Going through the immigration process can be a daunting and often long experience that leaves many exasperated. At Kriezelman Burton & Associates, our experienced immigration attorneys in Chicago know what needs to be done to make the process less daunting and file the necessary paperwork without unnecessary delay for our clients.
The process of immigration into the United States is divided into two broad categories, which are family-based and employment-based immigration. Both categories are further divided into several categories, depending on whether the immigration is temporary or permanent.
U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) can petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to have their qualifying relatives be given permanent residency status (green card) based on the relationship.
These family-based immigration visas (green cards) are classified into several categories, which in turn determine the processing time for one to be approved and obtain a green card under that category.
These family-based immigration categories are as follows:
Immediate Relative. An immediate relative is an individual in a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen, such as a spouse, child, or parent. This is the most desired category for family-based immigration because there is no limit as to how many immigrant visas (green cards) can be issued under this category on an annual basis. This, in turn, means if you are an immediate relative, your application will be approved, and you will receive your green card ahead of all others who applied for the green card at the same time as you but based on the other family-based immigration categories.
Family Preference. This is a category for more removed family relationships of a U.S. citizen and some specific family relationships of green card holders. The number of green cards available under this category is limited each year, and for this reason, there is a backlog creating long wait times – sometimes years – before the qualifying relative has their green card approved and received.
Obtaining a green card through employment usually requires an employer to sponsor the prospective applicant for a job in the United States. This requires the employer, in most cases. to first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. If the labor certification is required and the prospective employer obtains one, then the employer can file Form I-40 Petition for Alien Worker with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The prospective foreign worker would then apply for a green card once the I-140 petition is approved. The processing time for the green card application will depend on what subcategory of the employment-based visa categories under which they apply.
Individuals with extraordinary abilities in their respective fields of endeavor are exempt from the requirement to have an employer first file a petition.
There are a variety of other ways one can temporarily come to live and work in the United States or to permanently immigrate as a green card holder. If you are interested in learning more about any of these options, contact Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC today for a consultation.
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