Are you in or out of status? Under the US immigration law, the term “status” refers to one’s legal position in terms of his/her presence in any of the United States of America. Within this law, there are a couple of ways that you can land a valid status in the US. Among them is by:
1. Taking a nonimmigrant visa
This is usually a temporary visa with a finite validity period, which the Department of Immigration issues you for specific purposes such as study, visiting, tourism or on certain types of employment.
2. Applying for an asylee or refugee
If you are already in the US and are unwilling to return to your native country from a well-founded threat to your life or freedom, you can apply for an asylee status; or as a refugee if you are applying from outside the United States.
3. Applying for Green Card
Within this status, you are legally in the US for an infinite period of time as you pursue legal activities, such as working for any employer or studying in an educational institution in the US.
4. Applying for Citizenship
While in this status, the law allows you all the rights of permanent citizenry, including the right to vote. You cannot lose this status by committing criminal acts or through abandonment, except when a court of law determines that you entered the US without inspection (EWI), or revokes your status based on disloyalty to your service to the US,
Except for citizenship, you can lose other statuses once you stay past the expiration date, by committing criminal acts or by violating the legal terms to your being in status, such as working for an employer while with an H-1 visa instead of for an H-1 petitioning employer; or when you engage in criminal activities.
At times, it could seem difficult finding your way, single-handledly, through this maze of immigration law. Contact a legal consultant in Provo to help you determine and better understand your immigration status.