The United States of America is described as the land of plenty, equality and opportunities; the embracer of every hard-working individual, the dream of many a citizen in under-developed nations and the multitudes behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. Immigration or coming to live permanently in America is probably one of the highly sought approvals in the United States.
Many have tried and continue to keep trying illegal entry into the States. The borders at Mexico and the water-fronts on the East and West coasts of the country have very tightly secured entry points to screen illegal immigration. Every day scores of people are caught and sent back to where they last came from. So, is it possible to immigrate to America, legally? How difficult is it? What is the procedure? Here is some helpful information to answer these questions.
- Legal immigration to America can be done in many ways. Primarily, one can choose to follow any of the two broad methods - (i) immigration through a family member or (ii) immigration through employment. To begin with, apply for a lawful permanent residence or more popularly known as Green Card. Grant of a Green Card by the United States Government means you have official immigration status or lawful permanent residency in the United States.
Assuming that the applicant is already in the United States, then an application may be moved to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services by a family member or relative. This process has various steps. The law clearly defines what constitutes family (you must have a spouse, parent, child or sibling who is a US citizen to qualify as family) and what nature of employers is eligible to move applications for lawful permanent residence. When you hold a Green Card for five years, you then become eligible for citizenship of the United States of America. This could be three years if your spouse is already an US Citizen.
- The time taken to process your application, to grant lawful permanent residence or to reject it is based on various parameters, most of which are available in the laws relating to immigration, primarily The Immigration and Nationality Act and the various circulars and regulations issued under it by the USCIS. The country of your origin, its relationship with the United States, security issues, applicant's qualification levels and the applicant's background, the purpose or utility of the applicant to the United States are some of the factors that are considered. These factors also decide how long it will take for an application to be processed. Of course, it is a different matter if the application is moved by a spouse who is already a US Citizen. There are time-lines provided for this sort of application.
There are scores of attorneys that are available to help process immigration papers. The USCIS has a very elaborate, user-friendly Web site that lists the latest rules and procedures. One can contact its local offices for ascertaining the exact procedure and also actions to be taken while an application is under process, such as leaving the US for short-visits outside and so on.
It is best to seek professional advice and certainly to consult the USCIS prior to finalizing your papers for legal immigration to America.