An Immigrant Visa, also known as a Green Card, is required for an immigrant to become a permanent resident of the United States. The first step in the Immigrant Visa process is to have a sponsor petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to allow the beneficiary to apply for an Immigrant Visa. After approval by the USCIS the petition is then sent on to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing. The NVC will then provide instructions to the sponsor and beneficiary regarding forms, fees and other required documents to complete the Immigrant Visa application.
In general, to meet the requirements for permanent residence in the U.S., you must:
Those applying for permanent immigration to the US are often required to have a sponsor. Most immigrants are sponsored by a family member who is already a legal resident. If you are applying for an employment visa your employer may be the sponsor.
Individuals who want to become permanent residents will generally be classified into certain categories based on a preference system. Except for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, who receive the highest priority, there are a limited number of visas that can be issued each year per category.
Some relatives of U.S. citizens, known as immediate relatives, do not have to wait for a visa to become available. There is no limit to the number of visas that can be issued in this category each year. Immediate relatives include:
The qualified relatives of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in the remaining family-based categories may have to wait for a visa to become available before they can apply for permanent residency. These categories include:
You may also be able to become a permanent resident through a special family situation. These programs are limited to individuals who meet particular qualifications or apply during specific timeframes.
For more information visit our Family Based Immigration page.
Individuals who want to become immigrants based on employment or a job offer may apply for permanent residence or an immigrant visa abroad. These are granted accorded to the following preferences:
For more information visit our Employment Based Immigration page.
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