October 25, 2012 § Leave a comment
According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) , there are two major paths for one to permanent resident status (green card). A persons who is the beneficiary of an approved immigrant petition and has an immigrant visa number available may apply at a US Consulate in his/her home country for an immigrant visa to come to the US and be admitted as a permanent resident. This process is generally known as Consular processing.
Another process is adjustment of status through which an eligible person, who is already present in the US can apply for permanent resident status without having to return to his/her home country for further processing.
Steps for Consular Processing
Firstly, you have to determine if you fit into a particular immigrant category. In most cases, you will become eligible for a green card through a petition filed on your behalf by a family member or a US employer. There are others who become green card holders by getting refugee or asylum status, or through a number of other special provisions provided in the INA.
Once you determine the category, you will need to have an immigrant petition filed on your behalf, in most cases.
- Family Based
Under this category, a US citizen or permanent resident relative should file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for you.
- Employment Based
This category quite often require the US employer to file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for you. If you want to invest a significant amount of capital into a business venture in the US, you can file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” by yourself. There are certain other Special Classes of Immigrants and humanitarian programs as well
Although immigrant petitions are filed with USCIS, at times, an I-130 petition can be filed for an immediate relative with a US Consulate abroad, subject to certain conditions.
If the petition is denied, USCIS will mention the reasons for the denial and will notify you about your right to appeal. If the petition is approved and if you are the beneficiary of the petition and living abroad or living in the US, but will apply for your immigrant visa abroad, USCIS will send the approved petition to the National Visa Center and the petition will be there until an immigrant visa number is available.
The National Visa Center will notify the petitioner and beneficiary when the visa petition is received and then again when an immigrant visa number is likely to become available. They will also inform when they have to submit immigrant visa processing fees and other information about the supporting documentation.
Once a visa is available or a beneficiary’s priority date becomes current, the consular office will schedule an interview for the applicant. The consular office will then decide if the beneficiary is eligible for a visa. If the process goes on smoothly, you will be granted a visa. The consular officer will give you a packet of information, referred as a “Visa Packet.”. Make sure you do not open this packet.
Once you arrive in the US, you have to hand over the visa packet to the Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry. You will then be inspected by a Customs and Border Protection officer and only if they find you admissible, you will be admitted as a permanent resident of the US. As a permanent resident , you can live and work in the US permanently. Your green card will be mailed to you.
October 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
Registrations for the DV-2014 Program will close on November 3, 2012 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). Through this annually program, many immigrants get a chance to get a green card that will give legal residence status in the US.
The DV lottery program provides 50,000 green cards to individuals who are selected randomly by a computer. To qualify, individuals are required to satisfy simple eligibility requirements. The first eligibility requirement is that the individual has to be from a qualifying country as not all countries qualify for this program. The eligibility country normally is the country of birth and is not about where you live. The second requirement is that the individual should have at least a high school education or equivalent.
It does not mean that you will not qualify if you are not from a qualifying country. In this case you will be able to apply if your spouse is from a country that is eligible. If you are applying through your spouse’s eligibility, both you and your spouse have to enter the US together if you are selected. All the children below the age of 21 whose details were entered in your application can come with you to the US. You also have another option where you can qualify based in either of your parents’ country of birth. But neither of your parents should have been a resident of an ineligible country when you were born.
Eligible individuals should submit only one entry. It is important to remember that you will be disqualified if you submit more than one application. But there is an exception to this as a husband and wife can each submit one application if each meet the eligibility requirements.
The Kentucky Consular Center will assign unique numbers to the applications received. From these applications, a computer will randomly select for each geographic region. A significant point to mention is that all the applications stand the same chance of getting selected. Note that the applications are accepted only through online and while submitting, applicants will get a confirmation number. They can check the results only with this confirmation number. So it is better to keep the number safe. Another important point to remember is that the Kentucky Consular Center will not send letters to the winners or email them. The online entrant check is the only way to check the results. If you receive any email or mail stating that you have won the lottery, just ignore those mails. Once selected, you will be required to pay all diversity and immigrant visa fees at the US embassy or Consulate during the time of visa application.
Benefits of getting a green card
As a green card holder, you can enjoy many privileges. You have the right to apply for government-sponsored financial aid for education and pay less tuition for university and college. You are allowed to work in any company located in US territory regardless of job function, hours/week, etc. except for a few companies that hire only Americans. Employer sponsorship is also not needed. There are certain jobs that need security clearance that only green card holders and US citizens can get. So it is well understood that a green card provides more job opportunities.
You can also start own business and create your own corporation. You will also get Social Security benefits when you retire but this is subject to some conditions. Additionally, you can sponsor your spouse and unmarried minor children (below 21) for them to become permanent residents. Not to forget having access to security clearances, becoming eligible for government grants and exempt from export restrictions. A few years later, you will be eligible to apply for US citizenship.
October 4, 2012 § Leave a comment
Women have contributed a significant percentage to the US immigration numbers. During 2010, they were the majority numbering up to 55 percent of the total getting a green card. Dividing it further, out of this 55 percentage, 60 percentage were married, while the other 40 comprised of singles, widows, or divorcees. Speaking about living in families, foreign nationals live in families at a greater rate when compared with native born Americans. New America Media conducted a research in 2009 and found out that immigrant women encourage naturalization in their families. When surveyed, 84 percent of the women wished to become US citizens. The survey also brought to light that only 13 percent of immigrant women work as professionals in the US. This is significant as 32 percent of them had previously worked in their home country. They are better is business as well as they outnumber the US-born women. In 2010, foreign national women were 40 percent of all immigrant business owners and are favored to own their own business more than US-born women.
Coming to the refugee category, women were 47 percent and slightly higher at 53 percent of people who were naturalized. What adds significance to these findings is that during the 1960s, immigrant men had outnumbered immigrant women. The Immigration and Nationality Act when passed in 1965, opened the doors and more women started to come to the US as the INA gave more preference to family-based admissions. As a result the number of women immigrants overtook the men in the 1970s. 2010 statistics put the ratio for immigrant men and women coming to the US at 96:100.
On the other hand, there is a significant increase in the number of deportations of undocumented immigrants. This leads to separation of children from their parents. The Applied Research Center conducted a research in 2011 and reported that more than 5,000 children live in foster care and their parents had been detained or deported from the US. This number will rise and the report further estimates that another 15,000 children will be in foster care in the next five years due to immigration enforcement.
Drawing down to the negative side, immigrant women are more prone to abuse at work and at home. Domestic Workers United conducted a study and found out that 33 percent of domestic workers in New York are subjected to some form of physical or verbal abuse. An important reason for this is either the person’s race or immigration status. Though one understands that domestic abuse affects both immigrant and US-born women, the former suffer from certain vulnerabilities. It is most often from abusive partners who take advantage of the woman’s immigration status to keep them from leaving an abusive marriage. In addition, they are also vulnerable to Human trafficking. U.S. Department of Justice statistics indicate that around 50,000 people are trafficked into the US every year. Though 5000 “T” visas are available to help free immigrant women who are forced into other things, the hard truth is that very less visas are issued in this category. The year 2010 saw only 447 T Visas approved.