*Practice limited to federal immigration law. Licensed in NY, MA, but not in CA.

Immigration Vetting Explained

In the most simple terms, vetting is the process of performing a background check. However, when it comes to immigration, the vetting process is never that simple. There are many different factors involved that can easily turn the immigration vetting process into a frustrating hassle. If you are going through the vetting process, particularly if your application has been unreasonably delayed, please contact an experienced immigration lawyer in Los Angeles for immediate legal assistance.

What is Immigration Vetting Like in Today’s World?

Vetting has long been an important part of the American immigration system. In recent decades, the vetting process has become even more stringent. Following the attacks of 9/11, the United States introduced several new layers of security, including creating the Department of Homeland Security. Every applicant, regardless of background, will be vetted in some way. Therefore, it is imperative that all current and prospective immigrants understand that basics of the immigrations vetting process. Immigrants should also be aware of the basic goals of the American immigration system. These goals are well articulated by the American Immigration Council. As stated by the Council, the United States government bases the immigration system on four main principles:

  • The reunification of families;
  • Prospective immigrants’ potential value to the American economy;
  • The protection of at-risk refugees; and
  • The promotion of diversity.

When considering the vetting process that you might face during immigration, you need to consider the unique circumstances of your case. For example, if you are seeking a working permit in the technology or entertainment industry of Los Angeles County, you may be seeking an H-1B Visa. The vetting process for receiving this type of visa is slightly different than is the vetting process for seeking refugee status. Ultimately, you should always seek professional legal assistance if you are having any difficulties with the immigration vetting process.

Three Basic Immigration Vetting Requirements

  1. Key personal identifying information will be collected, including name, address, age, country of origin and place of birth.
  2. An interview will be conducted and an application will be reviewed to ensure that all qualification-related criteria are met.
  3. Background screening will be conducted by U.S. security agencies, including the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department.

Warning Signs that Could Arise in the Vetting Process

Within the immigration background vetting process, responsible U.S. agencies are looking for any red flags that could indicate that a person should not be granted citizenship or legal status within the United States. While warning signs can come in numerous different forms, all applicants should be aware of the following ones:

  • Errors or omissions within an immigration application;
  • Lies or misrepresentations within an application or immigration interview;
  • Information that indicates that the applicant is a possible security risk;
  • Connections with known bad actors, either overseas or within the United States; and
  • Any records of legal violations, including immigration violations, outstanding warrants or a evidence of a criminal background.

Becoming a United States Citizen Can Be Difficult

Unfortunately, the American immigration system is flawed. If you seeking to become a United States citizen, or if you are simply looking to obtain a green card, your case could end up facing serious delays. These delays can be incredibly frustrating and they can cause major hardships to an immigrant and their family. It is important to note that delays often occur even though the applicant did nothing wrong. Currently, the vetting process can be extremely slow and even a perfect application can end up getting delayed for months or even years. Your file may simply be bouncing around amongst different administrative agencies, or it might be held up by the FBI’s security vetting process. Even with a clean background, an application can be held up for a lengthy security review or background check. There is no doubt that these type of delays can present substantial hardships for immigrants. However, there is some good news. If your citizenship application, naturalization application, or green card application has been substantially delayed, you do have legal options. An experienced immigration attorney can comprehensively review your case and help you determine how you can fight back. Your attorney may be able to get the government to make a much faster decision on your application.

Contact Our Office Today

AtGoldstein Immigration Lawyers, our Los Angeles entertainment industry immigration lawyers have extensive experience handling a wide array of immigration-related legal issues for immigrants in L.A. If you have any questions about immigration vetting or any other immigration issues, please contact our office today at (213) 262-2000. We proudly represent immigrants throughout Southern California, including in Cerritos, Inglewood, Santa Monica and Downey.

Josh Goldstein
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