By Lola Fajemirokun
So you want to move to the USA (legally)? Here are a few do’s and dont’s you should keep in mind:
Remember contact a lawyer before making any decision.
- Do not come in on a visiting visa if you intend to go to school or work in the USA. It is difficult to change from visiting status to any other status and approval is not guaranteed
- Do not overstay: Even if you have a 2 year visa you can only stay for 6 months at a stretch or 6 months through out the year however you want to spread it out. Overstaying could mean you getting turned back at the point of entry when next you try to get into the country
- Do not believe any hear say: When confused contact the US immigration via phone and they will tell you everything you need to know.
- Do not assume having a lawyer means all your paperwork will be approved: A lawyer can promise you heaven and earth but remember he has absolutely no bearing on the decision that will be made by the immigration office
- Do not assume long time residents of the USA know all the immigration laws. You could get stirred in the wrong direction very quickly.
- Know the law for yourself. www.uscis.gov has all the information you need, for immigration, including contact numbers.
- Have a plan: Why exactly do you want to move to the USA? As opposed to many believe money does not grow on trees in the USA, you need to work to survive so have a clear plan on what business you want to start, what school you want to attend, what state do you want to live etc. Aside from the immigration aspect, find out if what you want to do within the country is viable.
- Understand the difference between a US Citizen and a Permanent Resident. As a Permanent Resident you have to be in the country for at least 6 months in a year if not your status can be revoked.
- Understand that the US government will keep an extensive record or all your activities (employment, school, etc)
- Know the importance of always being in good immigration standing. If you are deported you cannot come back in for 10 years.
- Know that your status can be revoked if you commit a crime.