“I want to immigrate!” is a the single most commonly spoken sentence in Asian sub continent. Due to career or due to any other reasons, most people have burning desire to immigrate, and immigration generally means immigration to US, Canada Australia or New Zealand. Most of the times, such people are clue less as have question as “I want to come live in the United States. Please tell me what to do.” There isn’t one answer to that question. And among the multiple answers, none are simple. Although, if you find that one visa is a perfect match for you, it might indeed be a relatively simple process.
The first question you need to answer is what is the basis for your move? People cannot just simply move to another country because they want to. You have to do a job, to start a company, to be coming to join immediate relatives (parents, children, spouses or siblings), to be a student, to invest money; you have to have a reason that is much more concrete than simply “because I want to.” So, first things first: If you don’t have a basis for immigration, you’ll need to choose one.
Depending on your basis, you will either be applying to come temporarily, on a temporary visa, or permanently, with the intention of applying for a green card, and perhaps eventually, citizenship.
Review all the visa, humanitarian and parole types below. If you do not qualify for any of these, your only choices are illegal immigration (a very poor choice), or the green card lottery (worth a shot because it’s free to enter for those who qualify, but your chances of winning are slim, so use this as your last resort).
Once you have decided upon your reason, or your “basis” for immigration (living in the United States permanently) or a temporary visa (living in the United States temporarily), you will need to find out whether your reason, or basis, qualifies in general terms as approved by the U.S.A Government. Does the government think your reason is a good one, and do you meet the rules for applying? If you do, you will then need to apply, and to prove that you qualify.
You can not just say “I have a job offer,” or “I have enough money to support myself,” or”I am going to invest money” or “I plan to study,”. You cannot just make promises and expect to be believed. In nearly all cases, you will need to have bonafide proof of these circumstances, and will need to follow-through with your plans. Tracking in this country was not always very good, but it has much improved since 9/11 and the government plans to continue with that improvement. This is part of the reason that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has been replaced by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), which belongs to the Department of Homeland Security: organization, tracking and security when it comes to foreign nationals in the United States.
If you only plan to visit the United States, for six months or less, this may not be relevant to you. However, if you are already on a tourist visa and have decided you want to stay in the United States, you are in the right place and should read on.
If you are going to be studying in the United States, Going through training, or participating in a cultural exchange program, you may qualify for one of the:
- Students, Trainees and Exchange Visitors Visas:
- Academic Students & Their Immediate Family Members: F Visas
- Vocational Students & Their Immediate Family Members: M Visas
- Professional Trainees – H-3 Visas
- Exchange Visitors – J Visas
- International Cultural Exchange Visitors – Q Visas
If you are the husband, wife or child of an American citizen or green card holder, you may qualify for one of these:
Fiancés and Spouses of American Citizens, and their Children – K Visas
Certain Qualifying Spouses and Children of U.S. Green Card Holders – V Visas
Family-Based Green Cards
If you are suffering from cruel and inhuman treatment in your own country, but not related to poverty alone, you may qualify for one of the following immigration statuses under:
Victims of Human Trafficking: T Visas
After you have determined that you might qualify under the rules, you need to educate yourself on all the details of the visa.
Some visas allow you to live in the United States, but not work here. Some allow for one year and one year only here. With some visas, you have to promise that you have no intention of staying here permanently. These qualifying factors are extremely important. Why? If you plan to come here as a student and hope to later get another kind of visa and stay here forever, and the government realizes your intentions, you will be denied your student visa. That’s just one of many such examples. It’s crucial that you understand the rules and guidelines for the visa you are applying for. Staying up-to-date on these issues is essential.
Furthermore, rules, guidelines and laws change from time to time, and in the world of immigration, what you don’t know is that rules, basis or reasons which once are key parameters to success, next time are on low priority. So when ever you are in mood to do so, it would be better to ask an expert on this.
Readers are invited to share their experiences(good/bad) with immigration consultants here …