It is difficult to control immigration as people seek a better way of life in another country and find or receive benefits they cannot attain from their homeland. In the United Nations International Migration Report for 2019, the top countries that accepted immigrants in 2020 include:
- United States
- Russian Federation
- United Kingdom
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
What are the types of immigration status?
The types of immigration status we are discussing here are for the United States, namely, citizens, residents, non-immigrants, and undocumented.
An immigrant may already be a U.S. citizen if the person was born in the United States even if they are residing in another country. A person is considered a U.S. citizen if the parents were U.S. citizens at the time of the person’s birth.
Permanent or conditional residents
A legal permanent resident (LPR) is someone who holds a green card. A holder of a green card, also called a lawful permanent resident is a person who gained authorization to live and work in the U.S. permanently. To become a legal permanent resident, the person could be sponsored by a family member who is already living in the U.S. or by an employer. Others may also become LPRs through humanitarian programs or through an asylee or refugee status.
Non-immigrants enter the United States legally, but their stay is temporary. They may be students holding F-1 visas, tourists or business visitors issued B1/B2 visas, fiancées who were given K-1 visas, and other persons who are in the country under temporary protected status.
A non-immigrant who overstays in the U.S. can become an undocumented person. Otherwise, people who fall into this category are those who illegally entered the U.S.
What documents do you need for U.S. immigration?
A person who wants to immigrate to the United States needs to prepare various documentation visa-issuing agency requires. Keep in mind that if your documents are not written in English, each one should have certified translations in English.
For family-based immigration, you need to submit these documents, aside from the immigration form and proof of payment:
- Birth certificates
- Certificate of adoption
- Court and prison documents
- Marriage certificates
- Marriage termination documents
- Military records
- Petitioner documents
- Police certificates
- Photocopy of your valid passport’s biographic page
What are the legal processes for U.S. immigration?
An individual or a family wishing to apply for U.S. immigration must follow a series of steps.
1. A sponsor submits a petition
The petitioner, who should be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident must submit Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), electronically or by traditional mail. Once the petition is approved by the USCIS, you can proceed to the next step.
2. Start the National Visa Center (NVC) processing
Upon approval of the petition, USCIS will transfer your case to the National Visa Center (NVC) of the Department of State for preprocessing, which starts with the creation of an immigrant’s case in the NVC system. Once completed, the center will send you a Welcome Letter. Use the information contained in the letter to log in to the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).
3. Pay the processing fees
Pay the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee and the Affidavit of Support Fee. It will take a week or more for NVC to process the payment.
4. Complete Form I-864 or Affidavit of Support
This is a document that a petitioner/sponsor completes, indicating the willingness to accept the financial responsibility for the immigration applicant.
5. Gather financial evidence and other supporting documents
The sponsor completes Form I-864 and gathers all the evidence of financial capability and other supporting documents indicating the capability to support you and the people immigrating with you.
6. Complete the Online Visa Application (DS-260)
After payment of the fees and the CEAC updated your status to paid, every individual who will be immigrating must each complete Form DS-260 or the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration. Print out the confirmation page, which you should bring with you to the interview.
7. Collect all the required documents
Each applicant must gather all the required official civil documents to support your application for a visa.
8. Scan all supporting documents
Scan all the required documents and send them online, following the indicated format.
9. Upload and submit all scanned documents
Submit the scanned documents to CEAC. If the NVC determines that you have completed everything that is required from you and your sponsor, it will send you a confirmatory email, stating that you have completed all the requirements.
10. Prepare for the interview for a U.S. visa
The NVC schedules your appointment for the visa interview and sends you, your sponsor, and your attorney/agent the schedule. Upon receipt of the NVS’s Interview Appointment Letter, you should follow some of the requirements before the date of the interview. The requirements include:
- Complete medical examination for all family members applying for a visa. You should go to an embassy-approved doctor for this.
- Register for courier service and follow the rest of the pre-interview instruction
- Collect all the documents you should bring to the interview
11. Attend the applicant interview
You, your spouse, and all qualified unmarried children attending the interview, should arrive on time. Bring the required documents: interview appointment letter from NVC, passports, photographs, DS-260 Confirmation Page and the certified or original copies of all supporting documents you submitted to CEAC.
12. After the interview
If you received your immigrant visa, then you can resign from your job, sell your property, and make non-refundable travel arrangements.
eTS provides certified translations of civil documents
Immigrating to the United States is a long and complex process. We can help make sure that you comply with the requirements for document submission. We provide certified translations for all documents not written in English, conforming to the requirements of the NCIS. You can easily reach us through email at [email protected] or by calling us at (800) 882-6058.