Employment and Family Based Petitions in Immigration Law

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Immigration law defines a 'petition' as the situation when one party petitions for another party. That is, one individual files a petition on behalf of another individual or individuals with the express purpose of bringing the alien to the United States. Immigration law further defines petitions into two distinct categories: family based petitions and employment based petitions.

Now, some may wonder why certain individuals are allowed to file petitions for themselves. Well, that is a complete misnomer. Individuals who apply for immigrant status for them do not file petitions. They file applications. Furthermore, applicants cannot apply for a permanent immigration status unless they are applying for refugee or asylum status. Most applicants, as defined by immigration law, are temporary visas such as "Visitor for Pleasure," "Student," or "Visitor for Business" among others. These applications entail a fairly simple process to file.

However, immigration law petitions involve a fairly more complex process that can vary from situation to situation in terms of how much information is needed to process and how much criteria needs to be met in order for approval. This is understandable as they result in a permanent status which is a significant benefit the United States bestows upon citizens of foreign countries.

Under immigration law, in order to file a family based petition, the petitioner must be either a lawful permanent resident or a US citizen or national. Immigration law also limits the specific relatives that may be petitioned for. Those relatives include spouses, children (biological, step and adoptive), parents, and brothers and sisters. Certain relatives such as aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc may not be petitioned for as they are excluded under immigration law. Furthermore, even those who can be petitioned for may be required to follow certain additional criteria. For example, an adoptive child may only be petitioned for in the adoption was processed and completed prior to the child turning sixteen years of age.

Under employment based petitions, an employer will petition to bring an employee into the United States for purposes of working for the employer. This is a fairly tricky category even by the complex standards of immigration law as the person being petitioned for is theoretically taking an American citizen's job, so the employer must so extenuating circumstances as to why an alien is required for the job. An example of this would be "Alien of Extraordinary Ability" which would be the manner that a sports team would petition for a professional athlete or an educational institution for a renowned professor.

Immigration law is some of the most complex forms of modern law. Our lawyers have years of experience in guiding people throughout all the stages of an immigration case, and we will handle your case with the delicacy and compassion it deserves. Contact us today.
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