Jeffrey Y. Bennett Law provides personal service and professional consultation and representation for immigration, probate, family law, business law, traffic/DUI/DWI, and LGBT issues.
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One of Missouri’s Most Trusted Immigration Attorneys 816-759-2776
Helping Kansas City clients with immigration visas, green cards, political asylum, naturalization and other immigration services
Many people dream of coming to the United States in search of better lives, to be with family members, and to take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by living in America. Immigrating to the United States can be complex, with strict regulations and numerous deadlines. In addition, immigration laws change on a frequent basis, making it challenging for many people who may be overwhelmed by the amount of effort and knowledge required to complete the immigration process.
With so much at stake, it is essential that anyone seeking to immigrate to the United States should retain the services of a trusted and experienced immigration attorney.
For many years, people in the greater Kansas City area have relied upon Jeffrey Y. Bennett to provide them outstanding immigration legal counsel, helping them to gain and enjoy legal status in a variety of ways.
Through his extensive travels and work in Southeast Asia, Mr. Bennett is familiar and sensitive to cross-cultural issues regarding immigration affairs including language, customs, and business practices that must be considered as part of any immigration action.
Mr. Bennett can assist clients with a variety of immigration situations:
Naturalization is the legal process that allows a foreign citizen to become a United States citizen. The path to citizenship is administered by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship, and Immigration Services. There are a series of steps and requirements that a person must follow to become a naturalized citizen, and the process can take several years. Those requirements include:
- Be at least 18 years old at the time they file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- Be a permanent resident of the United States for at least three or five years. (Three years if you are still married to the US citizen spouse who petitioned for you originally or five years in all other circumstances) This means they have had a “Green Card” for that amount of time, and they must be able to show continuous residence in the U.S. for at least more than one half of the time required for one to wait before being able to apply) immediately proceeding the date of filing Form N-400.
- Show that they have lived at least three months in the state or USCIS district where they are applying.
- Be able to speak and write basic English
- Have a basic understanding of U.S. government and history
- Be a person of good moral character, especially within the last five years preceding one’s application for naturalization, and demonstrate a belief in the principles of the U.S. Constitution.
- Not have any deportable criminal convictions
Jeffrey Y. Bennett Law has helped many people determine if they are eligible to apply; assisted them with their Form N-400 application; and has coached them through the English and civics tests, and a final interview that are all part of the naturalization process.
Green Cards (Lawful Permanent Resident Status)
One of the key steps to citizenship is obtaining a “green card” or lawful permanent resident status. A green card provides proof that the non-citizen cardholder is a permanent resident of the United States and has been granted certain benefits, including permission to live and work in the country. A green card also allows holders to apply for a social security card, apply for a driver’s license, attend public schools and colleges, and in some cases join some branches of the U.S. military. However, a green card holder may NOT vote in any US elections. Unless a person obtained a green card through a US citizen spouse and they are still married to that citizen, a person must be a green card holder for a minimum of five years before they can apply for U.S. citizenship.
Mr. Bennett assists clients in obtaining green cards in a variety of situations. Most people who obtain green cards are sponsored by a family member or an employer in the United States. US citizens may sponsor spouses, children under age 21, adult sons or daughters, parents, and siblings, but lawful permanent resident sponsors can only petition spouses, children, and adult sons and daughters. Employment-based green cards are issued based on a tiered ranking system. Preference is given to priority workers, including multinational executives and professors; followed by members of professions holding advanced degrees; skilled workers; those in special categories; and then investors and entrepreneurs.
Because there is only a limited number of green cards issued each year in some categories, making sure that your application is completed correctly and that your information is compelling and correct is essential for the best possible chance at being issued a green card. Mr. Bennett’s many years of experience means that he understands what it will take to ensure your personal narrative and your information are given the best possible consideration.
Foreign nationals who want to enter the United States must generally obtain a visa. There are two kinds of visas.
Immigrant visas are for those people seeking to start on the path to legal permanent status and eventually become citizens. Aliens living outside of the United States can apply for an immigrant visa at a consular office in the country where they currently live. Once issued, they can come to the U.S. and become legal immigrants. Aliens who already live in the U.S. including undocumented immigrants, foreign students, refugees, and others may either file an application for adjustment of status with USCIS or through a complicated process of consular processing which may require waivers of inadmissibility or deportability based on past criminal history, unlawful presence in the United States, or past deportation history. Immigration attorney Jeffrey Y. Bennett has not only helped family members and employers obtain permanent residency for their beneficiaries but also for persons who are willing to make considerable investment of money under the EB-5 investor visa program.
Non-immigrant visas are generally related to securing documentation that will allow aliens to come to the United States for work or education purposes, or for those who want to visit the country as tourists or business travelers. There are several main categories of non-immigrant visas, each with its own requirements.
In many cases, documentation can be extensive to demonstrate eligibility. However, immigration attorney Jeffrey Y. Bennett has a deep understanding of the non-immigrant visa process and has assisted numerous clients with all types of employer-related visas, including B1/B2, H1-B Visas, H2B, H-3, O, P-1A, Q, R-1, S, T, U, and V visas.
Family sponsored and employer sponsored visa applications both involve many steps and several submissions. This complicated process can take several months, if not years, depending on each unique situation. Part of the reason for the length of time is that the United States caps the number of visas issued each year as well as overseeing a complicated system of issuing visas by country within that framework.
Asylum and Withholding of Removal
Due to the nature and immediacy of most political asylum immigration cases, they are often given priority by the federal government. However, there are several other enumerated categories for basing an asylum or withholding of removal claim. When seeking asylum, a person must be able to show that they are or will be persecuted in their country of origin based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, or due to their political beliefs. If you fall into any of these categories, you must apply for asylum within one year of entering the United States with a few minor exceptions to this rule. If you are granted asylum, you will be allowed to stay in the United States and one year after it is granted you will be able to apply for a green card. Withholding of Removal is similar type of claim as asylum however there are no filing deadlines, but one has to be in removal (deportation proceedings) before one can apply for this benefit. In addition, the amount of proof is much higher to win on a withholding of removal claim as compared to an asylum claim. An asylum claim can be submitted regardless if one is in removal proceedings or not.
Jeffrey Y. Bennett is a member of the Missouri & Kansas Bar, and is licensed to practice in the State of Missouri and the U.S. District Court, the State of Kansas and the U.S. District Court of Kansas, and the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District.
Contact Mr. Bennett at 816-759-2776 for more information or to schedule a personal consultation regarding your immigration issues.
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