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How to Immigrate to the US

21st February 2011
By Paul Anderson in Immigration Law
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Why immigrate to the US?

Immigration can be defined as entering and staying in a country to which you are not a native. The United States of America, the land of immigrants and opportunities enjoys the benefit as no other country does in terms of immigration. Immigration plays an important role in the economy of the US.

Through immigration, one gets the opportunity to live and work in the US, whereas from the country's point of view, the financial benefits out of immigration are remarkable. It is indeed a win-win situation for both the immigrant and for the country.

Getting a visa, sponsored by relatives for a green card or obtaining a green card through one's own eligibility are commonly used immigration procedures. One can enter the United States through an immigrant visa or a non-immigrant visa. Non-immigrant visas are meant for temporary visits to the U.S. (tourism, study, or work). Immigrant visas are for Permanent Residence in the U.S.

Once you enter the US through a visa, you can adjust your status to that of a green card holder (permanent resident) depending on a few conditions for visa holders who come under certain categories. After becoming a green card holder, you become eligible for citizenship.

Being a permanent resident or a citizen of the US has its own advantages. Green card is a proof of lawful permanent residence status in the United States. Green card holders can live and work permanently in the US. A US citizen, on the other hand can enter and exit the US at any time and also becomes eligible to vote. There are other benefits as well.

The US Immigration process becomes easier if the authorities are fully satisfied with the intention of your visit to the US. An important aspect is to ensure you enter the US legally. It means if you entered the US with the permission of the US authorities, you have entered legally and it will certainly help in a trouble-free stay in the US. Those who did not get permission to enter the US are the ones who have entered illegally. This surely will cause problems in their work and stay in the US. The US immigration laws make things very difficult for such illegals to get a green card. So it is always recommended to enter the US legally.

There are many ways through which one can get a green card. One such way is through family sponsorship where a family member of yours who is a US citizen or a green card holder sponsors you. You can also get a green card through employment where a qualified US employer sponsors you. The diversity visa lottery (DV lottery program) is another way to get a green card. In this program, approximately 55,000 immigration applicants will be selected randomly to get a green card. Additionally, a person granted Refugee Status or Asylum may also apply for a Green Card but is subject to US immigration laws that differ accordingly.

After you become a green card holder, you can bring your family members come to the US. It also brings you closer to citizenship as being a green card holder is the main eligibility criteria for citizenship.
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