Securing a visa to travel to or live in the United States is an incredible opportunity, and immigrants who choose to spend their time in Louisiana often enjoy everything the state has to offer. However, having a visa does not necessarily protect an individual from deportation. For people who want to be certain that they have the full rights of U.S. residency, here are some important highlights from U.S. immigration law.
The immigration system is notoriously slow in processing applications and renewals. Since immigrants should be aware of when their visas or green cards expire, it is a good idea to submit applications as early as possible. Once a person’s visa or green card has expired, he or she can be arrested and deported. Demonstrating that an individual has already submitted a request for renewal is not sufficient protection from these actions.
A better safeguard against removal from the United States is to become a naturalized citizen. The average person who has held a green card for a period of five years can usually apply for citizenship. If an immigrant has a spouse who is a citizen or if he or she obtained the green card because of marriage, the waiting period is only three years. Individuals who have citizenship are protected from a wider range of grounds for removal than those who only have green cards or visas.
An order of removal can be absolutely devastating for immigrants who have worked hard to build lives in Louisiana. Because of this, it is important to remain aware of deadlines, application wait times and expiration dates for visas and green cards. Although it may feel time-consuming or even exhausting, seeking further protections under U.S. immigration law — including citizenship — can be a worthwhile journey for most people.