Four ways to acquire US immigration
Author: Kamana Mathur, JD (Washington DC)
The term US Green Card or US immigration is synonymous with US Permanent Resident card or US PR Status. The US Green Card Holders are authorized to live in the United States permanently. They have most of the same rights of a U.S. Citizen, except that they cannot vote or run for elections, and can be deported for criminality or fraud. A US green card holder is eligible to apply for US citizenship after meeting 3 to 5 years of residency obligation. A US green card or US immigration can be acquired in the following four ways:
1. Family-Based US Immigration
To be eligible for US immigration based on a family relationship an applicant must have a relative who is a United States citizen or a permanent resident who is willing to sponsor him/her for US permanent residency by filing a Petition for Alien Relative (I-130). The US relative must prove that they can support the applicant by proving that his income is at least 125% above the U.S. poverty level for their household size, including the applicant and his family members.
U.S. Citizens are eligible to sponsor spouse, children under 21 year, married children, siblings, or parents. Permanent Residents can sponsor spouse and unmarried children of any age. Visa numbers for the parents, spouses, and unmarried children under 21 are immediately available. All other relatives must wait for a US immigrant visa number. The waiting period varies with family relationship.
ADOPTIONS FROM INDIA
In India, the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) allows an international adoption, if it has determined that the child cannot be placed or adopted within India. CARA monitors adoptions and adoption agencies in India.
An Indian family living abroad is given preferential treatment, provided it meets the following requirements:
Requirements from the adoptive parents:
Home study assessment report, photographs, marriage certificate, medical certificate, financial status, employment letter, Income tax return, agreement from the US child welfare agency that the child would be legally adopted within 2 years of his arrival in the USA.
2. EMPLOYMENT BASED IMMIGRATION
The five employment based US immigration categories: EB-1 to EB-5
First Preference (EB-1 priority workers): This category includes aliens with extraordinary ability; outstanding researchers and professors; and multinational executives. The applicants in this category have risen to the top in their area of endeavor, such as, athletics, research and management.
The applicant need not get a job offer or labor certification to get a US Green Card as an alien of extra ordinary ability. The aliens who are outstanding researchers or multinational managers (or executives) are required to obtain a job offer but they do not need labor certification.
Second Preference (EB-2 workers with advanced degrees and skilled workers with exceptional ability): This US green card category includes aliens who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees (A bachelor’s degree with 5 year experience) or their equivalent. This category also includes persons with exceptional ability as shown by their academic records in the arts, sciences or business.
Both a job offer and labor certification is required to obtain US green card under this category though a national interest waiver may be obtained in some cases.
Third Preference (EB-3 professionals, skilled workers, and other workers): The applicants in this category must be professionals with a Bachelor’s degree; or they must be skilled workers with at least two years of training or experience. The applicants with less than two year training or experience and without a Bachelor’s degree are also eligible, if their employer can demonstrate that the unskilled workers can perform unskilled labor for which qualified workers are not available in the USA. The applicants must have a job offer and a labor certification from the US.
Both a job offer and a labor certification is required to be eligible for US immigration.
Fourth Preference (EB-4 special workers such as religious workers and former US employees abroad): This US green card applicant category is for those who have been a members for at least 2 years of a religious organization that has a non-profit religious organization in the USA, and who will be working in a religious occupation at the request of local US religious organization.
No labor certification is required to be eligible for US immigration.
3. BUSINESS IMMIGRATION, EB-5
Fifth Preference (EB-5 Employment Creation/investment): An applicant and his/her immediate family can obtain US Green Cards by investing $500,000 in a government-approved Regional Center in one of 25 locations in the country. The government takes care of finding, starting, or running the applicant’s business.
An applicant is eligible for the US green card within two years and he and his family can live, study, or work anywhere in the United States. Up to 10,000 foreign investors can apply under this program in a year.
If an investor wants to start his own business, he is eligible to invest outside the designated regional center, but the process for US immigration is more complicated:
This category is for those who can invest between $500,000 to $10,00,000 in a new commercial enterprise in US and who can create or maintain 10 full time jobs for a period of conditional 2 years. The $500,000 investment requirement is for a rural area or an area suffering high unemployment rate. A new enterprise means a business established after 1990 or before 1990 if its restructuring results in 40% increase in employees or net worth.
An applicant who has been persecuted in home country on the grounds of race, religion, or political opinion have the right to file an application for asylum in the USA. If the asylum is granted, the applicant will be allowed to stay in the U.S. indefinitely and later apply for a US permanent resident visa for himself and his family members. Victims subjected to human trafficking and domestic violence in the USA may also be eligible for US permanent visas under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA).