CALL US: +44 (0)20 8004 3492

Secure Permanent Residency in the US

By Nita Nicole Upadhye

Table of Contents

Obtaining permanent residency in the US, or a green card, is a mandatory requirement for foreign nationals looking to live Stateside on an indefinite basis.

With a green card, you attain the right to live and work in the USA without restriction, and you can benefit from many other opportunities, including the potential to apply for US citizenship.

However, the path to US permanent residency is rarely straightforward. You will need to identify the appropriate path to apply for a US green card and meet the stringent eligibility and procedural requirements.

In this guide, we explain the primary pathways through which individuals can secure permanent residency in the US, including family sponsorship, employment opportunities, the Diversity Visa Lottery and alternative routes, to help you start on your journey to live permanently in the US.

 

Section A: Routes to Permanent Residency in the US

 

The main pathways to obtain a green card are through family-based sponsorship, employment-based sponsorship and the Diversity Visa Lottery. Alternative routes may also be available in certain circumstances.

Each of these pathways has distinct requirements, processes, and eligibility criteria, catering to different groups of people aspiring to make the US their permanent home.

 

a. Family-Based Immigration: Allows US citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor certain family members to come and live permanently in the United States.

b. Employment-Based Immigration: US employers can sponsor foreign nationals for green cards based on their skills, job experience, and qualifications.

c. Diversity Visa Lottery: Also known as the Green Card Lottery, each year, 50,000 individuals from certain countries with historically low immigration rates to the US are selected to receive green cards.

d. Alternative Routes: Including asylum or refugee status, special immigrant categories (e.g., abused minors, religious workers), and long-term residents under certain visa categories (e.g., TPS, U visa holders), these pathways address unique circumstances and offer additional opportunities for securing a green card.

 

Section B: Family-Based Immigration

 

Family-based immigration is one of the most common pathways to securing permanent residency in the United States. It allows US citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to sponsor certain family members for green cards, enabling them to live and work in the US permanently.

Family sponsorship involves a US citizen or lawful permanent resident petitioning for their eligible family members to immigrate to the United States. The sponsorship process is designed to reunite families and strengthen familial bonds, recognizing the importance of family unity in American society.

 

1. Eligibility for a Family-Based Green Card

 

Family-based green cards are only available to certain relatives of US citizens and lawful permanent residents.

 

a. Immediate Relatives

Immediate relatives of US citizens are given special priority in the immigration process. This means they are not subject to annual numerical limits, and there are no caps on the number of green cards issued each year in these categories. These include:

 

i. Spouses: A US citizen can sponsor their foreign-born spouse for a green card.

ii. Children: US citizens can sponsor their unmarried children under the age of 21.

iii. Parents: US citizens who are at least 21 years old can sponsor their parents.

 

b. Family Preference Categories

Unlike immediate relatives, other family members fall under the family preference categories, which are subject to annual numerical limits. These categories include:

 

F1: Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years or older) of US citizens.

F2A: Spouses and unmarried children (under 21 years) of lawful permanent residents.

F2B: Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years or older) of lawful permanent residents.

F3: Married sons and daughters of US citizens.

F4: Brothers and sisters of US citizens, if the US citizen is at least 21 years old.

 

2. How to Apply for a Family-Based Green Card

 

In basic terms, the process of family-based immigration involves the following:

 

Step 1: Filing a Petition

The sponsoring family member (petitioner) must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes the relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary (the family member seeking a green card).

 

Step 2: Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status

If the beneficiary is outside the US, they will apply for an immigrant visa at a US consulate or embassy in their home country. Once the visa is approved, they can enter the US as a permanent resident.

However, if the beneficiary is already in the US on a different visa, they may apply to adjust their status to a permanent resident without leaving the country. This is done by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

 

3. Family-Based Green Card Processing Times

 

The processing times for family-based immigration can vary significantly based on the relationship category and the country of origin of the beneficiary.

Immediate relatives are generally subject to shorter processing times due to the lack of numerical limits, while family preference categories can face longer wait times due to annual caps and high demand, sometimes taking several years to complete.

 

4. Challenges of Family-Based Immigration

 

Potential challenges in the family-based immigration process include providing sufficient documentation to prove the familial relationship, which can sometimes be difficult, especially in cases involving distant relatives. Ensuring that all necessary paperwork is accurate and complete is crucial to avoid delays and complications.

For family preference categories, long waiting periods due to visa backlogs can be particularly frustrating and require considerable patience. These backlogs are a result of annual numerical limits, which can cause extended processing times for certain relatives.

Additionally, the legal and procedural aspects of the immigration process can be complex, often necessitating the assistance of an immigration attorney. Dealing with the various forms, requirements, and regulations can be challenging, and professional guidance can help ensure a smoother process.

 

Section C: Employment-Based Immigration

 

Employment-based immigration offers a pathway to skilled workers, professionals, and individuals with exceptional abilities to secure permanent residency in the United States. It allows US employers to sponsor foreign nationals for green cards, filling essential roles in various industries and contributing to the country’s economic growth.

 

1. Categories of Employment-Based Green Cards

 

Employment-based green cards are divided into different categories based on the type of work and qualifications of the foreign national. Each category has a specific preference level, which determines the priority of processing and issuance. The five main employment-based (EB) categories are:

 

EB-1: Priority Workers

EB-2: Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability

EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers

EB-4: Special Immigrants

EB-5: Immigrant Investors

 

a. EB-1: Priority Workers

The EB-1 category is for individuals with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational executives and managers. It includes three subcategories.

The EB-1A is for individuals with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. Applicants must provide evidence of sustained national or international acclaim.

The EB-1B is for outstanding professors and researchers with at least three years of experience in teaching or research and recognized internationally in their field.

The EB-1C is for multinational executives and managers who have been employed for at least one year by a firm or corporation and seek to continue working for that employer in a managerial or executive capacity in the US.

 

b. EB-2: Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability

The EB-2 category is for professionals holding advanced degrees or individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. It includes two subcategories: the EB-2A for professionals with advanced degrees (master’s or higher) or the equivalent, which can include a bachelor’s degree plus five years of progressive work experience; and the EB-2B for those with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, who have a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered.

 

c. EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers

The EB-3 category covers three subcategories. The EB-3A is for skilled workers with at least two years of job experience or training; the EB-3B is for professionals with a US bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent degree; and the EB-3C is for other workers performing unskilled labor that is not temporary or seasonal, requiring less than two years of training or experience.

 

2. How to Apply for an Employment-Based Green Card

 

Step 1: Employer Sponsorship

To begin the employment-based green card process, the US employer must sponsor the foreign national. This involves demonstrating that the employer has a legitimate need for the foreign worker and that there are no qualified US workers available for the position.

 

Step 2: Labor Certification (PERM)

For most EB-2 and EB-3 categories, the employer must obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL). The Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) process requires the employer to prove that they have made a good-faith effort to recruit US workers for the position and that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively affect the wages and working conditions of US workers.

Many foreign nationals begin their careers in the US on temporary work visas, such as the H-1B visa, which allows them to work in specialty occupations. Transitioning from an H-1B visa to permanent residency involves several steps. The current employer must file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, on behalf of the employee. If the foreign national is in the US, they can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to transition to a green card holder. If they are outside the US, they will go through consular processing at a US embassy or consulate.

 

3. Processing Times

Processing times for employment-based green cards vary depending on the category, where the application is being made and USCIS caseload. Some categories, like EB-1, may have shorter processing times, while others, like EB-3, can experience significant backlogs.

In general, you can expect processing times for the I-140 petition stage on average to be as follows (note that additional processing times might apply for subsequent steps, such as adjustment of status or visa application):

 

a. EB-1 (Priority Workers): This category typically has the fastest processing times, with I-140 petitions (immigrant petitions) adjudicated within 2-6 months on average. However, the actual processing time can vary depending on the specific EB-1 subcategory.

b. EB-2 (Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability): Processing times for I-140 petitions in this category can range from 6-9 months on average.

c. EB-3 (Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers): This category typically has longer processing times, with I-140 petitions taking anywhere from 8-14 months on average.

d. EB-4 (Religious Workers and Special Immigrants): Processing times for I-140 petitions in this category can vary considerably, ranging from a few months to over a year.

e. EB-5 (Investors): Processing times for I-526 petitions (immigrant petitions for investors) in this category can vary significantly, with some cases adjudicated within 14-18 months, while others might take several years.

 

These are just estimated processing times and can change. Always refer to the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information:

 

4. Challenges of Employment-Based Immigration

 

Obtaining an employment-based green card can be a valuable path to permanent residency in the United States. However, there are some potential challenges to navigate along the way.

One obstacle can be delays associated with the Labor Certification process, also known as PERM. This process verifies that there are no qualified US workers available for the position and that hiring a foreign worker won’t adversely affect US workers’ wages and working conditions. The PERM process can be complex and time-consuming, potentially causing delays in your green card application.

Another hurdle can be visa backlogs. Certain employment-based green card categories experience high demand, leading to longer wait times for green card issuance. This means you might need to wait for a significant period after your application is approved before you officially receive your green card.

Finally, changes in your employment situation can introduce complications. If your job duties, employer, or even your employment status changes during the application process, revisions or additional steps might be required to ensure your application remains aligned with the initial qualifications.

 

Section D: Diversity Visa Lottery

 

The Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery, also known as the Green Card Lottery, is a unique program that provides an opportunity for individuals from countries with historically low immigration rates to the United States to obtain a green card.

Each year, the Department of State conducts a random drawing to select 50,000 individuals of eligible nationalities who are then allocated a Green Card.

The program was established by the Immigration Act of 1990 and aims to promote diversity within the US immigrant population.

 

1. Eligibility Requirements

 

To be eligible for the program, applicants have to meet the following criteria:

 

a. Country of Origin

To qualify for the DV Lottery, applicants must be natives of countries with low immigration rates to the US. The list of eligible countries is updated annually and typically excludes countries that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the US in the previous five years. Some commonly excluded countries include Mexico, Canada, China, India, and the United Kingdom (excluding Northern Ireland).

 

b. Education or Work Experience

Applicants must meet specific educational or work experience requirements to be eligible. You must have at least a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education.

You also need to have two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.

 

2. How to Apply for the US Diversity Visa Lottery

 

The application process for the DV Lottery involves several steps:

 

Step 1: Entry Period

The DV Lottery entry period typically opens in early October and closes in early November each year. The exact dates are announced by the Department of State.

 

Step 2: Online Registration

Applicants must complete the online entry form, known as the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (DS-5501), available on the official DV Lottery website. It is essential to provide accurate and complete information, including personal details, passport information, and digital photographs that meet specific requirements.

 

Step 3: Selection and Notification

After the entry period closes, the Department of State conducts a random selection of applicants. Selected applicants, known as “selectees,” are notified via the Entrant Status Check on the DV Lottery website, usually in May of the following year.

Notifications are not sent by email or mail, so applicants must check their status online.

 

Step 4: If Selected

Winning the DV Lottery is just the beginning. Selectees must complete several steps to secure their immigrant visa.

First, you will need to complete the Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application (Form DS-260) and submit it through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). You will then have to compile and submit the required supporting documents, including birth certificates, police certificates, and proof of education or work experience, to prove your eligibility.

 

Step 5: Interview & Medical

An interview at a US embassy or consulate will be scheduled in your home country. The interview date and location are provided via the Entrant Status Check on the DV Lottery website.

You will also need to undergo a medical examination by a physician authorized by the US embassy or consulate.

You should prepare for the interview by reviewing your DS-260 application, gathering original documents and photocopies, and paying the required visa fees.

During the interview, a consular officer will review the application and supporting documents, ask questions to verify eligibility, and determine whether you qualify for an immigrant visa. If approved, you will receive an immigrant visa, allowing you to travel to the US and become a lawful permanent resident.

 

Section E: Other Pathways to Permanent Residency

 

In addition to family-based, employment-based, and Diversity Visa Lottery pathways, there are additional routes to obtaining permanent residency in the United States that cater for individuals in unique and specific circumstances.

 

1. Asylum or Refugee Status

 

Individuals who have fled their home countries due to persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion may apply for asylum in the US.

The asylum process includes several important steps. First, asylum seekers must file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year of entering the US. This form initiates the process and sets the groundwork for their claim.

Next, an asylum officer conducts an interview to assess the applicant’s claim. During this interview, applicants must provide credible evidence of their persecution, demonstrating the validity of their fear of returning to their home country. Additionally, they may need to undergo a security screening to ensure they pose no threat to the US.

Finally, if granted asylum, the individual can live and work in the US. After one year of residing in the US as an asylee, they may apply for permanent residency by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This step transitions their status from asylum to lawful permanent residency.

 

2. Refugee Status

 

Refugees are individuals who have been forced to flee their home countries due to persecution and seek protection outside their country of origin. These individuals often face life-threatening situations and cannot return home safely.

The refugee resettlement process begins with a referral and application. Individuals must be referred to the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), where they undergo a rigorous screening process. This process includes thorough security and medical checks to ensure the safety and health of both the refugees and the receiving communities.

Once approved, refugees are resettled in the US with the assistance of resettlement agencies. These agencies help refugees adapt to their new environment and provide necessary support services. After one year of residence in the US, refugees are eligible to apply for a green card by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, allowing them to become lawful permanent residents.

 

3. Special Immigrant Categories

 

Several special immigrant categories provide pathways to permanent residency for individuals in specific circumstances. Some of these categories include:

 

a. Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ): Minors who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by one or both parents may qualify for SIJ status. They must be declared dependent on a juvenile court and meet specific requirements.

b. Religious Workers: Individuals working in a religious vocation or occupation may qualify for a green card under the EB-4 category if they have been performing religious work continuously for at least two years.

c. Afghan and Iraqi Translators/Interpreters: Individuals who have worked with the US armed forces or under Chief of Mission authority as translators or interpreters may qualify for special immigrant visas (SIVs).

d. International Organization Employees: Certain employees of international organizations or NATO-6 employees and their family members may be eligible for a green card under specific circumstances.

 

4. Long-Term Residents Under Certain Visa Categories

 

Individuals who have lived in the US for an extended period under specific visa categories may be eligible to adjust their status to permanent residency. Some of these long-term residents include:

 

a. Temporary Protected Status (TPS): Individuals from designated countries experiencing ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary conditions may receive TPS. TPS holders can apply for a green card if they meet eligibility requirements.

b. Deferred Enforced Departure (DED): Similar to TPS, DED provides protection from deportation to individuals from designated countries. DED holders may also adjust their status to permanent residency under certain conditions.

c. U Visa Holders: Victims of certain crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement may receive a U visa. U visa holders can apply for a green card after three years of continuous presence in the US.

d. T Visa Holders: Victims of human trafficking who have complied with law enforcement requests for assistance in investigating or prosecuting trafficking crimes may receive a T visa. T visa holders can apply for a green card after three years of continuous presence in the US.

 

Section F: Maintaining Permanent Resident Status

 

Once an individual obtains permanent resident status in the United States, it is essential to understand the rights and responsibilities that come with it, as well as the conditions required to maintain this status. Failing to adhere to these conditions can result in the loss of permanent residency and potential deportation.

 

1. Rights and Responsibilities of a Green Card Holder

 

As a green card holder, an individual is granted numerous rights. These rights include the ability to live permanently in the United States and work in any legal job. Green card holders are also eligible for public school education and certain healthcare programs, providing access to essential services. Additionally, they have the right to travel in and out of the US, although some restrictions apply. Furthermore, green card holders enjoy legal protection under US law and the rights provided by the US Constitution.

However, green card holders also have specific responsibilities. They must adhere to all federal, state, and local laws, ensuring they comply with the legal standards of their communities. Green card holders are responsible for filing income tax returns and reporting their income to the IRS and state tax authorities, fulfilling their tax obligations. Additionally, if they are male and between the ages of 18 and 25, they are required to register with the Selective Service. These responsibilities are essential for maintaining their status and contributing to the society in which they live.

 

2. Conditions to Maintain a US Green Card

 

Maintaining permanent resident status requires meeting specific physical presence requirements. One key aspect is continuous residence in the US. Green card holders must reside continuously in the country, as extended absences can lead to a presumption of abandoning residency.

If planning to stay outside the US for more than one year but less than two years, obtaining a reentry permit is necessary to maintain status. For absences longer than two years without a reentry permit, applying for a returning resident visa (SB-1) is required.

Certain circumstances can also jeopardize permanent resident status and lead to deportation. Engaging in criminal activities, such as committing aggravated felonies, drug offenses, or crimes of moral turpitude, can result in deportation.

In addition, participating in fraudulent activities, such as marriage fraud or providing false information to immigration authorities, can also lead to the loss of status. Activities that pose a threat to national security are another serious risk.

Also, failing to notify USCIS of a change of address within ten days of moving is a requirement that must be met to avoid complications with residency status.

 

3. Steps to Apply for US Citizenship

 

After meeting the necessary residency and other eligibility requirements, permanent residents may apply for US citizenship through a process called naturalization. This process involves several important steps to ensure eligibility and readiness for citizenship.

The first step is to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, along with the required documentation and fees. This form serves as the official application for citizenship and requires detailed information about the applicant’s background and eligibility.

Next, applicants must attend a biometrics appointment where they provide fingerprints, photographs, and signatures. This step is crucial for conducting background checks and verifying the applicant’s identity.
Following the biometrics appointment, applicants participate in an interview with a USCIS officer. During this interview, they are required to take the English language and civics tests, which assess their ability to read, write, and speak English, as well as their knowledge of US government and history.

After the interview and tests, USCIS will inform applicants of their decision. If the application is approved, the individual will receive an invitation to attend a naturalization ceremony.

The final step is to attend the naturalization ceremony, where applicants take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. After taking the oath, they will receive their Certificate of Naturalization, officially granting them US citizenship.

 

Section G: Summary

 

While the process to live in the US permanently can be challenging, it offers significant rewards for those who are successful, including the ability to live and work in the US indefinitely, access to education and healthcare, and the potential to apply for US citizenship.

The key is to determine the most appropriate pathway for you, and to plan well to ensure that the eligibility and procedural requirements are met.

 

Section H: Need Assistance?

 

If you have any specific questions or need further assistance with your options to live in the US permanently, speak to our US immigration and nationality attorneys. We can review your circumstances to determine the routes open to you and provide guidance with planning and managing your application. Contact us for specialist advice.

 

Section I: Permanent Residency in the US FAQs

 

What are the main pathways to live in the US permanently?

The main pathways to live in the US permanently include family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, and the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery. Each pathway has specific eligibility criteria and application processes.

 

How can family-based immigration help me live in the US permanently?

Family-based immigration allows US citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor their close relatives, such as spouses, children, parents, and siblings, to immigrate to the US. Immediate relatives of US citizens typically have shorter processing times compared to other family preference categories.

 

What is the Diversity Visa Lottery, and how does it work?

The Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery is an annual program that provides 50,000 immigrant visas to individuals from countries with low immigration rates to the US. Applicants are selected through a random lottery system and must meet eligibility requirements related to their country of origin and education or work experience.

 

What are the requirements for employment-based immigration to the US?

Employment-based immigration requires sponsorship by a US employer and generally falls into categories such as EB-1 for priority workers, EB-2 for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability, and EB-3 for skilled workers and professionals. The process often involves obtaining labor certification and meeting specific job and qualification criteria.

 

How long can I stay outside the US without losing my permanent resident status?

As a permanent resident, you should avoid staying outside the US for more than six months to one year without proper documentation. Extended absences can lead to a presumption of abandoning your residency. If you need to stay abroad for longer periods, you should obtain a reentry permit or a returning resident visa (SB-1).

 

What are the rights and responsibilities of a green card holder?

As a green card holder, you have the right to live and work in the US, travel in and out of the country under certain conditions, and access public education and healthcare programs. Responsibilities include obeying US laws, filing income tax returns, and registering with the Selective Service if you are a male aged 18-25.

 

Can I apply for US citizenship, and what is the process?

Yes, you can apply for US citizenship through naturalization after meeting residency and other eligibility requirements. The process involves filing Form N-400, attending a biometrics appointment, participating in an interview and tests, and taking the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony.

 

What should I do if my application for permanent residency is denied?

If your application for permanent residency is denied, you may seek legal assistance to understand the reasons for the denial and explore options for appeal or reapplication. Consulting with an immigration attorney can provide guidance on the best course of action based on your specific situation.

 

Are there any special programs for certain groups to obtain permanent residency?

There are special programs for certain groups, such as asylum seekers, refugees, Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ), religious workers, and victims of crimes (U visa) or human trafficking (T visa). Each program has specific criteria and application processes tailored to the needs of these groups.

 

How can I ensure that I maintain my permanent resident status?

To maintain your permanent resident status, ensure you meet physical presence requirements, avoid long absences from the US, comply with US laws, and promptly report any changes in your address to USCIS. Additionally, avoid engaging in activities that could lead to deportation, such as committing crimes or engaging in fraud.

 

Section J: Glossary

 

Adjustment of Status (AOS): A process that allows an eligible individual already in the US to apply for lawful permanent resident status without having to return to their home country.

Asylum: Protection granted to foreign nationals already in the US or at the border who meet the definition of a refugee, allowing them to stay in the US due to persecution or fear of persecution in their home country.

Consular Processing: The process of applying for an immigrant visa at a US embassy or consulate outside the US, used by individuals who are outside the US or choose this method to obtain their green card.

Continuous Residence: A requirement for green card holders and naturalization applicants to maintain a permanent dwelling place in the US for a specified period without prolonged absences.

Deferred Enforced Departure (DED): A discretionary, temporary, administrative stay of removal granted to nationals of designated countries who are in the US.

Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery: An annual program that makes 50,000 immigrant visas available to individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the US through a random lottery system.

Employment-Based Immigration: A pathway to permanent residency based on employment, which includes several preference categories (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, etc.) depending on the applicant’s skills, job, and qualifications.

Immediate Relatives: The spouse, unmarried children under 21, and parents of US citizens who are given special immigration priority and are not subject to annual numerical limits.

Labor Certification (PERM): A certification from the US Department of Labor that a US employer must obtain to prove that there are no qualified US workers available for the job offered to a foreign worker.

Naturalization: The process by which a lawful permanent resident can become a US citizen after meeting certain requirements, including continuous residence, physical presence, and good moral character.

Program Electronic Review Management (PERM): The system used by the US Department of Labor for processing labor certification applications for employment-based green cards.

Refugee: An individual who is outside their country of nationality and unable or unwilling to return due to persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution.

Reentry Permit: A travel document that allows a green card holder to reenter the US after being abroad for more than one year but less than two years without losing their permanent resident status.

Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ): A classification that provides certain children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by one or both parents a pathway to obtain lawful permanent residency.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS): A temporary immigration status provided to nationals of certain countries experiencing ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary conditions, allowing them to live and work in the US temporarily.

U Visa: A nonimmigrant visa for victims of certain crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): The federal agency responsible for overseeing lawful immigration to the US, processing immigration and naturalization applications, and granting work permits and asylum.

Visa Bulletin: A monthly publication by the US Department of State that provides information on the availability of immigrant visa numbers for various categories and countries, used to determine when applicants can file for adjustment of status or consular processing.

Visa Waiver Program (VWP): A program that allows citizens of specific countries to travel to the US for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.

 

Section K: Additional Resources

 

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
https://www.uscis.gov
Comprehensive resource for all immigration-related forms, guidelines, and updates.

 

US Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs
https://travel.state.gov
Provides information on the Diversity Visa Lottery and visa application processes.

 

American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
https://www.aila.org
Offers resources and referrals for professional legal assistance in immigration matters.

 

Department of Labor – Foreign Labor Certification
https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/foreign-labor
Details on labor certification requirements and processes for employment-based immigration.

 

Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
https://www.uscis.gov/laws-and-policy/legislation/immigration-and-nationality-act
The legal foundation for US immigration policy and procedures.

 

Refugee Processing Center
https://www.wrapsnet.org
Information on refugee admission and the resettlement process in the US.

 

Selective Service System
https://www.sss.gov
Information on the Selective Service registration requirement for male permanent residents aged 18-25.

 

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
https://www.cbp.gov
Guidelines and resources for traveling in and out of the US as a permanent resident.

 

 

Author

Founder & Principal Attorney Nita Nicole Upadhye is a recognized leader in the field of US business immigration law, (The Legal 500, Who's Who Legal and AILA) and an experienced and trusted advisor to large multinational corporates through to SMEs. She provides strategic immigration advice and specialist application support to corporations and professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, artists, actors and athletes from across the globe to meet their US-bound talent mobility needs.

Nita is an active public speaker, thought leader, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals.

Need legal advice?

For specialist advice on your query, get in touch with our team of US immigration attorneys.​

Need legal advice?

For specialist advice on your query, get in touch with our team of US immigration attorneys.

Share on social

For specialist advice on a US immigration or nationality matter for your business, contact our US immigration attorneys.

For specialist advice on a US immigration or nationality matter for your business, contact our US immigration attorneys.