With over 40 million immigrants in the USA, the country is no stranger to newcomers. However, despite the large number that has completed the process successfully, it can seem daunting to those who are about to begin the process or would like to immigrate to the USA and have no idea where to start.
If you’re thinking about immigrating to the USA, let’s see if it’s possible.
Here are the different types of immigration visas.
Family and Spousal Visas
Most people who immigrate to the US come because their significant other is here or an immediate family member. There are different visa options under this umbrella.
Spouse and Fiancé Visas
If you have a loved one in the United States, you can move as their spouse or as their fiancé, although the latter relationship requires the U.S. petitioner to be a U.S. citizen.
The immigration process is different for each. A spouse can start the process of coming to the U.S. immediately after marrying, and following completion of the process and arriving in the U.S. on an immigrant visa, they are immediately accorded the right to work in the U.S. and travel internationally.
This is known as the CR-6/IR-6 visa (depending on how long the couple has been married).
A fiancé of a U.S. citizen can apply for what’s known as the K-1 visa: and following petition approval and visa issuance, the fiance is eligible to travel and marry in the United States, with the requirement that the marriage take place within 90 days of entry. Following marriage, the couple will then begin the process of applying for permanent residency while in the States.
Although the K-1 visa process is often quicker, there’s an at least a several month period of time where the arriving immigrant won’t be able to earn money and for this reason, many people wait until they’re married to apply for an immigrant visa. Due to the nature of the process, the K-1 visa is technically considered one of the non-immigrant visa options despite the applicant’s clear intentions to live in the United States!
In certain instances, and under the right set of circumstances, you can always get married in the States on a tourist visa, leave, and then apply for the spousal visa from your own country if that’s the path you want. Also possible in some cases, and only if there is a bona fide change of visa holder intention after entry, eligibility to remain in the U.S. to apply for adjustment of status and undergo all green card processing in the U.S. may available.
Certain relatives of United States citizens and permanent residents can also immigrate if they fall within one of the Family Preference categories, and the U.S. relative agrees to act as petitioner. As with spousal and fiancé visas, the U.S., in Family Preference cases, the petitioning relative will have to prove they have the finances to support their relative on arrival.
Permanent residents have more restrictions and are only able to file for a spouse or unmarried son or daughter. Adult, over 21 year old, U.S. Citizens may file for a parent, child (married or unmarried) or sibling.
Immigrant visas for siblings involve a lengthy process and wait, usually 10 years of more and due the limited annual statutory supply. If you’re willing to wait, however, the process is very similar to that of a spouse with the paperwork, interview, etc.
When applying for a work visa, it might be an immigrant option or a non-immigrant option.
Some of the non-immigrant visa options include journalists, exchange visas for students and teachers, au pairs, and religious workers. These are intended to be for temporary visits and are issued under the assumption that the applicant’s aim isn’t permanent residency in the States.
There are also H-1B work visas, reserved for foreign national professionals with job offers relating to their experience and/or university degree concentration.
Then there are immigrant work visas. Some religious workers will fall under this category but for the most part, these are employer-sponsored visas that involve filling jobs where adequate numbers of U.S. workers are not available in our labor supply.
They include priority workers and persons of exceptional ability. These visas involve a process more complicated than what is at play when it comes to family-based visas, as there’s are more requirements and variables at play.
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) is a special U.S. program that allows people to “win” a green card. It’s often known as the green card lottery.
Every year, 50,000 visas are issued to citizens of countries with low rates of immigration to the USA. People may enter their names into the draw and then people are randomly chosen to receive these visas from the pool of names.
Like in all visa processing cases, you must be considered admissible to the United States, which includes:
- Proving you won’t be a public charge and become dependent on the government for welfare or public benefits
- Proving you do not have a contagious disease,
- Proving that you don’t have a significant criminal record
- No prior removals from the United States
Importantly, under certain circumstances, various bases of inadmissibility can be waived or excused, thus allowing for entry to the U.S. despite initially being deemed inadmissible.
If you’re already inside of the United States when you win the lottery on a nonimmigrant visa and otherwise fulfill all requirements – such as continuously maintaining lawful nonimmigrant visa status, you can begin the process to adjust your status in the U.S. with USCIS. Otherwise, you’ll go through the immigration process from your own country.
These Are the Main Types of Immigration Visas
These are the main types of immigration visas and if you are a foreign national who wants to move to the United States from another country, you have these paths to choose between.
As always with immigration, it’s best to ensure you’re following the rules and have a realistic plan to chart a legal path to the U.S. Otherwise, one misstep can sometimes lead to making legal immigration impossible.
Looking for some immigration help and aren’t sure where to start, or found yourself in trying to resolve a problem with USCIS? Contact us today for a reliable attorney to help and we can set up a consultation. We speak English, Spanish, Polish, Hebrew, Russian, and Lithuanian.