As a foreign citizen, if you want to make San Francisco your permanent home, you will need to get an immigrant visa. This is the first step to obtaining permanent residency and living in the United States legally. The process is quite complicated. For this reason, it’s advisable to seek the services of an immigration lawyer in San Francisco.


Do you really need an immigration lawyer in San Francisco?

Legally speaking, you don’t need an immigration lawyer. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services requires you to choose an agent to represent you, but that agent can be anyone, including you. So, while working with an immigration lawyer in San Francisco might not be mandatory, it’s definitely smart. Here’s why.

Figuring out the right visa to apply for

Did you know that there are multiple types of immigrant visas? The type of visa you apply for will depend on your particular circumstances. If you apply for the wrong one, you could end up having your petition delayed by years or even rejected. While there are multiple types of visas, the main categories are family-based, employment-based, and humanitarian-based immigration visas. Some of the most popular in the San Francisco, Sacramento and South Bay Areas are:

  • EB2-NIW (National Interest Waiver)
  • EB1-A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability)
  • EB1-B (Outstanding Researcher/Professor)
  • PERM (Labor Certification)
  • I-485 Green Card/Adjustment of Status

Family-based immigration visas

With family-based immigration, a U.S. citizen can submit an application for their spouse, child, parent, or sibling. A permanent U.S. resident also has the right to petition for a visa for their spouse or unmarried child. Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities. It’s also important to note that the person petitioning for their relative must prove the nature of the relationship but must also agree to financially support the person they are petitioning for.

However, just because there’s a familial relationship, there’s no guarantee the visa will be granted. The application process for a family visa involves multiple other factors, including a limit on the number of such visas issued every year.

An experienced immigration lawyer in San Francisco can help you with the paperwork for a family-based immigrant visa, thereby increasing your chances of a positive outcome.

Employment-based immigration visas

Getting an employment-based visa is complicated. You have to figure out the correct category to apply under, convince your potential employer to file an I-140 Petition for Alien Worker with the USCIS and so on.

In some cases, you can even file the petition yourself, but you have to qualify. While the USCIS specifies the conditions, such as being a person with extraordinary ability or an internationally acclaimed researcher, it can be difficult to determine if you fit the bill.
researcher looking through a microscope
A good immigration lawyer can guide you throughout the whole process, including helping you determine if you can file the petition yourself to get a US work visa.

Humanitarian immigration

The United States allows people to immigrate based on various humanitarian reasons. For example, fear of persecution or being the victim of domestic violence are two of the reasons for which someone can apply for a humanitarian-based immigration visa.

U.S. immigration law provides for quite a few other situations in which someone can immigrate for humanitarian reasons.

Unfortunately, the legal framework is quite complex, which is why it’s usually a good idea to seek the services of an attorney. They can explain your options, provide you with solutions for your circumstances, and represent you in court if necessary. This may involve filling out a I-131 Parole form to be considered by a USCIS officer.


Moving with your family

If you’re going to be moving to San Francisco, you naturally want to bring your family over with you. Leaving your spouse and children behind is certainly not an option.

You’re prepared to prove that you can look after your family from a financial standpoint and already know how you’re going to secure accommodation. The last thing you need is more stress in your relocation process, so you’ll be working with a company like Blueground.

They offer stunning apartments in some of the best locations in San Francisco. Blueground fully furnishes and equips their apartments to best in class standards. Plus, Blueground’s website allows you to quickly secure the apartment online with no hassle before arriving in San Francisco. For foreigners, just a valid passport is required to book an apartment — similar to checking in at a hotel, there are no visa or proof of residency requirements. When renting a furnished apartment over a hotel as a family, you will have the privacy of your own home complete with a fully-equipped kitchen, private laundry facilities and enclosed bedrooms for parents and kids.

Now, you just need to figure out exactly how you’re going to sort out the paperwork for your family. The situation would be easier if you had already been granted permanent residency, of course, but you think it might be a better idea for all of you to apply at the same time.
a family at the airport
The fact is that it might actually be a better idea to get your permanent residency first, depending on your particular circumstances. However, for someone with no experience in the system or an in-depth understanding of immigration law, making the right choice can be difficult.

An immigration lawyer in San Francisco, however, can analyze your situation and come up with the best solution for your particular circumstances. They can also help with the paperwork and represent you in court if it’s ever required. Plus, you can’t overlook the fact that having someone knowledgeable in your corner will make the process far less stressful.


Representing you in Immigration Court

Something might have gone wrong and you are facing removal proceedings. Or, your application may have been rejected and you want to appeal the decision.

When you are facing such stressful situations, an immigration lawyer can be worth their weight in gold. Not only can they advise you on the best course of action, but they can argue your case in front of a judge far more effectively than you could.
courtroom in san francisco
If you don’t know immigration law intimately, you could end up talking yourself into a worse situation.  Conversely, an immigration lawyer will know just what to say to improve the odds of you getting a positive result.


Advising you after you receive your visa

An immigration lawyer in San Francisco can also provide you with a lot of help after you’ve received your visa. For example, there are specific laws and requirements that only apply to immigrants, which an attorney can advise you of.

At some point, you might also want to apply for citizenship. Applying for citizenship that has certain requirements you must fulfill. Having a lawyer on your side will definitely make things much easier for you.

In conclusion, if you want to live in the amazing city of SF, then your best bet is to hire an immigration lawyer in San Francisco. It will be an additional cost, but an attorney will make the immigration process far smoother. They will also improve your odds of a positive outcome.

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