Getting Permanent Residence In America

Getting Permanent Residence In America
Becoming a permanent resident of the United States is the ultimate goal of many people around the world. It is not an easy feat to achieve, as spaces are limited each year for incoming immigrants. But once you are issued the priceless Green Card you are legally allowed to live and work in the US indefinitely.

There are several paths to becoming a legal resident of America. Each type of immigrant visa has a certain number of them that can be issued each year, so many applicants wait years before they are approved. The main types of immigrant visas are:

• Immigration via a family member already in the US
• Immigration via employment
• Immigration via investment between US$500,000 and US$1 million
• Immigration through asylum or refugee status
• Immigration through the Diversity Lottery

Every immigrant must follow a lengthy process that involves three main steps. Depending on the country where you were born and the category of immigration you are pursuing it can take years to finally get approved. The first step is to file an Immigration Petition, known as form I-131, which must be submitted to a special office in the US or in the capital of a few select states.

If the government approves this initial petition, you must then check if there is an immigration visa number available with the National Visa Center (NVC). Even though a visa application is approved, it doesn’t mean there is a visa number available due to yearly quotas of new immigrant visas that vary by country of origin and the type of visa. This is why most applicants end up on a waiting list for a few years before they finally get issued a permanent resident visa.

When the immigrant visa number is available you must apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and have your status upgraded to permanent resident status by submitting form I-485. The USCIS will conduct a thorough background check at this time using fingerprints to see if you have a criminal record or other aliases.

An easier route to permanent residency in the US is by marrying a US citizen or becoming employed by a US company. The K-1 visa and IR-1 visa are for fianc?s or spouses of Americans who want to move permanently to the country. This is a straightforward application that is almost always approved within a few months as long as the marriage has been valid for two years and nothing looks suspicious.

The Green Card Lottery is another way to quickly gain an immigrant visa to the US. Each year about 50,000 visas are given out through the Diversity Visa Program, and applicants can only apply based on the country they were born in. The idea is to let in a few people from a range of global countries to help keep America’s melting pot diverse and balanced. It is literally like winning the lottery, and those lucky few who are chosen are granted permanent status within six months of the announcement. Most of the time, the winner’s family can come as well. More on this can be seen here: