Coming to the US Legally: How to Legally Immigrate to the US
There are currently over 44 million immigrants living in the United States. Since the turn of the 20th century, people all over the world have packed up and moved to the United States in hopes of finding new opportunities and freedoms.
The US immigration process can seem confusing and convoluted at times. But by learning the best tips and tricks for how to legally immigrate to the US, you can expedite the immigration process and be on your way to becoming an American citizen.
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Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know
Keeping families together is an important part of America’s immigration policy. This category of immigration allows American citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) to bring certain members of their families to the US. These immigrants are admitted either through the family preference system or as immediate relatives of American citizens.
Prospective immigrants who consider themselves to be immediate relatives need to meet certain eligibility criteria. Also, petitioners will have to meet certain financial and age requirements. A person who is considered an immediate relative must be:
- a spouse of an American citizen
- an unmarried minor child of an American citizen
- a parent of an American citizen
Every year, there are a limited number of visas that are available under the family preference system. The preference system includes:
- unmarried children and spouses of LPRs
- siblings and adult children of American citizens
To be allowed in through the family-based immigration system, an LPR or American citizen will have to petition for an individual relative. They will then have to establish the legitimacy of their relationship, meet certain financial requirements, and sign an affidavit of support that says that the sponsor will be financially responsible for the immigrant.
In the United States, there are several ways that immigrants who possess valuable skills can come to the country. They can be allowed in on a temporary or permanent basis.
Temporary Visa Classifications
With temporary employment-based visa classifications, employers can hire and also petition for foreign nations for specific jobs for certain periods. The majority of temporary workers will have to work for the employer who petitioned for them and they won’t have the ability to change jobs.
There are over a dozen types of visas for nonimmigrant temporary workers. The classification of the visa will vary in terms of the duration, eligibility requirements, whether workers can bring dependents and other factors.
Depending on the qualifications of the foreign nation and the type of job, an employer may be able to sponsor the worker for permanent employment. To be sponsored, a foreign national doesn’t need to be working for that employer.
There is a limit of 140,000 permanent employment-based immigrants allowed into the United States each year. That number includes those immigrants as well as their children and spouses. The 140,000 visas are divided into five different categories.
Along with the limits that are placed upon the many immigration preferences, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) puts a limit on how many people can immigrate to the US from any one country. For example, no group of permanent immigrants from any one country can exceed a certain percentage of the total number of people who immigrate to the US in a single fiscal year.
To be clear, this isn’t a quota that makes sure that certain nationalities make up a percentage of immigrants. Instead, this is placed to limit any immigrant group from dominating the patterns of immigration to the US.
Refugees and Asylees
Refugees will be allowed into the US based on their inability to go back to their home country due to fear of persecution because of their social group, religion, race, political opinion, or national origin.
Refugees apply for immigration from outside of the US. They generally do so from a “transition country.”
People who are already in the United States and are seeking protections can apply for asylum. These people can apply at any port of entry within one year of entering the US. There’s no limit on how many people can be granted asylum in any one year and there also aren’t any specific categories for deciding who can seek asylum.
If a person wants to become a citizen of the United States through nationalization, that person will need to have LPR status (a green card) for at least five years. Immigrants who serve in the US military may not have to wait the five years. Also, people who received their green card through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) or through their American spouse, only have to wait three years.
People who apply for American citizenship have to show continuous residency, pass US history, English, and civics exams, be at least 18-years-old, show “good moral character,” and pay an application fee.
If you need help navigating the complicated immigration process, it’s recommended that you hire an immigration lawyer to help you.
The Importance of Knowing How to Legally Immigrate to the US
Back in the old days, anybody who was physically fit could become an American citizen. Today, however, there are so many hoops to jump through, papers to sign, and years to wait that it could be enough to make some people give up. But by learning how to legally immigrate to the US, you can find the path to citizenship that works best for you.
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