Immigration & Naturalization Law
The Immigration Process
In this article
- What is a Port of Entry?
- Can I live and work in the U.S. if I have family living there?
- How long can I stay in the U.S. as a student?
- How do I apply to study in the U.S.?
- What is a motion to reopen?
- Can I use a motion to reopen to stay in the United States?
- Who can file a motion to reopen?
- How long do I have to file a motion to reopen?
- Can I file a motion to reopen if I’m outside the United States?
What is a Port of Entry?
You can enter the US through over 300 Ports of Entry (POE). A POE is any station: land, air or water, through which a person can enter the US. Immigration officials inspect all persons entering the US at a port of entry.
At the port of entry, an official must authorize the visitor’s admission to the U.S. At that time Form I94, Record of Arrival/Departure, which notes the length of stay permitted, is stamped. Those visitors who wish to stay beyond the time indicated on Form I94 must contact the USCIS to request Form I539, Application to Extend Status. The decision to grant or deny a request for extension of stay is made solely by the USCIS.
Only U.S. citizens or permanent resident relatives may sponsor the noncitizen for permanent residence. Only the following family-based groups are eligible to file for their noncitizen relative:
- Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (parents and spouses and sons/daughters over 21 years of age);
- Spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents;
- U.S. citizen brothers and sisters can file for their siblings.
Foreign nationals on a student visa are allowed to stay in the U.S for as long as the student is enrolled in a full-time educational program, and making progress toward completing the course of study. Once the program is finished, there is a 60 day grace period to allow the individual to depart the U.S.
If approved, students will be allowed to stay in the country up to twelve additional months beyond the completion of their studies to pursue practical training, (OPT).
You first must apply to study at a USCIS-approved school in the United States. When you contact a school that you are interested in attending, you should be told immediately if the school accepts foreign national students. If you are accepted, the school should give you USCIS Form I-20 A-B/ID (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status – for Academic and Language Students). If you require a visa, then you should take the USCIS Form I-20 to the nearest U.S. consulate to obtain a student visa. Only bring the USCIS Form I-20 from the school you plan on attending for visa processing at the U.S. consulate. You must also prove to the consulate that you have the financial resources required for your education and stay in the United States.
If a person within the United States has been denied citizenship, a visa, or other lawful means of staying in the country, they may be ordered to leave the U.S. At the point the removal order becomes final, that person has 90 days to file a motion to reopen. This filing reopens the person’s case and allows him or her the ability to introduce new evidence.
After a removal order becomes final, one of the only methods a person can use to argue their case is to file a motion to reopen. This allows the individual the right to introduce new evidence into their case. However, filing the motion to reopen may not necessarily prevent the person from being deported.
Individuals who wish to remain in the United States legally but have been ordered removed may file a motion to reopen. This allows the person the ability to present new evidence in their case.
Noncitizens of the U.S. have 90 days to file a motion to reopen after their removal order has been finalized if they wish to present new evidence in their case.
Yes, individuals who are residing outside the United States may file a motion to reopen within 90 days after the removal order becomes final.
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