer to our victims of crimes page for more information on how an individual may be able to obtain legal status if he or she has been a victim of a crime.
  • I am widow or widower of a U.S. citizen; can I get a green card?
  • If your U.S. spouse has died and you don’t have your green card yet, you may still be able to obtain a green card for you and your children.
  • I came here as a child, can I get legal status?
  • You may be able to obtain a grant of “deferred action” and work authorization if you meet certain requirements. Please refer to our Deferred Action for Certain Childhood Arrivals (DACA) page for further information.
  • Can I bring my family member to the U.S.?
  • You may be able to bring your family members to the U.S. if you are a permanent resident or a U.S. citizen. Please refer to our family page for more information.
  • I or my family member have been arrested by the police – how will this affect my immigration status?
  • If an individual has been arrested by police, his or her immigration status can certainly be affected. It is very important that the individual contact an attorney immediately to determine whether the arrest will cause problems for his or her immigration status in the future. Please see our criminal immigration matters page for more information.
  • I won the Diversity Lottery (DV); what is next?
  • If you have won the Diversity Lottery, please go to www.travel.state.gov for additional information.

Know Your Rights

If you are approached by immigration officers or the police, you do not have to speak with them. No matter what your legal status is in the U.S., you are protected under the U.S. constitution’s right to remain silent. You also have the right to refuse the police or immigration entry into your home or to search your belongings.

Legal Disclaimer

The statements made throughout this website are not intended to provide legal advice and are neither meant to replace legal advice nor to substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney. The statements are solely meant to provide very basic information about concepts in immigration law. By reading the information on this website, you have not created an attorney-client relationship with Soreff Law.

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Soreff Law - Seattle, WA Immigration Attorneys

Seattle, WA Immigration Attorneys

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Seattle, WA 98104

Toll Free: (866) 722-4030
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