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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers from Our Sarasota Immigration Attorney

When you are thinking about immigrating to the United State, you and your family probably have many questions. Immigration can be a difficult and complicate process, and it is important that you have a legal advocate on your side to avoid additional stress.

Read some answers to frequently asked questions below or call the law firm of Anthony Olson, P.A. at (941) 877-6587‚Äč to schedule your case consultation today. We help clients from multiple countries around the world.


What is naturalization?

Naturalization is the process in which a green card holder obtains U.S. citizenship. This process requires permanent resident status for at least five years, as well as the ability to read, write, and speak English fluently. You will be tested on your reading comprehension as well as your understanding of U.S. history. You must also be at least 18 years of age and have “good moral character” which means you should not have a conviction for a serious crime on your record.

Can I apply for a visa to work in the U.S.?

The short answer is yes. There are many different types of work visas, including visa given under NAFTA, visa for “extraordinary ability,” visas sponsored by a company because you are a specialist in your field, and longer term employment green cards that can jumpstart your path to citizenship.

Each of these visas comes with their own rules and time limits, and each has different qualifications for applicants. To discuss your immigration status, contact an immigration lawyer in Sarasota or North Fort Myers.

Can I bring my family to live in the United States?

If you are a U.S. citizen, you may be able to file a petition for an immediate family member or other relative to enter the country. The waiting period depends on how close the individual’s relationship is to you. For example, immediate relatives such as spouses and biological minor children, are not subject to waiting periods and quotas, if they have entered the country legally, but adult children, a first preference category, is only allotted a little over 23,000 green cards per year and are subject to a waiting period of about five years.

I’m an immigrant spouse that has been abused. Can I stay in the country?

The U.S. offers protection for abused spouses and their children. If you were legally married to a U.S. citizen and have suffered abuse or cruelty, you may be eligible to self-petition for immigration benefits. To be qualified, you must have entered the marriage in good faith and be of a good moral character.

Can I come to the U.S. to attend college or university?

Many states allow immigrants to come to the U.S. to study, but they may not allow for in-state tuition rates, even if you are a legal citizen. In Florida, for example, tuition costs are determined by the resident status of the parents.