The Legal Process For Immigrating To America

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The United States is one of the top choices of countries for foreigners to immigrate to. The country received a boom in immigrant travelers after the quota on ethinicities was lifted in 1965, which effectively turned the U.S. “open” for immigrants who see opportunities in the Land of the Free. In the first ten years of the New Millennium alone, around 14 million immigrants have been admitted to the borders of the United States.

How Can One Immigrate to the United States?
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While the reasons for immigrating to United States vary according to the individual, there is a single process that is observed when one wants to become an immigrant to the US as a first step to becoming a permanent resident and, ultimately, a citizen of the United States.

The first step to immigrating to the United States is to request or petition for immigrant status. One must have a sponsor in order to be eligible to apply for immigrant status, and these sponsors are responsibility for filing the petition. The types of sponsors recognized by the government are:
  • Relatives who are citizens or lawful permanent residents in the United States.
  • Prospective Employers
  • The U.S. Government, rendered as a special visas for Iraqis and Afghans that have worked for the U.S. Government in Iraq and Afghanistan.the
  • A U.S. Citizen with whom applicant is engaged to or is in a relationship with.
  • A U.S. Citizen that intends to initiate the adoption of the applicant, in the case of children.
The type of sponsorship that an applicant can access will also dictate the type of immigrant visa that can be granted to him or her.

The United States currently has a Diversity Visa Program. The DV program is only available to citizens of countries that have low rates of immigration to the U.S. Under the Diversity Visa scheme, applicants do not need to have a sponsor in order to apply for immigrant status to the United States. Thus, there is no need for a petition from a sponsor in order to initiate the application process.
Where Can One Apply for Immigrant Status?
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All petitions that are filed within the United States are required to be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Chicago and Phoenix Lockbox facilities. Petitions that are filed outside the United States can submit their requests to the nearby U.S. CIS office or, in the absence of such an office, to the Chicago Lockbox facility via regular mail.

There are also exceptional situations in which a petitioner may file the Form I-130 directly with the U.S. Embassy or consulate in the area. The USCIS has published guidelines that dictate whether or not the petitioner’s circumstances merit the submission of the Form I-130 through an Embassy or consulate.
Once the petition has been approved, the next step to process for a visa. Again, there are specific visa types that one can apply for according to their individual circumstances.

If you are immigrating with the intention of working in the US for the long-term, then you can get an employment visa sponsored by a specific employer. If your sponsor is a family member or someone who is looking to adopt you to his or her family, then you can apply for a family-sponsored visa.

Visa applications are processed by the National Visa Center, a branch of the Department of State. The process would require the filing of an Affidavit of Support, the presentation of relevant documents, medical exams and one-on-one interviews with the applicant.

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