There are a lot of people who want to settle down in the USA. Some want to do it for good job prospects while others may want to eventually have their family there. Some even go there to pursue higher education. Regardless, if you want to know more details about immigration to the USA, we are here with some of the most important tips for you. Getting a green card isn’t easy and there are tons of steps which we need to follow. Knowing these details will prepare you better when you want to settle in the USA.
What does immigration to the USA refer to?
Immigration refers to the international movement of people who are not the citizens of the USA to this country with the motive of residing permanently here. It brings in the much needed cultural diversity and at the same time, aids in population growth too.
As of 2015, USA has 47 million immigrants which are more than any other country. So, you can have an idea as to how many people want to get the green card and become a permanent citizen of this country. The rules have changed considerably and this is why getting a green card is no longer that easy. Let us get down to the specifics.
What does the green card entitle you to?
Once you manage to have a green card, you will be able to enjoy a lot of privileges and benefits. Here is a snapshot of some of them.
- It helps you get the official immigration status in the USA
- It helps you carry out work in the USA and earn a steady income
- It entitles you to several rights and responsibilities like the regular citizens of the USA
Getting the green card
The timeframe for which you need to wait to get your green card varies considerably. Some people may have to wait for longer than 10 years while there may be others who could get it in 15 days as well. So, what essentially differs between the two sets of people? The answer boils down to the category to which you belong when you are filing for the green card.
The green card categories
There are several different categories on the basis of which green card can be received. The US laws of immigration have segregated the green card scheme into different groups and we will now look at it individually.
Those who are close family members of the citizens of America and even those who have highly skilled proficiency have a much better chance of getting US citizenship.
So, ideally, it is the family members or the employers whose recommendation help people in getting the green card. They are usually the first preferred category of people who can be offered a green card.
The next category which has the best chance of getting a green card is the spouses, relatives, and under-21 children of the permanent residents of the USA. It has been mostly seen that the wait is longer for married adult sons and daughters of citizens of the US and even longer for those who are brothers and sisters of the permanent citizens. You can check out the Visa Bulletin to get even more details regarding which category are likely to have how long wait time.
Every year, it is only a limited number of visas which is available for the family preference system. However, merely being family members isn’t enough as it is important that the applicants should meet certain eligibility criteria as well. Along with this, there is also age and financial requirements too.
The employment category of green card
When it comes to a green card for those who are in the employment category, there are several preferences. The first preference category is mainly for priority worker who is known to have some outstanding skills. Mostly, there is zero to the minimal wait time for such people.
For those in the second and third preference of the employment category, it will mainly be available to those who at least have a bachelor’s degree in a certain field.
The fourth preference is mainly for special immigrants. It mainly includes religious workers or even juveniles who would depend on the court system.
The fifth preference is also called as a job creation visa and it is meant for people who can invest between $500,000 and 1 million dollars of their assets in companies that will employ minimum 10 US citizens on a permanent basis.
Alternately, there is also another sub-division known as temporary and permanent immigration too. Just as the name implies, for the temporary visa; applicants get the right to work as foreign nationals for a limited period of time. However, they have limited availability when it comes to changing jobs. There are 20 different types of visas that are a part of the temporary category.
Coming to permanent immigration, the upper limit is 140,000 per year. This number is actually divided into five preference categories and the division is done accordingly.
Refugees and asylees were a separate category of people that fall under ‘refugee and asylees’ and even people who are a part of the vulnerable population category as well.
It is important to know the rules well when it comes to getting the green card as a refugee or an asylee. Every year, it is the duty of the president to determine the total number of people who can be offered the visa under the refugee category. After the attack on the world trade center, the United States of America cut down the refuge number drastically as a means to secure their country. However, the number is again witnessing an improvement because more sophisticated ways of conducting security checks have come in place.
The diversity visa immigration
The third category is the diversity immigration visa and this is essentially called the lottery for green cards. Every year the US immigration laws allow 55,000 immigrant visas or foreign nationals from those countries that have low residents in the USA.
In this category, there is a random lottery which will govern who would be selected. There are minimum educational requirements and the need to have zero criminal activity and other criteria. Once you are sure that you follow these requirements, your name will be entered into a lottery system. Now, a lottery will randomly pick a few applications and they will be given an immigrant visa number right away.
This makes it very clear that the chances of selection depend largely on luck. It is important to note that if you come from a country which already has too many residents in the USA, you won’t be able to apply for the program at all. Getting a green card is not easy and this is why you should make it a point to seek the right help which can speed up the process and help you get a green card.
Eligibility requirements for the lottery
If you want to apply for the green card lottery, here are some of the top eligibility requirements which you need to satisfy.
- You have to be a foreign citizen from a country which has a low immigration rate to the USA. Every year, the US Department of state sends out a list of eligible countries and those that are ineligible. This list can alter every year.
- You need to graduate from high school or any equivalent degree and you need to have the right qualifying experience.
The lottery process
This lottery is open once in a year and it takes place for nearly 4 to 5 weeks in the fall season.
- For the year 2020, the lottery concluded on November 6th, 2018
- You need to complete the online application for the lottery. You cannot download it and it needs to be filled on the web. There is one form for registering to the lottery.
- Once you will get a confirmation number, you need to keep it in a safe place. This is important so that you can check the status online.
- Once your name is called out in the green card lottery, you can then move forward and applies for the green card.
These are the details you need to keep in mind and follow the steps duly to get a green card. There are so many people who follow this process year after year. The biggest problem is often the long wait time which is a part of the green card process. In order to carve a career for yourself, having a green card status is really important.
In post-Trump America, green card rules have become a little stern. Regardless there are endless immigrants who have managed to enter the country and become a part of it.
So, if you too want to get the green card, you need to follow the rules and if you would like assistance, feel free to seek the help of the right company. There are several associations which are willing to be of help when it comes to green card application.