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Immigration Process

You would like to come to the United States and live here. Or, you are already here in the United States, and you would like to know what you have to do to become an immigrant.

What is involved? What steps do you have to take? Is there an immigration process that you have to go through?

An immigrant is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of living and working permanently in the United States. An immigrant is also referred to as a “lawful permanent resident.”

In order for you to become an immigrant there are steps that you must take. There is a multi-step process that you must go through.

The first step in the immigration process is that you have to be eligible for United States immigration. You have to be eligible under one of the paths that lead to lawful permanent residency in the United States.

The United States immigration system is based primarily on employment creation, family reunification, recognition of refugees and needed work skills. In addition to this, there is a lottery for people who come from countries with low rates of immigration to this country. You have to determine if you are eligible under one of the paths that lead to lawful permanent residency. Some of these paths are: 

  • Investment immigration
  • Adoption
  • Family immigration
  • Asylum and refugees
  • Lottery
  • Employment immigration.

Eligibility requirements are different not only for each path, but also within each path. Most of the immigrants who are admitted to the United States are based on employment or family. These primary paths in turn are divided into categories based on a preference system. This system is a method that is based on categories (preferences) of distributing the limited number of immigrant visa numbers that are available each year.

Everyone who wants to become an immigrant based on employment has to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available according to the preference system. The immediate relatives of United States citizens do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available once the immigrant visa petition that has been filed for them is approved. Immediate relatives include:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children under age 21
  • Parents.

Other relatives have to wait for a visa to become available according to the preference system. Immediate relatives are given an immigrant visa number, immediately. There is no waiting.

The second step in the immigration process is that your immigrant visa petition must be approved by The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This immigrant visa petition is usually filed on your behalf by a relative or an employer. This is your “sponsor.” You may be able to file an immigrant visa petition fro yourself if you are an investor, special immigrant, priority worker, or a diversity immigrant. As mentioned above, once your immigration visa petition has been approved, if you are an immediate relative of a United States citizen, you are immediately granted an immigrant visa number.

The third step in the immigration process has to do with those who are seeking to become a lawful permanent resident based on employment. It this is your case, your United States employer may have to submit a labor certification request with the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. This labor certification has to be approved in order for you to become a lawful permanent resident.

The fourth step in the immigration process is that you have to have an immigration visa number. This number has to be immediately made available to you through the State Department, even if you are already here in the United States. This is an essential part of the immigration process. Once you have an immigrant visa number, it means that an immigrant visa has been assigned to you

The number of immigrant visa numbers that are made available each year is limited by United States law. This is one of the reasons for the preference system that was mentioned earlier. Because of this, you may not get an immigrant visa number immediately after your immigrant visa petition is approved. For various reasons, it could take several years after the time USCIS approves your immigrant visa petition before the State Department gives you an immigrant visa number. You may have to wait longer to get your immigrant visa number if you are from a country that has a high demand for United States immigrant visas because United States law also limits the number of immigrant visas available by country.

You do not directly apply for an immigrant visa number. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services tells the petitioner, that is the person who filed the immigrant visa petition, if it is approved. USCIS will then send the approved visa petition to the Department of State's National Visa Center. The approved visa petition stays there until an immigrant visa number is available. The center will notify you (the beneficiary of the application) when the visa petition is received and again when an immigrant visa number is available. 

The fifth and final step in the immigration process is applying to adjust to permanent resident status after a visa number becomes available to you if you are already in the United States. You have to go to your local United States consulate to complete your immigrant processing if you are outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available for you.

As you can see the immigration process is a long and complicated process that can involve years and years of delays. If you or a relative is having problems or difficulties with the immigration process, a good immigration attorney may be able to help you avoid long delays, overcome and avoid many legal issues and simplify the immigration process as much as possible. (link to page Immigration Attorney)

Immigration law is broad and complex and ever changing. (link to page Immigration Law)For these reasons, you or your relative may need the help and advice of someone who specializes in this area of law. This is what an immigration attorney does. He or she specializes in immigration cases and law.

ImmigrationLawStation.com is the Web site where you or your relative will find an immigration attorney that you can rely on. The skilled immigration attorney at ImmigrationLawStation.com can advise and help you or your relative with any problems or difficulties you are having with the immigration process.

Do not delay. Do not put this off. This is a matter of vial importance to you or your relative. Contact the experienced immigration attorney at ImmigrationLawStation.com, today.

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