LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENCY
Permanent Immigrant Visas
Individuals may be able to obtain U.S. lawful permanent residency through family or employment sponsorship, through investment, or by asylum.
Family-Based / Family sponsorship Immigrant Visas (Permanent):
U.S. citizens may sponsor their spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21 years old, and parents as "immediate relatives" for lawful permanent residency. There is no cap (limit) on the number of immigrant visas that may be issued to immediate family members, and so these sponsored family members do not need wait to apply for their U.S. immigrant (permanent resident) visas.
U.S. lawful permanent residents ("green card" holders) may also sponsor their spouses, and unmarried children of any age for lawful permanent residency, but their spouses and children under the age of 21 are not categorized as "immediate relatives" under the immigration code. Further, unlike U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents cannot sponsor their parents.
U.S. citizens can also sponsor their married children , as well as their siblings (and the sibling's immediate family members) for U.S. lawful permanent residency. However, these family members are not considered "immediate relatives."
Except for immediate family members, family-based immigrants are divided into "preference" categories, and if an immigrant visa is not available in a sponsored family member's immigrant visa preference category when their family-based petition is approved, the family member must wait for an immigrant visa to become available in their visa preference category. The reason why an immigrant visa may not be available in a particular immigrant visa preference category is because the number of immigrant visas available each year is limited, and the demand in each category almost always exceeds the number of visas available.
If you have a family member whom you would like to sponsor for U.S. lawful permanent residency, or would like to learn more, please contact us to set up a consultation.
Employment -Based Permanent Visas – Employer sponsorship for Lawful Permanent Residence
Annually, the United States issues approximately 140,000 immigrant visas to individuals based on employment sponsorship. The majority of these employment-based sponsorships require the U.S. employer to submit to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) a labor certification (LC) that the employer was unable to find a qualified U.S. worker available to fill the position after advertising for it and offering a wages that met or exceeded the prevailing wage paid for the occupation in the area of intended employment as determined by the DOL. Only upon approval of the LC by the DOL can the employer then submit an employment-based immigrant petition on behalf of a foreign national employee.
Certain extraordinary ability individuals, outstanding professors and researchers, multinational executives and managers, and persons whose work is in the national interest may be able to immigrate to the United States without employment sponsorship and without going through the labor certification process. The requirements in each of these categories are specific and too long for this website. If you think you might qualify, contact us for a detailed consultation.
Investment / Employment-Creation Based Immigration
Non-Americans who wish to immigrate to the United States may take advantage of a program that grants U.S. residency to individuals and their immediate family if they invest a minimum of $500,000 to $1 million in a commercial enterprise and creates a minimum of 10 direct U.S. jobs in the process. The investor and his/her immediate family (spouse and all children under age 21) are then issued a “conditional green card” to immigrate to the United States. After two years, the conditional status is removed upon a showing that the investment created at least ten full-time permanent jobs for U.S. workers.