How to Immigrate to the US

3 06 2008

When the issue of Illegal immigration comes up I always read and hear people say, ‘if they just came here legaly’. I also hear people assume that anybody that migrates here automatically becomes an American Citizen. Most people don’t know the process that people have to go through to come to the US, of course they never had to go through it. Here are some of the requirements to come here.

 First you have to have a reason for coming to the US and based on that there might be a visa that applies to you.

This has been taken from About.Com Immigration Issues

Many Different Visa Options

You have to be coming to join immediate relatives (parents, children, spouses or siblings), to be a student, to do a job, to start a company, to invest money; you have to have a reason that is much more concrete than simply “because I want to.”

Depending on your basis for immigrating, 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.

Will You Qualify?
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 if Your Reason (basis) Qualifies
Does the government (in general terms) think your reason for coming to America is a good one, and do you meet the criteria (rules) for applying?

If you do, you will then need to apply, and to prove that you qualify (that you can follow the rules).

Prove it
You can not just say “I have enough money to support myself,” or “I have a job offer,” or “I plan to study,” or “I am going to invest money.”

In nearly all cases, you will need to have bonafied proof of these circumstances, and will need to follow-through with your plans. Tracking of foreigners in the United States has improved since 9/11, and continues to improve.

This proof comes in many different varieties, you have to proof that you have enough money or somebody has to say they will support you, if you are a student you have to show school admission, bank statements that show you have the money you need for the time you will be here, and other things. I many cases even if you qualify and have all of the requirements you can be denied.

If you plan to stay less than six month you have to apply for a tourist visa, this visa is obtained by going to the US embassy in your country of origin, presenting proof of residency, bank statements, work statement and other proof that you won’t be coming to the US and staying. This visa can be obtain for a week and up to 10 years. I do not know the procedure the embassy personnel follow but I have anecdotal information. I never had a problem getting or renewing a visa, but I have seen an entire family requesting a visa to visit Disney world, and all of them getting visas except for one child. I have also learned that even if you have a visa you can be denied entry by the official at the port of entry.

Legitimate Reasons to Immigrate
The following are legitimate reasons for coming to live in the United States, and each has a corresponding visa or designated status:

If you are employed, as a legitimate employee, in a position which requires you to work in the U.S.A, either in a U.S. company or a foreign company with offices in the United States, you may be eligible for one of the following:

Employment-Related Visas for You and Your Family:

All of these visas allow for your spouse and children to accompany you. Generally, extended family, personal helpers (translators, physical therapists, etc.), business affiliates or domestic household help (nannies, maids) cannot come with you, unless they qualify for a visa under their own circumstances.

Self-employment If you are an independent contractor of freelancer, there is limited opportunity, and it demands a great deal of you, but you may qualify for one of the following visas for:

Independent Professionals: Persons of Extraordinary Ability – O Visas

Visa Rules Change – Keep Yourself Updated

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 a student visa.

If you are the husband, wife or child of an American citizen or green card holder, you may qualify for one of these:

Family-based visas:
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

These family based visas do not warranty that you will be accepted or  that you would eventually get a green card. Having a green card means that you are a permanent resident of the US not a Citizen. To obtain citizenship you have to go through a different process and you have to have been a Permanent resident for a number of years (the number of years varies). So if you or anybody marries a US citizen they are not warrantied a green card and they are by no means US citizens.

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 Humanitarian Entry

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 could hurt you!

As the article says there are many different rules and a person needs to make sure to read all the fine print and exceptions to prevent problems later. An example of the fine print, if you marry a permanent resident (green card holder) after you apply for your green card you must leave the country and wait for your visa to come back, abroad. This process, I was told by immigration officials, may take between 3 to 5 years. If you marry a US Citizen, you are not allowed to leave the country until your immigration process is finished(which may take up to a year) unless you get written authorization from the immigration services, If you leave without authorization you forfeit your request and have to start from scratch. I know 4 different couples that where not advised about this little clause by their lawyers and had to start the entire process all over again.

If you want to know more visit the Immigration and Naturalization website and the About website has a lot of information as well. Beware of promises of easy solutions to immigration problems, there are a lot of scams.

Here is information about the VISA LOTTERY

As you can see the process is not simple or easy, but if you don’t have a family member that is a citizen or a permanent resident, tons of money or have an exceptional ability, it is not easy to migrate to the US.




29 responses

5 06 2008

The feds actively encourage illegal immigration through the administrative hoops and hurdles that they have erected. There is no disincentive to come to America. Statistically, the likelihood of being swept up in a raid is insignificant. The government seeks to placate their corporate partners with cheap labor. Americans benefit with cheap services and under the table compensation schemes. The targeted raids are only fodder for the Fox News xenophobes who want to hate anyone who doesn’t share their geographic birth place privilege. If I was born on Guatemala, I would live here too.

15 07 2008

I lived in u.s.a for about 12 years which during this priod i got my green card.
I left u.s.a to iran and then stayed there til now .
Now i am planning to come back to u.s.a with my wife and two kids please tell me
exactlly what i should i order to come to u.s.a

thanks for all help

15 07 2008

I am not an expert on Immigration. My suggestion would be to go or place a call to your local US embassy and they would be able to guide you as to what you need to do. If your family doesn’t have a green card they would need visas to come to the US.

Your best bet if to go to the embassy as soon as possible, because these things ussualy take some time.

Best of luck.


16 07 2008

Are you whining about having to do something legally? A driver license and registration and insurance is a drag, too, but we value competence with deadly weapons, here in America, hence, it’s law. We value men not raping women. Are those laws too strict to abide? Does this explain why so many crimes here are committed by illegal immigrants? The whiners aren’t up to doing things legally?

17 07 2008

Most people that are not immigrants have no idea what the process takes. I am trying to illustrate for them what are the requirements and how difficult it is. I usually try to see both sides of the issues, people say why don’t they come here legaly, I wanted to figure out why.
I am not suggesting or condoning doing anything illegal.

I appreciate your questions, they gave me a chance to clarify things.


18 07 2008

It has to be done legally everywhere else in the world, so why not in the US too? Otherwise, we’d all just move where we please. If this were the case, I wouldn’t be in the US. However, it protects everyone in the long run. Otherwise, how will a country structure itself if it doesn’t know what to take into account. For example, if we are to have health insurance or a retirement system for everyone, then everyone must be accounted for; an all for one and one for all, if you will. Otherwise, when we all are older, there will not be enough for all of us and we all are going to be screwed and all of this hide-and-seek is not going to help you or me. Simply, you can’t even plan for a dinner party if you don’t know how many is coming.

21 08 2008
ricky rick

hi,my question is about my spouse,i am a green card holder just a month ago and just married,how long my wife need to wait to come to u.s is that true that she will be here after long 5-6 years,or is their any chance of any amentdent that spouses of greencard holder can come right way or as soon as possible,thanks,plss reply me.

21 08 2008

Ricky, I could not comment in your specific case. When I went to the immigration office before I got married, they told me that people that marry a green card holder or permanent resident, have to wait for their visas outside of the US. They said that the process could take 3 to 5 years.

Things have changed though, the processes have gotten shorter for what I have heard. I would suggest that you call your local immigration office and ask them.

Good Luck!!

24 08 2008
Deepa singh

HI,i am also want to know what the american law is doing about the unite of immigrant mainly like husband and wives and their little babies,is that mean the immigrants are not part of america,we always feel that we are part of this great country,but that great country is not worried or concerned about our rights,i just like die man,cause my wife and little baby is far away from me(in india)i have to wait for them nearly 5-6 years,why why why why why……..tears in my eyes,plss american brothers and sisters support us.plsssssss

24 08 2008
Tony smith

hi,america is a great country that;s why people call untied states,mean the base of this country starts with untied,but as my other friends say earlier in the comments that u.s government is not concerned about their own people(immigrants)who also contribute in u.s ecconomy to pay taxes.and try to built dream america,but how that people work hard and contribute in for country,if they are living alone from their wives and children,i am also want to request u.s congress to give their support to immigrants to pass the bill which support to unite of husbands,wives and children,good luck

24 08 2008

Deepa and Tony, As I said before, I am not an immigration specialist, please check with your local US embassy or Immigration office.

I do feel for you, I agree that family is first, they should be united and there should not be a wait period for spouses and children.

The system should be revised, and maybe it has, to take into consideration family.

I usually tell my friends when they start the immigration process to do it with their family, all included, so they can all be done at the same time.

I hope you can reunite with your families soon.

15 09 2008

I am and Australian citizen and reside in Australia. I have in the past lived in the US with a green card however moved back to Australia in 1999. My card expired in 2004. I would like to return to the US to live.
I currently run my own communications business in Australia and will have approx $300k+ US to spend in the US ie house, car etc. In your opinion will this help my cause to re enter the US?

Thanks for your time.

17 09 2008

Phil, I do not know about your case, but if you were a green card holder and have a good standing, I don’t see why you would have any problems. I have never heard of a case of somebody that was a permanent resident, left and had trouble coming back.

There are also business visas, if you are planing to open a office of your Australian business, that might be a plus.

I would suggest contacting the US embassy, aslo check the immigration website there is a lot of information there.

10 09 2009

i have 2 kids who are US citizens. they were born September 6, 2004 and November 18, 2005 when I was on temporary assignment from 2004 to 2007. I would like for them to study their pre-school in the US. is there a possibility to speed-up immigration status for myself and wife so that they can study at an early age in the US. i was thinking if this case can take re-consideration.
please advice.

13 09 2009

I am sorry but I do not know what you can do other than check with you local US consulate or embassy, or talk to an immigration lawyer. I have hear of a lot of people that think that because their children are born in the US that would give them automatic preference, but if that was the case they would not be deporting thousands of illegal aliens every year. Their children are allowed to stay but the parents are not. It might be different in your case, since you were not here illegally, but I do not know.

20 10 2009

Hello, my name is Brittany and my fiance is French. I’m only 19 and too young to get married so hes planning on moving here in a year and a half. He wants to live here permanately but there are so many rules, that I’m confused about so I’m imagining how he is going to feel. Is it true that he might not be able to get a green card due to the face that being my fiance is not good enough?

21 10 2009

Brittany, as far as I know,you can bring your fiance here with a fiance visa. The catch is that you have to get married within 90 days. If you do not plan to get married yet, he needs to find a different way to get her legaly. I would suggest he can go to the US emabssy in France and they would be able to give him all the information he needs.
Good luck

12 12 2009

hello, im a bangladeshi and i want to study aerospace engineering at usa. after finishing my studies, can i get a job in usa with my student visa? or do i have to get another visa? and if i do my job there for 5 yrs, will i get citizenship?

14 01 2010

Unfortunately this is the most draconian twist to the American immigration law. A qualified working individual who has been in the country 7+ years, applies legally & waits to finally receive his/her green card after which he/she have to consult the government before getting married??

That right there is pushing the limits of patience.

After having worked and waited to get the green card an individual would expect the U.S to atleast treat their future citizens with respect.

13 06 2010
just me

i really want my green card so bad but i dont know how to get it i want to be at least a permanent resident in the united states of america but i know that will cost a lot of money and i would need a lawyer i have live in the u.s.a like most of my life since i was 4 years old and i really consider it my really proud of where im from even though i dont know how it is over there but im almost about to graduate from high school so i need to look at my future and getting my green card will make it a whole lot easier.

18 10 2011
Herman Cain’s Border Control Plan Explained (ContributorNetwork) | Elections News

[…] through the “back door.” Becoming a legal American citizen is an extremely long and intentionally difficult process, however, which can take years and grants immigrants many opportunities … to make a mistake […]

16 11 2011


I have received a job offer from coast seafood for marketing manager without any proper interview process. I have been told to get in touch with a advocate in delhi office to process my h1 visa application. I have travelled to usa in past with b1 b2 visa and my visa was processed in mumbai. This advocate is asking for 30k fees which I think is fraud of some type. What I wanna know is it possible for someone to get visa with just a job offer invitation letter from company. And if I have to check its genuineness how should I check it. Should I approach someone in embassay.

Kindly advise.

Thank you.


25 11 2011

Shilpa, this sounds like a scam to me. If a company wants to hire you and bring you to the states, they have to prove that they really need you here. They have to go through a lengthy process and they should pay for that. I suggest you check with the embassy, they might even have complaints about that company and they might be able to advice. Also google them, you might find other people that have been offered the same deal.

24 12 2011

i have an uncle who is a green card holder , he and his wife and children hold green cards from about 4 or 5 years , can they sponsor me ? i also have other far relatives who own a buis. in usa ,can they also sponsor me ?
am i eligible for them or what ?
reply back plz

2 01 2012

I am not sure if they can sponsor you. I suggest you visit the immigration page and get better information there.

29 06 2012
Tony Foulsham

I am an Mechanical & Electrical Construction Project Manager, 30 plus years experience,running Projects of very high value.
I am trying to apply for M & E Project Manager vacancies in the U.S with ANY success.
Having read the above information, I can now see why a prospective employer would go down the easier route than pick me.
Oh yes I live in the U.K.
I am applying through Jacobs,Power Design, Boozallen, Ziprecruiter to name but a few.
I am sure if any Construction Companies reading this piece about me want to get in touch they will find a way.
Just as an after thought it goes without saying I have a Skype account
Tony F
M & E Project Manager

17 02 2013
Johny March



30 05 2013
chat and games wizard101 codes

I seldom leave a response, but after reading through a
great deal of remarks on How to Immigrate to the US | My life as an Alien.
I do have 2 questions for you if you do not mind. Could it be just me or does it appear like some of the comments appear like they are coming from brain dead folks?
😛 And, if you are posting at other social sites,
I would like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post.
Would you list of every one of your social pages like your Facebook page, twitter
feed, or linkedin profile?

16 12 2013

am Ethiopian having bsc pharmacist with 6 yrs work experience in different hospitals .now i want to attend USA education so how could i get that chance ? i heard USA is land of opportunity so pleas help me?

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