U.S. immigrant visa: Pathways to U.S. Green card


By Olushola Samuel

Navigating the Pathway to the American Dream through Immigrant Visas. 

Immigrant visas are granted to individuals from other countries who plan to establish permanent residence in the United States. Nonimmigrant visas, on the other hand, are designed for foreign nationals seeking temporary entry to the United States for purposes like tourism, medical care, business visits, short-term employment, study, and similar intentions.

In this article, I take you through all you need to know about immigrant visa and the application process. 

Types of US immigrant Visa

1. Family-based green cards: These are visas granted to foreign nationals who have close family members (such as spouses, children, parents, and siblings) who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents. The sponsoring family member must prove their relationship and ability to financially support the immigrant.

2. Employment-based green cards: These visas are given to foreign individuals based on their employment skills and opportunities in the US. They are divided into different preference categories depending on factors like the applicant's job skills, education, and the demand for their profession in the US job market.

3. Humanitarian green cards: Also known as "asylum or refugee green cards," these visas are granted to individuals who are fleeing persecution, violence, or other dire circumstances in their home countries. Asylum seekers must prove a well-founded fear of persecution based on factors like race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

4. Diversity lottery green cards: The Diversity Visa (DV) lottery is a program that randomly selects individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the US. It aims to diversify the immigrant population by offering a limited number of visas to people from various regions around the world.

5. Longtime-resident green cards: Also referred to as "cancellation of removal," this type of green card may be granted to immigrants who have lived in the US for a substantial period, usually without legal status, and can demonstrate good moral character and certain ties to the US.

6. Other green cards: This category includes a variety of specialized green cards, such as those for victims of human trafficking, crime, or domestic violence (U visas); international broadcasters (I visas); special immigrants like religious workers (S visas); and more.

Each of these categories has its own eligibility criteria and application process, but they all provide pathways for individuals to legally immigrate to the United States.

Steps by steps immigrant visa application process

1. Begin by submitting a petition to the appropriate government agency or authority, indicating your intention to immigrate to the US. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent resident sponsors living in the United States need to submit Form I-130, a Petition for Alien Relative, to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This can be accomplished by either using the online method or by using the conventional paper submission via postal mail. For additional information about USCIS, as well as to get access to forms and guidelines, kindly visit http://www.uscis.gov/.

2. Once the petition is approved, the National Visa Center (NVC) will process your case, assigning a case number and providing instructions for further steps.

3. Pay the necessary visa fees as outlined by the NVC to continue the processing of your visa application.

4. Complete the Affidavit of Support, which demonstrates that you have a sponsor in the US who is financially capable of supporting you.

5. Gather and submit financial documents that prove your sponsor's ability to financially support you during your stay in the US.

6. Fill out the online visa application form, providing accurate and up-to-date information about yourself and your background.

7. Collect and prepare the required civil documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and police clearances, as part of your application.

8. Scan all relevant documents, including your passport, civil documents, and photographs, for electronic submission.

9. Submit the scanned documents to the NVC as per their instructions, ensuring that all required documents are included and accurately provided.

10. Once your documents are reviewed and accepted, you will be scheduled for an interview at the US embassy or consulate in your home country.

11. Attend the interview on the scheduled date. Be prepared to answer questions about your background, intentions in the US, and provide any additional documents requested by the consular officer.

12. After a successful interview, the consular officer will make a decision on your visa application. If approved, you will receive instructions on how to proceed.

Remember that this is a general outline, and specific procedures and requirements may vary based on your country of origin and the type of immigrant visa you are applying for. Always refer to official government sources for the most accurate and up-to-date information on the US immigrant visa application process.

US Immigrant Visa Expenses

The overall expense associated with submitting an application for a family-based green card is roughly $1760 for an applicant residing within the United States, or about $1400 for an applicant living abroad. This encompass the obligatory fees set by the U.S. government, which are not subject to refunds, in addition to the usual expense of the necessary medical examination.

The total expenditure related to applying for an employment-based green card varies based on the specific category you're applying under. Anticipate a payment of $1225 for your green card application, although your employer might encounter extra filing charges and expenses for labor certification, which could potentially raise the total expense to approximately $10,000.

In either situation, it's crucial to accurately complete your application since the filing charges are nonrefundable.

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