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An immigrant visa allows a foreign national to permanently reside in a foreign country. Immigrant visas are typically granted to individuals who meet a specific eligibility criteria, such as having a job offer, being sponsored by a family member, or being selected in a lottery.

The process of obtaining an immigrant visa can be complex, involving multiple steps and a significant amount of documentation. This is why people may decide to work with an immigration visa lawyer to help them with the process.

For those who are successful, an immigrant visa can provide the opportunity to live, work, and build a new life in a foreign country.

When it comes to immigration, the United States is counted as one of the top destinations. There are several reasons people may immigrate to the country. Here are some of them;

  • Economic Opportunities: The United States has a strong economy and job market, which attracts individuals seeking better job prospects and financial stability.
  • Family Reunification: Many individuals immigrate to the United States. to join family members who are already living there.
  • Education: The U.S. is home to many top-ranked universities, making it a popular destination for international students seeking higher education opportunities.
  • Political Freedom and Safety: Some individuals flee their home country due to political oppression or unrest, and seek asylum in the United States.
  • Adventure and Cultural Experience: For some, immigrating to the United States is an opportunity to experience a new culture and way of life.

These are just a few of the reasons why people choose to immigrate to the United States, and every individual’s story is unique. To fast-track the process, an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles can act as a guide for you.

The Different Types of U.S. Immigrant Visas

Similar to nonimmigrant visas, immigrant visas are also divided into several different categories. Below are the two major categories of this kind of visa;

Family-Sponsored Visas

Immediate relative visas and family immigrant visas allow individuals to join their close family members who are already living in the United States permanently.

This includes parents, spouses, children, unmarried and married sons and daughters, siblings, and fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens as well as spouses, children, and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents. In order to be eligible for this category of visas, you must have a qualifying family relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. This visa type is further divided into the following categories;

  • Immediate Relative (IR) visas: This category includes visas for the spouse, or unmarried minor child of a U.S. citizen or parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old.
  • Family Preference (FP) visas: This category includes visas for the family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are not considered immediate relatives, such as adult children.
  • K visas: This category includes visas for the fiancĂ©(e) of a U.S. citizen and their dependents.
  • Adoption visas: This category includes visas for children who are being adopted by U.S. citizens and seeking to immigrate to the United States.

Each type of family-sponsored visa has a specific eligibility criteria, application procedures, and required documentation, so it is important to carefully review the requirements before applying and to consider working with a U.S. immigration lawyer to help you stay on the right track.

Employer-Sponsored Visas

Employer-sponsored visas are visas that are sponsored by a U.S. employer for individuals who want to work in the United States. There are several different categories of employer-sponsored visas, including:

EB-1 Visas:

  • This category is for individuals with extraordinary abilities in science, arts, education, business, or athletics
  • No labor certification is required
  • Priority workers who are at the top of the employment-based visa queue

EB-2 Visas:

  • This category is for individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability in their field
  • Requires a labor certification and job offer from a U.S. employer, unless the individual is exempt through a national interest waiver

EB-3 Visas:

  • This category is for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree, skilled workers, or unskilled workers
  • Requires a labor certification and job offer from a U.S. employer

EB-4 visas are employment-based visas for certain special immigrant groups, such as:

  • Religious workers
  • Special Immigrant Juveniles
  • Certain broadcasters
  • Certain retired officers or employees of a G-4 international organization or NATO-6 civilian employees and their family members;
  • Certain employees of the U.S. government who are abroad and their family members;
  • Members of the U.S. armed forces;
  • Panama Canal company or Canal Zone government employees;
  • Certain physicians licensed and practicing medicine in a U.S. state as of Jan. 9, 1978; and,
  • Noncitizens who have supplied information concerning a criminal organization or enterprise or a terrorist organization, enterprise, or operation (S nonimmigrants).

EB-5 visas are employment-based visas for individuals who make an investment in a new commercial enterprise in the United States:

  • Require a minimum investment of $1.8 million (or $900,000 in a targeted employment area)
  • Must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers
  • Investment must be in a commercial enterprise that is a for-profit business
  • Individuals must be actively involved in the management of the enterprise

Process of Applying for an Immigrant Visa

The process of applying for an immigrant visa can be full of complexities and involve many legal intricacies. An immigration attorney can help you successfully navigate through the process. The process typically involves several steps:

  1. Determine Eligibility: The first step is to determine if you are eligible for an immigrant visa based on your family relationship, employment, or other grounds for immigration.
  2. File a Petition: If you are eligible for an immigrant visa, the next step is to have a petition filed on your behalf. For family-sponsored visas, this is typically done by a close relative who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. For employment-based visas, this is done by a U.S. employer.
  3. Obtain NVC Case number: If the petition is approved, a unique NVC case number is given to the petitioner. This only happens after the petition is approved.
  4. File a Visa Application: Once a visa number is available, you can file a visa application with the U.S. Department of State. This typically involves completing forms, providing supporting documentation, and paying fees.
  5. Attend an Interview: Depending on the category of visa, you may be required to attend an in-person interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The interview is an opportunity for a consular officer to review your application and ask questions to determine your eligibility for an immigrant visa.
  6. Receive the Visa: If your visa application is approved, you will receive your visa and can travel to the United States to begin your life as a permanent resident.

Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer Dedicated To Delivering The Best Visa Solutions

It is important to note that the process of applying for an immigrant visa can be complex and time-consuming, which is why you may want to consider working with an immigration visa lawyer to ensure that your application is completed correctly and to avoid any potential delays or problems.

Edith Nazarian, an experienced immigration lawyer in Los Angeles, is here to help you with all such requirements. Book your consultation at (818) 748-8808 by calling now or schedule a visit to our office to discuss how to best proceed with your case depending on your specific circumstances.

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Edith Nazarian is an extraordinary immigration lawyer. I’ve been working with Edith for several years now, having worked in two O1-B applications, and couldn’t be happier. Both applications got approved on the first try without a need for an RFE. I always recommend her to my friends in the ex-pat community.

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