Immigrating to the United States of America and remaining there for good is a resolution of great importance and complexity. By settling legally in the United States and becoming a permanent inhabitant you may be suitable to become a naturalized citizen in a prescribed amount of time. In this article, you will find information about different sorts of immigrant visas, mandatory steps in the immigrant visa application and who may actually immigrate to the United States legally.
Key Points of the Application Process
If you are outside the United States at the moment, your process begins with applying for an immigrant visa in order to achieve permanent residency. In case you are already in the U.S., you can claim permanent residency by applying to a process named the adjustment of status. Both application processes include several key points:
- In most cases, a US citizen or a justifiable permanent inhabitant must act as your sponsor and support or file an immigrant petition on your behalf with the Immigration Services of the United States.
- When the above mentioned is approved, you must apply either for an immigrant type of visa or for a so called Permanent Resident Card.
- Schedule a doctor’s appointment and undergo an examination.
- Attend a scheduled interview.
Types of Immigrating Visas
The immigrating visa process includes several types of visas:
- Immigration based on family.
- Employment-based immigration.
- Other categories of immigrating visas.
When immigrating based on family, a U.S. citizen can file a petition for animmediate relative (spouse, daughter or son, parent or brother and sister). If a justifiable permanent resident is filing a petition, he or she can only file it on behalf of a spouse or an unmarried child. The family member in both categories, that acts as a sponsor, must file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
In case someone tends to immigrate as an employee, he or she has to be supported by an employer in the United States. If you’re a skilled worker in a required field of expertise, under the U.S. law you may be able to sponsor yourself as well. Employment-based immigration involves five categories depending on national priorities, exceptional achievements, abilities and degrees, and foreign investments. The employer who acts as a sponsor has to file an I-140 Petition for Alien Worker or you may file it by yourself as a skilled worker in case the law permits you to do that.
Most foreigners tend to settle based on family or employment type of visas. However, there are some other types of visas, as well. For example, a U.S. citizen may file a petition on behalf of his or her foreign fiancee in order to get married in the United States and start a life together. In addition, a US citizen may adopt a foreign orphan. There are as well some types of employment-based visas that cover special fields of expertise. The Immigration and Nationality Act of the United States provides a Diversity program type of visa. This program’s main purpose is to provide annually a specified number of visas to newcomers from countries with historically flat percentages of immigration to the United States.
The Visa Waiver Program and the Issue of Permanent Residency
The Visa Waiver Program permits citizens of listed 38 countries to travel to the United States for business and amusement but their sojourn is limited up to 90 days. A citizen of one of the 38 listed countries doesn’t have to apply for a visa to visit the United States temporary. They only have to submit an ESTA online application and get the authorization to travel. You can check ESTA online by going to its website and check your ESTA visa status.The Visa Waiver Program and the ESTA process are similar to a B1 or B2 entry as this program permits nationals from eligible countries to avoid the whole complex procedure of obtaining a temporary visa in order to travel or conduct business freely in a prescribed amount of time. However, if a person whose country is a participant of the Visa Waiver Program would enter the United States based on the ESTA online application, his or her entry would be legitimate. In case, he or she would remain in the United States for more than 90 days or the entry was combined with the intention to stay for good, the foreign national could be found guilty of committing fraud upon arrival. The law that created the Visa Waiver Program imposes that foreign nationals who enter on this basis are not permitted to adjust or somehow change their status.
A foreign national who is already in the United States may become a Green Card holder if an immigrant visa is available to them. There are three major requirements to be permitted to undergo the adjustment of the status process:
- To live currently in the United States and thereby be physically present.
- To have lawful access to the country.
- To have an immigrant visa immediately available.
However, under the U.S. law, there is a policy memorandum which allows permission of adjustment of status for claimants under the Visa Waiver Program. In case foreign nationals are close family members of U.S. citizens they may remain in the country beyond the 90-day period of time. After the expiration of the 90-day period, the former Visa Waiver Program claimant may apply to the adjustment of status process. Nevertheless, each situation is different and unique and in this case, it would be best to consult an immigration specialized attorney.