How to Navigate the 2023 Immigration Process
Seeking lawful permanent resident status in the United States, or a “green card,” is no simple matter. With overwhelmed immigration agencies and per-country caps, the process can take years, especially for people from some countries.
This guide explores the various pathways to safety and citizenship in the U.S., including work visas like the ones that have brought Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic and model Melania Trump to our country.
Obtaining a Green Card
Obtaining a Green Card is a major step on the path to becoming a United States citizen. The process can be complex and lengthy, and the steps will vary depending on your eligibility category and the way you apply.
The most common way to get a Green Card is through family members or through employment. Immigrants may also obtain a Green Card as refugees or as asylees. In addition, special immigrants (such as media professionals, religious workers, or employees of international organizations) and individuals who have been battered by a US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse or parent can qualify for a Green Card through VAWA, the Violence Against Women Act.
Family-based Green Cards are typically the fastest and easiest to obtain, as immigration laws prioritize family reunification. To qualify, you must have a close relationship with a US citizen or LPR relative and prove that you will continue to live together in the United States after getting a Green Card. This includes married children over the age of 21, parents, and fiancees.
For employment-based Green Cards, you must have a job offer in the United States or be the beneficiary of an immigrant petition filed by a US employer. You must also have advanced qualifications or skills that are in short supply in the United States. This includes professional workers with advanced degrees, academic researchers, executives at multinational corporations, and skilled workers in shortage occupations.
Once your application has been processed, you must attend a green card interview at a USCIS field office. This is often difficult and stressful for many immigrants, but it is important to prepare ahead of time. The process will likely include questions about your family relationships, your job, and the reasons why you want to live in the United States. You will also have to provide fingerprints and pass a background check.
To make the process as smooth as possible, keep all documents and correspondence related to your green card application organized and respond promptly to any requests from USCIS. Also, be sure to pay any applicable filing fees. You can find up-to-date information on the fees on the USCIS website.
Applying for Asylum
If you are in the United States and believe that you will be persecuted if returned to your home country because of your race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, political opinion, or sexual orientation, you may apply for asylum. Asylum and refugee status offer protection in the United States, as well as the opportunity to eventually apply for a green card after one year.
People who apply for asylum affirmatively (meaning they are not already in removal proceedings) generally file their application with USCIS. They submit a Form I-589, a personal statement, and initial documentary evidence to support their case. After reviewing these materials, a USCIS officer will schedule an interview to hear your story.
You can apply for asylum in the United States if you are a refugee or asylee, or have lawful status (such as a visa or a green card). The process is different for people who enter the United States legally and for those who enter the United States illegally.
To qualify for asylum, you must prove that you have a well-founded fear of persecution in your home country on one of the seven protected grounds:
The first step is to register with USCIS by filing Form I-589. The form asks questions about your past experiences, including any incidents that led you to leave your country. It is important to provide as much detail as possible. For example, you should state whether a specific person or organization made you afraid to return home, and when the incident occurred. If you cannot remember an exact date, you should state that you estimated it.
Asylum seekers should be sure to include the name and contact information of any family members who will also apply for asylum. The applicant can usually include spouses and children under the age of 21 on an asylum application if they reside with the applicant. However, married children and those who are over the age of 21 can only receive asylum if they petition for it after their interview in immigration court or with USCIS.
Applying for a Visa
The process of obtaining a visa to enter another country depends on the purpose of your trip. Whether you want to visit for tourism, conduct business, or immigrate, there are many routes to legal immigration. Some countries require you to apply for a visa before entering, while others allow you to do so upon arrival. The first step in applying for a visa is to find out what kind of visa you need. The Visa Wizard below can help you determine what type of visa you should apply for.
The immigration process can be complicated and time-consuming. Almost every president in recent history has stepped up enforcement of immigration laws and escalated deportations, but none have successfully overhauled what many advocates call a broken system. While there are many ways to legally immigrate to the United States, most people take a path that leads to permanent residency through a family-based green card or employment-based one. These are only a few of the options available, and each has its own requirements and waiting periods.
Waiting up to a decade or more might be necessary if you’re attempting to obtain a family-based green card. The limitation of green cards Immigration Process granted each year through this route causes this situation. The number of available visas is determined by quotas, which are set based on the labor and economic needs of the country.
For people trying to obtain an employment-based green card, the waiting period varies depending on the EB category in which they are filing. The processing time for employment-based green cards is generally less than a month. However, it is important to check the visa bulletin frequently for up-to-the-minute information on current processing times.
In addition to the visa application fee, nonimmigrant applicants should pay a visa issuance fee as well. This is an additional fee that is imposed by the U.S. government to cover administrative costs associated with visa issuance. The amount of the fee varies by country and by visa type. Applicants should keep copies of all paid fees to ensure they do not face overcharges.
Applying for Naturalization
Citizenship gives individuals the ability to vote, travel freely within the United States, sponsor family
members for Immigration Process , and access federal benefits. Obtaining citizenship can be a lengthy and complex process. It’s important to be aware of the requirements before starting the application process. Boundless is here to help.
The first step is to ensure you are eligible to apply for naturalization. The best way to do this is by using the online Naturalization Eligibility Tool. The tool will check whether you meet the basic eligibility
requirements, which include a Immigration Process minimum of five years as a green card holder
and a physical presence in the United States for at least 30 months of those five years.
Next, you must prepare to take the civics and English tests. The civics test requires you to answer questions about American history and government. The English test is more involved and requires you to write, speak, and read in the language. If you are unable to do so because of a disability, you can get an
exemption for the test by submitting appropriate medical documentation.
Applicants also undergo a background check when applying for naturalization. To complete the background check, you will need to provide USCIS with a list of all schools
and jobs you’ve ever held, along with their addresses and the dates of when you attended or worked at each location. Applicants also need to submit police reports from places they’ve lived and must answer questions about criminal convictions.
A final requirement for naturalization is to renounce all previous allegiances. To complete and file Form N-400, you must actively complete and submit the Citizenship Petition. In addition, you must take an oath of allegiance to the United States and renounce your former nationality.
Generally, it takes three to five years to become a citizen through naturalization. However, you can file
your N-400 to begin the process 90 days before your third or fifth anniversary as a green card holder,
known as early filing. You do this to bypass the wait Immigration Process for a naturalization interview and get ahead of the process.