With millions of foreigners coming to the US each year, rules and regulations regarding entry and residency often become confusing. The post 9/11 climate and the political backlash against illegal immigration have only exacerbated this by creating a system of ongoing updates and changes. The saying goes, ‘even immigration lawyers go to immigration lawyers’, but rest assured, this process is not impossible. After all, the 2006 census reported that 3,516,970 foreign-born immigrants have successfully made it to LA, so with patience and perseverance, you can too.

As you venture through this process, is an invaluable source for determining what type of visa applies to you and how to proceed and locate the forms you will need to file. In addition, you can request all necessary forms by calling 800 870 3676.

Many procedures require ‘essential documents’, which include but are not limited to:

• Original passport
• Residence card or visa
• Passport photos
• Passport copies

Confirm such requirements before beginning any procedure, as you may also need copies of your employment offer, a salary certificate and a tenancy contract. Be sure to store copies of all your essential documents somewhere safe and separate from the originals, in case of emergency. It is also wise to have to hand your birth, marriage or divorce certificates, high school or college diplomas, and any certificates of special training or skills.

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