For most foreign nationals considering their immigration options, the biggest question is usually “How do I gain U.S. permanent residency?” Let’s discuss the two general ways to gaining U.S. permanent residency: family-based U.S. permanent residency and employment-based U.S. permanent residency.
For the family-based option of gaining U.S. residency, your options are often limited to marrying a U.S. citizen via bona fide marriage. The process usually takes less than a year, depending on where you live and how quickly applications are processed. The process requires an interview with USCIS with your U.S. citizen spouse also. In the case that you’ve been married for less than 24 months at the time you gained permanent residency, you’ll have to file another application 90 days before the two-year anniversary of your green card, to show that you’re still married and have the intentions to remain married. Basically, your marriage needs to be legitimate.
Your second option is the employment-base U.S. permanent residency. As explained in a previous article, the U.S. company needs to demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. works who meets the minimum requirements of the position that is being offered to you on a full-time, permanent basis. It is important to consider that you may fall under a separate category, where your work must have intrinsic merit and is of interest to the U.S.; you have worked for company related to the U.S. entity abroad for one year in a managerial position and are being offered the same type of role in the U.S.; or, you’re an individual performing outstanding research in a particular field, in which the employer is also conducting research. You may also qualify for U.S. permanent residency through self-sponsorship if you have done extraordinary work in your field.
Like with most important life decisions, you must weigh your options. It is critical to examine your background and consider all available options to put yourself in the strongest position when applying for U.S. permanent residency.
Edited by Winnie Kan, Director of Marketing and Public Relations.
Please note that this article is not legal advice. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your immigration case, your best option is always to contact an immigration lawyer to discuss your situation, because immigration cases are all individual and vary case-by-case. If you have any additional questions, please contact attorney Barbara Wong, Esq. at [email protected] or (408) 329-9184 ext. 120.
Related Immigration Topics:
H-1B: Understanding Your Options
Beyond OPT: Opportunities for Students
U.S. Permanent Residency: Take Charge of Your Career Path