what does an immigration lawyer do

What Does an Immigration Lawyer Do?

Legal AssistantBusiness Law, Immigration Law Leave a Comment

People have moved to the United States for several reasons, including to join their families, to seek safety and refuge from war, natural disasters, violence, and to work. When they do make the move, there are several forms that they will run into to stay, work, or live in the United States.

Immigration Lawyers

Compared to other lawyers, the role of immigration lawyers is unique. Many immigration lawyers spend their hours helping persons who are having trouble dealing with the requirements of immigration.

Immigration lawyers are typically considered a counselor or advisor to foreign citizens, immigrants, and illegal aliens who must interact with the US immigration authorities. Immigration lawyers provide guidance and advice on matters such as deportation issues, green cards, naturalization and citizenship, and employment for those who are not citizens.

Immigration lawyers don’t spend a lot of their time handling civil disputes in court. Instead, they work as mediators between immigration authorities and clients such as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Immigration lawyers, unlike other lawyers, don’t find themselves standing before immigration judges. They only do so if a client has to go before the immigration court for a hearing. Several immigration lawyers also deal with matters involving the interaction between criminal and immigration laws.

With all of the immigration reform going on, it’s important to discuss your options with an immigration lawyer so that you know what forms and visas you need to file out to work or live in the United States. They can also help you check on your immigration status during the entire process.

There are several things that an immigration lawyer can do for you, including helping you with:

N-400 Form

Form N-400 – Application for Naturalization – is a government form that is used by green card holders who are ready to apply for citizenship after meeting eligibility requirements. Filling out this form is the first step to becoming an American citizen.

Only those who have satisfied eligibility requirements for naturalization can file form N-400. In general, you must have had a green card for five years (three if you’re married to a US citizen) and at least 18 years old – unless you’re applying based on qualifying military service.

i765 and H1B Visa

The Form i765 is a request for an Employment Authorization Document, more commonly known as a work permit. You will need to fill this form out if you’ll be in the United States temporarily and need a job.

This is not the same thing as a green card! A green card is evidence of your status as a Lawful Permanent Resident. You can get an Employment Authorization Document while you’re waiting for your green card, but it only permits you to work short-term or seasonal jobs.

An H1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa for temporary workers. To be eligible for this visa, you must have had an employer offer you a job in the US, and then you can apply for your H1B visa with the US Immigration Department.

The H1B visa is valid for three years and can be extended up to six years. There are several H1B visa requirements you must meet before you are eligible for one:

  1. You must have a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree (or the foreign equivalent).This can be bypassed with at least 12 years of specialized work experience
  2. The degree requirement for the job is typical of the job.For instance, an M.D. for a surgeon
  3. The work must be one that requires a professional in a specialty occupation
  4. You must possess deep knowledge in the required field
  5. The employer must demonstrate the lack of qualified US applicants for the position

Green Card Renewal

US green cards are identity cards that are given to lawful permanent residents. Those who have green cards are allowed to emigrate to the United States and stay there as long as they like – it’s a basic requirement for moving to the United States.

In the past, green cards didn’t need to be renewed, but with new immigration reform laws, they now do. To renew your green card, you should submit a renewal application within six months leading up to your green card expiration; this gives the USCIS time to process your application.

To renew your green card, you must submit the form I-90. An immigration lawyer can help you fill out this form.

Student Visa

A student visa is an endorsement that is added to a passport that governments issue to a student who is enrolled at qualified educational institutions. Student visas don’t require the holder to obtain citizenship and are available to prospective students who are seeking higher education in another country. They last as long as you’re in school, typically four years, after that you need to apply for citizenship or leave the United States.


The asylum definition is “the protection granted by a nation to someone who has left their native country as a political refugee.” Every year people come to the US seeking asylum for fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, and political opinion.

When found eligible for asylum, you may be allowed to stay in the United States. To apply for asylum, form I-589 must be filed within one year of arrival to the United States. This form is also known as the Application for Asylum and Withholding Removal and there is no fee to do this.

As you can see, there are many things that immigration lawyers can help you with – especially when it comes down to all of the forms that you might encounter. No matter your problem, if you reach out to an immigration lawyer, they’ll be able to help you figure out how to resolve the issue.


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