This website is for general use only and is not a substitute for speaking to a practicing lawyer or licensed paralegal and should not be relied upon as case specific advice in any form whatsoever.
There are essentially two paths to obtain Lawful Permanent Residency (“LPR”) status. The first is Family Based while the second is Employment Based. There is an excellent web site maintained by the U.S. Department of State, updated monthly, which provides an excellent overview of the system. Merely enter the words “visa bulletin” and then follow the links to the travel.state.gov site.
The U.S. immigration regimen uses a system of “preferences” to determine the number of visa slots to be issued each year against the total worldwide quota of approximately 140,000.
FB 1st Preference – Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
FB 2nd Preference (a) – Spouses and minor, unmarried children of Lawful Permanent Residents
FB 2nd Preference (b) – Adult, unmarried sons and daughters of Lawful Permanent Residents
FB3rd Preference – Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
FB 4th Preference – Brothers and Sisters of U.S. citizens
With the exception of the FB 1st Preference, all of the above categories are heavily oversubscribed and there are delays of many years in Imm Visa availability for these preferences.
Marriage to U.S. citizen. The great exception to the above delays is by way of marriage to U.S. citizens. There is immediate availability for the foreign spouses of U.S. citizens. The USCIS monitors these applications carefully in order to deter fraud.
The essential elements to establish for this category are the following: