A Guide to Immigration Law

Immigration law refers to the rules and policies the federal government has put in place to control who is allowed to enter a country, how long they can stay and matters such as legal citizenship or naturalization.

Additionally, immigration law will deal with foreigners who enter a country without permission, overstay their visit or otherwise lose their legal status. Lastly, immigration law will set the terms of punishment and removal when laws are broken.

Immigration laws vary from country to country according to political and demographic issues as attitudes may change or sway a policy. International laws play a role in immigration law as well, for example, every country must allows their own citizens to come in freely.

In the United States, three federal agencies are charged with administering and enforcing immigration laws. The first is the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which investigates those who break the law and prosecutes offenders. The second is U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), which handles applications for legal immigration. Last, is the Customs and Border Protections (CBP) and is responsible for keeping the borders secure. All three are under the supervision of the broader government agency that controls all immigration laws, the Department of Homeland Security.

An immigrant who would like to come into a foreign country will have several options as to what type of visa and/or type of permanent stay they can request. In the United States for example, you can obtain a work visa, a student visa, have the ability to transfer from an international company, be an investor etc. Similarly, other countries have categories for visas like the U.S. as well as country-specific visas and quotas. All of this information can be found on a countries website and further instructions can be sought from an immigration attorney.

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