Typically, an individual foreign national wishes to come to the United States as a visitor, a student, or a worker. Later, s/he may decide to remain as a permanent resident (green card holder) and, eventually, as a U.S. citizen. These are all sections available from our top tabs, with subsections to more accurately pinpoint yourself in the process.
- Visitor The B-1/B-2 classification is designated for visitors for business (B-1) and visitors for pleasure (B-2). It is appropriate for foreign nationals who seek to visit the United States on a purely temporary basis.
- Student Every year, the United States attracts foreign nationals who wish to pursue their studies in approved educational institutions. The appropriate categories are: F-1 (academic students), M-1 (vocational students), and J-1 (exchange students).
- Worker There are many temporary immigration categories that allow foreign nationals to engage in employment in the United States. Foreign nationals generally need to obtain the appropriate visa from a consulate abroad, based upon a petition filed by a U.S. employer.
- Resident Lawful permanent residents (LPR), or “green card” holders, are allowed to reside and work permanently in the United States. The LPR status is gained primarily through employment-based or family-based sponsorship, as well as the diversity visa lottery.
- Citizen U.S. Citizenship is obtained either by birth, derivation or naturalization. Requirements generally are, 5 years in permanent resident status or three years may be sufficient for those married to U.S. citizens.
The options for bringing one’s family members to the United States fall within two general categories. Family-based cases are those in which a U.S. citizen or permanent resident files a petition to sponsor a relative for immigration benefits. Family members are generally eligible to immigrate to the United States on a temporary basis as dependants in nonimmigrant categories.
Individuals in medical professions have certain certification requirements and must meet other qualifying standards. Their options may differ from the paths to immigration followed by workers in other industries.