How to Immigrate to the U.S.

Sep 30

usaLegally migrating to America is a lengthy process. Ultimately, you will have to have a sponsor relative, or be married to a U.S. citizen, or have a full-time job lined up. In all three cases, the process is never straightforward. Having some basic information about each option, however, can increase your chances of success.

You Have a Relative in the U.S.

First, you cannot just have any relative in the U.S. That relative needs to be a lawful permanent resident, who is a parent, stepparent, grandparent, or sibling. Next, they need to be able to prove that they can sponsor you—essentially, this means they are going to fund you being in America until you successfully obtain your immigrant visa. To begin this process, you need to complete an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative.

After this, you need to file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrant Services (USCIS) website. This means filing the N-400 naturalization form, but first you must make sure you meet the eligible requirements. During this time, you need to apply for the I-140 Petition for Alien Workers, otherwise your relative will be supporting you for the three years you need to live in the U.S. before filing for naturalization.

You Have Married a U.S. Citizen

You can move to the U.S. if you have a spouse or a fiancé in the country. First, you can try applying for an immigrant visa using the IR1 or CR1 form. There is also the non-immigrant visa for a spouse, using the K-3, but this visa needs to be issued in the country where the marriage took place. To do this, you need to liaise with an American Embassy. The spouse or fiancé can then travel to the U.S. to petition for non-immigrant status, use the form I-130 for an alien spouse or I-129F for an alien fiancé.

For a fiancé who you want to marry in the U.S., try the K-1 non-immigrant visa for a fiancé form, which allows them to travel here for marriage. Then an I-129F petition for a fiancé is needed. You can then apply for naturalization after three years.

You Have a Job in the U.S.

There are multiple employment visas, ranging from those who work in priority vocations to immigrant investors. The parameters for these vary on an annual basis, so it is a good idea to check before you make any decisions. If you have employment in the U.S. before you arrive, you can work here for three years before you can apply for naturalization.

In all three groups, you have to speak good English, have an in-depth knowledge of U.S. history, and you must not have left the U.S. for more than 30-months during the time you live there before the naturalization application. Each form is complex, so don’t be afraid to seek advice whenever necessary. Regardless of how smooth things may seem, make sure you take your time. By approaching the process carefully, you stand a stronger chance of securing your green card.


Erick Boigon Erick Boigon (10 Posts)

My name is Erick Boigon and I am a transplant from Toronto Canada to Denver Colorado. It may not seem like that much of a transition from Canada to the U.S. but I have been really surprised what it took to get here! Currently I am working for a large company in Denver as a software engineer after receiving a M.S. in software engineering.

One comment

  1. My parents moved to the U.S. back in the 1950s from Sweden. At that time, it was pretty easy to get their citizenship but they did have to wait for 5 years to become naturalized. It looks like it is very difficult now to immigrate but I am glad my parents got me out of the cold and to California!

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