Immigration Laws

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Immigration laws mostly use quotas to manage the steady flow of foreign nationals who want to reside permanently in the United States. Family-based preferences and employment-based preferences establish limits on immigrants who fall into these two main categories. There are other ways of limiting immigration to those whom the government deems responsible, desirable residents.

Many categories of potential visitors may not be issued a visa in order to protect the health, welfare, and security of this country. These groups include those with communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis; those with a dangerous mental or physical disorder; those with an addiction to drugs. There is quite a list of persons who must not receive a visa--those who have committed serious crimes, are members of a totalitarian party, or are Nazi war criminals.

Provisions of Immigration Laws

A petitioner for residency, or a sponsor of such a petitioner, must file an Affidavit of Support that ensures the petitioner will not become a public charge. In addition, every applicant--no matter how young or old--must have a medical examination conducted by a doctor selected by the consulate. This exam is paid for by the petitioner, as are other fees charged according to immigration laws.

Visa fees amount to several hundred dollars per applicant, and are nonrefundable. Each person, regardless of age, who intends to immigrate must have a visa and pay the fees. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), which handles permanent immigration, charges fees for filing petitions, in addition to visa fees. All in all, immigration to America is expensive; all the more reason for immigrants to find out the latest information about immigration laws and follow them carefully.


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