Legal entry into the United States of America by foreign nationals is regulated by immigration laws. The immigration system is a rigid group of categories with specific requirements for eligibility. In order to obtain the benefits of a particular category, a person must meet its eligibility requirements. These requirements are very rigid. Simply put, if a person does not meet the eligibility requirements, they will have to change their situation in order to get a nonimmigrant visa or permanent residence. If a foreign national intends to come to the US for a temporary stay, he or she will need one of several types of nonimmigrant visas. If that person intends to stay in the US permanently, then he or she will need to obtain permanent residence or citizenship. Permanent residents are given an Alien Registration Receipt Card, commonly knows as Green Cards. Many green card holders can, after a certain time, apply for US Citizenship or Naturalization. Some people may be eligible for US Citizenship without knowing. People who are not US citizens are subject to forced removal from the United States if they violate immigration regulations or criminal laws, through Removal Proceedings (formerly referred to as Deportation). There is relief available once removal proceedings have begun, but it is wise to take steps to avoid their initiation. Compliance with all immigration and criminal laws is essential. People who are not US citizens that are charged with criminal offenses should contact both a criminal attorney and an immigration attorney immediately.

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