Individuals aiming to relocate permanently to the U.S. or those intending to visit temporarily must secure the appropriate visas before entering the country. With a myriad of visa types available, it’s crucial to apply for the right category. For expert guidance on visa and other immigration-related matters, reach out to the Los Angeles immigration attorney at Hanlon Law Group, P.C.
For those seeking permanent legal resident status in the U.S. (commonly referred to as a green card), an immigrant visa application is necessary. The primary avenues to obtain this status are through family-based or employment-based immigration.
- Family-based Immigration: U.S. citizens can sponsor immediate relatives, such as spouses, parents (if the citizen is over 21), and unmarried children under 21. There are no annual caps for these categories. Other relatives of citizens or permanent residents may also qualify but are subject to yearly visa caps. Financial support commitment from an eligible relative is often required for family-based visas.
- Employment-based Immigration: Most applicants need job offers and employers willing to petition on their behalf. Exceptions exist for those with “extraordinary ability” in specific fields or those eligible for National Interest Waivers.
There’s also an Immigration through Investment category, allowing certain qualified individuals and their immediate families to gain permanent resident status based on specific investment criteria in U.S. enterprises.
Nonimmigrant visas cater to individuals visiting the U.S. for specific, temporary reasons like education, business trips, medical treatments, or vacations. Applicants must show strong ties to their home countries and an intention to return after their U.S. stay.
Asylum and Refugees
Beyond family and employment-based visas, the U.S. also offers entry on humanitarian grounds to those seeking protection from persecution in their home countries, either as refugees or asylees.
- Refugee Status: This is for individuals outside their home country due to persecution or a genuine fear of persecution based on factors like race, religion, or political stance. The U.S. President sets an annual refugee intake limit.
- Asylee Status: This applies to those already in the U.S. or arriving at a U.S. port of entry seeking protection. There’s no set limit on the number of asylees admitted annually.
After a year in the U.S., refugees should apply for legal permanent resident status. Asylees can opt to do so, but it’s not mandatory.
Another route to legal status is the Diversity Lottery, which randomly selects 50,000 foreign nationals annually for permanent resident status from countries with low U.S. immigration rates.
Consult with an Immigration Expert
For assistance in selecting the right visa type, application processes, or visa status changes, contact the trusted immigration attorney at Hanlon Law Group, P.C. For immediate assistance, call 866-227-5527.