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Helpful Information on Georgia Immigration Law

Want to know more about Georgia immigration laws? This article discusses everything you need to know about the laws guiding immigration in Georgia.

Georgia Immigration Laws

Traveling or moving to foreign countries, particularly the U.S., can cause trouble with law enforcement officers if you do not have a visa or legal status in the country.

The immigration laws in the state of Georgia are the same as those in the rest of the United States, as this type of law is set at the federal level. Immigration laws determine who may enter the country, how long they can stay, and when they must depart.

Continue reading to learn more about immigration law in Georgia.

How Does Georgia Deal With Immigration?

Those who can access the immigration system are divided into two groups; those who intend to permanently reside and work in the US and those on a temporary visa to visit, work, or study.

Depending on the circumstances, these individuals will apply for non-immigrant visas or immigrant visas.

According to immigration law, individuals who are found entering the country without status are transferred to immigration detention centers as they wait for trial.

In the state of Georgia, there are two immigration courts where deportation proceedings occur: The Atlanta Immigration Court and the Stewart Immigration Court which is located at Stewart Detention Center.

Is Georgia Immigrant-Friendly?

According to the American Immigration Council, Georgia has a sizeable immigrant community. One out of ten Georgia residents were born outside of the country, and one out of thirteen residents are US native-born citizens with at least one immigrant parent.

Georgia is open to legal immigration because immigrants make up the workforce and contribute to economic growth. They also contribute to state and local taxes.

Georgia is the home of over 1 million immigrants who are classified into different categories:

  • Undocumented immigrants

  • Lawful permanent resident

  • Refugees

  • Naturalized US citizens

  • Native-born citizens with at least one immigrant parent

  • Immigrant workers

  • Deferred Action or Childhood Arrivals

If you want to obtain citizenship in Georgia, a trustworthy immigration lawyer will provide you with the necessary legal advice on immigration issues.

Georgia Legal Residency Requirements

Establishing legal status of residency in Georgia is different than becoming a United States citizen or getting your green card. To become an official resident of Georgia entails buying or renting a house and transferring all of your information to the state. Requirements for becoming a legal resident of the United States are more complex and depend on federal regulations.

Once you have transferred your personal information to Georgia, you become a legal resident. If you are a student looking to qualify for in-state tuition, you must be a resident for at least one year before starting your studies.

The following are the requirements to become a resident in Georgia;

Establish a Georgia Residence – Your first step is to buy a home or sign a lease. Establish utilities in your name and change your address to the state of Georgia.

Obtain a Driver’s license and ID – The state requires that you transfer your driver’s license and ID. Visit the Department of Driver Services within 30 days of moving. Carry your current driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, lease agreement, and utility bill to prove that you live in Georgia.

Register to vote – Once you have met the basic residency requirements and received your ID, you can register to vote. So long as you can prove that you are a resident and of legal age, you can complete the voter registration online.

Register your vehicle – To get a Georgia license plate, you need to register your vehicle within 30 days of moving. Transfer your car insurance to Georgia and visit the motor vehicle division for registration. Take with you the proof of insurance and proof of car ownership.

Once you are finished with the essential steps mentioned above, you are considered a resident of Georgia.

What You Need to Know About Immigration Laws in Georgia

In Georgia, immigration is controlled by the federal government. The U.S. established the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Immigration Reform and Control Act to restrict immigration without status and prevent the employment of undocumented immigrants.

These Acts guide Georgia’s rules regarding immigration checks, schools, employers, E-verify requirements, and public benefits based on an individual’s immigration status.

Many of these provisions may be enforced by customs enforcement or other authorities. Consulting immigration officials or hiring a top-rated immigration lawyer would give you the most up-to-date information about current regulations.


Rules and regulations on law enforcement and immigration 

For years, the federal immigration authorities have controlled immigration and enforcement. In the recent past, local law enforcement agencies began to assist with investigations or pursue immigration-related offenses.

Checks for undocumented immigrants are done at traffic stops and the scenes of other crimes. Law enforcement officers often try to learn the immigration status of suspects who cannot provide identification when requested.

The state of Georgia has a federal program known as secure communities. The program requires that all persons arrested during immigration checks give their fingerprints run through a database to confirm their immigration status.


Employment checks

The Georgia state immigration law is strict on employment eligibility checks. It is an offense to seek and acquire employment using fake identification documents. If you are found to have secured employment illegally, you will face severe penalties, including jail time and fines.


E-Verify Requirements

Georgia law mandates all employers, including private employers of all sizes, to use E-verify to authenticate their workers’ right to work in the country.


Driver’s license

Georgia law requires that an individual provides identification proof, proof of residency and citizenship, or be a lawful resident of the US to make an application for a driver’s license.


Education rules and restrictions

Georgia law forbids undocumented immigrants from paying in-state tuition rates at state schools. The state has stripped funding from state colleges that established themselves as sanctuary campuses for undocumented immigrants.


Restriction on public benefits

An individual must fulfill all identification requirements before seeking public benefits. The federal law prohibits undocumented immigrants from getting public benefits. However, they are permitted to receive necessary benefits to protect human life and safety. These services include emergency services and health care.


Rules on voter ID

Georgia is strict on other identification. Before voting, you are required to present your photo ID.

Do You Need a Lawyer for Help with Immigration Laws in Georgia?

U.S. immigration law is a complex area to navigate. The federal government requires immigrants to fill out specific forms in order to apply for status, and additional documentation, interviews, or court appearances are required in some cases.

Immigration laws and regulations are often in flux due to changing political administrations and changing circumstances in other countries as well.

Without legal guidance and assistance, you may have difficulty immigrating. With the help of a trusted naturalization attorney, the process of gaining legal status or citizenship may be easier.


Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Become a Permanent Resident in Georgia?

You can obtain a Georgia permanent residence permit after living in the country for several years under the law as a temporary resident.

Foreign nationals who work or study in Georgia for some time can apply for permanent residence once they have finished their minimum period of stay and are compliant with other conditions.

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