Immigration

New Orleans Immigration Lawyers

Helping New Orleans and Slidell families and workers enter and stay in America

James Gramham Law Offices Rule

America is the land of opportunity and wonder. Many legal residents in America want to obtain green cards (permanent residency) and visas (temporary residency) for their spouses, children, parents, and other relatives. Employers also sponsor many foreign workers too. Obtaining lawful permanent residency or the right to stay in America can be very confusing and challenging.

At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans immigration lawyers have helped numerous individuals and families meet the challenges of the immigration laws. Whether you are seeking a change of status or asylum, or facing possible removal, we want to help. Contact us in New Orleans or Slidell today to get started.

What kinds of cases do your New Orleans immigration lawyers handle?

James Gramham Law Offices Rule

The Law Office of James A. Graham provides comprehensive counsel to individuals, families, employers, foreign nationals, and other folks seeking to make their way in America. Our immigration system is complex, and it is easy to get overwhelmed if you don’t have anyone helping you navigate it. Our New Orleans immigration attorneys can assist with:

We also represent people seeking asylum or refugee status, as well as those facing removal proceedings. No matter what your needs are, our team is here to help you at every step.

Immigration Law

What are the two ways to start the path to citizenship?

If you are seeking American citizenship, there are two primary paths:

  • Consular Processing. This is the process in which foreign nationals who do not currently live in the United States can apply for and receive legal status.
  • Adjustment of status (AOS). This process is used for foreign nationals who live in the United States and want to petition for permanent legal residency status to they can obtain their green card.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) authorizes several ways to seek consular approval or to adjust your current immigration status. Two of the most common are:

  • Family-based immigration. Generally, you can apply for an adjustment of status if you are related to a US citizen or a green card holder. Your relative will need to sponsor you. An adjustment of status based on family-based immigration usually involves spouses, fiancé(e)s, parents, and children. More distant relatives may also be eligible though the number of eligible applicants is limited yearly.
  • Employment-based immigration (work visas). The American immigration laws do encourage foreigners to apply for an American visa if the foreigner has “extraordinary ability,” is doing research, is a manger or executive, has an advanced degree, is a skilled worker, or is a professional. Investors may be welcome. Unskilled workers may also be eligible. There are different work visa preferences depending on your qualifications.

What’s the difference between lawful permanent residence and naturalization?

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Some folks come to America on a temporary basis, either for work or for education. Others, however, are looking to stay indefinitely or permanently as US citizen. Our New Orleans immigration lawyers represent people who seek:

  • Lawful permanent residence. This status means immigrants can live in the United States permanently, provided they comply with the American laws. Immigrants with permanent legal residence need to obtain a “green card” to confirm their status.
  • Naturalization and citizenship. One of the great joys in this world is obtaining your formal American citizenship. Normally, there’s a celebration before a US immigration Judge once all the requirements are met. Naturalization is the process that authorizes citizenship for immigrants – people who were not born in America by American parents. Citizenship is generally automatically confirmed if you are born in America and your parents are US citizens. We’ll guide you through the naturalization process and review any citizenship issues.

What should I bring to my consultation with a New Orleans immigration lawyer?

The application and interview process can be long and at times overwhelming. The Law Offices of James A. Graham will work with you from the first step to the end when you become a citizen. While our office prefers in-person immigration consultations so that you can meet with us face to face, our office also offers consultations by phone, email, or video to potential clients if an in-person consultation is not feasible or convenient.

Come ready to discuss your application, including the history of how you came to the United States, as well as where you want to live in the future. We would like to get to know you on a personal level. You’ll need to bring the following:

  • Documentation: Bring all documentation related to your immigration matter. The more documentation you bring us, the easier it will be for us to accurately evaluate your immigration options.
  • Interpreters: English is our primary language, but we understand for many immigrants it is not. If you cannot speak in English, please ask a family member or friend who can speak English to come with you to the consult.
  • Your spouse, fiancé(e) or sponsor: If your immigration case is based on marriage to a US citizen, or employment through a US employer, we ask that you bring that person to the consultation.

What can I expect at my initial consultation with your New Orleans immigration attorneys?

We understand that meeting with an attorney can be a little overwhelming, especially when you’re moving to a new country (or trying to remain in the US with your family). That’s why the initial consultation is so important. During this first meeting, we:

  • Gather an understanding of your history and immigration background
  • Answer questions that you have about your immigration case
  • Discuss and develop an immigration strategy to becoming a US citizen (if this is what you want)
  • Explain the fees and estimates of costs so you’re aware and can plan for your future

We don’t review your paperwork for completeness or accuracy at the initial consultation. You must complete your paperwork correctly. We can assist with answering specific questions regarding the application process and your next steps.

How much will a New Orleans immigration lawyer cost?

No two immigration cases are the same. It’s important to remember that just as you are an individual, so too is your immigration case. While we try to provide consistent flat rate legal fees, we cannot adequately estimate the cost of your case without first meeting you, reviewing your documents and obtaining a firm understanding of the services needed for a successful outcome. Our office will typically charge a flat legal fee, which varies based on the facts and complexity of your case.

You should also know that the federal government charges filing fees, too – and there is nothing an attorney can do to change those costs. USCIS provides a complete list of fees for every form; you can access that list here.

How do Louisiana’s immigration laws differ from federal laws?

Immigration is largely governed by federal law. For example, it is the US government that decides which countries are granted Temporary Protected Status, what federal benefits immigrants (both legal and undocumented) may receive, and how many visas can be issued each year. Under federal law, for example, a lawful permanent resident may be allowed to sponsor a family member who wishes to immigrate to the US, may be eligible for Social Security upon retirement, and could potentially remain here for the rest of his or her life.

State laws are expected to support the federal laws, but they vary widely from state to state. In Louisiana, for example, all employers must use E-verify when they hire immigrants, to ensure that those immigrant workers are here legally. Legal immigrants may apply for a driver’s license (certain rules and exceptions apply), and all immigrants – whether they are documented or not – can apply for workers’ compensation if they get hurt on the job.

We can talk more about the state and federal laws which affect you and your case.

What happens if I’m facing removal from Louisiana to another country?

The United States may file removal proceedings (deportation proceedings) if an immigrant engages in criminal acts, is a threat to public safety, or violates  his/her visa. At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans Deportation lawyers are strong advocates for anyone who is facing official deportation proceedings. We’ll fight to preserve your desire to stay in America.

Do you have an immigration lawyer near me?

The Law Office of James A. Graham has two office locations in South Louisiana:

For clients who are unable to travel, we can schedule phone or video conferences when needed.

Contact our experienced New Orleans immigration lawyers today

We work with anyone who lives in or near New Orleans who has immigration questions of any kind. We’ll explain how the immigration laws affect your immigration matter. Our team will guide you through the immigration process and challenges. If you would like to arrange an immigration consultation, please call us or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with  an immigration lawyer in New Orleans or Slidell.