The U.S. immigration law is based on the principles of admitting persons with skills that are valuable to the economy and reuniting families. Legal immigration to the U.S. occurs through a number of pathways. They include family relationships, ties to employment, and the need for humanitarian protection. In cases of temporary residence, most green cards last for a few years; however, they can be renewed indefinitely. Before the green card expires, the applicant must fill out Form I-751 to receive a permanent green card.
Family-based immigrant visas
Family unification is a crucial principle that governs immigration policy in the United States. The immigration law permits certain non-citizens related to U.S. citizens to become lawful permanent citizens. There are two forms of family-based immigrant visas:
- Immediate relative: These are visas issued based on close family relationships, for instance, spouses, parents, or unmarried children under 21 years of age. An unlimited number of visas are made available for immediate relatives.
- Family preference: These visas are for distant family relations with U.S. citizens.
Employment-based immigrant visas
The U.S. immigration law offers foreigners various ways to become permanent residents through lawful employment. Every fiscal year, an estimated 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available to applicants who qualify under the provision of the immigration policy. Employment-based immigrants are required to have an employer who sponsors their visas. The visas are subdivided into five preference categories: E1, E2, E3, E4, and E5.
Employment First Preference, or E1, is given to persons with extraordinary abilities in fields such as arts, science, business, and athletics. This visa is typically offered to employees in tech, pharmaceutical, and finance firms.
To be eligible as an E1 immigrant, you should:
- Be physically present in the U.S.
- File Form I-485, which allows you to apply for registration as a permanent U.S. resident
- Have Form I-140 approved
After the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves this petition, parents, spouses, or minor unmarried children may also apply for immigrant visas. This process includes filling out application forms, producing the required documentation such as passports, and paying the required fee. In addition to these requirements, every applicant should undergo a medical examination regardless of age.
Understanding the different types of immigrant visas available, as well as the requirements necessary for each application, will make the process smoother and less complicated.