U.S. Immigration Made Easy

U.S. Immigration Made Easy

Paperback(Nineteenth Edition)

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Want to live, work, or travel in the United States? U.S. Immigration Made Easy has helped tens of thousands of people get a visa, green card, or other immigration status. You’ll learn:

  • whether you and your family qualify for a short-term visa, permanent U.S. residence, or protection from deportation
  • how to obtain, fill out, and submit the necessary forms and documents
  • insider tips on dealing with bureaucratic officials, delays, and denials
  • strategies for overcoming low income and other immigration barriers, and
  • how to select the right attorney.

U.S. Immigration Made Easy provides detailed descriptions of application processes and helps you avoid traps that might destroy your chances. There’s also an immigration eligibility self-quiz, which helps you match your background and skills to a likely category of visa or green card.

The 19th edition is completely updated to cover recent legal and fee changes including Trump administration efforts to end TPS for various countries and end DACA.

NOTE: Does not cover naturalization.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781413325959
Publisher: NOLO
Publication date: 03/29/2019
Edition description: Nineteenth Edition
Pages: 696
Sales rank: 423,697
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Ilona Bray is an author and legal editor at Nolo, specializing in real estate, immigration law, and nonprofit fundraising. She is coauthor of Becoming a U.S. Citizen, U.S. Immigration Made Easy, Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home and numerous other top selling books. Bray's working background includes solo practice, nonprofit, and corporate stints, as well as long periods of volunteering, including an internship at Amnesty International's main legal office in London. She received her law degree and a Masters degree in East Asian (Chinese) Studies from the University of Washington. Bray also blogs on Nolo's Immigration Law Blog.

Richard Link practices immigration law as Senior Counsel with Tully Rinckey, PLLC in its Rochester, New York office. He currently serves as treasurer of the Upstate New York Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Mr. Link is a former legal editor at the national office of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and at Thomson Reuters (West). Mr. Link received his law degree in 1990 from the University of California Davis School of Law (King Hall), where he served as senior research editor for the U.C. Davis Law Review and earned the certificate in public interest law. His undergraduate degree in Language Studies was obtained at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1986.

Table of Contents

Your Immigration Companion
Part I
Getting Started: U.S. Immigration Eligibility and Procedures
1. Where to Begin on Your Path Toward Immigration
2. Are You Already a U.S. Citizen?
3. Can You Enter or Stay in the U.S. at All?
4. Dealing With Paperwork, Government Officials, Delays, and Denials
5. Special Rules for Canadians and Mexicans
6. How and When to Find a Lawyer
Part II
Introduction to Permanent U.S. Residence (Green Cards)
7. Getting a Green Card Through Family In the U.S.
8. Getting a Visa to Marry Your U.S. Citizen Fiancé (K-1)
9. Getting a Green Card Through Employment
10. Getting a Green Card Through the Diversity Visa Lottery

11. Getting a Green Card as an Investor
12. Getting a Green Card as a Special Immigrant
13. Humanitarian Protection: TPS, DED, Asylee, and Refugee Status
14. After Your Approval for a Green Card
Part III
Introduction to Nonimmigrant (Temporary) Visas
15. Getting a Business or Tourist (B-1 or B-2) Visa
16. Getting a Temporary Specialty Worker (H-1B) Visa
17. Getting a Temporary Nonagricultural Worker (H-2B) Visa
18. Getting a Temporary Trainee (H-3) Visa
19. Getting an Intracompany Transferee (L-1) Visa
20. Getting a Treaty Trader (E-1) Visa
21. Getting a Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa
22. Getting a Student (F-1 or M-1) Visa
23. Getting an Exchange Visitor (J-1) Visa
24. Getting a Visa as a Temporary Worker in a Selected Occupation (O, P, or R Visa)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Thoughtfully organized a vast amount of useful information."  Library Journal

"The clearest, most accurate explanation of immigration laws for nonlawyers thus far.  " Immigration Law Today

"Highly recommended.... Instructive and explanatory."  United States Information Agency


I wasn’t the original author of this book—and I so wish I had known it existed when I was starting out in immigration law. Nowhere else will you find, between two covers, such a concise explanation of this complex area of law. Even in law school, one isn’t taught the nuts and bolts aspects of which immigration forms to prepare, how to document a persuasive application, and how to deal with the inevitable hassles when up against a huge government bureaucracy. Adapting this book to the never-ending changes and adjustments in law has been a satisfying challenge. And I’m hugely grateful for the help of practicing attorney Richard Link, who goes over each new edition with a fine-toothed comb, making sure it’s accurate, up to date, and streamlined.



If you've already tried to research how to immigrate to the United States, you may have come away more confused than enlightened. We've heard immigrants ask frustrated questions
like, "Are they trying to punish me for doing things legally?" or "I can't tell
whether they want to let me in, or keep me out!"

The trouble is, the U.S. immigration system is a little like a mythical creature with two heads. One head is smiling, and granting people the right to live or work in the United States, temporarily or permanently -- especially people who:

  • will pump money into the U.S. economy (such as tourists, students, and investors)
  • can fill gaps in the U.S. workforce (mostly skilled workers)
  • are joining up with close family members who are already U.S. citizens or permanent residents, or
  • need protection from persecution or other humanitarian crises.

This creature's other head wears a frown. It is afraid of the United States being overrun by huge numbers of immigrants, and so it tries to keep out anyone who:

  • doesn't fit the narrow eligibility categories set forth in the U.S. immigration laws
  • has a criminal record
  • is a threat to U.S. ideology or national security
  • has spent a long time in the U.S. illegally or committed other immigration violations
  • is attempting fraud in order to immigrate, or
  • will not earn enough money to stay off government assistance.

Not surprisingly, these two heads don't always work together very well. You may find that, even when you know you have a right to visit, live, or work in the United States, andyou're trying your best to fill out the applications and complete your case properly, you feel as if you're being treated like a criminal. The frowning head doesn't care. It views you as just another number, and as no great loss if your application fails -- or is, literally, lost in the files of thousands of other applications.

Have you heard people say that a U.S. citizen could simply invite a friend from overseas to live here? Those days are gone. Now, every immigrant has to find a legal category that he or she fits within, deal with demanding application forms and procedures, and pass security and other checks.

Almost everyone should at least
attend a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney before submitting an application.
Unless your case presents no complications whatsoever, it's best to have an attorney confirm that you haven't overlooked anything. However, by preparing yourself with the information in this book, you can save money and make sure you're using a good attorney for the right services.

Example: An American woman was engaged to a man from Mexico, and figured, since she herself had been to law school, that she didn't need an attorney's help. She read that a foreign-born person who was in the U.S. on a tourist visa could get married and then apply for a green card within the United States. Unfortunately, what she didn't realize was that this possibility only works for people who decide to get married after entering the United States. Applying for a tourist visa with the idea of getting married and getting a green card amounts to visa fraud, and can ruin a person's chances of immigrating. Are you already confused by this story? That's all right, the U.S. immigration system doesn't always make a lot of sense. This is why an attorney's help is often needed -- to get you through legal hoops that you'd never imagined existed.Roadmap to U.S. Immigration

This book will cover a lot of territory -- almost all of U.S. immigration law, including your basic rights, strategies, and the procedures for getting where you need to go. Any time you cover this much ground, it helps to have a road map -- particularly so you'll know which
subjects or chapters you can skip entirely.

Take a look at the imaginary map below, then read the following subsections to orient you to the main topics on the map.

[Roadmap to U.S. Immigration Image] omitted for online sample chapter.

As you can see, the first stop along the way is The Inadmissibility Gate. This gate represents a legal problem that can stop your path to a visa or green card before you've even started. If you have, for example, committed certain crimes, been infected with certain contagious diseases, appear likely to need welfare or government assistance, violated U.S. immigration laws, or you match another description on the U.S. government's list of concerns, you are considered "inadmissible." That means you won't be allowed any type of U.S. visa or green card, except under special circumstances or with legal forgiveness called a waiver. This gate gets closed on a lot of people who lived in the U.S. illegally for more than
six months, which creates either a three-year or ten-year bar to immigrating. Even if you think you haven't done anything wrong, please read Chapter 3 for more on the problem of inadmissibility.

Words You'll Need to Know

We try not to use confusing legal language in this book. However, there are a few words that will be helpful for you to know, especially if you look at other books or websites. For further definitions, see "Words Commonly Used in Immigration Law," at the back of this book.

Citizen (U.S.). A person who owes allegiance to the U.S. government, is entitled to its protection, and enjoys the highest level of rights due to members of U.S. society. A person can become a U.S. citizen through birth in the United States or its territories; through parents or grandparents who are citizens; or through naturalization (after applying for citizenship and passing the citizenship exam). Citizens cannot have their status taken away except for certain extraordinary reasons.

Immigrant. Though the general public usually calls any foreign-born newcomer to the United States an immigrant, the U.S. government prefers to think of immigrants as only including those people who have attained permanent residence or a green card.

Nonimmigrant. Everyone who comes to the United States legally but with only a short-term intent to stay is considereda nonimmigrant. For instance, students and tourists are nonimmigrants.

Green card. No longer green, this slang term refers to the identification card carried by lawful permanent residents of the United States. The government name for the green card is an I-551, or Alien Registration Receipt Card (ARC).

Lawful permanent resident. See Permanent resident, below.

Permanent resident. A green card holder. This is a person who has been approved to live in the United States for an unlimited amount of time. However, the status can be taken away for certain reasons, such as having committed a crime or made one's home outside the
United States. Usually after five years, a permanent resident can apply for U.S. citizenship.

Visa. A right to enter the United States. An immigrant visa gives someone the right to enter the United States permanently; a nonimmigrant visa gives them the right to enter for a short-term, temporary stay. Physically, the visa usually appears as a stamp in the applicant's passport, given by a U.S. consulate overseas.

If you forget these words, or encounter other words that you don't understand, check the list at the back of this book.

If you get past the inadmissibility gate, the next stop along your theoretical journey is The Eligibility Bridge. This is where you must answer the question, "What type of visa or green card are you eligible for?" Answering this question will involve some research on your part. You might already know the answer -- for example, if you've just married a U.S. citizen, it's pretty obvious that you want to apply for a green card on this basis, and should read the appropriate chapter of this book (Chapter 7). Or, if your main
goal is to attend college in the United States, then you probably know that you need a student visa, and can proceed straight to the chapter covering that topic (Chapter 22).

If you don't already know you're eligible for a certain type of visa or green card, however, then start by reading Section B, below, which reviews the possibilities for spending time in the U.S. and directs you to the appropriate chapters for follow-up. You'll see that this book covers more than just permanent green cards -- we know that not everyone will
either want, or be eligible to receive, the right to live in the United States their whole life. However, there are many useful ways to stay in the United States temporarily, for example on a student or employment-based visa. And even if you don't fit into one of the usual categories, there may be an emergency or other special category that helps you.

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U. S. Immigration Made Easy 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
brendajanefrank on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Do-it-yourself law is always a risky proposition, way more so if you¿re not a lawyer. This do-it-yourself immigration book is published by Nolo, a company specializing in self-help law books. This concept is fine, if the advice is regarded as clues to the right path. Total reliance on these clues for important concepts like how to obtain legal status to reside in the United States would be misguided. For actual legal advice, consult a lawyer. Beyond this caveat, ¿U.S. Immigration Made Easy¿ covers a lot of complicated territory in a clear, concise format. It has charts; checklists; important tips set off by little exclamation, light bulb, and briefcase icons; and even an immigration eligibility self-quiz. This treatise distills the law for both permanent resident (green card) and nonimmigrant (temporary) visa status, as well as the goal of obtaining U.S. citizenship. It is a very useful reference for anyone involved in immigrating to the United States. Even if you are already a permanent resident, it is a useful tool. Most green card holders have friends and relatives also contemplating immigration and in need of answers. Readers must always be aware that laws, regulations and policies are always changing, so reliance on any written text should be cautious. Although Nolo provides free updates on its website, it would be more helpful if the text also contained citations and references to the supporting regulations and laws so readers could take this do-it-yourself method to the next level. With access to the Internet and Google, readers can easily take the next step and check out the basis for the guidance in ¿U.S. Immigration Made Easy,¿ along with any revisions in the law. Although, such references would also lend more authority to the statements in the treatise, this omission is understandable if it would create an appearance of complexity that would scare off the intended audience. A nice compromise would be endnotes referencing the law.In short, if you¿re looking for a nice all-purpose cookbook on U.S. immigration, this book is the absolutely the right purchase and worth every penny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Facts are vividly enumerated. But, in a language and background full of horror and mystery. A USD 40 advertisement for seeking attorney assistance for Processes that don't require lawyers at all. Very disappointed with NOLO. Will never get a book from this publisher ever again.