An Overview of the Immigration Process

The Fundamentals of U.S. Immigration Law

If you are a foreign national, seeking entry into the United States, permanent resident status, citizenship, or looking to protect your status as a resident, the entire process can be very confusing. This page provides a general overview of how the immigration process works in the United States. To discuss your specific concerns with an experienced Dallas immigration lawyer, contact Bailey & Galyen or call our offices at one of the numbers listed below. Se habla español.

For more specific information about immigration matters, see the following pages:

An Overview of the Immigration Process

The essential aspects of the immigration process include

  • Immigrant and non-immigrant visas
  • Citizenship and naturalization
  • Removal or deportation

Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visas — Under U. S. immigration laws, you may apply for permanent or temporary residency status.

  • Permanent residency status is generally available based on a family or work relationship. Family-based visas are available to children, spouses of U.S. citizens or residents, parents of siblings or U.S. citizens only. Employment-based visas are available for a broad range of occupations and professions, but customarily require that the employer obtain a labor certification with the U.S. Department of Labor. You may also seek permanent resident status based on investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States.
  • Temporary or non-immigrant visas are granted to people who seek entry into America for a specific purpose, and include student visas, exchange visas, transit visas, intra-company transfers, and other temporary work visas.

You may seek to change your status from temporary to permanent, and may also seek to extend the term of your visa.

Citizenship and Naturalization — If you have lived in America for five years (or three years if married), you may be eligible to have all rights as a citizen. You must demonstrate an ability to read, write and speak English and must pass a U.S. history and civics exam. Because you must also be "of good moral character," certain criminal convictions may prevent you from obtaining citizenship.

Deportation or Removal Proceedings — If, as a foreign national, you violate state or federal laws in the United States, or the terms of your visa, the Department of Homeland Security can seek to have you deported from the United States. If deported, you may be prevented from ever returning, even to visit.

Contact Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston Attorneys for Immigration Visas

We can also answer your questions regarding:

  • The diversity lottery
  • Dual citizenship
  • Asylum and refugee status
  • The PERM process
  • Visa waivers

Contact a Dallas immigration lawyer online or call us at one of the numbers listed below for a consultation no matter where you live in the United States.

Dallas: 972-362-5532
Ft. Worth: 817-438-2141
Houston: 832-447-2870