The perfect word to describe immigration policy is complicated. There are countless rules and regulations depending on what country an immigrant is coming from or for how long they’ve already been in their new country. Not to mention the mountains of paperwork and applications immigrants are expected to fill out in order to have a shot at staying in their country of choice.

An additional complication to immigration policy is the various types of visas available. Each visa applies to someone only if they qualify. In an effort to make the immigration process easier to understand, I briefly outlined some descriptions of the types of visas below.

The Two Categories of Visas

In total, about 185 different types of American visas exist. There are, however, two main types of visas: immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

  • Non-immigrant visa: Non-immigrant visas allow individuals to come to the United States for a temporary reason. These reasons usually include traveling for leisure, traveling for work and business, visiting family living in the United States, and studying as a foreign exchange student or through a study abroad program.
  • Immigrant visa: Immigrant visas are required for those who want to immigrate to the United States. To obtain a visa, one must prove a long-term purpose for entering the country.

Other forms of travel and immigration documentation exist, but these forms of visa are the most important categories to know.

Obtaining a Visa

As you’ve probably guessed, there are various differences in how one goes about obtaining a non-immigrant and immigrant visa.

Applying for a non-immigrant visa is actually an extremely complicated, convoluted process. As the above description implies, there a host of non-immigrant visa options that each come with their own stipulations and limits. Many non-immigrant visas bring with them extensive applications and may even require you to interview with government officials. This is because these officials want to ensure that you will not use the non-immigrant visa to overstay your visa and remain in the country unlawfully.

The immigrant visa process is equally complicated — just in a different way. To first apply for an immigrant visa, the applicant must be sponsored either by a relative that is a United States citizen, a United States lawful permanent resident, or a potential employer. The sponsor then fills out a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Once your petition has been approved, you begin the visa process at the National Visa Center. You should then choose an agent to act as your representative during your case — many recommend reaching out to an attorney at a firm like The Law Office of William Jang, PLLC. You will then have to pay a filing fee.

After paying the fee, you can submit your application and the additional documents. If you make it through this process, your next step is to complete an interview with government officials.

Whether you’re looking to obtain a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa, your best bet is to reach out to an attorney. Even if you don’t end up going to court or needing intense legal representation, an attorney can help you fill out the application and corresponding paperwork.

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Christmas and the winter holiday season are considered the most wonderful time of the year. For me, however, it can be the most hectic. The day-to-day problems like going to work, paying the bills, taking the kids to school, and everything else required still exist on top of holiday needs like purchasing gifts, wrapping presents, and decorating the house. The peppermint candy canes are just not worth the hassle, in my opinion.

However, my children absolutely adore the Christmas season. Since they could speak, I have heard repeated demands to visit the North Pole (also known as the local mall) and take a picture with Santa Claus. I am well aware that with time they will grow out of this obsession. But as people have reminded me, I should appreciate this period of simplicity and innocence in their lives. So I have responded to their demands with a full-throated endorsement of Christmas fever.

We always over-deliver on our presents, often giving the children above and beyond what they could ever ask for. They are just so dang cute, it is hard to not spoil them. One year, you could barely see the living room floor because many wrapped gifts occupied so much space around the Christmas tree!

But as you know, wrapping and distributing gifts is not enough to truly engage in the Christmas spirit. My kids always want to take pictures with Santa, sure, but they also want to watch classic Christmas movies like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or It’s a Wonderful Life. And even more importantly, they want to have the prettiest Christmas lights outside from the end of Thanksgiving to the beginning of the New Year (when we promptly take the lights down).

But as I said, the holiday season is just so jam-packed! Last year, when we were about to dedicate an afternoon (and likely, the evening as well) to putting up Christmas lights on the exterior of our house, my family soon realized that we had to attend a family Christmas party that same night. I quickly dressed the children in holiday-themed sweaters (both for the novelty and because it was cold!) and rushed out of the house. We were not able to find a single other night for the remainder of the month that we would all be free to dedicate time to put up lights.

And none of us (especially the small children) were particularly concerned with the details of the lights. It is not as if we wanted an exact aesthetic. More broadly, we just wanted lights to be up on the house. Nothing more, nothing less.

We got a recommendation from friends to use Daybreaker Landscapes to help us put up outdoor lighting. They do permanent light fixtures as well as holiday lighting. Their lighting experts can help you choose a design theme, install the lights, and even store the lights when you don’t want them up. They are not only recommended for the quality of their service but also because Daybreaker Landscapes works hard to make sure that you feel like a valued customer (they warn of common scams for light installation companies, for example). Check them out!

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The aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming. First, you have the pain and the shock to deal with. You’ve got concerns about your long-term health and ability to recover. You may be worried if others were hurt in the accident as well. After your immediate concerns are taken care of, you’ll likely have a whole new set of worries. How are you going to pay for your medical bills? When can you get back to work? What if you can never get back to work? How are you going to pay your bills? Who’s going to look after your kids or your dog or your other responsibilities? Will you have to move if your mobility becomes limited and you can’t afford your current home?

These are incredibly serious questions, and finding an answer to each and every one of them will obviously take up a lot of your time. When your whole life has been uprooted by an accident, who has time to go shopping for a law firm? And yet, that’s exactly what you need to do. You’ll need a lawyer to pursue any claims against those who are at fault so that you aren’t left paying those big bills, struggling financially, losing your home, and trying to find work.

So, how do you find the right law firm when you don’t have the time, focus, or experience to identify the best lawyer possible? To simplify the whole process, just use these tips:

  • Look for well-recommended lawyers in your area
  • Check their qualifications, including:
    • Amount of experience
    • Areas of law they cover
    • Awards they’ve won
    • Recommendations for their services
    • Evidence that they’ll care about your case
  • Meet with the lawyers you think meet your needs (many offer free consultations)
  • Choose the best lawyer that you meet with

If you just follow those steps, you’ll have a lawyer in no time.

Let’s see how this works. Let’s take, for example, a well-recommended firm in the Houston area, Adams Law Firm. If you’re in Houston, you’ve probably heard about them, which already suggests they have a good reputation. Next, visit their site to see what you can learn. You’ll instantly see that the lawyers at Adams Law Firm have decades of experience in the law. They cover all the major areas of personal injury law (meaning that they probably have experience with a case like yours). They’ve won numerous awards. They have positive feedback from clients. Finally, they’re local to the area and part of a family law firm, which suggests they’ll care more for you and your case. So, Adams Law Firm, after five minutes on their site, show that they belong at least on your short list for law firms if your injury was in that area.

Finding a lawyer is really that simple. You could spend as little as fifteen minutes on this, and if you follow the above tips, you’re sure to get a good lawyer.

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How to Sell Your Invention

So you’re an inventor, and you think you’ve finally struck gold with your most recent invention. This one, unlike all the others before, is going to make your name and your fortune. The names of Edison and Tesla, Ford and Bell are running through your head, and you know, if you can just get this idea out there, you’re sure to be mentioned in the same breath as all of them.

But how do you do that? How do you get your idea out there?

This is a surprisingly difficult problem for inventors. Your invention, after all, isn’t just a book you can self-publish. To publish the specifics may well ruin your right to recuperate any money at all from all your work.

So, where do you go? There are a number of options, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

First, you could go to businesses that specialize in the area of your invention and see if they are interested in buying it from you. The benefit here is, if you can get a willing ear and sell them on it, you are likely to get a decent payday from it, and the problems of production and selling are taken out of your hands. The downside, of course, is that you’d probably be required to sign over the rights to your invention. This would mean that you wouldn’t see the major money if the product took off (nor would you suffer the major losses if it didn’t), and you’d most likely remain an anonymous inventor. You could, however, use the success of this first invention to build a name for yourself in the industry. You’d then find the next invention has an easier path to success.

Another option would be to show your invention at trade shows to try to garner some big money investment. Should be successful, you’d likely have the capital to push your product into the mainstream, however you may not have the knowledge of how best to use that money. You would also be suffering under the requirements placed on your by your investors, who are likely to want to see a return on their investment in a set amount of time. This extra pressure can be quite daunting for those new to the business side of the invention.

A final way and perhaps the preferred one of the 21st-century inventor is to use sites like Kickstarter to launch your invention yourself. By getting small investments, it is easier to accommodate your investors with small gifts instead of major returns on funds. You have more time to develop your product and its brand. You may also make incidental connections that might lead to larger markets.

The downside is that you are still on your own to develop the means of reaching the mainstream market. However, a Kickstarter, or similar fundraising site, does immediately raise your profile so that a transition to Amazon and other sellers might be a little easier than through a more private fundraising system.

For an example of how an invention can launch quickly and lead to a big profile and success, check out the story of the Growler Chill.

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From 1993 to 1998, six children, all below 2 years old, died after the defective crib they used collapsed, trapped their neck and strangled them (all six cribs were from the same manufacturer).

Product-related injuries and deaths tracked and recorded by the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), include the following:

  • For the years 2001 and 2006, toy-related injuries were 255,100 and 220,500, respectively;
  • In 2005, Dell recalled 200,000 of its laptop batteries which could overheat and cause fire;
  • In 2003, nearly 30,000 electric blankets had to be recalled due to their tendency to overheat and catch fire when these are folded or bunched;
  • In 2006, Toyota recalled over 1.4 million of its cars due to defective parts; and,
  • Due to the use of the Ortho Evra® birth control patch, a number of young women were found to have developed blood clots, which also caused their death.

Thousands of product liability claims are filed in various U.S. courts every year, leading to settlements or court decisions in favor of consumers who have either been directly or indirectly injured by defective, harmful products.

The tasks of regulating the manufacture and sale, and of ensuring the safety of consumer products, including children’s toys and nursery items, is assigned to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a government agency that was created in 1972.  Some of CPSC’s specific tasks include:

  • Determine the allowed size of children’s toys;
  • Set limits for toxicity of, and noise produced by, toys;
  • Make sure that toys’ batteries and magnets are inaccessible to children;
  • Ensure that children’s toys are not designed with sharp parts and edges which can cause wounds;
  • Require manufacturers to display product labels that will warn parents about a toy’s possible dangers;
  • Issue recalls on harmful products;
  • Ban products that can cause danger; and,
  • Formulate other product safety requirements.

About 69,000 children in the U.S. are rushed to emergency departments every year due to defective nursery and children’s products. In 2014, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission issued recalls on 17 million units of children’s products which included infant carriers, high and hook-on chairs, full-size and non-full-size cribs, portable cribs, infant bathtubs, infant slings, strollers, walkers, play yards, swings, stationary activity centers, and toddler beds, among others.

The Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, LTD, posted the following in its website: How often do you give a thought to the safety of one of the many products you purchase? Most of us take it for granted that the products we use every day are safe. Unfortunately, this may not always be the case. Sometimes, in the push for quick profits, businesses push items onto the market without sufficient testing to determine that they are safe. It is the responsibility of those who design, produce, and market consumer products to ensure that they do no harm. If a product does injure or kill someone, anyone along the chain from design to manufacture to distribution of the product can potentially be held liable for the damages it caused.



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