An Explanation of the Various Types of Visas
Immigrating to the United States involves a complicated process which constantly seems to be changing. Therefore, navigating the system can be extremely daunting. San Francisco immigration lawyer Elias Shamieh, of the Law Office of Elias Z. Shamieh, explains some of the ins-and-outs of the immigration process.
“Immigrating to the US is a long-winded process,” says Shamieh, a San Francisco immigration lawyer. The process includes various channels and waiting periods that can last several years. Typically, there are two primary types of immigrant visa petitions for permanent residency, although other options are available. Most individuals immigrate either through family-sponsored or employer-sponsored petitions for green cards.
Family-sponsored Petition for Green Cards
Immigrating to the US through the family-sponsored process takes place when a family member, who is currently a citizen or permanent resident, petitions for another family member to gain legal residency. The family relation must be immediate family member, such as spouses, siblings, or parent/child. Despite all of these cases taking place through the family-sponsored channel, there are variables for each case. For instance, in cases of parent/child petitions, the length of time one might need to wait for the application to be approved can vary depending on the age of the child. If the child is younger than 21 years of age, it is a quicker process than it is for those who are older.
Employer-sponsored Petition for Green cards
The other common avenue to immigrating to the U.S. is through an employer-sponsorship. This is based on a job offer from a company within the US who seeks to employ a person whose “qualifications and experience levels are in short supply,” according to Shamieh, a San Francisco green card lawyer. There is also an H1-B visa through which a company can file a petition on behalf of an employee.
EV-5 and U-visas
There are other ways to immigrate to the US as well. For instance, one can file for an EB-5 visa, or more commonly known as an “entrepreneurship visa.” This is available to individuals who want to invest at least $500,000 in an economically deprived area, and hire at least 10 employees. This process will allow the immigrant to gain a green card, as well as help to develop struggling areas.
In cases where someone came to the US illegally, or failed to keep a legal status, and becomes a victim of a crime, one can then file for a U-visa. The U-visa will allow this person to legally stay and work in the US for four years. In their fifth year, they may then apply for permanent residency. This was created to assist law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute serious crimes. This also helps to protect the victims as they assist law enforcement. The qualifying crimes for a U-visa force substantial physical and mental abuse on to the victims. Some of the qualifying crimes include:
- Domestic violence
- Sexual assault
For more information about immigration, contact an experienced San Francisco immigration lawyer.
San Francisco, CA 94103
*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this article as a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances, and you should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. Publication of this article and your receipt of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship.