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Do You Know And Understand Your Immigration Status?

An Attorney Can Help You Determine Your Immigration Status And Rights

No matter how long you’ve been in the United States or how much immigration paperwork you’ve filled out, chances are, the process is still confusing. It is all too easy to get lost in the deadlines, forms, steps, and fees of various immigration applications, losing track of what you need to do, when, and why.

As a result, many people in Florida do not fully understand their immigration status, its limits, and what they must do to maintain it. This puts them at risk of being removed from the country and separated from loved ones. To avoid this happening and stay on top of your immigration status, it is vital to work with an attorney throughout your immigration process.

When you meet with our team, we can look at your immigration file and paperwork to help you understand your immigration status and what you can do with it.

Step 1: What Is My Current Immigration Status

Whether you have recently arrived in the US or have been living and working here for years, knowing your immigration status is vital if you want to continue living and working in the United States. Unfortunately, this is not made easy by the complexity of the process and the variety and similarity of many of the terms used by immigration services.

This confusion can start from the minute you set foot in the US, as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses several different terms to specify an individual’s status in the United States.

Depending on how you arrived, when you arrived, under what conditions, and with what authorizations you immigrated to the United States, you will likely fall into one of the following categories or labels:

  • EWI (Entrant Without Inspection),

  • Visa entrant,

  • Overstay,

  • Permanent resident,

  • Green card holder,

  • Lawful permanent resident,

  • Resident aliens.

Each of these carries different implications for your legal status, rights, and options for future immigration status applications and options.

Step 2: What Does My Immigration Status Mean For Me?

Every year, hundreds or even thousands of Florida residents discover that their immigration status is not what they thought it was. This can be due to expiring visas, missed deadlines, or automatic changes.

Yet, every year, even more residents of Miami, Orlando, Clewiston, or other Florida cities find that though they are aware of their status and its official label, they do not understand its implications.

Unfortunately, It’s important to understand what your visa, green card, or lack thereof, allows and does not allow you to do. Operating outside the terms of your status—even unintentionally—can be grounds for removal and prevent you from entering the United States again.

Even putting aside such drastic consequences, in the United States, your immigration status can impact all sorts of other rights, responsibilities, options, and everyday decisions and restrictions.

Because of how pervasive immigration and citizenship status are in the US, knowing your immigration status can help you when

  • Applying for a driver's license,

  • Applying for state identification cards

  • Accepting or applying for a job,

  • Filling out school applications,

  • Getting a bank account,

  • Trying to get a loan.

The last thing you need is to be turned down at such a crucial moment, or worse, have to start everything over under a different procedure. If you are aware of your status and how it can impact all these everyday needs and procedures, you can often find ways to take it into consideration, plan for it, work around it, or explore alternatives.

An immigration attorney, in addition to helping you identify your status in the first place, will work with you to help you understand these implications and restrictions. We can also help you figure out what to do next to improve or finalize your status.

Step 3: What Should I Do About My Immigration Status?

One of the most difficult parts of not knowing and understanding your immigration status is not knowing what to do about it. A lack of clarity and understanding can lead to a feeling of hopelessness or helplessness, which can, in turn, lead to a lack of action, which creates even more problems.

It is a pattern repeated every day in Florida, but it is one you can break.

The single most important reason to work with an immigration attorney to identify and understand your status is because that is often the only way of figuring out what to do next. No matter what your status is or what you think your status might be, there is always something you can, and probably should, be doing about it.

With the help of an experienced immigration attorney, you will not just be able to take your immigration status into account when making decisions but also actively pursue steps to secure and improve your status.

What Should I Do Now If I Do Not Know Or Understand My Immigration Status?

The complexities of the immigration process leave many in Florida unsure of where they fit in the system and what their rights are. If you or one of your family members are unsure of their immigration status, the worst thing you can do is nothing.

The best thing you can do is to contact an immigration lawyer as soon as possible to get a grasp on your status, its consequences, and what to do about it. Contact Serving Immigrants, Inc. now to schedule an appointment.

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