Immigration made Simple

1. What forms will I need to complete in order to establish a residency in the US?

If you are being sponsored by an employer, the employer will have to file an application with the Labor Department for a certification that there are no US workers available for the position he seeks for you to fill, then he will have to file a petition with USCIS to show he has the ability to pay you the wage offered and that you meet the basic qualifications for the job. Finally you will need to fill out a visaapplication form for submission to the US Embassy. If you are being sponsored by an immediate relative, your relative will have to file an immigrant visa petition with USCIS and when it is approved you will have to fill out a visa application form for submission to the US Embassy.

2.What are some of the biggest things that I will find different about US customs and traditions than those of my home country?

Thanksgiving and Halloween are unique US holidays. Halloween will probably be a culture shock. I remember a story told by an old friend that when he immigrated to the US he arrived in the US on Halloween and thought that all Americans walked around in crazy costumes. Most US customs are derived from our immigrants' home countries and many are religion based and family oriented. I think the biggest difference between US customs and holidays and those celebrated in other countries,is that in the US everything has become very commercialized and the true meaning of the customs/holidays are being lost.

3. Will I be expected to be Americanized or will I be accepted as a person from another country?

You will be accepted as a person from another country and culture as the US is made up of people from other cultures. Your children, however, will most likely seek to become Americanized once they attend school because it will be a way for them to fit in with their peers, not as a requirement but as their choice.

4. Will my children suffer from culture shock because of being put into a new school system?

At first they will be surprised at the lack of discipline and lack of respect that American school children have for their teachers. This goes on at all levels of public education and perhaps is a result of the litigious society in the US as teachers are afraid that disciplining students will subject them to lawsuits.

5. What are the big differences that I might notice in the American school system?

As stated above, the biggest difference will be lack of discipline and lack of respect for the teachers. Another big difference is that religion in school in the US is taboo, where in many other countries itis celebrated.

6. How difficult will it be for me to get a working permit?

It is very difficult. Generally, you can only obtain a working permit if you have an application for permanent residence pending or if you fit into one of the non-immigrant categories that allow employment in the US. These categories are severely restricted and subject to quotas.

7. If I get a green card because I am working for a certain employer, do I have to work for that employer for the remainder of my time in the country?

If you obtain a green card you must express your intent to remain in the US permanently. If you have a green card, you may work for anyone you choose. If you obtained your green card through employersponsorship, you are not required to remain with that employer for any specific length of time, but you must establish that your sponsorship was genuine and bona fide and not just for the purpose of obtaining a green card. Your actions in working or not working for the sponsoring employer will be considered, but you are not required to remain there forever.

8. How do I go about getting a Social Security number, and what is it?

When you have a work permit or green card you can apply for a social security number at the Social Security Administration. This is a number that all workers must have in order for wages to be reported and taxes withheld. You will need this number to file income taxes and although it is not an official ID, almost everything in the US is based on Social Security number. Health insurance, credit cards, all financial transactions, all require social security numbers.

9. Is there anything I can do to speed up the time it takes for the US to process my green card or visa?

That depends on the process. Some non-immigrant visas are eligible for expedited processing through the premium processing system where you pay an special fee to USCIS to guarantee faster adjudication. Green card processing, however, is not currently eligible for this premium process.

10. Am I going to need an attorney to help me through this process?

In most cases, yes. The laws and issues are complex and in most cases you will need an experienced immigration attorney to guide you through the process. Family cases are easier than employment cases and many people do family cases on their own. But there are many pitfalls and an error made on an application can have severe consequences. It is best to use an experienced attorney in all cases as the result you seek is too important to trust to chance.