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USA is a beautiful country and is considered to be the land of freedom and opportunity. Many people have been immigrating to the USA since past many years.
Common reasons are
Origins of the U.S Immigrant Population: 1960-2016
Note: “Other Latin America” includes Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Source: Pew Research Center tabulations of 1960-2000 decennial censuses and 2010, 2013-2016 American Community Surveys (IPUMS).
Source: U.S. Census Bureau population estimates and Pew Research Center tabulations of 2010, 2013-2016 American Community Surveys (IPUMS).
The term “immigrants” (also known as the foreign born) refers to people residing in the United States who were not U.S. citizens at birth. This population includes naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), certain legal non-immigrants (e.g., persons on student or work visas), those admitted under refugee or asylee status, and persons illegally residing in the United States.
There are reasons why travellers may be denied entry to the US at the border. Most common reasons are
Employment Based Immigration Visas
There are various Employment-Based Immigration visa categories to move to US that give you green cards and you become eligible for permanent residence:
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. Each occupational category has certain requirements that must be met:
Criteria for Demonstrating Extraordinary Ability You must meet 3 out of the 10 listed criteria below to prove extraordinary ability in your field:
** Examples of Documentary Evidence That A Person is an Outstanding Professor Or Researcher
Employment-Based Immigration: Second Preference EB-2
You may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability. Below are the occupational categories and requirements:
Note: Employment-based, second-preference petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved individual labor certification from the Department of Labor on Form ETA-750.
To qualify for an EB-2 visa, your employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
Your spouse and children under the age of 21 may be admitted to the United States in E-21 and E-22 immigrant status, respectively. During the process where you and your spouse are applying for permanent resident status (status as a green card holder), your spouse is eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Employment-Based Immigration: Third Preference EB-3
You may be eligible for this immigrant visa preference category if you are a skilled worker, professional, or other worker.
Note: While eligibility requirements for the third preference classification are less stringent, you should be aware that a long backlog exists for visas in the “other workers” category.
U.S. Department of Labor – Labor Certification
Third preference petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved, individual labor certification from the Department of Labor on Form ETA-9089. In some cases, the petition may be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) with an uncertified ETA-9089 for consideration as Schedule A, Group I.
Your employer (petitioner) must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. As part of the application process, your employer must be able to demonstrate an ability to pay the offered wage as of your visa priority date. Your employer may use an annual report, federal income tax return, or audited financial statement to demonstrate an ability to pay your wage.
Family of EB-3 Visa Holders
Your spouse may be admitted to the United States in E34 (spouse of a “skilled worker” or “professional”) or EW4 (spouse of an “other worker”). During the process where you and your spouse are applying for permanent resident status (status as a green card holder), your spouse is eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Your minor children (under the age of 21) may be admitted as E35 (child of a “skilled worker” or “professional”) or EW5 (child of an “other worker”).
Employment-Based Immigration: Fourth Preference EB-4
You may be eligible for an employment-based, fourth preference visa if you are a special immigrant. The following special immigrants are eligible for the fourth preference visa:
*Statutory authorization for the EB-4 non-minister special immigrant program for certain religious workers is scheduled to expire on Dec. 8, 2017. Therefore, visas are unavailable for that category after that date. Religious workers who are not ministers will not be eligible after that date unless Congress enacts, and the President approves, a law extending their eligibility.
Petitioning for an Employment-Based Fourth Preference Immigrant
To petition for an employment-based fourth preference immigrant, your employer must file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. However, there are certain situations where you, the employee, may self-petition on your own behalf. Please review the form instructions to see if you are eligible to self-petition and what required supporting evidence needs to be included.
Family of EB-4 Visa Holders
Some EB-4 classifications allow derivative beneficiaries. Your spouse may also be admitted to the United States. Your children, unmarried under the age of 21, may be admitted to the United States.
Under section 203(b)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the International Broadcasting Bureau of the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), or a grantee of the BBG, may petition for an alien (and the alien’s accompanying spouse and children) to work as a broadcaster for the BBG or a grantee of the BBG in the United States. For the purposes of this section, the terms:
All Form I-360 petitions submitted by the BBG or a BBG grantee on behalf of an alien for a broadcaster position with the BBG or BBG grantee must be accompanied by a signed and dated supplemental attestation that contains the following information about the prospective alien broadcaster:
(i) The job title and a full description of the job to be performed; and
(ii) The broadcasting expertise held by the alien, including how long the alien has been performing duties that relate to the prospective position or a statement as to how the alien possesses the necessary skills that make him or her qualified for the broadcasting-related position within the BBG or BBG grantee.
Follow the instructions on Form I-360 on where to file your petition.
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
USCIS administers the EB-5 Program. Under this program, entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) if they:
This program is known as EB-5 for the name of the employment-based fifth preference visa that participants receive.
Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. This sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
About the EB-5 Visa Classification
USCIS administers the EB-5 program, created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a program initially enacted as a pilot in 1992, and regularly reauthorized since then, investors may also qualify for EB-5 classification by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. On Sept. 28, 2018, the President signed Public Law 115-245 extending the Regional Center Program through Dec. 7, 2018.
All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, which is a commercial enterprise:
Commercial enterprise means any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business including, but not limited to:
This definition includes a commercial enterprise consisting of a holding company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, provided that each such subsidiary is engaged in a for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of a lawful business.
Note: This definition does not include non-commercial activity such as owning and operating a personal residence.
An EB-5 investor must invest the required amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees.
A troubled business is a business that has been in existence for at least two years and has incurred a net loss during the 12- or 24-month period prior to the priority date on the immigrant investor’s Form I-526. The loss for this period must be at least 20 percent of the troubled business’ net worth prior to the loss. For purposes of determining whether the troubled business has been in existence for two years, successors in interest to the troubled business will be deemed to have been in existence for the same period of time as the business they succeeded.
A qualifying employee is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident or other immigrant authorized to work in the United States including, but not limited to, a conditional resident, a temporary resident, an asylee, a refugee, or a person residing in the United States under suspension of deportation. This definition does not include the immigrant investor; his or her spouse, sons, or daughters; or any foreign national in any non-immigrant status (such as an H-1B non-immigrant) or who is not authorized to work in the United States.
Full-time employment means employment of a qualifying employee by the new commercial enterprise in a position that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week. In the case of the regional center program, “full-time employment” also means employment of a qualifying employee in a position that has been created indirectly that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week.
A job-sharing arrangement whereby two or more qualifying employees share a full-time position will count as full-time employment provided the hourly requirement per week is met. This definition does not include combinations of part-time positions even if, when combined, the positions meet the hourly requirement per week.
Jobs that are intermittent, temporary, seasonal, or transient in nature do not qualify as permanent full-time jobs. However, jobs that are expected to last at least 2 years are generally not considered intermittent, temporary, seasonal, or transient in nature.
Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the alien entrepreneur, provided that the alien entrepreneur is personally and primarily liable and that the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. 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.
Note: The immigrant investor must establish that he or she is the legal owner of the capital invested. Capital can include the immigrant investor’s promise to pay (a promissory note) under certain circumstances.
Required minimum investments are:
A targeted employment area is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area which has experienced unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate.
A rural area is any area not within either a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the most recent decennial census of the United States.
Upon the approval of a Form I-485 application or upon admission into the United States with an EB-5 immigrant visa, the EB-5 investor and derivative family members will be granted conditional permanent residence for a 2-year period.
File Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, within the 90-day period immediately before the second anniversary of the EB-5 investor’s admission to the United States as a conditional permanent resident.
If USCIS approves this petition, the conditions will be removed from the lawful permanent resident status of the EB-5 investor and any included dependents.
You must submit Form I-829 within the 90-day period immediately before the second anniversary of your admission to the U.S. as a conditional permanent resident.
E-2 Investor Visa
There are other work visas available in investor category:
E-2 Treaty Investors
The E-2 non-immigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
If the treaty investor is currently in the United States in a lawful non-immigrant status, he or she may file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-2 classification. If the desired employee is currently in the United States in a lawful non-immigrant status, the qualifying employer may file Form I-129 on the employee’s behalf.
A request for E-2 classification may not be made on Form I-129 if the person being filed for is physically outside the United States. Interested parties should refer to the U.S. Department of State website for further information about applying for an E-2 non-immigrant visa abroad. Upon issuance of a visa, the person may then apply to a DHS immigration officer at a U.S. port of entry for admission as an E-2 non-immigrant.
To qualify for E-2 classification, the treaty investor must:
An investment is the treaty investor’s placing of capital, including funds and/or other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit. The capital must be subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails. The treaty investor must show that the funds have not been obtained, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity.
A substantial amount of capital is:
A bona fide enterprise refers to a real, active and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit. It must meet applicable legal requirements for doing business within its jurisdiction.
The investment enterprise may not be marginal. A marginal enterprise is one that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family. Depending on the facts, a new enterprise might not be considered marginal even if it lacks the current capacity to generate such income. In such cases, however, the enterprise should have the capacity to generate such income within five years from the date that the treaty investor’s E-2 classification begins.
To qualify for E-2 classification, the employee of a treaty investor must:
If the principal alien employer is not an individual, it must be an enterprise or organization at least 50% owned by persons in the United States who have the nationality of the treaty country. These owners must be maintaining non-immigrant treaty investor status. If the owners are not in the United States, they must be, if they were to seek admission to this country, classifiable as non-immigrant treaty investors.
Duties which are of an executive or supervisory character are those which primarily provide the employee ultimate control and responsibility for the organization’s overall operation, or a major component of it.
Special qualifications are skills which make the employee’s services essential to the efficient operation of the business. There are several qualities or circumstances which could, depending on the facts, meet this requirement. These include, but are not limited to:
Knowledge of a foreign language and culture does not, by itself, meet this requirement. Note that in some cases a skill that is essential at one point in time may become commonplace, and therefore no longer qualifying, at a later date.
Qualified treaty investors and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-2 non-immigrant may be granted. All E-2 non-immigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.
An E-2 non-immigrant who travels abroad may generally be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the United States. It is generally not necessary to file a new Form I-129 with USCIS in this situation.
A treaty investor or employee may only work in the activity for which he or she was approved at the time the classification was granted. An E-2 employee, however, may also work for the treaty organization’s parent company or one of its subsidiaries as long as the:
Treaty investors and employees may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Their nationalities need not be the same as the treaty investor or employee. These family members may seek E-2 non-immigrant classification as dependents and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee. If the family members are already in the United States and are seeking change of status to or extension of stay in an E-2 dependent classification, they may apply by filing a single Form I-539 with fee. Spouses of E-2 workers may apply for work authorization by filing Form I-765 with fee. If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the E-2 spouse may work.
As discussed above, the E-2 treaty investor or employee may travel abroad and will generally be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the United States. Unless the family members are accompanying the E-2 treaty investor or employee at the time the latter seeks readmission to the United States, the new readmission period will not apply to the family members. To remain lawfully in the United States, family members must carefully note the period of stay they have been granted in E-2 status, and apply for an extension of stay before their own validity expires.
What is a Green Card?
Green Card is the permit allowing immigrants to permanently live and work in the United States of America.
The official name of the US Green Card is “Lawful Permanent Resident Card”.
Green Card holders can choose their place of work or where they want to live in the USA without limits and for however long they want.
In order to apply for a Green Card, you must be eligible under one of the categories listed below.
Green Card through Family
Green Card through Employment
What is a lawful permanent resident?
A lawful permanent resident is someone who has been granted the right to live in the United States indefinitely. Permanent residence includes the right to work in the U.S. for most employers or for yourself. Permanent residents continue to hold citizenship of another country.
Permanent residents are issued an “alien registration card,” known informally as a green card (because at one time the card was green in color). You may use your green card to prove employment eligibility and apply for a social security card.
Can I travel outside the U.S. as a permanent resident?
A permanent resident may travel outside the U.S. and must present the valid alien registration card when re-entering the U.S. In addition, a permanent resident should travel with an unexpired passport of another country.
Each time you return to the U.S., you are subject to the same grounds of inadmissibility as when you were approved for permanent resident status (e.g., health-related concerns, certain criminal activity, terrorism, national security, public charge, willful misrepresentation and false claims to U.S. citizenship).
What are my responsibilities as a permanent resident?
Permanent residents are required to:
When do permanent residents become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship?
After a certain length of time – five years in most cases, three years for spouses of U.S. citizens – permanent residents may apply to become a U.S. citizen through a process called naturalization.
Additional requirements for naturalization include:
Can I lose my permanent residence?
Yes. If you commit certain crimes or other violations, you may be placed in removal proceedings and become subject to deportation.
Also, if you remain outside the U.S. for extended periods of time (typically more than 6 months at a time), the immigration authorities may scrutinize your situation to determine if you have abandoned your intention to make the U.S. your permanent home. Any absences of one year leads to the presumption that you have abandoned your permanent residence. It is extremely difficult to overcome that presumption.
If you know you will be outside the U.S. for an extended period of time, you may wish to apply for a re-entry permit prior to your departure. A re-entry permit is typically issued with a 2 year validity, and does not guarantee that you will be granted entry to the U.S., but it can assist in establishing your intention to reside permanently in the U.S.
What are some of the benefits of U.S. citizenship?
A U.S. citizen may apply for a U.S. passport, issued by the U.S. State department. Many countries allow visa-free travel for U.S. citizens.
A U.S. citizen can leave and re-enter the U.S. at any time without being subject to the grounds of inadmissibility. There are no restrictions on the amount of time you can remain outside the United States.
U.S. citizens can vote in U.S. federal and local elections, hold certain government jobs, and serve on juries. Many federal and state government grants, scholarships and benefits are available only to U.S. citizens.
U.S. citizens are eligible for special security clearance required for some jobs, both with the U.S. government and other employers.
As a U.S. citizen, you can petition for certain relatives to immigrate to the U.S. Your spouse, unmarried children under age 21, and parents will be considered immediate relatives, and will not have to wait to receive permanent resident status (beyond the processing time of the petition and interview process). Your married children and children over age 21, as well as your brothers and sisters, are considered preference relatives, and can be put on a waiting list to immigrate. The waiting period for siblings can be several years.
U.S. citizens cannot be deported from the United States, unless they committed fraud or made a misrepresentation to obtain their green card or citizenship.
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Disclaimer: VisaAffix Services L.L.C. provides consultancy services to clients for temporary as well as permanent residency visa-related matters and deals with documentations and filing applications. It is neither a legal firm nor does it provide any kind of legal advice/assistance or suggestions to its clients/users/visitors. The information presented on our website should be used for reference purposes only and not as a substitute for any professional advice.