Permanent Residence (Green Card)
Generally, a person can obtain permanent residence (green card) in the U.S. through family based immigration, employment based immigration, and the diversity visa lottery.
Family based immigrant petitions are filed by U.S. citizens and permanent residents. U.S. citizens can petition for immediate relatives which include spouses, parents and children under the age of 21. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can petition for preference relative which include married and unmarried sons and daughters (over 21) of U.S. citizens, brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, spouses, minor children and unmarried sons and daughters (over 21) of U.S. permanent residents. Immediate relatives are not subject to waiting times based on visa availability unlike preference relatives who must wait for their priority dates to be current before applying for permanent residence,
The majority of the employment based options require a petition to be filed by the employer of the intending immigrant. Depending upon the type of employment based petition, the employer must obtain approval from USCIS and/or U.S. Department of Labor. In limited circumstances, the foreign national may self-sponsor for permanent residency for certain employment based petitions. In investment related cases, the U.S. employer is owned in whole or in part by the foreign national and there are strict requirements which must be met with respect to the investment made in the U.S.
Diversity Visa Lottery
The U.S Department of State conducts an annual visa lottery which allocates 50,000 immigrant visas each year, which is commonly known as ‘Green Card Lottery”. Visa are generally granted to foreign nationals from countries which have low rates of emigration to the U.S. Applicants are selected randomly by a computer generated drawing. If selected, the lottery applicant, spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may apply for permanent resident status in the U.S.
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Attorney Kerr can provide answers to your questions regarding Visas and Immigration Matters.