US Immigration Tools

How To Immigrate To The United States Permanently

For Those Who Are Outside The US

There Are These Common Ways To Come To The United States:

1. Family Immigration

To immigrate to the USA using this route you need to have a US citizen or permanent resident family member. But it cannot be just any family member, you must be closely related. Depending on the relationship, you may immigrate to the USA "fast" or "slow".

Fast routes include the ones when you have a US citizen spouse, parent (when you are under 21), or you are a parent of a US citizen who is at least 21 years old. In certain situation step-parent- step child relationship can be sufficient factor in your efforts to immigrate to the USA.

Further, if you are a sibling of the US citizen, the wait time to immigrate to the USA will be rather long (about 10 years) and you might want to check out alternative ways.

For Permanent Residents: a permanent resident may bring his/her spouse to the US in about 2 years. But the processing time will depend based on the number of applications filed with the DHS. For unmarried sons and daughters of a permanent resident, the processing time is about seven years. The law does not provide for immigration of married sons and daughters of permanent residents!

In general the processing time (wait time) for family based immigration can be checked by locating current Visa Bulletin. The priority date is the date when the family based petition (I-130) was filed.

2. What to do if you do not have a family member and/or you are already married but the spouse is not a US citizen?

Then you are left with the following choices:

a) Employment based immigration
It is one of the most complicated and costly ways to immigrate to the USA. Unless you are an extraordinary achiever in a certain field of art, sport, science, etc. you will have to find an employer to “sponsor” you. An employer must offer you a job and demonstrate to the US government that it could not find a US employee for this job whose qualifications are sufficient for the positions’ minimum requirements. Now, after and if the employer’s petition is approved, the employer will need to file form I-140 on your behalf and when that is approved, you need to file for an immigrant visa. There are numerous regulations issued by the USCIS and Department of Labor that specify the process. The employer must understand that and its firm commitment is required for the process. Ideally, if the process goes smoothly, the PERM certification might be obtained relatively fast. But the application for PERM certification is subject to a random audit, and sometimes to a ‘supervised’ hiring process, when the government dictates the employer how to advertise for the position and where, and the government screens the resumes. Of course, it is employer who is actually reviewing the resumes (it is employer’s money that will be used to pay for the advertised position), but the DOL (Department of Labor) may increase the costs of the process significantly for the employer by imposing its own advertising requirements. That is why many employers are reluctant to sponsor foreign workers even though many of them have better qualifications.

b) You could not find an employer to sponsor you and your own achievements are not sufficient to sponsor yourself. In this situation, you may consider investor based immigration. However, for this you need to have a substantial amount of capital (starting at $500,000.00) that you can invest, meaning you can put it at “risk." Also, you will have to show that the money is “clean” and not coming from questionable sources. If you succeed, you will be able to apply for permanent residence in no time (comparatively), and, hopefully, will have a profitable business to live off.

c) Finally, if you experienced (or fear to experience) persecution in your country based on race, nationality, membership in a social group, political opinion or religion,you may find your way to immigrate to the USA by qualifying for ASYLUM. Same goes for the member of your family. Asylum can be granted to you only if you are already in the US. If you are outside the US, the status is called “refugee status.”

There are other, very limited and fact specific ways to immigrate to the USA, but usually they involve cooperation with the US government in prosecution of criminals.

If you have further questions on how you and your family can come to the US, please contact New York Immigration attorney ALENA SHAUTSOVA at 917-885-2261 or at

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