There are several types of immigrant and non-immigrant visas to enter the United States.
Who Qualifies for a Green Card Through a Relative?
You may qualify for Green Card through your relative who is US Citizen or Green Card holders, if you fall into one of the following classes of relatives:
Immediate Relative: You qualify as immediate relative if you are:
- Children (single, under 21) of US Citizen; and
- Parent of US Citizen (if the US Citizen is 21 and over).
For immediate relatives there is no waiting time and they will get the green card
immediately. On the other side, immediate relatives might have spouse and/or
children (called “derivatives”) who they would like to bring with them. They can not
bring such derivatives with them at the time of immigrating to the US. They need
to file new petitions on their behalf after they enter the U.S.
Preference Relatives: You qualify as preference relative if you are:
- Unmarried Son or Daughter of U.S. Citizen (21 and over);
- Spouse, Child, Unmarried Son or Daughter of Green Card Holder;
- Married Son or Daughter of U.S. Citizen: and
- Brother or Sister of Adult U.S. Citizen:
The most current US Department of State "Visa Bulletin" provides information regarding the waiting time of preference relatives before they can apply for a green card. Preference relatives may include spouses and children as derivatives and bring them at the same time they immigrate to the US.
Battered Spouse, Children & Parents. As a battered spouse, child or parent, you may file an immigrant visa petition under the Violence against Women Act (“VAWA”). VAWA allows certain spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) to file a petition for themselves without the abuser's knowledge. This will allow you to seek both safety and independence from the abuser. The provisions of VAWA apply equally to women and men. Your abuser will not be notified that you have filed for immigration benefits under VAWA.
Adoptions and Orphan Petitions. These petitions are filed by the U.S. citizen to classify the Adoptee and/or Orphan as an immediate relative and allow the child to enter the United States.
Fiancé(e) Visas. To petition to bring your fiancé(e) (K-1) and that person's children (K-2) to the U.S. for marriage to you or to bring your spouse (K-3) and that person's children (K-4) to the United States to complete processing for permanent resident status.
What is the Attorney's Assistance in a Family Immigration?
An attorney can assist you by making sure that the petitions and applications for green card are filled out properly. He will make sure that all necessary documentation are submitted in a timely manner. The advise of an attorney is important to discuss the consequences that may be caused by changes in people’s life circumstances. Life events of petitioner or beneficiaries such as: marriages, divorces and/or becoming a US Citizen, may cause beneficiaries to move from one preference to another, or even lose the eligibility for green card.
Who Qualifies for a Green Card Through Employment?
You may qualify for Green Card through Employment, if you fall into one of the following classes of employment preferences:
- 1st Preference of Employment Based Immigrants (EB1). This preference is reserved for persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics outstanding professors or researchers; and multinational executives and managers.
- 2nd Preference of Employment Based Immigrants (EB2). This preference is reserved for persons who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or for persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business.
- 3rd Preference of Employment Based Immigrants (EB3). This preference is reserved for professionals, skilled workers, and other workers.
- 4th Preference of Employment Based Immigrants (EB4). This preference is reserved for “special immigrants,” which includes certain religious workers, employees of U.S. foreign service posts, retired employees of international organizations, alien minors who are wards of courts in the United States, and other classes of aliens.
- 5th Preference of Employment Based Immigrants (EB5). This preference is reserved for business investors who invest $1 million or $500,000 (if the investment is made in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full time U.S. workers.
Who qualifies for Temporary Employment in the U.S?
You may qualify for Non-Immigrant Visas to work temporarily in the U.S, under the following classifications:
- H-1B Persons in Specialty Occupation which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge requiring completion of a specific course of higher education.
- H-2A Seasonal Agricultural Workers – The H-2A program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs for which U.S. workers are not available. H-2A nonimmigrant classification applies to aliens seeking to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature in the United States on a temporary basis.
- H-2B Temporary or Seasonal Nonagricultural Workers – The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs.
- H-3 Trainees (other than medical or academic) This visa type also applies to practical training in the education of handicapped children;
- L Intracompany Transferees who, within the three preceding years, have been employed abroad continuously for one year, and who will be employed by a branch parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of that same employer in the U.S. in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity;
- O-1 Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or extraordinary achievements in the motion picture and television field;
- O-2 Persons Accompanying an O-1 to assist in an artistic or athletic performance for a specific event or performance;
- P-1 Individual or Team Athletes, or Members of an Entertainment group that are internationally recognized;
- P-2 Artists or Entertainers who will perform under a reciprocal exchange program;
- P-3 Artists or Entertainers who perform under a program that is culturally unique; and
- Q-1 Participants in an International Cultural Exchange Program for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of the alien's home country.
- J-1 program is to provide foreign nationals with the opportunity to acquire skills in the United States that they can then use in their home countries. J-1 exchange visitors are required that they return to their home countries for two years before being eligible for an H or L nonimmigrant visa, or an immigrant visa.
- The Treaty Trader (E-1) or Treaty Investor (E-2) visa is for a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation who is coming to the U.S. to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, principally between the U.S. and the treaty country, or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the foreign national has invested, or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.
- The E-3 visa is available only to nationals of Australia, but, unlike the E-1 and E-2 provisions, it permits their employment by any qualified U.S. employer, not only companies owned by persons of the same nationality.
Who qualifies for Student and Optional Practical Training Visas?
- You may qualify for academic student visa (F-1), if you are coming to study in U.S. schools, while your spouse or child may receive F-2 visa.
- If you are a student at a vocational or other nonacademic institution you may qualify for student visa (M-1), while your spouse or child may receive M-2 visa.
- Canadian or Mexican commuter academic students may get student visa (F-3), while those Canadian or Mexican commuter students who wish to attend vocational or other nonacademic programs may get M-3 visa.
- Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study.
If you have not decided on the school that would like to study, you may be granted a B-2 visa as a temporary visitor for pleasure to come to the United States to select a school, with the understanding that you will apply for change to student status after the selection is made.
Who qualifies for T Nonimmigrant Visas?
- T nonimmigrant visas are given to certain victims of trafficking and their qualifying family members. This nonimmigrant visa waives most grounds of inadmissibility. When granted, T nonimmigrant status is valid for up to four years.
T nonimmigrants are eligible to apply for green card after three years or when the Department of Justice determines that the underlying trafficking investigation or prosecution is complete, whichever is earlier.
Who qualifies for U Nonimmigrant Visas?
- U nonimmigrant visa is available to noncitizen victims of certain crimes that occur in the United States. Nonimmigrant crime victims who are out of status, or are in a status that generally does not allow for change of status, or who entered the United States without inspection, or who are otherwise inadmissible, are generally eligible to apply for waivers of inadmissibility. Certain close family members of such crime victims are eligible for derivative U nonimmigrant status.
Noncitizens who are continuously present in the United States for three years in U status, whether as principals or derivatives, become eligible to apply for green card.
To discuss your immigration needs with an experienced Jacksonville immigration lawyer from Gjoka Law Firm, feel free to contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 904-351-8749.
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