Understanding Immigration Laws in Florida

With its evolving laws, understanding Immigration Laws in Florida can be difficult. Professionals from the Law Offices of Leonelba Martinez can help. Call us!

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A Quick Guide to Florida’s Immigration Laws

If you are a foreign national looking to immigrate lawfully to the state of Florida in the United States, it is necessary for you to understand the state and federal immigration laws and how these laws may apply to you. 

In addition to hiring a family immigration lawyer or employment immigration attorney, understanding the necessary regulations could help you form more realistic expectations as you try to adjust your immigration status or perform other immigration-related processes. Keep reading to learn more.

Immigration Laws in the US: Immigrant Categories

The primary federal immigration law in the United States is the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The Act regulates the immigration process throughout the country. It provides for the procedure for lawful entry into the United States, granting immigrant status to foreign nationals, removing undocumented immigrants from the US, and other related issues.

The law, which is enforced by several federal government agencies like the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, recognizes several lawful immigrant categories as follows:


Temporary Residents

United States federal law permits foreigners to apply for short-term visas or residency. These visas are categorized as non-immigrant visas and are only valid for a certain period, after which the holder’s stay becomes illegal if they remain in the US. Some common ones include:

  • B1 and B2 visas: For tourists, business travelers, people seeking medical treatment, and people seeking to attend a social event
  • K1 visa: Used by a foreign national individual who is engaged to a US citizen
  • F1 and M1 visas: A full-time academic or vocational study visa
  • J1 visa: For exchange students or workers

The application process for a temporary visa usually depends on the consulate or embassy where the proposed immigrant lives. However, one can get guidance from the US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website. A U Visa attorney can also help you with the application process.


Permanent Residency

Permanent residents, also called green card holders, can live and work permanently in the United States. They are only a step away from becoming US citizens.

To become a permanent resident in the US, you need to be eligible for family or employment-based green cards. If you’d like to begin the green card application process, you could contact a Boynton Beach immigration lawyer to help you determine the appropriate option and file the necessary forms with the USCIS.


Citizenship (Naturalization)

Citizenship is the highest immigrant status attainable. To qualify for citizenship, the applicant has to meet several conditions and should have held a green card for a minimum of three years. The three-year rule also applies to foreign nationals married to US citizens. Applicants from within Florida must have resided in the state for at least three months before applying for citizenship.

Immigration Laws in Florida

Immigration in the US is essentially a federal issue. However, states often enact laws that complement the federal regime within the state territory, and Florida is no exception.

For instance, the Florida Federal Immigration Enforcement Act requires each state law enforcement agency to support the enforcement of federal immigration laws and cooperate with federal immigration officials.

Florida law also prohibits the employment of any unauthorized or undocumented immigrant in any private or public enterprise. So, if you intend to live and work in Florida as an immigrant, be sure you have the necessary permits.

Why You Need a Lawyer for Your Florida Immigration

The American immigration process is complex, and a mistake in the immigration process can subject you to a lengthy investigation or deportation by immigration officials, especially if you’re undocumented.

A competent immigration attorney can help you navigate the immigration system and the requirements of federal immigration authorities as you seek to attain lawful immigration status. Your lawyer can help you prepare the paperwork for your immigration application, represent you in immigration court and liaise with the immigration authorities on your behalf. Hire an immigration attorney today to get one step closer to realizing your American dream. 

If you have more questions about immigration in Florida, the Law Offices of Leonelba Martinez might be able to help. We can answer your questions and help you with all aspects of your immigration application. Contact us today at (561) 803-0633 for your immigration needs. We’d love to hear from you.