A Quick Guide to the US Immigration Process

The United States has always proclaimed itself to be a nation of immigrants, and it’s as true today as it was 200 years ago. Over 13% of the entire US population are first-generation immigrants. The US attracts the highest number of immigrants in the world.

Despite the staggering number of immigrants in the United States, the US immigration process isn’t simple. There are a lot of things that one has to do before becoming a citizen.

We’ll discuss the most important steps in this process here. Keep in mind that we can’t include everything. There’s too much bureaucracy to go into much detail.

Understanding Visas

The most important thing to understand when moving into the United States is what visas are. A visa is a document granting official government permission to enter an American airport, harbor, or other official entry point.

Two main types of visas are used in the United States, known as immigrant and non-immigrant. An immigrant or immigration visa grants someone the right to live permanently in the US. It’s also called a green card.

Non-immigrant visas give you the ability to live and work in the country for a set period of time.

Find the Right Visa

There are a few different types of immigrant visas, and each one is tailored to different circumstances. One type of green card is a family-based green card. This applies when the applicant has relatives or a spouse who is a United States citizen.

There are also green cards for skilled job-seekers, people who need to escape dangerous circumstances, anybody who’s lived in the US since at least New Years’ Day of 1972, and a few other types.

Examination of Case

Your case must be reviewed before you can get a green card, and you can be denied at this point. A denial might occur if your initial claim is invalid. For instance, if your relative in the US died or the government that made you a refugee has been deposed.

You can also be turned away if you have a criminal record or fit the Public Charge rule. This rule allows the government to deny you a green card if you’re unlikely to adapt well to the US. For instance, if you have a long history of struggling to hold a job.

Costs and Application

The rest of the process is simple, but it’s potentially one of the most stressful parts of the procedure. Paying for the necessary materials and examinations can cost thousands. In most cases, though, it’ll cost less than $2000.

After filing a petition, you’ll be given paperwork to complete. Once this paperwork is turned in and the petition is green-lit, you must apply for a green card. The final step is an interview that will help decide if it’s approved.

If you’re approved, your green card or an equivalent will be mailed to you.

Navigating the US Immigration Process

The US immigration process is a long process. Knowing what to do can be difficult at times. We’ve discussed the process here, but you should do more research if you’re interested in the details.

If you need an immigration lawyer, please contact us at The Shahbaz Firm in Los Angeles.

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