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Immigrating to California
More than 10 million immigrants make up the diverse population of California. Each year, the Golden State sees millions of international visitors and welcomes immigrants from all over the world. While the U.S.A. may be a popular destination for migrants from all over the world, entering lawfully and maintaining documented status can be an arduous endeavor.
Facts about immigration in California
In 2014, there were 10,512,399 foreign-born nationals in the Golden State (MPI).
Fifty-one percent of immigrants in California are Latino (MPI).
Thirty-nine percent of immigrants in the state are Asian (PPIC).
Twenty-seven percent of California’s population was foreign-born, which is twice the national average (PPIC).
Most immigrants in California are documented residents: 49 percent are naturalized U.S. citizens, and 26 percent have legal status including green cards and visas (PPIC).
Only 25 percent of California immigrants are undocumented (MPI).
Immigrating to California
If you plan in immigrating to California, the first stage of the immigration process is to apply for a visa. Following are most common visas:
Getting a visa can be a challenge. It usually entails a lengthy application and a long wait for approval. First, you need to know which type of visa applies to you. Once you do, you can apply for the appropriate visa. Any errors on a visa application or a missed filing deadline can add to the time it takes for a visa application to be processed and an immigrant may be forced to re-apply for a visa. An immigration lawyer in California will identify the visa you need to apply for and guide you through the entire immigration process.
Which visa do I need?
The type of visa you apply for hinges on the purpose of want to enter the U.S. Immigrants who want to enter the U.S. temporarily to travel, work a seasonal job or visit family should apply for a nonimmigrant visa. If an immigrant wants to relocate, an individual should apply for an immigrant visa.
For additional information about nonimmigrant visas, we urge you to visit the official website of the USCIS: https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-nonimmigrant-workers
Some immigrants can gain entry through a different process, or remain in California legally by applying for a special immigration status. Additional immigration statuses include:
Deferred Action recipient
Legal permanent resident
Immigration laws in California
Law enforcement agencies in California are not required to confirm the immigration status of individuals they pull over or encounter in their communities. When an immigrant is arrested, they are fingerprinted, and their immigration status is checked through a federal database. If a federal agency flags an immigrant as undocumented, they can be held for 48 hours until federal immigration authorities pick them.
California is one to the states that allows local law enforcement agencies to deny federal immigration holds. Cities who choose to deny these holds are often referred to as “Sanctuary Cities, ” and the practice is controversial.
There are millions of undocumented immigrants in California and the U.S. Entering the country without documented status has numerous consequences including incarceration and deportation. Before illegally coming to the U.S., you need to speak with an immigration lawyer in California to explain the consequences and go over the the options you have for lawful entry.