IMMIGRANT VISA CATEGORIES:
Immigrant Visas can be obtained by way of a Family-based petition or a Business/Employment Petition. An immigrant visa (which is sometimes referred to as a “green card”) is permission to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis. Assuming certain other requirements are met, a permanent resident may eventually apply for U.S. citizenship.
Each month, the Department of State (DOS) releases a Visa Bulletin that advises on the availability of immigrant visas. The United States regulates immigration by capping the number of foreign nationals admitted as permanent residents each year. Each person must have his/her own personal immigrant visa number in order to live permanently in the United States. A foreign national can seek an Immigrant Visa at a U.S. Consulate outside the U.S., or file for an Adjustment of Status with USCIS inside the U.S. Only a limited number of immigrant visas are available in each category. Therefore, some of the Preference Categories have a waiting list. This list is published on a monthly basis. Look at the current visa bulletin to determine the approximate time your case may take.
Family Sponsored Preferences for Permanent Residence
IMMEDIATE RELATIVES: Spouses, parents or children (under 21 years of age) of U.S. citizens
Note: Those who receive their residence based upon a marriage of less than two years receive "conditional residence" for two years and must file a petition for removal of conditions ninety days before the two years expires.
Note: Stepchildren are included if the marriage that created the relationship occurred prior to the child's 18th birthday.
Unmarried sons and daughters (over 21 years of age) of U.S. citizens
Married sons and daughters (over 21 years of age) of U.S. citizens
Brothers and Sisters of U.S. citizens (21 years of age) of U.S. citizens
Employment Based Preferences For Permanent Residence
Special Immigrants include qualified ministers and religious workers and certain other categories of limited applicability.
Investors who invest at least $1,000,000 in an active U.S. business that employs at least ten persons. In designated areas of targeted high unemployment or in a qualified regional center, investments of $500,000 with creation of 10 jobs may qualify. Conditional residence is granted for two years. If investment and employment continues beyond two years permanent residence is granted.