Immigration

Immigrating to the United States is a significant journey that can potentially open the door to countless opportunities and new experiences. Individuals from various countries seek immigration to the U.S. For example, places like Israel and Russia have active communities in the United States, and many individuals from these regions seek to migrate for various reasons, including economic opportunities, family reunification, or political asylum.

Whether you are pursuing the American Dream for work, reuniting with family, or seeking refuge, understanding the process can be overwhelming. Completing visa applications or asylum petitions, or exploring green card pathways can be complicated, but with the proper knowledge of the requirements and guidance, your path to a new life in the U.S. becomes much more straightforward. Rahimi Law Firm PC can help you explore the different immigration requirements and determine which visa would best suit your circumstances.

Entry Requirements and Application Process

Generally, the immigration process involves applying to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or a U.S. consulate abroad. It requires submitting various forms, including supporting documents, depending on the visa type. Supporting documents may include proof of financial support, a valid passport, photos, and evidence of qualifications. An interview process is often held at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the applicant’s home country. You may need to pay the required fees, which vary by visa type.  Applicants may need to wait for their visa category to become available, which can vary significantly.

Key Considerations When Determining Which Way To Pursue Immigration 

  • Eligibility: Each visa has specific criteria that individuals seeking to immigrate must meet.
  • Quotas and Caps: Some visas, like the H-1B and diversity visas, have annual caps.
  • Processing Times: Times can vary widely based on the visa type, the applicant’s nationality, and the specific U.S. embassy or consulate.

Different Types Of Visa Pathways and Requirements 

1) Family-Based Immigration:

One of the most common ways to obtain a visa is through family ties to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (green card holders).

  • Immediate Relative Visas (IR): These are for close family relations of U.S. citizens, including spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizens who are 21 or older.
  • Family Preference Visas (F): These are for more distant family relations of U.S. citizens and some relatives of lawful permanent residents, including unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their families, married children of U.S. citizens, and siblings of U.S. citizens.

2) Employment-Based Immigration:

Individuals with specialized skills may qualify for employment-based visas. Categories range from priority workers and professionals holding advanced degrees to skilled workers and certain special immigrants. Visas in this category are designed for various types of workers:

  • EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3: These visas cater to individuals with extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics (EB-1), professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability (EB-2), and skilled workers, professionals, and other workers filling positions that require less than a master’s degree (EB-3).
  • H-1B Visas: For specialty occupations that typically require a higher education degree or its equivalent in fields such as IT, finance, engineering, and more.
  • L-1 Visas: This type of visa allows intra-company transfers for managers, executives, or specialized knowledge staff moving to a U.S. branch of their current employer.

3) Student and Exchange Visitor Visas:

Many individuals come to the U.S. on student or exchange visitor visas. These visas allow them to study at U.S. institutions and can sometimes be a stepping stone to changing their status to a more permanent visa.

  • F and M Visas: These visas are for academic and vocational studies. Applicants must be accepted by a school approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.
  • J-1 Visa: These visas are for individuals approved to participate in work- and study-based exchange visitor programs.

4) Visitor Visas

  • B-1/B-2 Visas: These are for individuals visiting the U.S. for business (B-1), tourism, pleasure, or visiting (B-2), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).

5) Humanitarian Programs

  • Refugee and Asylum Status: These are granted to individuals who are unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED): The U.S. grants this status to individuals from countries affected by severe conflicts or disasters.

6) Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

This is a policy established in 2012 that allows certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to receive temporary protection from deportation and work authorization. To qualify, applicants must have come to the U.S. before age 16, continuously resided in the U.S. since 2007, were under age 31 as of June 15, 2012, been physically present in the U.S., and had no lawful status on June 15, 2012. These individuals must have been enrolled in school, graduated, obtained a GED, or been honorably discharged from the military. Remember that DACA does not provide a path to citizenship or permanent residency.

7) Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

Also known as the “green card lottery,” this program is designed to allow immigrants from countries with historically low immigration rates to the U.S. to qualify for a visa. This program offers a chance to individuals who might not be eligible under other immigration categories.

8) Long-Term Nonimmigrant Visas

Some visas allow for a more extended stay but do not immediately lead to permanent residency:

  • O-1 Visa: For individuals with extraordinary abilities or achievements.
  • E-2 Visa: For treaty investors who invest substantially in a U.S. business.

9) Investor Visas

The EB-5 visa provides a pathway for individuals investing significantly in a U.S. business (usually $1.8 million or $900,000 in a rural or high-unemployment area). If they meet certain conditions, these investors may be eligible for a green card.

Trying to achieve visas or citizenship status is complicated because recipients of visas live with the uncertainty of policy changes that could affect their ability to work and remain in the U.S. With permanent legal status, immigrants often need help finding stable employment, leading to economic instability. They may experience wage exploitation and discrimination due to their uncertain status. Educational challenges exist for individuals seeking to immigrate here with limited opportunities for higher education and career advancement. Lack of healthcare access, fear of deportation, language barriers, family separation, as well as limited legal support all present barriers for individuals trying to obtain visas and future citizenship opportunities. 

Takeaway

Navigating U.S. immigration law can be complex and sometimes requires assistance from an immigration attorney, especially for cases that involve intricate legal matters or unusual circumstances. Rahimi Law Firm PC will fight tenaciously to obtain immigration relief and legal status for our clients. Contact our offices in Great Neck and Manhattan so that we may advocate for you.