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Immigrant Visas

Immigrant visas are issued to those who intend to reside permanently in the U.S. ("Green Card" holders).
Under U.S. law, immigrant visas are generally reserved for individuals who are close relatives of either U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (L PRs) in the United States, or for people hired to work in jobs in which it has been determined that there are not enough skilled Americans to perform. 

Employment Based Immigrant Visas

Foreign nationals who are skilled or educated and who have job offers have the possibility of immigrating to the United States.  Typically, the prospective employer must first obtain a labor certification and approval of a petition. An approved Labor Certification (LC) is a document issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) certifying that: (1) An employer needs the foreign worker's skills and abilities; (2) The employer has tried to recruit U.S. workers for the position; (3) The employer has offered the position at the normal or prevailing wage; and (4) The employer has found no qualified workers.

EB-1 Priority Workers

EB-2 Advanced-degree Holders & Aliens of Exceptional Ability

EB-3 Professional, Skilled and Other Workers

EB-4 Religious Workers

EB-5 Immigrant Investors 

The EB-5 "Immigrant Investor" Visa

The U.S. Congress created the EB-5 immigrant visa category in 1990 for immigrants seeking to enter to engage in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. The basic amount required to invest is $1 million, although that amount may be $500,000 if the investment is made in a "targeted employment area." The U.S. Congress created a temporary pilot program in 1993, which sets aside 3,000 visas each year for people who invest in "designated regional centers." Private and governmental agencies may be certified as regional centers if they meet certain criteria.

Family Based Immigrant Visas

U.S. immigration laws provide a method for a U.S. citizen or LPR to sponsor the immigration of a family member abroad.  The length of time required to complete the process depends on the relationship of the family members, whether the sponsor is a U.S. citizen or an LPR, and, sometimes, the country where the family member is located.

Immediate Relatives - spouse, parent, minor child of adult U.S. Citizens (USC's)

Preference Categories:

FB-1: Unmarried sons/daughters of USC's

FB-2A: Spouses/minor children of LPR's

FB-2B: Unmarried children of LPR's

FB-3: Married sons/daughters of USC's

FB-4: Brothers/sisters of USC's


Maintaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status

Permanent residents are issued a valid Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) as proof of their legal status in the United States. Some people call this a “Green Card.”

If you are a permanent resident who is 18 years or older, you must carry proof of your immigration status.You must show it to an immigration officer if asked for it.Your card is valid for 10 years and must be renewed before it expires.

Your Permanent Resident Card shows that you are allowed to live and work in the United States.You also can use your Permanent Resident Card to re-enter the United States. If you are outside the U.S. for more than 12 months, you will need to show additional documentation to re-enter the U.S. as a permanent resident.