What Types of Immigration Cases Do Lawyers Handle?

Immigration attorneys can handle different types of immigration cases, including employment- or family-based immigration.

Young woman holding an American flag with trees in the background. types of immigration cases

For help handling your immigration case, call the attorneys at The Law Offices of Cheng, Cho, & Yee, PC. at 312-853-3088. We can determine what options are available to you and help you pursue them.

Types of Immigration Cases

There are two primary types of immigration cases that lawyers can handle, including employment-based and family-based cases. These are the most popular paths that immigrants take to gain lawful permanent residency in the U.S., but each case has its own eligibility criteria and other requirements to complete the immigration process.

How Family-Based Immigration Works

If you choose to go through family-based immigration, you will have a relative who is a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or American citizen sponsor you as you complete the immigration process.

To apply for family-based visas, sponsors will need to complete Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Sponsors can fill out this form to sponsor one or more relatives to immigrate to the U.S.

You will also need to prove your relationship with the sponsor, whether you are the sponsor’s spouse, parent, child, or another relative.

How Employment-Based Immigration Works

If you can’t enter the country with a relative as your sponsor, you may be able to enter the country with an employment-based visa.

This process begins when an employer in the U.S. decides to hire a non-U.S. citizen as an employee. The employer would offer a job to an immigrant worker, starting with a prevailing wage determination (PWD) request that goes through the U.S. Department of Labor. If no other American-based workers qualify for the job or want to fill the position, immigrant workers will be able to apply for a work visa.

However, this process can take up to 180 days before the government approves the employer’s permanent labor certification program (PERM) application. After approval of this application, prospective employees will then need to wait until they can apply for the appropriate available visa.

Finally, the worker would file a green card application to become an LPR in the U.S.

Why Hire an Immigration Lawyer

Whether you want to enter the country on an employment-based or family-based visa, you will need to go through the complete immigration process to enter the country legally. Even if the process appears straightforward, there are complexities that could make it challenging to navigate your case.

Even the seemingly smallest errors could compromise your ability to enter the country legally, and you may also need help determining which immigration status to achieve.

For help with your immigration case in Chicago, consider consulting an immigration legal services attorney. An experienced attorney who knows how to handle these types of cases will give you much-needed advice and guidance as you pursue your case.

Your lawyer will:

Accurately Complete and File All Paperwork

Immigration cases will require you to complete various forms and submit supporting documentation, including passports, birth certificates, and court records, among others.

Gathering and putting all of this documentation together can be daunting, especially when you have so many documents to obtain and collect. You must also ensure all information on your application forms is correct and up to date, or you could face issues or denial during the immigration process.

An attorney will be able to help complete all paperwork and verify all information, keeping your documents accurate. He or she will also be able to help you determine which forms to complete based on whether you’re applying for a family or worker visa.

Apply for Change of Status as Needed

Not all immigrants entering the U.S. will want to be an LPR, or eventually a citizen. Some may want to enter the country temporarily as conditional residents or non-immigrants.

There are four types of immigration statuses in the U.S., including:

  • Non-Immigrants: These individuals enter the country legally on a temporary basis, with visas allowing them to live and work in the country for a limited time. These individuals could include workers in the country on B1 or B2 visas, along with K-1 fiancée visa holders and others who don’t intend to become permanent residents.
  • Conditional and Permanent Residents: You could also become either a conditional or lawful permanent resident. Conditional residents enter the country with a green card after they’ve been married for two years, with the ability to eventually remove the condition to become permanent residents. Meanwhile, LPRs have the ability to live and work permanently in the U.S. without the restrictions of a conditional resident.
  • Undocumented Immigrants: These are individuals who enter the country without the government’s permission, preventing them from living and working in the U.S. legally. However, they could eventually become legal residents with the right steps.
  • Citizens: Following the naturalization process, immigrants can become American citizens. These individuals will never face deportation unless their citizenship is determined to be fraudulent, and they will receive the same government benefits as American-born citizens.

Depending on what kind of immigration status you want, an attorney can point you in the right direction. For instance, if you are currently a non-immigrant but want to become a U.S. citizen, your lawyer could put you on the path to citizenship and help ensure you meet all eligibility criteria.

Answer Questions You Have About Immigration

If you’re new to the immigration process and need help navigating it, you likely have many questions about your case and immigration law in general.

When consulting with an immigration attorney, you’ll have the opportunity to hear about common immigration myths debunked and other information that can help you determine what steps to take for your case. Even if you don’t wind up with an attorney representing you, you can walk away with more details and confidence before beginning the immigration process.

It’s important to know what to ask an immigration lawyer to get the information you need. Asking the right questions can also help you determine if the attorney is a good fit for you and your case.

Help With Various Immigration Issues

If you face removal or deportation, or if you experience any other challenges while navigating the immigration process, an attorney will work with you to prevent these issues from impacting you.

Depending on the nature of your case, you may be able to have an attorney represent you and fight on your behalf. For example, he or she can appear before an immigration judge and make a compelling argument regarding why you should not undergo removal or deportation.

Ultimately, it’s best to hire an immigration lawyer if you want to increase your chances of succeeding with your case and simplify the immigration process.

How to Decide Which Type of Visa Is the Best for You

The type of visa you apply for in your case will depend on your sponsor and the specific nature of your immigration into the U.S.

For instance, if you want to have a relative sponsor you when entering the country, you would apply for one of the following visa categories:

  • F1 visas for unmarried adult children of American citizens
  • F2A visas for minor children or spouses of LPRs or green card recipients
  • F3 visas for married children of American citizens
  • F4 visas for siblings of American citizens

Meanwhile, employment-based immigrants may want to seek H-1B visas for specialty occupations or other visa types based on their prospective position. Students, on the other hand, would apply for an F-1 visa to attend an academic program.

There are many visa categories to apply for, making it potentially confusing to determine which is best for your situation.

If you need help with deciding on the ideal visa, this is another key area where an immigration attorney can help. The right lawyer will review your case and situation and connect you with the right visa. He or she can then gather all the necessary paperwork to ensure you can successfully apply for this visa.

Find the Right Immigration Lawyer for Your Case

Whether you’re in need of help navigating the immigration process or deportation defense, having the right lawyer by your side can mean the difference between succeeding and failing in an immigration case. An attorney will help you determine which type of immigration case to pursue and assist with the entire process from initial application to receiving your green card.

For help from an experienced Chicago immigration attorney, turn to the legal team at The Law Offices of Cheng, Cho, & Yee, PC. Contact us today to speak with an associate and learn how we may be able to help with your immigration case.