It is the dream of many people to come to the US and take advantage of many of the opportunities so they can live the life of their dreams. Since the very beginning of the country, it has been known as the Land of Opportunity and has attracted immigrants from all over the world. It is a true melting pot where anybody can be anything they want.
It is not easy to immigrate to the US these days, however. There is a lot of bureaucracy and it takes a lot of patience to make sure that everything is done right so that you can actually make it happen. In fact, many people will use the services of a lawyer such as the Fontes Law Group immigration lawyers since it is so complicated. In this article, we will go over several of the basics when it comes to emigrating so you know what to expect.
1 – You need a visa first
The first step in getting accepted as an immigrant is to get into the country legally. You have to be given permission to enter and then you can do the paperwork to be able to stay.
If you are from an EU member state then you don’t need a visa but you have to be in the ESTA program that allows you to travel to the US visa-free for short stays. You could then apply for a visa that allows you to stay. Usually, these applicants have been offered a job and they can get a work visa.
For instance, if you are married to a US citizen then you can file for a family visa to be reunited with your spouse. Once you arrive in the US you can then apply for a green card to be able to stay as a resident.
There are immigrant visas, such as for work or family reunification, and non-immigrant visas such as for tourism. You can only apply for an immigrant visa if you wish to get residency in the US after. Applying for a green card after arriving on a non-immigrant visa will likely be denied.
The best thing to do is to try to find a job while you are in your home country. Once accepted then you can apply for a work visa and enter that way. An immigrant visa is needed when immigration to other countries too, such as Costa Rica or Malta.
2 – How to apply for an immigrant visa
To be able to get a visa to immigrate to the US, you will need to have somebody sponsor you. It could be a friend or family member, or a job that takes on the responsibility of being your sponsor.
Essentially, this is a person or entity that will swear to maintain your stay while you are being processed. They need to show that they have the savings or income to financially support you so you don’t end up becoming a burden on the welfare system in the US.
Once you find a sponsor, they will need to file a petition with the USCIS and this starts the process of getting you an immigrant visa. You will then be granted an interview at some point to get the visa.
The interview is generally very basic and the consular is trying to determine if you are going to be a good candidate to live and work in the US. After the interview, you will learn if you passed or not, and if you have then you will get a visa stamped in your passport allowing you to enter the US.
3 – Getting a green card
A green card is an unofficial term for the documents that allow you to stay in the US as a resident. Once you arrive in the US you are able to apply for a green card and go through the process. This also involves going through an interview.
The interview is to determine if you are entering the US in good faith and to be sure that the reasons for you to be there are genuine. There are some people who will marry somebody for a green card so the interviewer needs to understand if this is the case.
The first green card will be for two years and is conditional, then you will get another at the end of the term if you haven’t gotten divorced or committed any crimes. The second one will last for ten years and within that time you can apply for citizenship once you have been a resident for five continuous years.