The United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world.
According to data from the Pew Research Center, more than 40 million people currently living in the U.S. were born in another country, «representing about one-fifth of global migrants.»
Seventy-seven percent of immigrants have a documented stay in the United States through visas, green cards and naturalized citizenship. Nearly a quarter are unauthorized.
Immigrating to the United States with legal status is not easy; even more difficult is living with permanent status.
These are the programs that allow you to live in the U.S. temporarily and permanently.
1) Green Card through a relative
The vast majority of Green Card beneficiaries obtain it through this route. Of the 2018 total, 44% were immediate relatives of U.S. citizens; another 20% were relatives with limited admission.
To obtain it, a Form I-130 is filed with USCIS. Those who are unmarried children (under 21) or spouses of a U.S. citizen are eligible. There are also visas that can be applied for by parents or siblings, but they take longer to process because they are not a priority (PERMANENT STAY).
2) Green Card through employment
Granted at the request of a company or organization. Preference will be given to those who demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. Also those who are teachers or researchers.
The first step is for the employer to submit a labor certification or application (ETA-750) to the Department of Labor. This is a test in the national labor market. They determine if an American or someone who is already a resident can do the job. If not, they proceed to clear the alien.
As a second step, the employer files Form I-140, Petition for Alien Immigrant Worker, with USCIS. It is very important to have an employer to take the role of financial sponsor. This guarantees that the worker will have a living wage in the U.S. and will not require government assistance (PERMANENT STAY).
3) Visa Lottery
The Diversity Visa Program was created in 1990 to receive immigrants from countries that historically have had very low rates of immigration to the United States.
The program is also known as the visa lottery because the individuals chosen to obtain a Green Card are randomly selected from the list of eligible applicants who pre-register.
4% of Green Cards are granted through this route (PERMANENT STAY).
4) H2-B Visa: Landscaping, Construction and Cleaning
Through the H-2B visa program, companies established in the U.S. can recruit foreign nationals for employment in temporary non-agricultural jobs.
It was created for workers with or without experience, who do not require academic or professional degrees to work.
With this visa, you can be employed in jobs such as landscaping, construction, cleaning, hotel management… Also as a forestry worker, waiter, factory worker, animal caretaker and more.
The number of H-2B visas granted by the U.S. government is limited by fiscal year. Last time, Congress approved a limit of 66,000 visas. Later, 22,000 more were approved (TEMPORARY STAY).
5) H2-A Visa: Agricultural Workers
Mexicans can be employed temporarily as agricultural workers in the United States thanks to the H-2A visa program. It allows U.S. companies to hire foreigners for planting and harvesting seasons, if they can demonstrate that there are not enough or trained Americans to perform the activities.
Foreign nationals may be employed in crop fields or greenhouses. With this visa, the maximum period of stay in the U.S. is 3 years, but the permit is renewable if the employer requests the worker in other seasons (TEMPORARY STAY).
6) H-1B Visa: Skilled Workers
H-1B visas are granted at the request of employers who need highly skilled foreign workers.
Applicants must have extensive theoretical or technical experience in fields such as science, engineering or programming. USCIS notes that the worker must have a bachelor’s or graduate degree from an accredited university.
The number of H-1B visas is subject to a cap by the authorities (TEMPORARY STAY).
7) TN Visa: Mexican professionals
The United States has a special visa for temporary workers from Mexico and Canada who are engaged in activities covered by the free trade agreement between the three countries.
This visa, called TN, is granted to people with specific professions such as engineers, teachers, lawyers, engineers, accountants, scientists, among others. Mexicans must apply for the TN visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Mexico.
People with this type of visa have an initial period of stay in the United States of up to three years. Those who wish to stay longer will have to apply for an extension with Form I-129. (TEMPORARY STAY).
8) Fiancé Visa
The K1 visa, better known as «fiancé visa» is intended for foreign nationals who «intend to marry U.S. citizens in the United States and then wish to become lawful permanent residents, without having to leave the country».
The document grants a period of 90 days for the foreign nationals to travel, perform their wedding and begin the procedures for their permanent residency with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (temporary stay with the option of permanent residency). (TEMPORARY STAY WITH OPTION TO PERMANENT).
9) Investor Visa
13% of new residents in 2018 were sponsored by their employers or because they invested money in the United States with the EB-5 visa.
They give permanent residency and later citizenship to those who invest $1.8 million in urban areas or $900,000 in rural areas. The investment must generate jobs for Americans. (PERMANENT STAY).