Becoming a United States Immigrant
An immigrant is an individual who comes to a new country with the intention of leaving the old country and permanently settling in the one.
The decision for an immigrant to come to the United States to permanent live here is a very important and complicated decision. It is necessary for a potential immigrant to understand whether they are allowed to immigrate into the United States, what sort of immigrant visa they will require, the necessary forms for the process, and the steps of obtaining an immigrant visa.
In order to be eligible to apply and obtain an immigrant visa, a potential immigrant must have a sponsor by a citizen who is a U.S. relative, a prospective employer, or a lawful permanent resident. This sponsor must act with the U.S. Citizen & Immigration Services as the beneficiary of the approved petition. Sponsors who are within the United States must file the following forms:
For US citizens or lawful permanent sponsors
• Form I-130
• Petition for Alien Relative
For potential employer sponsors
• Form I-140
• Petition for Alien Worker
Under certain circumstances, an immigrant petition can be filed outside of the US. Within countries that have Citizen & Immigration Services offices, it is possible to file a petition through a US embassy or consulate. These offices accept the following forms:
• Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130): Applicable if the petitioner is a legal resident within the consular district and the beneficiary is most likely to be able to stay in the country for the typical amount of time it requires for visa processing. The petitioner must still be a citizen of the United States.
• Petition for Amerasian, Widow/er, or Special Immigrant (Form I-360): Applicable when filed by widower or widow of a deceased U.S. citizen
• Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative (Form I-600): Applicable with an approved Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition (Form I-600A)
Filing any of these petition forms requires legal residence within the consular district of the United States consulate or embassy for at least the past 6 months. In certain rare situations, a consular officer may consider approving petition even without the petitioner having prior legal residence for 6 months.
One the immigrant petition has been approved, the next step is preliminary processing of the following items at the National Visa Center:
• Necessary documents such as birth certificates, marriage/divorce certificates, and police reports
• Affidavit of Support
• Medical Exam or panel physician information
• Immigrant Interviews
The Immigrant interview is an important part of the immigration process. Once a potential immigrant has a scheduled interview with the National Visa Center, the applicant should then take the following steps:
• Carefully look over the information about the time, date, and place of the interview.
• Prepare for the medical exam.
• Make sure that all necessary original documents are available for the interview.
• Get the photographs that are required.
• Look over the U.S. Consulate/embassy interview guidelines.
• Look over the important visa interview notices.
• Look over the immigrant visa interview FAQ.