Dreaming of moving to the United States, but don't want to count on luck alone? We have listed the main ways you can get a residence permit in America.
1) Marry a U.S. citizen
Marriage is one of the most popular ways to move to the United States. But getting married is not enough to get a green card. After marriage, you must submit a package of documents to USCIS, including: (*) Form I-130 - proves the marriage of a U.S. citizen to an alien; (*) I-130A - contains additional information about the alien; (*) I-485 - green card request; (*) I-864 - establishes that an immigrant has financial support; (*) I-693 - medical report on the health status of an alien; (*) I-765 - a request for a work permit.
A few months after filing, the couple will be invited to an interview with an immigration officer. The purpose of the interview: to establish the "honesty" of the marriage. To rule out a fake marriage, the officer will look at photos of the couple together and ask a series of personal questions.
2) Request political asylum
A person experiencing hardship in his/her home country because of race, religion, or political views may apply for asylum in the United States.
To request asylum, you must come to the United States and file Form I-589 with USCIS. In order to qualify for refugee status, you must present credible evidence that you are persecuted or have reason to fear such persecution. All documents must be translated into English.
In some exceptional cases, refugees may apply for asylum while in their home country. If recognized as a refugee, the alien receives a visa and comes to the United States for support.
Note that unless your country is under real martial law, it will not be easy to obtain asylum. For example, only prominent opposition politicians, businessmen, and journalists are usually allowed to immigrate to the United States for political reasons.
3) Reconnecting with family
You may qualify to move to the United States if a close relative lives there. U.S. citizens may apply for the benefit of their spouses, parents, children, and siblings. Green Card holders may only bring their spouses and unmarried minor children to the United States.
The number of people who can come to the United States through family immigration is limited by an annual quota. It cannot exceed 480,000 people per year.
4) Get an H-1B work visa
This visa can be obtained only by qualified specialists from other countries who are needed by the U.S. economy and have a job offer in the United States. This visa allows you to work in the country temporarily, as well as to apply for a green card under certain conditions. There are quotas for work visas as well. On average, up to 100,000 people per year may move to the United States on an H-1B visa.
After moving under H-1B, you may qualify for a Green Card if your employer wants to keep you employed. You will need to file a separate petition and go through a lengthy immigration process.
5) Get a "talent visa"
Another option is the O1 visa, which is given to outstanding specialists. This visa is suitable for employees of creative and scientific fields: actors, artists, scientists. To prove your uniqueness, you will need awards, mentions in the media, and letters of appreciation.
O1 is a non-immigrant visa, but it allows you to apply for a Green Card. Such visas are not subject to quotas.
6) Invest in the U.S. economy
The EB-5 program allows you to get a Green Card if you contribute at least $900,000 to the U.S. economy. Your contribution must create at least ten jobs for Americans. It is important to be able to prove that you got the money legally.
You can invest on your own or through a special regional center.
Your first residence permit under this program is issued for two years ("conditional" green card). Three months before it expires, you have to file a petition for a permanent green card. The main thing at this stage is to prove that all funds have been invested in the project, the business is functioning, and jobs have been created.
7) ...And yet: take part in the DV Lottery
This is the easiest way to move to the United States if you have no outstanding background, no American relatives, and no large income. Participation in the lottery is completely free, and the odds of winning are about 1:45 (that's much higher than in the regular lottery). Why not try your luck?