Steps to Immigrating to The United States
Immigrating to the United States and becoming a citizen can be a daunting process when you’re not sure where to start. In 2018, there were more than 44 million immigrants living in the US. If you are interested in immigrating from outside the country and becoming a permanent citizen, the first step in the process is to apply for an immigrant visa. Once you’ve been a permanent resident for 5 years or longer, you can become a naturalized citizen.
How do you apply for a visa?
There are numerous types of immigration visas you can apply for. You will need to identify the appropriate category for your situation and then submit the right paperwork and supporting documentation to the authorities. Because the United States prioritizes the visas based on categories, immigrants that already have family residing here or have employment waiting for them will be given highest priority.
Some of the other categories in which you can apply come with limitations or restrictions. These could be based on where you are immigrating from or if you’re seeking asylum. Be prepared to potentially wait a few years to get your visa as there could be a waiting list or a limited number available.
Once you have determined the type of immigrant visa you will be applying for, you will need to pick a sponsor for your application. They must be a citizen of the United States. If you are applying for a family visa, they must be a family member over the age of 18 and a citizen. An employment-based visa is typically sponsored by your prospective employer. Whoever is sponsoring your visa cannot have sponsored an immigrant before.
Using an Immigration Lawyer to Submit Your Application
An immigration lawyer can work with you and your sponsor to get through the paperwork and submit a petition on your behalf. Once your petition has been approved, it will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) to be processed. They will collect your application, supporting documentation and fees. Remember, there are limited visas available in each category so it could take some time before you hear from the NVC.
When you do receive notification, read it carefully. It will include instructions of the next steps in the application process. We recommend enlisting the assistance of an immigration lawyer if you have questions about the process or application to make sure there is no delay or rejection of your application. You can appoint an agent to receive the NVC communications on behalf if you don’t have a permanent address or move frequently.
Submit your application, documents and fees to the NVC once it has been completed. The application is very detailed and it’s a good idea to have an immigration lawyer review it before submission. The information you provide will be supported by the official documentation you send with it. Check with the authorities in the country you are immigrating from to see if they have a way to submit your documents and fees electronically as it is more secure.
Your Medical Examination and the Final Step
You are required to have a medical examination to determine if you are healthy enough to enter the United States and not a threat to public health. You will receive any required vaccinations. The doctor will seal the results of the exam in an envelope which is not to be opened. You will give the envelope to consular office on the day of your interview, which typically takes place at the US embassy or consulate. The officer will review all your documents and applications, ask follow-up questions, and then notify you if your visa is approved at the end of the interview. If it is denied, you will be required to start the process again.
If your visa is approved, you will be able to pick it up a few days after your interview. Make sure you travel to the US before your visa expires, which is usually within 6 months.
Talk to an Experienced Visa Lawyer in Austin
If you are considering apply for a visa the best ally is a qualified and experienced immigration attorney. Education is far too important to leave to chance. A simple error on application paperwork can easily lead to delay, denial, and heartbreak. Immigration attorneys know how to
help foreign nationals achieve their educational dreams through visas. Thus, let the expert legal team at Nanthaveth & Associates help you achieve!
The lawyers at Nanthaveth & Associates passionately serve the Austin area every day. Our team provides top-tier legal representation and services to our clients, ensuring that every person receives the help they need. For your comfort and convenience, we provide free initial consultations. Contact us today to schedule a time to speak with an attorney. We’re ready to work with you!