Types of VISAS
If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth or did not acquire/derive U.S. citizenship automatically after birth, you may still be eligible to become a citizen through the naturalization process. Eligible persons use the “Application for Naturalization” (Form N-400) to apply for naturalization. To apply you must be:
Permanent resident maintaining continuous residence:
In most cases, you must be at leats 18 years of age and be a Permanent Resident for a certain number of years before you may apply for naturalization. but, it is not enough to be a Permanent Resident for the required number of years; you must also be in “continuous residence” during that time.
Continuous residence means that you have not left the United States for a long period of time. If you leave the United States for too long, you may interrupt your continuous residence.
Good Moral Character:
To be eligible for naturalization you must be a person of good moral character. USCIS will make a determination on your moral character based upon the laws Congress has passed; for instance the following show lack of a good oral character
- Any crime against a person with intent to harm.
- Any crime against property or the Government that involves “fraud” or evil intent.
- Two or more crimes for which the aggregate sentence was 5 years or more.
- Violating any controlled substance law of the United States, any State, or any foreign country.
- Habitual drunkenness.
- Illegal gambling.
- Polygamy (marriage to more than one person at the same time).
- Lying to gain immigration benefits.
- Failing to pay court-ordered child support or alimony payments.
- Confinement in jail, prison, or similar institution for which the total confinement was 180 days or more during the past 5 years (or 3 years if you are applying based on your marriage to a United States citizen)
- Failing to complete any probation, parole, or suspended sentence before you apply for naturalization.
- Terrorist acts
- Persecution of anyone because of race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or social group.
English and Civics:
To be eligible for naturalization, you must be able to read, write, and speak basic English. You must also have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government and civics. There are certain exemptions for people who cannot meet the language requirement.
Attachment to the Constitution:
All applicants for naturalization must be willing to support and defend the United States and our Constitution. You declare your “attachment” to the United States and our Constitution when you take the Oath of Allegiance. In fact, it is not until you take the Oath of Allegiance that you actually become a U.S. citizen
Employment Based Immigration to USA
Every fiscal year (October 1st – September 30th), approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available to qualified applicants under the provisions of U.S. immigration law. Employment based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories:
- Employment-Based Immigration: First Preference EB-1: You may be eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager.
- Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability: A Second Preference applicant must generally have a labor certification approved by the Department of Labor. A job offer is required and the U.S. employer must file an Immigration Petition for Alien Worker, Form -140 on behalf of the applicant. There are two subgroups within this category:
- Professionals holding an advanced degree (beyond a baccalaureate degree), or a baccalaureate degree and at least five years progressive experience in the profession.
- Persons with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability means having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.
- Additional information can be found on USCIS’s Second Preference EB-2 page.
- Employment Third Preference (E3): Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers)
A Third Preference applicant must have an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, filed by the prospective employer. All such workers generally require labor certification approved by the Department of Labor. Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers) receive 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas, plus any unused visas from the Employment First Preference and Second Preference categories.
There are three subgroups within this category:
- Skilled workers are persons whose jobs require a minimum of 2 years training or work experience that are not temporary or seasonal.
- Professionals are members of the professions whose jobs require at least a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. university or college or its foreign equivalent degree.
- Unskilled workers (Other workers) are persons capable of filling positions that require less than two years training or experience that are not temporary or seasonal.
- Additional information can be found on USCIS’s Third Preference EB-3 page.
- Employment Fourth Preference (E4): Certain Special Immigrants:
A Fourth Preference applicant must be the beneficiary of an approved Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, Form I-360, with the exception of Certain Employees or Former Employees of the U.S. Government Abroad. Labor certification is not required for any of the Certain Special Immigrants subgroups. Special Immigrants receive 7.1 percent of the yearly worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas.
Additional information can be found on USCIS’s Fourth Preference EB-4 page.
- Employment Fifth Preference (E5): Immigrant Investors
Immigrant Investor visa categories are for capital investment by foreign investors in new commercial enterprises in the United States which provide job creation. All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, which is a commercial enterprise which means any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business including, but not limited to:
- A sole proprietorship
- Partnership (whether limited or general)
- Holding company
- Joint venture
- Business trust or other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned
Job Creation Requirements- the creation of enterprise must also:
- Create or preserve at least 10 full-time direct/indirect jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.
Additional information can be found on USCIS’s Fifth Preference EB-5 page.
Capital Investment Requirements
All capital shall be valued at fair-market value in United States dollars. Assets acquired, directly or indirectly, by unlawful means (such as criminal activities) shall not be considered capital for the purposes of section 203(b)(5) of the Act. Investment capital cannot be borrowed; Required minimum investments are:
- General. The minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million.
- Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area). The minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.
- A targeted employment area is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate.
- A rural area is any area outside a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the decennial census.
Congratulations! If you have decided to pursue your academic career as a full-time student in the United States, you will need either a F or M Visa.
F-1 Student Visa
The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program. You must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate and your school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students.
M-1 Student Visa
The M-1 visa (Vocational Student) category includes students in vocational or other nonacademic programs, other than language training.
For additional information Click Here
VAWA- Violence Against Women Act of 1994
As a battered spouse, child or parent of a U.S Citizen or green card holder you may file an immigrant visa petition under VAWA without the knowledge of your abuser. An approved VAWA petition can eventually lead to naturalization.
Therefore, the law affords you the remedy to protect yourself & achieve safety and independence from their abuser, who is not notified about the filing
Are you tolerating and not reporting physical abuse and criminal violence committed against you out of the fear of being deported by Immigration authorities because you are undocumented? If so don’t be scared to take action for your safety.
The U-Visa grants a non-immigrant status to victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse. A victim of domestic violence qualifies for a U-visa if:
- The victim has suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of a qualifying criminal activity.
- The victim had been helpful, or is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. For instance, reporting domestic violence to police and helping the D.A. prosecute your abuser.
The U-Visa confers the following types of benefits:
- It allows you to legally live in the United States for four years.
- With a U-Visa you can get permission to work in the United States.
- Your family members might also be able to get a U-Visa as derivate beneficiaries.
- With a U-Visa you might be eligible for certain public benefits in some states
The U-Visa application takes about 6-9 months to process. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
- How to file: Foreign national victims of crime must file a, Form I-918, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status. The form requests information regarding the petitioner's eligibility for such status, as well as admissibility to the United States. Currently, USCIS has designated its Vermont Service Center as the centralized location to receive all U nonimmigrant petitions.
- The cap pf U-Visas given per year: USCIS may grant no more than 10,000 U-1 nonimmigrant visas in any given fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). However if the cap is reached in the fiscal year before your petitions is adjudicated, the petitioner is assigned to the waiting list will be given deferred action or parole while they are on the waiting list. Therefore, they will be eligible to apply for employment authorization or travel until their petitions can be adjudicated after the start of the following fiscal year.