When an “Umbrella” Is a Visa … Is an Umbrella

When an “Umbrella” Is a Visa … Is an Umbrella

“Come again?  Umbrella, visa … and just how does that work?”

Stop.  Think creatively for a moment.  Pull yourself away from the gravitational pull of the linear, the written, the logical “real world.”

Listen:  We are all at our best when we let our imaginations stretch their legs, run a little wild.  Switching over to right-brain mode, observing, allowing the mind to wander, and letting those “Aha!” moments just happen.

Speaking personally (and professionally), I’ve learned that I thrive when I am in the creative side, the imaginative side, of practicing immigration law — the part that’s all about figuring out solutions to problems — and helping people overcome these challenges.

I’ve found that an ability to “think in pictures” (acknowledgment to Dr. Temple Grandin) is pivotal in resolving tangled immigration-law issues.  Another advantage is having a white board and colored markers handy in a client consultation, to map out a visual strategy — and with pictorial aids, such as apples, hourglasses, safety nets, and yes, even umbrellas.  This is the simplest, most effective way I’ve found to convey the complexities of visa cases, in my years of practice in US immigration law.  I get smiles, nods of recognition, from my clients.  Nothing dull about it.  We have some fun.

Getting back on point.  So, uh, why exactly an umbrella?  

An umbrella, or parasol, is of course a form of protection from the elements.  It offers the person carrying the umbrella, and those squeezed in under its canopy, a safe and reasonably comfortable passage, with a minimum of inconvenience.  It is available for a fairly reasonable price and in a variety of sizes, styles and colors to suit its owner/user.  It is held over our heads right up until our arrival at the destination, just long enough to ensure our entrance.  Then, it is shaken and left to dry, ready for the next venture outdoors.

A visa is similar, in some respects.  Passports stamped with visas allow for international travel,  Visas are available to qualified individuals who invest the time and resources — including the guidance and “due diligence” that competent immigration counsel can provide.  A visa offers assurance that the individual may board the international flight to a US destination.  Upon arrival at the airport, he or she will present the passport and visa, to ask permission for legal entry — for “admission” as US immigration law puts it.  If the individual has secured admission, then he or she goes on about business at the final destination in the United States, and the visa and passport are put away until the next trip abroad.

I’ll give a few examples of some “visa umbrellas” — caveat:  purely as creations of one lawyer’s imagination — and their shapes and colors, and I will offer profiles of  people who can carry these “visa umbrellas” in their immigration journey:

*  Picture a US citizen, who unfolds a bright green umbrella with legend, “Permanent Residence.”  Our citizen then raises it to cover, and protect, a spouse and children.  There’s even room for the citizen’s parents to scoot in under the umbrella.

*  And here, a foreign entrepreneur and business partner, both citizens of a “treaty nation” (covered in a later post); they are holding a bright blue “EU”-style umbrella.  On one side it bears the logo of their new US business.  Its span is broad enough to accommodate their spouses and children … as well as key personnel from the “treaty” country and families.

*  Now picture a multinational conglomerate organization, which will be an “umbrella network.”  It may help to think of a series of organizational charts, one for each office and hierarchical employment structure — including a chart for the US affiliate or subsidiary.  A modest umbrella presides over each chart, in the design of the national flag of that country.  High above, a vast canopy extends over all of the charts.  Now and then a box pops out from one chart and reappears on the American company’s chart.  An employee, and family members.  From the shelter of one umbrella to another.

Small multinational companies may use this umbrella network.  It’s not the size of the companies that matters — it’s the quality of the companies’ overall financial position, and the essential nature of the responsibilities of the US and foreign positions, that counts.

OK, that’s it.  Reel in that imagination, put the genie back in the bottle.  You’re back in the real world of logic and linear thinking.  So what’s the takeaway?  Just that “umbrellas” are a way to simplify a complex network of laws and procedures that make up the US immigration system.  They do serve a purpose.

And that I hope you had a little fun, just imagining with me for a minute.

Speaking of imagination, please listen to the words of one of the world’s greatest thinkers, Albert Einstein:  “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”  

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Disclaimer:  The information presented in this post is not intended as legal advice.  For legal advice concerning US immigration law, consult an attorney.