Immigration is the act of entering a country with the intention of living or working there permanently, although US immigration laws also cover entry into the country for almost any purpose, including temporary stays beyond a certain amount of weather. The following is an overview of immigration processes in the United States.
The main objective of the immigration system in the United States is to grant immigrant status to certain people based on factors such as family reunification, highly requested job skills and capital investment. The immigration system also covers refugees and asylum seekers and provides an “lottery” of immigrant status for people who do not have such a pressing need. The procedure to obtain an immigrant legal status will depend, among other things, on the steps that correspond to him according to his employment, level of education and family situation, among other factors.
If an individual is seeking immigrant status because he or she has a relative who is a US citizen or a legitimate permanent resident, the following requirements apply:
- The individual must qualify to access legitimate permanent residence based on a family relationship that is recognized by US immigration law. Not all family members qualify immediately and some direct family members ( spouses and children) have preference over others.
- The family member of the individual (called “sponsor”) must submit form I-130 (in English) , Petition of a foreign relative, together with evidence that proves the family relationship, and the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) English) must approve the request.
If an individual is seeking to obtain immigrant status because they have a permanent job opportunity, the following requirements apply.
- The individual must qualify under one of five categories of immigration based on employment recognized by US law.
- The individual’s employer must complete and send a request for labor certification to the Employment and Training Administration of the Department of Labor.
- The individual’s employer must submit an immigrant visa application (usually Form I-140 (in English) , Foreign Worker Application) and the government must approve it.
While it is relatively rare, if an individual makes a qualified capital investment in the United States, he or she may qualify for immigrant status, as long as:
- The investment meets a certain minimum amount, benefits the economy of the United States and generates or preserves a specific number of jobs.
- Form I-526 (English) , Immigrant Petition by Foreign Entrepreneur , is submitted and approved by the government.
To be qualified and access refugee status, an individual must have been in the past (or fear being in the future) a victim of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or affiliation with a particular group. An individual who qualifies to access refugee status must meet certain medical and safety criteria in order to enter the United States.
Through the Diversity Visa Lottery program, immigrant visas are offered annually to people whose home countries have low rates of immigration to the United States. Each year, the State Department selects a certain number of applicants from among all the eligible participants.
Legal assistance with the immigration process
It is necessary to know the steps involved in meticulous preparation for each stage of the immigration process. If you or a loved one are considering living in the United States or becoming citizens, you should contact an immigration lawyer who can guide you at each stage of the process and protect your rights.