Click the links below to find detailed information types of Permanent Visas

Overview
EMPLOYMENT-BASED IMMIGRATION
EB-1 Priority Workers
EB-2 Professionals
EB-3 Skilled or professional workers
EB-4 Special Immigrants
Family-Based
ALIEN-SPOUSE
ASYLUM OR REFUGEE IMMIGRATION

DIVERSITY LOTTERY

Overview

Permanent immigration is the ultimate goal of many people entering or planning to enter the United States. Lawful permanent residency offers individuals a multitude of benefits, including the freedom to live and work permanently in the U.S. Potential immigrants should be as informed about the laws as possible. That's why our firm is dedicated to providing you with a complete online database of immigration information.

Immigrants to the United States are divided into two categories:

1. Individuals who may acquire permanent residency without numerical limitation. 2. Individuals subject to a yearly limitation. There are three divisions of this category: family-based; employment-based; and diversity immigrants.

Please use the links in the right column to broaden your knowledge on the different paths to permanent residency in the United States.

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EMPLOYMENT BASED IMMIGRATION

Permanent immigration in the U.S. comes with a variety of rights and privileges. One of the most widely used methods to obtain permanent immigration is through employment. There are five classifications for employment-based immigration. Please click on the category that best suits your situation.

EB-1 Priority workers

Individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics.
Outstanding professors or researchers
Managers and executives transfered to the U.S.

EB-2 Professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability

Individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business
Professionals with advanced degrees
Physicians intending to practice medicine in underserved areas

EB-3 Skilled or professional workers

Professionals with bachelor's or equivalent degrees
Skilled workers with at least two years experience
Unskilled workers

EB-4 Special Immigrants Religious workers
Employees and former employees of the U.S. Government abroad

EB-5 Immigrant Investors

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EB-1 Priority Workers

The EB-1 classification is open to individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics; to outstanding professors or researchers; or to managers and executives soon to be transfered to the U.S.

Steps

Individuals with extraordinary ability may self-petition. All other EB-1 petitions should be filed by your employer.

Either you or your employer should file-in Form I-140, the Petition for Alien Worker with the INS Regional Service Center that has jurisdiction over the location of your employment. This form should contain all necessary documents and evidence. Labor certification is not required for EB-1 petitions.

Documents

Aliens with extraordinary ability are defined by INS as individuals with "extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation." The Nobel Prize or similar awards duly prove this status. However, there are alternative means of proving your extraordinary ability.You may submit at least three of the following types of evidence:

  1. Receipt of lesser recognized prizes or awards for excellence.
  2. Membership in associations in your area which demand outstanding achievement of their members.
  3. Published material about you in major publications.
  4. Proof that you have judged others' works.
  5. Proof that you have made original contributions to your field.
  6. Proof that you have published articles about your field in major publications.
  7. Proof that your work has been displayed in exhibitions or showcases.
  8. High status in a distinguished organization.
  9. Proof that you receive high payments for your work, in relation to your peers.
  10. Proof of commercial success in the performing arts.



As an outstanding professor or researcher, you should be internationally recognized in your field. You should be coming to the U.S. to accept a tenure track position, and you should have had at least three years experience in your academic field.

Evidence of your status should include at least two of the following:

  1. Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement.
  2. Membership in associations in your area which demand outstanding achievement of their members.
  3. Published material about you in major publications.
  4. Proof that you have judged others' works.
  5. Proof that you have made original contributions to your field.
  6. Proof that you have published articles about your field in major publications.

To be eligible for EB-1 classification as a manager or executive transfered to the U.S., you must have been employed outside the U.S. as a manager or executive for at least one out of the past three years. The company you work for must have been seeking to enter the U.S. to conduct business during that period of time.

 

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EB-2 Professionals


EB-2 Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Persons with Exceptional Ability

The EB-2 classification is open to individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business, professionals with advanced degrees and physicians intending to practice medicine in underserved areas.

Steps

Your employer should file-in Form I-140, the Petition for Alien Worker with the INS Regional Service Center that has jurisdiction over the location of your employment. This form should contain all necessary documents and evidence. Labor certification (Form ETA-750) is also required for most EB-2 petitions.

Individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business may apply to waive the labor certification requirement if a waiver would be in the national interest. To apply for this waiver, you should file-in Form ETA-750B.

Documents

A petition for a foreign national holding an advanced degree can be made when a position requiring an advanced degree becomes available in the U.S. Interested candidates must show proof of their education and at least five years work experience.

If you wish to be classified as having exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, you should intend to provide at least three of the following:

  1. Proof of academic achievement, including diplomas, degrees or certificates from colleges or universities.
  2. Letters that prove you have at least ten years of full-time experience in your field.
  3. A license to practice your profession or certification in your specialty.
  4. Proof that you have received a worthy salary for your services.
  5. Membership in professional associations
  6. Recognition in your field from peers, government officials or organizations.

If you can not provide documentation of three of these requirements, other documents may suffice.

 

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EB-3 Skilled or professional workers

The EB-3 classification includes individuals with at least two years experience as skilled workers, professionals with bachelors' degrees and the following: aliens with at least two years of experience as skilled workers; professionals with a baccalaureate degree; and other workers with less skills who can contribute abilities unavailable in the U.S.

Steps

Your employer should file-in INS Form I-140 Petition for Alien Workers with the INS Regional Service Center that has jurisdiction over the location of your employment. EB-3 petitions also require an approved Labor Certification (Form ETA-750) from the Department of Labor.

Documents

Skilled workers should have at least two years experience, either through hands-on experience or through post-secondary education.

Professionals should have eithera U.S bachelor's degree or a foreign equivalent degree.

 

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EB-4 Special Immigrants


The EB-4 classification includes religious workers and employees and former employees of the U.S. government abroad.

Steps (Immigrant Religious Worker)

Your employer should file-in INS Form I-360 with the INS Regional Service Center that has jurisdiction over the location of your employment. You should have been working with your religious organization for at least two years. You should be entering the U.S. to work in one of the following capacities:

  1. As a minister or priest of your religious denomination
  2. In a professional capacity in a religious vocation or occupation for your
  3. religious organization (this requires a bachelor's degree or its equivalent).
  4. In a religious vocation or occupation for your religious organization or its nonprofit affiliate.

Documents (Immigrant Religious Worker)

Along with submitting Form I-360, you should provide the following documents.

  1. Proof that your religious organization is a non-profit organization.
  2. A letter from an official of your religious organization in the U.S. stating that you have been a member of the denomination for at least two years, and that you have at least two years experience in your vocation or occupation. The letter should also state certain details about your particular type of vocation/occupation.
  3. This letter should also state how you will be paid for your work, and that you do not intend to supplement your income with a second job, or depend on charity for support.

 

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Family Based


FAMILY-BASED IMMIGRATION Permanent immigration in the U.S. comes with a variety of rights and privileges. One method to obtaining lawful permanent residency is through a relative who is either a citizen of the U.S. or a lawful permanent resident.

Steps

There are two categories for unlimited family-based immigration:

1. Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens (IR): A spouse, widow or unmarried child under the age or 21 of a U.S. citizen.This category also includes parents of adult U.S. citizens 2. Returning Residents (SB): Immigrants who previously lived in the U.S. under lawful permanent resident status. These individuals should be returning to live in the U.S. after being abroad for more than one year.

There are four preference categories for limited family-based immigration:

1. First Preference: Unmarried children over the age of 21 of U.S. citizens. 2. Second Preference: Spouses of lawful permanent residents, their unmarried children under the age of 21, and unmarried children under the age of 21 of lawful permanent residents. 3. Third Preference: Married children of U.S. citizens. 4. Fourth Preference: Siblings of adult U.S. citizens.

Your relative should first submit an immigrant visa petition, I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. This form should be accompanied by proof of your relationship to your relative.

Upon approval of this petition, the Department of State will determine if an immigrant visa number is available for you. When a number becomes available, you may apply for assignment of that number.

Documents

In order to sponsor a relative for lawful permanent residency, you must prove the following:

1. You are a citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. 2. You can support your relative at 125% above the mandated poverty line.

You must also show proof of your relationship with your relative.

 

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ALIEN-SPOUSE


U.S. Immigration law allows two methods for U.S. citizens to bring future spouses to the United States: the K-1 Fiance Visa and the Alien-Spouse Immigrant Visa. The K-1 Visa generally takes less time to process than the Alien-Spouse Visa. The Alien-Spouse Visa, however, is a proven path toward lawful permanent residency for your spouse.

Steps

If the marriage takes place abroad, an I-130 petition should be filed after the marriage. This petition should be filed either with INS in the United States, or at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.

Documents

Please contact INS or the appropriate foreign service post for details about what specific documents you will need to file an immigrant petition for a new spouse. For more information, read our section on Family-Based Immigration.

 

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ASYLUM OR REFUGEE IMMIGRATION


Individuals that have held refugee or asylum status for at least one year may be eligible for lawful permanent residency.

Steps

You should apply for lawful permanent residency on Asylee Form I-485, application to Register Permanent Residence of Adjust Status. You must have been in the U.S. under asylee status for at least one year.

Documents

In addition to Form I-485, the following documents and forms are also required:

  1. Fingerprint fee (if you are between the ages of 14 and 79)
  2. Form I-485 filing fee
  3. Form G-28 (if applicable), signed by both you and your attorney/representative
  4. 2 photos in an envelope stapled to lower left corner of Form I-485. Please write your name and A-number (if you know it) in light pencil on the back of each photo.
  5. Signed Form G-325, if you are age 14 or older.
  6. Form I-693 Medical with Vaccination Supplement. An INS authorized civil surgeon must conduct this medical examination and complete the form.
  7. Evidence of Asylee Status. This may include a copy of your Form I-94 and a legible copy of the letter granting you asylum.
  8. Form IRS-9003, optional.
  9. Form I-602, Application by Refugee for Waiver on Grounds of Excludability, if applicable.
  10. Evidence that you have been in the U.S. for at least one year.
  11. Proof of any absences from the U.S. since you have been granted asylum.
  12. A birth certificate or other birth record.
  13. Proof of any legal name changes made since you were granted asylum status.

 

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DIVERSITY LOTTERY


The Diversity Lottery Program allocates 55,000 new immigrant visas each year for individuals from underrepresented nations. A nation is considered underrepresented if less than 50,000 people from that nation immigrated to the U.S. in the past five years.

To be eligible for the Diversity Lottery Program, you should have either a high school education, its equivalent or two years work experience within the last five years in a job which demands two years training.

You or your spouse must be a native of a nation eligible for the Diversity Lottery Program. You may be eligible if your parent was born in a country eligible to participate in the lottery.

The Diversity Lottery Program randomly picks the 55,000 visa candidates. Individuals are chosen to receive the visa by chance, not by merit.

Steps

Each year, the Department of State publishes specific instructions on how to apply for the Diversity Visa. These instructions are typically made available in August, and the registration period usually begins in early October.

Documents

Typically, you only need to submit a letter detailing your personal information. However, you must follow directions exactly when writing this letter. Any deviation may result in disqualification. Details on this year's Diversity Lottery Program can be obtained either through a consultation with our lawyers, or by contacting your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

 

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