During my law school, I helped my wife (then my fiancé) immigrate to the United States. I’m not yet a lawyer, nor have I taken any courses in international law or immigration. Unfortunately, financial circumstances forced me to do this work myself instead of hiring an experienced immigration attorney to assist me. That proves it can do it by itself. As a lawyer, I have assisted many people with immigration matters, from doing almost everything for them, sometimes just getting them to sign where I tell them, to reviewing work done by myself to provide limited advice due to my client’s Financial status. I provided the services they needed or were willing to pay for. While I’ve found many sites (including the official government site) to be very helpful, I wish I had gotten Ilona Bray’s “Making US Immigration Made Easy” by Attorney Ilona Bray while I was a law student and had my fiancé go This book will also be helpful when I assist clients with immigration matters, and I would recommend it to some of them who want to do more of the work themselves.
The cover of the book says it is the most complete immigration book ever written, at nearly 600 pages, which is probably true. I haven’t checked all the books available, but this is certainly a complete book on immigration and, like everything Nolo publishes, is aimed at non-lawyers. This book makes complex topics more accessible to those without a law degree, but even with a law degree, I appreciate the accessible language used in the book.
The book is well structured to make it easy to find what you need. After a one-page introduction, the book is divided into twenty-four chapters divided into three main sections. Part I focuses on entry, eligibility, and procedures for immigrating to the United States. These chapters include: Where to start your immigration journey; Are you already a US citizen? Can you enter or stay in the United States? Dealing with paperwork, government officials, delays and denials; special rules for Canadians and Mexicans; and how and when to find a lawyer. The second part introduces the United States permanent residence (green card).
These chapters include: Obtaining a Green Card through a Family Member in the United States; Obtaining a K-1 Visa to Marry Your U.S. Citizen Fiancé; Obtaining a Green Card through Employment; Obtaining a Green Card through the Diversity Visa Lottery; Obtaining a Green Card as an Investor; Obtaining a Green Card as a Special Immigrant ; Humanitarian Protections: TPS, DED, Asylum and Refugee Status; After your green card is approved. The third part is non-immigrant (temporary) visas, chapters include: Obtaining a Business or Tourist (B-1 or B-2) Visa; Obtaining a Temporary Professional Worker (H-1B) Visa; Obtaining an H-2B (Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker) Visa ; Obtain the Temporary Intern (H-3) visa; Obtain the L-1 (Intra-Company Transfer) visa; Obtain the E-1 (Treaty Trader) visa; Obtain the Treaty Investor (E-2) visa; Obtain the Student (F- 1 or M-1) visa; obtain a J-1 exchange visitor visa; obtain a temporary worker visa (O, P or R visa) in a selected occupation.
As you can tell from the previous paragraph, you don’t have to read this book from cover to cover. Certain chapters are not relevant to specific cases. As someone who regularly helps different people with immigration matters, this is a great reference. If you do it yourself, you will need to choose which chapter your particular case falls under and use that chapter to help you with immigration matters and the strategies you will use to achieve your goals.
The book really does a good job of laying out everything you need, and it includes checklists to help make sure nothing is missed. (Trust me, you don’t want things to slip through because it’s delaying things in an already timely process.) I also like that the book has a lot of useful insider tips and websites that you won’t find on the table. Bray’s experience and insights are very useful and add to the usefulness of this book.
Like any law book, laws can change. For this reason, it’s always good to have the latest version, and check to make sure any laws you depend on are still good laws and haven’t been changed. Government websites can help with this, or obviously enlist the help of a lawyer with the latest laws. All in all, this is an excellent book for anyone considering immigrating to the United States, or assisting with immigrating to the United States.
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