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Today's Date: December 10, 2013

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An Introduction to Permanent Immigration

Permanent immigration is the ultimate goal of many people entering or planning to enter the United States. Lawful permanent residency offers individuals a multitude of benefits, including the freedom to live and work permanently in the US Potential immigrants should be as informed about the laws as possible. That’s why our firm is dedicated to providing you with a complete online database of immigration information.

Immigrants to the United States are divided into two categories:

  1. Individuals who may acquire permanent residency without numerical limitation.
  2. Individuals subject to a yearly limitation.

There are three divisions of this category: family-based; employment-based; and diversity immigrants.

Please use the links in the right column to broaden your knowledge on the different paths to permanent residency in the United States.

Family-Based Immigration

It is possible to obtain permanent residency through certain relationships to U.S. citizens, such as being engaged to a U.S. citizen or being a child of the spouse of a U.S. citizen.  The following visa types are available for such individuals:

K Visas are for fiancés of U.S. citizens that are seeking to enter the U.S. to be married. The K Visas are hybrid temporary/permanent visas in that they are a necessary step in the process of attaining LPR for future spouses of U.S. citizens but do not independently provide permanent resident status.

V Visas for priority spouses and children of U.S. citizens whose visa applications have been pending for a long period of time. V Visas allow holders to live and work in the U.S. as nonimmigrants until they receive LPR status.

Employment-Based Immigration

Immigration through employment may occur through a variety of avenues including self-sponsorship, employer-sponsorship, investment, and work with a religious organization.  The following visa types are available for employment-based immigration:

EB-1 Visas are for priority workers possessing extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and managers and executives soon to be transferred to the U.S. Individuals with extraordinary ability may file the EB-1 petition without employer sponsorship, though employer sponsorship is required for applicants qualifying on the basis of other criteria. The EB-1 Visa is a very prestigious visa available only to the top echelon of foreign nationals seeking permanent residence in the U.S.

EB-2 Visas are for highly skilled professionals with exceptional ability in their field and/or with advanced degrees. Physicians seeking to practice in underserved areas may use this visa as well, and may self-petition for the visa (employer-sponsorship is required for other applicants).

EB-3 Visas are for skilled or professional workers with at least two years of experience as skilled workers and/or with a U.S. bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent.  Unskilled workers with less than two years experience also qualify for this visa, but will typically experience a wait of many years to receive EB-3 status due to the long backlog caused by the annual cap for applicants in this category. Employer sponsorship is required for all EB-3 applicants.

EB-4 Visas are primarily for religious workers but may in some cases be used by special immigrants such as long-term employees of the U.S. government or individuals who have worked for the U.S. armed forces. Religious worker applicants typically need sponsorship by the U.S. religious organization employing them, though some applicants may meet the criteria for self-sponsorship.

EB-5 Visas are for investors seeking to either establish a new enterprise in the U.S. or purchase/invest heavily in a preexisting U.S. business. Grantees of the EB-5 Visa are conditional permanent residents for two years after receiving EB-5 status. At the end of this time, investors may apply for permanent resident status granted they have complied with the legal requirements for EB-5 investors.


It is possible to immigrate permanently to the U.S. to escape persecution. Individuals seeking entry to the U.S. for this reason are granted residency if strong evidence is provided for a threat of persecution.

Diversity Lottery

Certain individuals from underrepresented nations can apply for one of the 55,000 new immigrant visas issued annually through the diversity lottery. Winners of the diversity lottery may live and work in the U.S. indefinitely.

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