Immigration is an area of the law that affects every resident of every state throughout the United States. Immigration laws have been constantly debated and updated to meet the changing needs of the diverse population of the U.S. West Virginia is not exempt from the impact of immigration laws. While our state is not as likely as the southernmost states to be in the middle of the immigration debacle, it is nonetheless, an important area of the law.
In order to help West Virginia residents better understand immigration law and their individual rights and responsibilities, we have created a list of some of the most common questions and answers, as well as basic facts concerning immigration.
Common Questions and Basic Facts
Q: What is the standard definition of an alien?
A: An alien is any individual who was born in a nation other than the U.S. who lives inside the U.S. without becoming a legal U.S. Citizen, which is known as being naturalized.
Q: What are visas?
A: A few standard types of visa are available to an individual in order to become a U.S. Citizen or gain access to U.S. amenities, including an immigrant visa and a nonimmigrant visa. An immigrant visa is designed for individuals who want to live in the U.S. permanently. This is also often referred to as a green card. The nonimmigrant visa is designed for individuals who only want to remain in the U.S. for a short duration, such as individuals attending school, participating in business activities, or those traveling as tourists.
Q: How to individuals apply for a visa?
A: To apply for a visa, the individual must visit the U.S. consulate nearest their current residence. At the U.S. consulate, the preliminary application will be completed, and any additional requirements will be detailed. It is recommended that anyone applying for a visa complete the process well in advance of their intended trip into the U.S. to avoid delays.
Q: What happens if I cannot get a visa, but remain in the U.S.?
A: Individuals who remain in the U.S. without gaining a visa or citizenship are commonly referred to as “illegal aliens”. What this means is that these individuals do not enjoy the same laws and liberties as U.S. Citizens. In most cases, these individuals are often unable to gain professional employment, attend higher education facilities, or possess a driver’s license.
Q: Can I be denied entry into the U.S.?
A: Yes. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) can deny entry into the U.S. to any individual who fails to meet certain requirements, or who does not have appropriate answers to official questions. Individuals can be denied entry based on physical or mental ailment, criminal history, or previous 180 stays outside the U.S.
Q: Do I need the assistance of an immigration attorney?
A: The services of an immigration attorney may not be required; however, having the guidance of someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in immigration law matters can be extremely helpful and, is highly recommended =. Often, immigration attorneys are able to provide options and support that can prevent unnecessary delays in processing paperwork or gaining entry into the U.S.