Visa Types for Immigrants
In general, to be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen relative(s), U.S. lawful permanent resident, or by a prospective employer, and be the beneficiary of an approved petition filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For petition information visit the USCIS website. For detailed information on immigrant visa categories, please visit http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/
Learn about the different processes for the major immigrant categories, which are:
|Family Based Immigration
If you are an American citizen or an LPR, you may bring your family members to the United States. To travel to the United States an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative is required.
Click here for application procedures.
|Employment Based Immigration
To be considered for an immigrant visa under some of the employment-based categories, the applicant's prospective employer or agent must first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. Once received (if required), the employer then files an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the appropriate employment-based preference category. (NOTE: Persons with extraordinary abilities in the Employment First preference category are able to file their own petitions.)
U.S. immigration law makes visas available to immigrant investors seeking to enter the United States to engage in new commercial enterprises that benefit the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment. E5 investors receive up to 7.1 percent of all employment based immigrant visas issued worldwide each year. For detailed information on application procedures, please visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_5780.html
There are other special categories of employment based immigrant visas. For more information, please visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_5780.html
Green Card Lottery
Visas provided are drawn from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. Unlike other immigrant types, Diversity Visas (DV) do not require a U.S. sponsor, and therefore a petition is not needed.
If you are an American citizen, you may bring your fiancé(e) to the United States to marry and live there.
Nonimmigrant visa for fiancé(e) (K-1)- To travel to the United States for marriage. An I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition is required.
Children adopted from other countries must first obtain a U.S. visa before they can travel or move to the United States. Visas are issued at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the foreign country where a child resides. Since a child being adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen parent(s) will usually be brought to live in the United States, that child will need an immigrant visa.
To begin the immigrant visa process, prospective adoptive parents submit forms and documents to USCIS. After USCIS reviews the paperwork, a case is assigned to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where the child resides. All children adopted abroad require an immigrant visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before coming to reside permanently in the United States
The Department of State is committed to processing immigrant visas for adopted children expeditiously. Keep in mind, however, that the time required to issue your child's visa will depend on the specific circumstances in his or her country of residence. To learn more about the immigrant visa process, review our How to Adopt web page and overviews of the Convention and Non-Convention visa processes.For the application procedure please visit: http://adoption.state.gov/adoption_process/how.php
LPRs (Legal Permanent Residents/ Green Card Holders)
A green card is issued to all permanent residents as proof that they are authorized to live and work in the United States. If you are a permanent resident age 18 or older, you are required to have a valid green card in your possession at all times. Current green cards are valid for 10 years, or 2 years in the case of a conditional resident, and must be renewed before the card expires.
A green card can be used to prove employment eligibility in the United States when completing the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. It can also be used to apply for a Social Security Card and a state issued driver’s license. A green card is valid for readmission to the United States after a trip abroad if you do not leave for longer than 1 year. If your trip will last longer than 1 year, a reentry permit is needed.
WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU??
If your I-551 is lost during a trip out of the U.S., you will have to obtain a new one upon re-entry - and this can take quite a while - so plan accordingly.
If your I-551 is stolen while outside the U.S.; please notify the police department in the jurisdiction in which your card was stolen to obtain a police report and contact the U.S. Embassy in Ankara or U.S. Consulate in Istanbul to request a U.S. Government Transportation Letter.
It is important to keep your card up-to-date. Without a valid card, it may be difficult for you to prove that you are a permanent resident, and this could also affect your ability to travel or to prove your eligibility to work in the United States. Please be aware that if your travel plans include air travel, many airlines will not board passengers with an expired green card.
A former immigrant who has lost U.S. resident status and desires to return to the United States may do so using a new immigrant visa based on an approved returning resident status.
An application for returning resident status requires evidence of the applicant's continuing, unbroken ties to the United States, that the stay outside the United States was truly beyond the applicant's control and that the intent of the applicant was to always return to the United States.