A Brief Overview of the United States Immigration Process

March 22, 2021

Action Immigration

No country in the world has more immigrants than the United States. More than 1 million immigrants arrive in the United States every year.

The immigrant share of the total U.S. population is currently near record highs. Immigrants make up nearly 14% of the total population.

There are nearly 11 million unauthorized immigrants as well. In addition to that, there are over 35 million people that completed the immigration process and are naturalized. The total is over 45 million immigrants in the country.

Keep reading below to learn all about the legal immigration process. 

What Is the Legal Immigration Process?

To remain in the U.S. lawfully, many immigrants apply for a green card. This is also referred to as an immigrant’s visa.

Successfully obtaining a green card allows you to work in the United States without restrictions. In addition, it can be extended indefinitely.

The process costs a significant amount of money and time. For this reason, many opt to pursue a temporary visa instead. This option allows you to work, study, or visit the United States on a temporary basis.

What Are the Different Types of Green Cards?

The U.S. government issues green cards for several different reasons. One common type is the family-based green card. These are for family members of U.S. citizens or current green cardholders. It is common to see spouses, children, and other close relatives pursue this visa type.

Another type is called the employment-based green card. There are five different categories ranging from EB-1 to EB-5. The category that you are eligible for depends on your skillset.

Each year, the U.S. executes a visa lottery program. This program grants 50,000 visas to countries that are underrepresented in the number of immigrants they have.

Long-time residents are also issued visas. This applies to people who have lived in the country since 1972 and have not left.

Lastly, people can receive a humanitarian visa if they are seeking asylum or refuge. These vises are for people who can prove that they were victims of crime, abuse, or human trafficking. This is very common for migrants traveling from Central and South America.

How Long Does It Take to Process an Immigration Application?

Processing times vary by case and visa type. Let’s take family-based immigration processing times as an example.

According to the government, an immediate relative takes 5 to 12 months on average. For a more distant relative, the process could take up to several years. Our recommendation is to check the processing time for your application form on the USCIS website.

A Recap of the Immigration Process

The immigration process is long and painstaking. It is not ideal to wait months or even years for a decision from the government.

It makes for a less difficult process by getting assistance from experts in the immigration field. If you want to learn more about the process or need an immigration bond, contact us today to speak with an expert.

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