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The Italian American Lawyers Association, a Los Angeles-area bar association, was founded in 1977.

Welcome to the inaugural monthly column from the Los Angeles Italian American Lawyers Association:  Chiedere A Un Avvocato!!  (Or, Ask A Lawyer!!).  Each month we will profile a different member of our organization who will share some thoughts about various legal issues of interest.

This month’s guest columnist is 2014 IALA President, Damian D. Capozzola.  Principal in his own firm, the Law Offices of Damian D. Capozzola, this month he shares some tips on . …Coming to America!

 

Interested in crossing the pond and coming to America, either to live temporarily or even permanently?  Well, while exhaustively discussing each and every method is a bit too complex for a short discussion like this, here’s a quick primer on three possibilities to making it happen.

1.  Relationship to a US Citizen or Permanent Resident

If you have a family in the United States, then you have found the easiest way to become an American. If your relative (your parent, child or spouse) is a US Citizen, then you can get a Green Card quite quickly through the Immigrant Visa office in Rome in as little as four months.  You can even become an American citizen after holding the Green Card status for 5 years (3 years in case of Spouse of US Citizen). If it’s through marriage to a US citizen, your whole path to citizen could be as quick as three and half years!  If your relative is your parents, your siblings, or if you are married to a permanent resident, a green card is a trickier proposition due to the wait times, and it is a challenge to come to the United States during the first couple of years you are waiting, but it’s still something that is quite manageable and can get you a green card in a few years and citizenship in less than eight.

 Damian Capozzola

 Damian Capozzola

2.  Skilled Laborers and Professionals

If you have a college degree and can find a job that requires your degree, the United States will absolutely have you.  While these types of visas only come once a year, they are available to degreed professionals, as well as to those professionals without a degree who have several years (usually five or more) of experience.  Even skilled labor, such as craftsmen, have an option for a green card, but there is no question that a degree expedites the process, sometimes by as much as a decade.  Many of these visas lead to green cards, if some years down the road, and, as with family based green cards, any green card can lead to citizenship in as soon as five years.

3.  School

Don’t have that degree yet?  Well, then, come to school in the USA.  Even language courses can lead to visas, so consult the list of approved schools (http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/school-search), contact a school’s Foreign Students’ Office for admission details, and you’re on your way!

Your Los Angeles Italian American Lawyers Association has a number of lawyers with immigration experience who can expand on these ideas and provide you with the expertise you need.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Founded in 1977, the Los Angeles Italian-American Lawyers Association has been proudly serving the Los Angeles Italian-American community for thirty-seven years!  Please keep us in mind for all your legal needs.  We can be found online at www.iala.info, by e-mail at iala07@yahoo.com, or by mail at PO Box 712057, Los Angeles, CA  90071.

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