People can come to the U.S. temporarily on non-immigrant visas, usually issued for a specific purpose and for a limited period of time. To immigrate permanently requires Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) or “green card” status. Three years (if married to a U.S. citizen) or five years of permanent residency qualifies an immigrant to file for naturalization.
There are four basic ways to acquire Lawful Permanent Resident status. You can:
- be sponsored by a close relative who is a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident.
- be sponsored by an employer.
- prove that you are entitled to refugee or asylum status.
- be selected in the annual lottery as a “diversity” immigrant.
Do you have other immigration questions?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has information on its website regarding most common immigration issues, including fillable forms and how to contact USCIS directly
Immigrant visa wait times for family and employment-based cases are determined by the visa category, the date of filing (the “priority date”) and the country of origin of the beneficiary. The US Department of State sets the wait times monthly in the Visa Bulletin.
The U.S. Department of State controls the Immigrant Visa Process abroad.
The U.S. Department of State oversees U.S. Consulates abroad in issuing both non-immigrant and immigrant visas.
ESTA/Visa waiver form must be filled out before the date of travel and a fee must be paid.
Access I-94 information for entries into the US.