The state of North Carolina has one of the fastest-growing immigrant populations in the nation.
Most immigrants come to our state seeking better paying jobs, safety and security for their families. However, U.S. immigration laws are federal in nature – i.e., no state or provincial law is involved. At Hardison & Cochran, we help immigrants and migrant workers protect their civil rights, and we ensure that they have legal representation in immigration law matters regardless of country of origin.
We know you have questions, but you should never depend entirely on the advice of friends or family. Regulations change and the circumstances of each individual case may vary. It is better to have your understanding of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations confirmed by us. Our attorneys are supported by a team of case managers, litigation paralegals, legal assistants and investigators, and we have experience helping clients obtain visa, permanent resident, citizenship status (i.e. green cards), work permits and other non-immigrant visas on behalf of individual, business and non-profit clients.
Our immigration division also accepts representation of foreign national clients in need of defense once Removal proceedings have been initiated against them by the United States government. Services offered by our firm in the area of Removal Defense Litigation include but are not limited to Bond Hearings, Prehearing Requests for Release, Appeals to Federal Court, Voluntary Departure, Merit Hearings, Change of Venue, Cancellation of Removal, and Motions to Re-open Removal Proceedings.
The road to U.S. citizenship, or naturalization, is a long process that ultimately allows foreign-born persons to obtain all the rights American-born persons have. For example, the right to vote, the right to governmental jobs and the freedom to travel with an American passport, which provides entry without a visa into many countries. However, there are many eligibility requirements a person must fulfill before submitting an application for naturalization. In most situations, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Applicant has been a lawful permanent resident for five years (or three years for spouses of U.S. citizens).
- Applicant is 18 years old.
- Applicant is of good moral character.
- Applicant can speak, read, and write English.
- Applicant must pass a test on U.S. history and government.
- Applicant was physically present in the U.S. at least half the requisite time.
- Applicant has maintained lawful permanent residence continuously.
- Applicant swears loyalty to the U.S. by taking an oath of allegiance.
You can apply for citizenship five years from the date of entry as a lawful permanent resident. If you are married to and living with a citizen-spouse for at least three years before filing the application, the residence period is shortened to three years. Also, you have to be a resident for three months in the state or USCIS district where you are filing the application.
The attorneys at Hardison & Cochran have a great deal of experience in helping immigrants through this complicated and lengthy legal process. For more than 20 years, we have been providing quality legal services to clients throughout North Carolina. Our founders, Kenneth L. Hardison and Benjamin T. Cochran have committed themselves to justice and personal client attention. Please call us, “the people’s law firm,” at 1-800-434-8399.