The United States has long been considered the "melting pot' of the world and more immigrants enter our borders than any other country globally each year. If you have been watching the news in recent months, you may have heard some conflicting news about travel bans and initiatives to halt immigration. Even with attempts by some to halt immigration from some countries, the U.S. still gives immigrant visas to people who desire to immigrate legally and start life anew in this great country. The immigrant population in the U.S. is very diverse and new people enter the country every day seeking asylum or a new start to life.
Hiring an attorney who specializes in immigration law is going to be beneficial to the immigrant who wants to ensure everything is handled legally and that they have not missed out on anything that will be vital to their immigration to the U.S. An attorney is the best way that an immigrant can secure their visa and be able to stay in the United States long term. This means, an attorney can help place you on the right path to living and working in the U.S. With the right attorney, you will soon be on your way to relocating to the United States and starting a new life.
The immigrant visa program offered by the United States varies as there are several ways that a person can immigrate to the country. In most cases, a person needs to have sponsorship from a relative who is either a United States citizen or who has a green card. People can also obtain employer sponsorship from someone who will provide a job here in the United States. To obtain an immigrant visa, a person needs to go through many steps to be able to stay in the U.S.
To be eligible for an immigrant visa, a foreign person should consider the following:
Many people who immigrate to the United States so with sponsorship from a relative who is a U.S. citizen or holds a green card. Relatives who are citizens can sponsor their spouse, children, parents or siblings. Those who have a green card (non-citizens) can only sponsor their spouse and children who are younger than 21.
Citizens of the United States can sponsor their immediate family, including spouses, parents and children without having to wait. The relative with citizenship needs to file a petition and once the petition is approved, the immigrant can go ahead and apply for their visa. The following forms will need to be filed:
Form I-130- Petition for Alien Relative (Filed by the U.S. citizen who sponsors the immigrant)
Form I-485-Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Filed by the immigrant along with the relative filing the Form I-130)
Filing this way allows the immigrant to receive their green card immediately with no need to go back to their country of origin to try to obtain an immigrant visa to return and stay. For immigrants with a U.S. citizen relative to sponsor them, there is no wait and there is also no limit to how many visas the United States government will give out each year.
For immigrants who are being sponsored by someone with a green card however, the government does limit the number annually. Immigrants with a green card sponsor will be placed in a waiting list and will need to wait until their priority date comes up. Priority dates can be checked on the U.S. Department of State website at this link:
Immigrants can also immigrate to the United States without a relative sponsor through one of the following methods:
The Green Card Lottery
Each year, the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program allows 50,000 immigrant visas to be made for randomly selected immigrants who are from countries with few people already residing in the United States. The majority of these "lottery winners" do not already live in the United States although some are already living here.
Foreign nationals who can invest at least $1 million USD in the United States and can create at least 10 permanent, full-time jobs for United States workers are eligible for a green card. For an investor to file for a green card, they need to fill out Form I-526.
Once all forms are filled out for either a relative sponsorship, employer sponsorship or for an investor, a personal interview will be scheduled with a consular officer and the immigrant will be told what medical documentation they need as well as what other legal documentation will be required of them. At the interview, the consular officer will determine whether the person is eligible for their visa or not.