Immigration--Marriage & Family

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Overview and Process

A lawful permanent resident is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of permanently living and working in the United States. If you want to become a lawful permanent resident based on the fact that you have a relative who is a citizen of the United States, or a relative who is a lawful permanent resident, you must go through a multi-step process.



1.The USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition for Alien Relative. This petition is filed by your relative and must be accompanied by proof of your relationship to the requesting relative. 2.The Department of State must determine if an immigrant visa number is immediately available even if you are already in the United States. When an immigrant visa number is available, it means you can apply to have one of the immigrant visa numbers assigned to you. 3.If you are already in the United States, you may apply to change your status to that of a lawful permanent resident after a visa number becomes available to you. This is one way you can apply to secure an immigrant visa number. If you are outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, you must then go to the U.S. consulate servicing the area in which you reside to complete your processing. This is the other way to secure an immigrant visa number.


Work Visas

Most popular work permit for those entering a "specialty occupation." Valid for an initial period of three years, renewable up to a 6 year maximum. The H1B allows changes of employer as well as simultaneous work for two (or more) employers, provided that each employer petitions for a separate H1B visa. To qualify for an H1B, a foreign national must have the following: oa US employer-sponsor; oat least a U.S. Bachelor's degree or its equivalent, or a combination of formal studies and substantial professional work experience (three years of progressive experience are considered the equivalent of one year of formal training at the university level); ooffer for a job that requires at least the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor's degree in a particular field.


Immigration through employment

If you want to become an immigrant based on a permanent employment opportunity in the United States, or if you are an employer that wants to sponsor someone, you must go through a multi-step process. 1.First, foreign nationals and employers must determine if the foreign national is eligible for lawful permanent residency under one of USCIS' paths to lawful permanent residency. 2.Second, most employment categories require that the U.S. employer complete a labor certification request for the applicant, and submit it to the Department of Labor. Labor must either grant or deny the certification request. 3. Third, USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition, Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for the person wishing to immigrate to the United States.

Additional Resources

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Immigrant visas

Immigrant visas can lead to permanent residence in the US, but they require being sponsored by either a family member or employer.

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