U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Immigration/Naturalization/Visas

An individual who is not a citizen or national of the United States must be permitted legal entry when traveling to the United States. The Department of State is responsible for issuing visas, which is a permit to apply to enter the United States. Once in the United States, the traveler falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS). The USCIS handles everything from immigrant status to naturalization of qualified applicants for U.S. citizenship.

Many of the inquiries my office receives generally relate to questions or problems concerning the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, receiving visits from friends or relatives from foreign countries, and renewal of visas or green cards. If you are having a specific problem that you have been unable to resolve with a federal agency and need assistance, please print out my Authorization Form and fax or mail it to my office.

Visas and Entry into the United States
A visa allows an individual of a foreign country to travel to the United States as far as the port of entry (airport or land border crossing). At the port of entry an immigration officer has the authority to permit the traveler to enter the United States.

The traveler applies for a visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy located in their country. There are two categories of U.S. visas - immigrant visas, for people who intend to live permanently in the U.S., and Nonimmigrant visas, for people who wish to be in the U.S. on a temporary basis for a specific purpose. U.S. visa policy permits citizens of certain countries to travel to the U.S. without a visa.

Relevant Links
Visa Information
Permanent Immigrant Visas
Non-Permanent/Temporary Visitor Visas
Visa Application Forms
Visa Waiver Program
ID and Entry for Foreign Nationals
US-Visit (Department of Homeland Security)

Immigrant/Permanent Residency
An immigrant is someone who is not a U.S. citizen but has been authorized to permanently live and work in the United States . To become an immigrant, an individual must go through a three-step process.

A Permanent Resident Card, commonly known as a Green Card, is evidence of your status as a lawful permanent resident with a right to live and work permanently in the United States . The Permanent Resident Card is also called Form I-551.

Relevant Links
How to Get an Immigrant Visa Number
U.S. Department of State National Visa Center
Immigration thru a Family Member
A Guide for New Immigrants
Green Cards
Emergency Travel

Non-Immigrant/Temporary Visitors
A nonimmigrant is a foreign national seeking to enter the United States temporarily for a specific purpose. Non-immigrants enter the U.S. for a temporary period of time, and once in the U.S are restricted to the activity or reason for which their visa was issued.

Relevant Links
USCIS Temporary Visitors Information
Foreign Nationals Entering the U.S. as a Fiance to a U.S. Citizen
Students and Exchange Visitors

Naturalization and Citizenship
Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

A citizen of the United States is a native-born, foreign-born, or naturalized person who owes allegiance to the United States and who is entitled to its protection. In addition to the naturalization process, the U.S. recognizes the U.S. citizenship of individuals according to two fundamental principles: jus soli, or right of birthplace, and jus sanguinis, or right of blood. Certain individuals born outside the U.S. are born citizens because of their parents, according to the principle of jus sanguinis (which holds that the country of citizenship of a child is the same as that of his/her parents).

Relevant Links
Naturalization
A Guide to Naturalization
USCIS Office of Citizenship
Citizenship and Nationality (State Department)

Tools - USCIS Citizenship and Immigration Services
National Customer Service Center
Processing Dates for Applications or Petitions
Finding the Status of Your Case

The USCIS automated information line is available 24 hours a day. The number is: 1-800-767-1833. If you have an emergency, or can’t get the help you need from these resources, I might be able to help. However, I will need your written permission to help with most USCIS matters. You can download my Authorization Form and fax it or mail it to my office.


How can I find out the status of my paperwork with the USCIS?