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Los Angeles Immigration Law Blog

The difference between F-1 and M-1 student visas

There are a number of students who may wish to visit the U.S. on a temporary basis in order to supplement or continue their studies. There are two different types of non-immigrant visas available to these students which will allow them to do so.

As stated by the Bureau of Consular Affairs, a student visa can be divided into F-1 and M-1 types. M-1 student visas are reserved for students who are going into vocational studies, or “non-academic” studies. This applies to everything from technical studies to mechanical studies, language or cosmetology programs, flight school, cooking classes and more. Essentially, everything that could be considered training for a certain field of work would fall under the vocational studies umbrella.

What do you need to apply for a visitor visa?

People who have decided to temporarily visit the U.S. may be staying long enough that they will need a visitor visa, also known as a tourist visa. This will allow them to move about freely in the country for their recreational or business needs. Applying for a visitor visa is the next step after deciding to get one.

According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs, in order to obtain a visitor visa, there is an application process that must be completed first. This generally consists of collecting and sending in certain documents, filling out applications, and attending an interview. The application, Form DS-160, is available online. People can fill it out and then print it out to take to their interview, along with a photograph that meets certain format requirements also listed on the Consular Affairs site. Interviews need to be scheduled if a person is between 14 and 79 years old.

Surge in immigrant youth potentially responsible for reform delay

Immigrants and immigrant rights advocates living in the Los Angeles area are likely aware of how tumultuous politics surrounding immigration has been recently. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the attempt to change U.S. immigration law to make it more difficult for immigrants to be deported has been put on hold yet again, which has drawn the ire of many.

In a move that people on both sides of the fence are criticizing, the Obama administration has decided yet again to hold off on making any changes to the deportation laws currently governing the country. This is due to the unprecedented surge in unaccompanied minors coming into the country from Central America, putting more pressure on the system than anyone had been able to anticipate. This could make avoiding deportation more difficult for immigrants already in the country.

Determining your eligibility for a waiver

If you are an immigrant living in the U.S. without any documentation, you may be wondering what can be done to prevent yourself from being deported. At Ronzio & Associates, we realize that your top priority is remaining in the country so you can stay with your family or spouse, and we will work to provide you with information that you can use to keep yourself informed.

Waivers, more colloquially known as pardons, are given by the United States Attorney General. A waiver can forgive you of certain things that might otherwise contribute to your chances of being deported, thus allowing you to stay in the U.S. However, these waivers are only given out on a case-by-case basis that is determined by eligibility. Some criteria that can affect your eligibility for a waiver include:

What are the pros and cons of a K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrant visa?

If an immigrant is currently waiting for their Petition for Alien Relative, otherwise known as Form I-130, to be approved, then it is possible for them to live within the U.S. with their spouse and children until the petition has been reviewed. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a K-3 or K-4 visa is available as a means for petitioners and their children to obtain nonimmigrant residency while they wait.

A K-4 visa can be applied for by any underage and unmarried children of an immigrant who has a K-3 visa, or immigrants who are qualified to apply for a K-3 visa. If an immigrant is the spouse of a U.S. citizen, has filed their Form I-130 and is waiting for a verdict, then he or she is considered qualified to apply for a K-3 visa.

Items necessary to apply for a student visa

Traveling to a new country for a semester of classes may be a rewarding and exciting experience. However, a student may not know where to start when it comes to applying for a visa, which can be a hurdle.

According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs, a student visa can essentially be obtained through similar steps to a marriage visa or a work visa. This means that certain requirements will need to be met first, such as setting up an interview with a United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement official. It also means that a number of documents will be necessary in order for the application to be made. These documents can be divided into things that are absolutely required and things that students should keep on hand just in case.

Two factors to consider when filing a family immigration petition

Here at Ronzio & Associates, we have been asked by many people how family members from another country can be brought to the U.S. For most of those people, the answer lies in filing a family immigration petition, which is a request to the U.S. government to issue a green card or a visa to the family member in question. That petition may be successful depending on two factors: required documentation and your relationship to the family member.

Documentation is necessary for a family immigration petition to be made. According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs, this includes completed forms from a medical examination, two 2x2 photographs, a passport or passports that will be valid for at least 60 days past the immigration visa’s expiration date and civil documents. This can include birth or marriage certificates or visa interview transcripts. Several forms are necessary as well, such as DS-260 or Affidavit of Support forms like I-864 EZ, I-864W or I-864A.

How can I file for a marriage-based visa?

In accordance with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a marriage-based visa can be applied for as long as one of the spouses is either a citizen or a green card holder in the United States. However, the application process may differ depending on whether the U.S. spouse is a citizen or a permanent resident. There are also different guidelines in place for foreign spouses who are living outside of the U.S. and foreign spouses who already live in the country.

For people who are citizens of the U.S. with a spouse who is living outside of the country, Form I-130, otherwise known as the Petition for Alien Relative, is the document that needs to be filed for consular processing. Information in regards to processing or notification will be provided by the embassy of the out-of-country spouse. For citizens who have a spouse living in the U.S. on less permanent terms, such as through a temporary visa or asylum, the Application to Register Permanent Residence, or Form I-485, will need to be filed alongside Form I-130.

What should you do if you want to apply for U.S. citizenship?

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, naturalization can be a somewhat lengthy undertaking. However, getting started on the application process can be made less daunting by dividing pre-application preparations up into different sections. The segments can include:

  • Making sure all requirements are met and double-checked

Legal action taken against supposed deportation mill

The immigration community in Los Angeles may have heard recently about the increase in speed that the deportation system has developed recently. Due to this, strong deportation defense may be more important to immigrants than ever.

As a result, a coalition of lawyers is now fighting against what one person has called a “deportation mill”. Rather than giving immigrants a chance to argue their case for asylum, many have claimed that the women and children from Central America have been moved through the immigration system as quickly as possible. In doing so, it can be argued that their rights to a lawyer and fair trial are not being honored.

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