Immigration to the United States has its origins in being a colonial settler society with most citizens being able to trace their ancestry back to other parts of the world. In real terms, the United States has a larger immigrant population compared to any other country. In 2015, the United States had 47 million immigrants as of 2015 representing 14.4% of the U.S. population. For those seeking immigration to the United States, there are several paths that can be taken to obtain legal status in the country. In this section, we will look at the various options available.

Each year, the United States selects a number of winners from the diversity visa lottery. In the lottery, 50,000 people get the chance to immigrate into the United States. The visa lottery is an opportunity that was founded in Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This allows a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants,” from countries with low rates of immigration over the years to the United States.

If you are selected as a winner in the visa lottery you will need to demonstrate that you have at least two years of high school education or two years’ work experience in a role that requires that length of experience. It is also a requirement that to obtain the green card you have no criminal record, be in good health and do not need the support of any kind.

Outside of the lottery, there are other ways for your immigration to the United States. There are the traditional family and employment-based visas but there are also visas in unique categories that some immigrants could capitalize on. The most interesting is the category that allows for “persons with extraordinary ability” in areas such as the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. This category does not require the applicant to have a specific job offer but detailed and comprehensive documentation to support this claim is needed.

A little more accessible for people is the “multinational managers or executive” category. This requires applicants to have been employed for at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of a U.S. employer.

Whichever avenue you take, it is important to pay attention to detail when completing the required paperwork. One mistake can cause delays and mean the applicant missing out on an amazing opportunity to experience immigration to the United States.

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