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There are a number of basis on which a person may apply for a green card (permanent residency). It can be a spousal relationship with US citizen or permanent resident. US citizens can petition for foreign-born spouses as immediate relatives. Lawful permanent residents can petition for their spouses, however, unlike with US citizen spouses, the petition falls into the second preference family category.

Also, parents, son or daughter, or the brother or sister of a US citizen may apply for adjustment of status to permanent residency when a visa petition is approved on their behalf. Unmarried son or daughter of any age of a lawful permanent resident with an approved family-based visa petition may also apply.

Foreign nationals for whom an employer filed an immigrant petition and got an approval may apply for adjustment of status to permanent residency. One may apply for adjustment of status only when an immigrant visa number is available from the State Department unless he or she is in a category that is exempt from numerical limitations. Immediate relatives of United States citizens are exempt from this requirement. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are parents, spouses, and unmarried children under 21.

For family members of lawful permanent residents, law limits visa numbers every year. This means that even if the USCIS approves an immigrant visa petition for you, you may not get an immigrant visa number immediately. In some cases, several years could pass between the time USCIS approves your immigrant visa petition and the State Department gives you an immigrant visa number.

Asylees or refugees may apply for adjustment of status if they have been in the United States for at least a year after being given asylum or refugee status and still qualify for asylum or refugee status.

Cuban citizens or natives who have been in the U.S. for at least a year after being inspected, admitted, or paroled into the United States may also apply for adjustment of status. Their spouses and children who are residing in the U.S. may also be eligible for adjustment of status.

Continuous residents of the U.S. since before January 1, 1972 may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status.

There may be other basis for adjustment of status.
One of the popular ways to obtain permanent residency in the U.S. is obtaining it through an employer.

In short, the employer must prove to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through a several step application process that the employer can not find a qualified U.S. worker for its open job position. Labor Certification (LC) is a necessary preliminary step for the employer to proceed with a permanent resident petition with the USCIS for its foreign employee.

Labor Certification confirms:

There is not a sufficient number of U.S. workers who are able, qualified, and willing to accept the job offer in question at the  prevailing wagefor that occupation in the area where the employer intends the foreign worker to take the job; and
By employing the foreign worker, neither the wages nor the working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers will be adversely affected.
A procedure for Labor Certification called PERM became effective on March 28, 2005. Although the LC requirement is derived from one sentence in the Immigration and Nationality Act, the LC procedure established by the DOL to implement the requirement is detailed and cumbersome. 

Under PERM, employers will obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) from the applicable State Workforce Agency (SWA) and conduct recruitment for the open position. DOL regulations governing the LC process require that efforts to recruit qualified resident workers be documented as part of the application process. Under PERM regulations, the employer is required to conduct recruitment more than 30 days and less than 180 days prior to filing. If no able, qualified, and willing U.S. workers apply for the position, the employer will complete and submit (online or by mail) a detailed form about the job duties, minimum requirements, wages, recruitment efforts, recruitment results, etc. to one of two DOL PERM processing centers. The DOL processing centers will conduct a quick anti-fraud check (to make sure the employer exists and has employees) and if the application is not selected for audit based on unpublished factors or based on random quality control factors, the DOL will certify the application.

The employer has the option of filing an LC electronically (using web-based forms and instructions) or by mail. However, the Department of Labor recommends that employers file electronically. Not only is electronic filing, by its nature, faster, but it will also ensure the employer has provided all required information, as an electronic application cannot be submitted if the required fields are not completed.

After the DOL approves a Labor Certification, the employer must file an associated immigrant petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before the Labor Certification’s validity period expires (180 days).

Waiver of the Labor Certification Requirement – National Interest Waiver

Employers may obtain waivers so that they don’t have to fulfill the Labor Certification requirement. This can only be done if the employer is able to prove that hiring the alien will be “in the national interest”, particularly for aliens who are unusually talented or are working in an area of great industrial importance. Employers should consult a qualified immigration attorney before attempting to obtain such a waiver.

The EB-1 visa is an immigrant visa, which allows foreign nationals with “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics to obtain permanent residency in the U.S. Applicant’s achievements must have been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim or must be recognized in the field through extensive documentation.

On EB-1 immigrant visa, a foreign national may reside permanently and work in the U.S., without having to go through the process of labor certification. He or she can also travel freely in and out of the U.S. and apply for dependent status for spouse and children below 21 years.

Types of EB-1:

EB-1(A): This category is for foreign nationals possessing “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics:

Employment offer is not required for this type of a petition;
Applicant must meet 3 of 10 criteria listed below, or provide evidence of a one-time achievement (i.e., Pulitzer, Oscar, and Olympic Medal).
EB-1(B): This category is for an “outstanding professor or researcher”:

Applicant must demonstrate international recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field;
Applicant must have at least 3 years experience in teaching or research in that academic area;
Applicant must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education;
Applicant must include documentation of at least two from the list below and an offer of employment from the prospective U.S. employer.
EB-1(C): This category is for a “manager or executive” subject to international transfer to the U.S.

Applicant must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization;
Applicant’s employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer;
Applicant’s petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer;
Applicant’s employer must have been doing business for at least 1 year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed you abroad.
In order to prove extraordinary ability in your field,you must meet 3 out of the 10 criteria listed below:

Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence;
Membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members;
Published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel;
Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field;
Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
Evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
Performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations;
High salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field;
Commercial successes in the performing arts.
Application Process

A foreign national qualifying for Extraordinary Ability may petition for him/herself by filing the Petition for Alien Worker; for those who qualify as Outstanding Professors and Researchers and Multinational Managers or Executives: and applicant’s employer must file the Petition for Alien Worker.
You may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or if you are a foreign national who has exceptional ability.

Employment-based, second-preference petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved individual labor certification from the Department of Labor. To qualify for an EB-2 visa, your employer must file a Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS.


Advanced Degree:

The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years of progressive work experience in the field);

Documentation, such as an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that you have at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty.

Exceptional Ability:

You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business”;

You must meet at least three of the criteria below.

National Interest Waiver:

Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. National interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the national interest; 

Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker;

Applicant must meet at least three of the criteria below and demonstrate that it is in the national interest that you work permanently in the United States.

Criteria of Eligibility:

Official academic record showing that applicant has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability;
Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in particular occupation;
A license to practice the profession or certification for the profession or occupation;
Evidence that applicant has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates his/her exceptional ability;
Membership in a professional association(s);
Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by the peers, government entities, professional or business organizations;
Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.
Dependents: spouse and children under the age of 21 of EB-2 status holders may be admitted to the United States in E-21 and E-22 immigrant status, respectively. During the process where an applicant and his/her spouse are applying for permanent resident status (status as a green card holder), the spouse is eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
The EB-3 employment visa is an immigrant visa, which allows foreign nationals who are skilled workers, professionals or other type of workers to enter into the U.S. to obtain permanent residency.

Types of the EB-3 Employment-based Immigrant Visa/Status:

EB-3(A): This category is for “professional workers”. Your petition must be accompanied by evidence that you are a foreign national who holds a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree. This evidence may be in the form of an official college or university record showing the date the baccalaureate degree was awarded and area of concentration of study. You also have to be a member of the professions. It requires evidence showing that the minimum of a baccalaureate degree is required for entry into the occupation.
EB-3(B): This category is for “skilled workers”. You must be a foreign national capable of performing skilled labor, which requires at least two years of training or experience; is not of a temporary or seasonal nature; does not have appropriately qualified workers available in the U.S. Relevant post-secondary education may be considered as training for the purposes of this provision.
EB-3(C): This category is for “unskilled workers”. You must be a qualified foreign national who is capable of performing unskilled labor which: requires less than two years of training or experience; is not of a temporary or seasonal nature; does not have appropriately qualified workers available in the U.S.
Your petition for EB-3 classification must be accompanied by evidence that you meet any educational, training and experience, and other requirements of the Labor Certification.All categories under the EB-3 Employment require a job offer from a U.S. company.

Steps to Obtain EB-3 Visa/Status:

If you want to enter the U.S. as an EB-3 worker, you must go through the following multi-step process:

Your prospective employer must determine if you are eligible for lawful permanent residency in the U.S.
Your prospective U.S. employer must complete Application for Permanent Employment Certification, and submit it on your behalf to the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. Your certification request must be either granted or denied by the Department of Labor.
The USCIS must approve Petition for Alien Worker, filed on your behalf.
The State Department must give you an immigrant visa number.
If you are already in the U.S., you must apply to adjust to permanent resident status after a visa number becomes available.
If you are outside the U.S., you must complete your immigrant visa processing at the U.S. Consulate.

Dependents: spouse of EB-3 status holder may be admitted to the United States in E34 (spouse of a “skilled worker” or “professional”) or EW4 (spouse of an “other worker”). During the process where you and your spouse are applying for permanent resident status (status as a green card holder), your spouse is eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Your minor children (under the age of 21) may be admitted as E35 (child of a “skilled worker” or “professional”) or EW5 (child of an “other worker”).
The EB-4 visa was initially reserved for certain religious workers. U.S. Congress has created several additional visas for various groups over the last twenty years to allow certain classes of people to enter the United States and obtain permanent residency. Those visas have been placed in the EB-4 category. As this is a “catch-all” category, each type of visa is distinctly different from the other.

You may be eligible for an employment-based, fourth preference visa if you are a special immigrant according to one of the following:

Religious Workers;
Special Immigrant Juveniles;
G-4 International Organization or NATO-6 Employees and Their Family Members;
International Employees of the U.S. Government Abroad;
Armed Forces Members;
Panama Canal Zone Employees;
Certain Physicians;
Afghan and Iraqi Translators;
Afghan and Iraqi Nationals Who Have Provided Faith Service in Support of U.S. Operations.
There is a statutory numerical limit (or “cap”) of 5,000 workers who may be issued a special immigrant non-minister religious worker visa during each fiscal year. There is no cap for special immigrant religious workers entering the U.S. solely for the purpose of carrying on the vocation of a minister.

Dependents: some classifications allow derivative beneficiaries. Spouses and children, unmarried under the age of 21 of EB-4 status holders may also be admitted to the United States for permanent residence. 

For more information about EB-5 Program, please visit our website www.eb5-invest-in-us.com dedicated solely to investors.

If you are considering investing significant amount of capital in a new enterprise or buying an existing one or buying just a share in an enterprise, EB-5 might be an option for you.

Under Section 8 CFR § 204.6 an Entrepreneur investing $1.8 million or more in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. that will each create at least 10 jobs is eligible for permanent residency.

Low Employment Areas 

The investment amount of $1.8 million is reduced to $900,000 if the investor is creating jobs in an area outside of metropolitan statistical areas, where unemployment is 150% of the National Rate. Such areas are called “Employment Targeted Areas” (“TEA”) since entrepreneurs are encouraged to invest in these areas and create jobs.  Generally speaking if you are investing in a rural area, most likely your investment could be $900,000, but in a city setting under the new rules that came into effect in 2019, you have to invest $1,800,000.

Investment through a Regional Center is a rather popular option as they are the ones who start and run the project, qualify it under the TEA rules, hire the necessary workers and deal with all administrative and business issues developing the project.  The amount of investment into a Regional Center is $900,000 and is discussed below.

Additional Eligibility Requirement: 

If the business being purchased is not really new, but an established business, then an existing business must be proved to being expanded by 40%;

The investor has to be involved in the management of the enterprise either by policy formulation or day to day management. Participation as the board member of a corporation suffices, as does limited partnership under the Uniform Limited Partnership Act. This means that the investor himself must be in control of his enterprise, although he might be spending significant time outside of the U.S., if he prefers.

Investment in the enterprise need not be limited to an alien entrepreneur. One or more entrepreneurs may invest in the enterprise, including alien entrepreneurs seeking the benefit of this provision, provided that at least 10 jobs are created for each alien seeking benefits. The jobs created must be full-time jobs for U.S. employees as defined in the regulations; a full-time job counts as a single job even though it may be shared part-time by more than one U.S. worker.

Capital needs not be in cash, but can be equipment, inventory or other tangible property. A bank loan can serve as an investment if such loan is secured by Investor’s assets.

Steps to obtain EB-5 through Regional Centers:

First, the immigrant investor expresses an interest in the EB-5 program, and selects one of EB-5 Affiliate Network USCIS approved Regional Centers and a specific investment project sponsored by that Regional Center. A complete investment offering memorandum and related materials are provided by EB-5 Affiliate Network to interested immigrant investors who qualify for the EB-5 program as accredited investors.

Once an investor decides to proceed, the investor will be required to complete and execute all subscription and Escrow documents and to submit therewith the required capital contribution of $900,000 or $1.8 million, depending on the location of the investment project, together with an additional administrative fee amount. The source of these funds must be documented to establish that they are lawful funds. The investor or his/her legal counsel will file a petition requesting to approve the immigrant investor applicant and his/her intended investment for conditional permanent residency (i.e. temporary Green Card). Typically, once the petition is approved by USCIS, the Escrow Agent will release the capital to the appropriate investment entity. In the rare case that an investor’s petition is denied (following appeal, if applicable), the Escrow Agent will return the immigrant investor’s capital to the investor. Between 21 and 24 months following conditional permanent resident status being granted, the investor will be able to file an application with the USCIS to remove the conditions on his/her residence in the U.S.

Dependents: EB-5 visa applicants, their spouse, and their children under 21 will obtain their permanent residence (green card) once all requirements have been successfully met and approved by the USCIS.

The amount of documentation to file for this category is quite voluminous and the process itself is very complex.




Ministers and non-ministers in religious vocations and occupations may immigrate to (or adjust status in) the U.S. for the purpose of performing religious work in a full-time compensated position.

Religious workers are divided into three subcategories: ministers, professionals and workers in a religious occupation or vocation. Ministers are people authorized by the religion to conduct worship services and perform other functions. It does not include lay persons who participate in services but are not authorized to perform the duties of a minister. A professional religious position is one for which the minimum requirement is a baccalaureate degree. A religious occupation is where one traditionally part of the work of the denomination. It does not include support staff such as clerks or maintenance workers. Typical examples would be missionaries, counselors and liturgical workers. A religious vocation is a calling to the religious life with a demonstrable commitment to that life such as taking vows. Typical in this category would be monks and nuns.

There is a statutory numerical limit (or “cap”) of 5,000 workers who may be issued a special immigrant non-minister religious worker visa during each fiscal year. There is no cap for special immigrant religious workers entering the U.S. solely for the purpose of carrying on the vocation of a minister.

To be eligible in the religious worker visa category, you must:

have been a member of a bona fide non-profit religious denomination for at least two years prior to filing the petition;
have been working continuously as a religious minister in a religious vocation or in a religious occupation (either professional or non-professional capacity) for the past two years immediately prior to filing the immigrant petition. This work may be done either in or out of the U.S. In most cases where the work is done in the U.S., the person has been in the U.S. on an R-1 visa, the nonimmigrant visa given to religious workers;
seek to enter the United States solely to carry out such religious occupation of the employer’s denomination. 
Petition must be accompanied by:

evidence that the organization qualifies as a nonprofit religious organization in the form of an Internal Revenue Service tax-exempt documentation;
letter from an authorized official of the religious organization in the United States establishing membership for at least two (2) years in the religious denomination and two years experience as a minister, professional or worker in a religious occupation or vocation immediately preceding the filing of the petition;
letter that certifies the individual is authorized to perform the duties of a minister, or is qualified in the religious occupation or vocation.

A special immigrant religious worker’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow to join the principal religious worker or adjust status in the United States.
The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered on an annual basis by the U.S. Department of State and conducted under the terms of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Section 203(c) of the (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.

For Fiscal Year 2021, 55,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) will be available.

For DV-2021, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply, because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years:

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

Russia still remains in the list of participating countries.

How to participate in DV lottery?

Applicants submit their Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV Entry Form or DS-5501), online at https://travel.state.gov. There is no cost to submit an entry form. Hardcopiesarenotaccepted.
The Department of State implemented the electronic registration system beginning with DV-2005 in order to make the Diversity Visa process more efficient and secure. Special technology and other means are used to identify those who commit fraud for the purposes of illegal immigration or those who submit multiple entries. 
How are winners determined?
Candidates are determined by the State Department through random computer-generated selection. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions in a way that no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available Diversity Visas in any one year. 

Where can I find accurate information regarding DV Entry Forms and process requirements?

There are many websites with information about the annual lottery, but we advise you to refer only to official sources. You can access the information regarding the requirements for participation in the DV Lottery, as well as answers for frequently asked questions on the official website of the Consul of the State Department where instructions for the Green Card Lottery – 2021 are presented (see link below):


Can I increase the chances of winning the lottery?
You cannot help to be selected: the “winners” are determined by a special program randomly, but you can increase the chance of winning by filing applications by all family members at the same time.

Can I apply for the lottery while in the United States?

Yes you can. It is possible to adjust status in the USA under this category even for people with pending status or, who awaiting a decision on their case (for example, while waiting for an Asylum interview). An experienced lawyer will consider all possible options in your specific situation and suggest solutions.

What happens if I was selected and not in the USA?

Being selected at the Green Card Lottery does not mean that you will get the residency in the US. In order to obtain the actual Green Card, you will have to go through quite long, complex and costly process.

Here are main steps to getting Green Card after being selected at the Lottery:

submission of DS-260 Form;
collection of documents;
medical examination;
visa interview.
The interview takes place at the US Embassy or Consulate in your home country.  You will be issued an Immigrant Visa if the interview results in your favor. You will get the actual Green Card only after entering the USA.

Do I need a lawyer to submit the DV Entry Form or after I will be selected? 

DV-lottery is a great chance for many people to adjust their status to permanent residency in the USA. Please note, that it is critical to follow the requirements for DV-lottery entry in order to successfully submit your application. Our professionals can provide you with careful assistance in submitting your DV-lottery application and increase your chances to participate. 

If you were lucky to win, then retaining a qualified immigration lawyer will help you to move forward and guarantee the consistent process, which will lead you to the desired result.
One can become a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. based on different legal grounds, such as through family petition, employment visa, asylee or refugee status for at least a year, etc. Although the requirements and evidence one must submit differ from one category to the other, there are certain requirements that every adjustment of status applicant must comply with before his/her application for lawful permanent residence is approved.

Both the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Immigration Courts have jurisdiction to grant a lawful permanent resident status, depending on the person’s status at the time of the application. The first and most important thing you must do if you would like to apply for a lawful permanent resident status is: to file a properly completed and signed Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, along with other required civil and identity documents and, of course, a proof of your basis for applying for green card.

For example, if you are applying for green card based on an approved family petition, you must enclose copy of the approval notice from USCIS, or if you are applying based on some type of employment visa, you must similarly enclose the proof of approval or pending underlying petition that allows you to become eligible for permanent residency.

There are also instances where one is eligible to apply concurrent petitions of family or employment visas along with the Form I-485, in which case, you submit all forms and proof of eligibility together in the same application package. One example of these instances will be when a foreigner marries a United States Citizen, the law allows that person to apply for green card concurrently with the underlying family petition that the U.S. Citizen spouse will be filing.

Other important documents that are required to be submitted before one can get approved for a permanent resident status are medical evaluation forms, birth certificates and proof of lawful and inspected entry to the U.S. Like stated above, every application is considered for evidence on a case by case basis and it is always advisable to retain a knowledgeable immigration attorney to assist you in your application.

If you decide to apply on your own, the USCIS website has detailed instructions and applicable forms that you can download and fill out free of charge, but an experienced attorney can offer you peace of mind by ensuring that everything is done correctly the first time.

Generally, deportation is removal of an alien from the United States when the alien has been found removable for violating the immigration laws. Deportation is ordered by an immigration judge without any punishment being imposed or contemplated. Deportation of immigrants and other individuals may result as a consequence for entering the United States illegally. You can also be deported if you are not a citizen and have committed certain crime that are makes you removable under immigration laws.

Exclusion vs. Deportation

Exclusion applies when a foreign individual is seeking admission to the United States. Thus, if he or she attempting to get a green card, a visa or just cross the border, he or she can be excluded/prevented from doing so. If the United States government has determined that you should be excluded, there are time limits when you can re-enter the U.S. based on the reason of exclusion.

A person who is already in the United States is potentially subject to removal or deportation. Even if you have a valid visa or green card, you can be deported if you break the terms of your visa or status. Similarly, you can only re-enter the U.S. after certain time, based on the reason of deportation.

Reasons for Deportation or Exclusion

Because staying in the United States is a privilege and not a right for non-citizens, the United States government can force an individual to return to his or her home country for a number of reasons, such as: committing immigration fraud; conviction of drug offenses and other crimes.

Stopping Removal/Deportation

If you have been served with a notice to appear in deportation proceedings (charged as removable from the U.S.), you still may be able to stay in the United States by seeking various forms of relief, including the following: asylum, suspended deportation, withholding of removal, cancellation of removal, voluntary departure and more

A person may become a U.S. citizen (1) by birth or (2) through naturalization. Generally, people are born U.S. citizens if they are born in the United States or if they are born to U.S. citizens. If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth or did not acquire U.S. citizenship automatically after birth, you may still be eligible to become a citizen through the normal naturalization process. People who are 18 years and older use the “Application for Naturalization” (Form N-400) to become naturalized. Persons who acquired citizenship from parent(s) while under 18 years of age use the “Application for a Certificate of Citizenship” (Form N-600) to document their naturalization. Adopted children who acquired citizenship from parent(s) use the “Application for a Certificate of Citizenship on Behalf of an Adopted Child” (Form N-643) to document their naturalization.

Naturalization is a process whereby a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) may apply to become a citizen of the United States.

There are certain eligibility requirements that must be fulfilled in order to qualify for citizenship:

Age:Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Children under 18 can apply for citizenship under different procedures.

Residency: An applicant must have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence, meaning accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States as an immigrant in accordance with the immigration laws. Individuals who have been lawfully admitted as permanent residents will be asked to present an I-551, Alien Registration Receipt Card (also known as Green Card), as proof of their status.

Residence and Physical Presence: An applicant is only eligible to file if, immediately preceding the filing of the application, he or she has resided continuously as a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. for at least 5 years (only 3 years if he or she acquired lawful permanent resident status through marriage to a U.S. citizen and is still married to that person at the time of application for naturalization) prior to filing with no single absence from the United States of more than one year; has been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the previous five years (18 months out of the previous three years); and has resided within a state or district for at least three months.

Good Moral Character: Generally, an applicant must show that he or she has been a person of good moral character for the statutory period (typically five years or three years if married to a U.S. citizen or one year for Armed Forces expedite) prior to filing for naturalization.

An applicant is permanently barred from naturalization if he or she has ever been convicted of murder. An applicant is also permanently barred from naturalization if he or she has been convicted of an aggravated felony as defined in section 101(a)(43) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act on or after November 29, 1990.

A person also cannot be found to be a person of good moral character if during the last five years he or she has committed certain crimes or acted in a manner the law considers improvable.

An applicant must disclose all relevant facts to USCIS, including his or her entire criminal history, regardless of whether the criminal history disqualifies the applicant under the enumerated provisions.

Please note that all male lawful permanent residents between 18 and 26 must register for the Selective Service in order to qualify for naturalization.

Attachment to the Constitution: An applicant must show that he or she is attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States.

Language: Applicants for naturalization must be able to read, write, speak and understand words in ordinary usage in the English language.There are applicants who may be exempted from these requirements, based on their age and health condition.

United States Government and History Knowledge: An applicant for naturalization must demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history and of the principles and form of government of the United States. Again, certain applicants may be exempted from this requirement.

Oath of Allegiance: To become a citizen, one must take the Oath of Allegiance. By doing so, an applicant swears to:

support the Constitution and obey the laws of the U.S.;
renounce any foreign allegiance and/or foreign title; and
bear arms for the Armed Forces of the U.S. or perform services for the government of the U.S. when required.
In certain instances, where the applicant establishes that he or she is opposed to any type of service in armed forces based on religious teaching or belief, USCIS will permit these applicants to take a modified oath.
Asylum Application Process

How to apply for Asylum?

Generally, an asylum applicant must prove that he/she has a “well-founded fear of persecution” based on his/her race, religion, membership in a social group, political opinion or national origin. Once granted asylum the person is called an Asylee.

Individuals inside the U.S. may apply for asylum in one of two ways:

Affirmative Asylum:The application is submitted “affirmatively” by mailing it to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which will then schedule an interview with an asylum officer in one of eight Asylum Offices in the USA.
Defensive Asylum:The application is submitted “as a way to prevent deportation when an asylum seeker is in removal proceedings”. In defensive cases, an Immigration Judge decides whether to grant the applicant asylum status or not.
The application must be submitted within one year after entering the United States, otherwise the person will be found automatically ineligible. There are a number of exceptions to this rule, which can be considered if you fall out of filing time. A person can apply for asylum, EVEN IF he does not have any legal immigration status in the USA (for example, the status has expired).

An asylum application usually consists of the following:

the actual official form for asylum;
applicant’s personal Affidavit (your testimony explaining the reasons of seeking asylum, the reasons for your fear of returning to your home country, the country conditions, the political situation, etc.);
supporting documentation for claim;
passport/ identity documents;
certificates of birth/marriage;
other documentation.
It should be noted that each case is unique and the list of documents will vary.

What determines the success of your asylum application?

individual circumstances, experiences of the applicant, and country conditions;
how well the case is prepared and documented;
the amount of harm (persecution) that have already resulted and the harm that would or might result;
how the applicant is prepared for the asylum interview (must be found credible and genuine);
policies of the US towards applicants from particular countries; and
other factors.
What happens after your application submitted?

After the asylum application is accepted by USCIS, the person can legally remain in the country while his or her application is pending. A person may apply for an Advance Parole at this time if he needs to leave and enter USA. However, traveling to his native country is not recommended as this may weaken the credibility of stated in Asylum application fear of persecution in that country.

After changes in the priorities for interview scheduling, published on January 29, 2018, it is expected that the applicant will receive an interview notice in the order “from new to old” (discussed above). In reality, time vary depending on the workload of the departments where such applications are processed.

If everything goes well at the asylum interview, asylum will be granted and a written notice will be mailed in a few weeks. If the asylum is not granted, the case will be referred to Immigration Court, where the applicant gets another chance to present his or her case before an Immigration Judge. An Immigration Judge will schedule the day of the main hearing. Depending on the workload of a particular immigration court, the hearing will take place no earlier than one year later.

An asylum applicant can apply for a work authorization (EAD) within 150 days from the date of filing the initial asylum application.

If asylum is denied by an Immigration Judge, the applicant may file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals, located in Falls Church, VA.

What checks will applicants be subjected to?

Applicants for asylum must be fingerprinted and have to pass verification by all relevant US authorities, including FBI, INS, and also pass verification through the State Department and other databases. The US authorities need to check if there are any reasons why applicants may not be allowed in the United States, for example, because of their criminal history.

Can I apply for US permanent residence (green card) after I get Asylee or Refugee status?

Refugee or Asylee may apply for permanent residency in the United States 1 year after being accepted as refugee or granted asylum. Refugee is required by law to apply for permanent resident status, Asylee is not required, but have the right to do so. Applicants must meet the basic requirements for their category in order to receive a green card. You can find these requirements on the official USCIS website by clicking on the link below.

Applying from Outside of US

If applying from out of the USA, you are applying for a Refugee status

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in its overseas offices reviews applications for refugee status considering special circumstances on each individual case. If the INS decides that a person meets the refugee criteria, the refugee is subjected to an additional medical examination and security check to determine any reasons the applicant could be denied entry in the United States.

To qualify for refugee resettlement in the U.S., a person must come from a country designated by the U.S. Department of State and meet the definition of a refugee by proving that he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, membership in a social group, political opinion, or national origin. In addition, a refugee must fit into one of a set of “priority” categories, which factor in degree of risk to the refugee’s life, membership in certain groups of special concern to the U.S., and existence of family members in the U.S.
Temporary Protected Status

What is TPS?

The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. 

USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States.  Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.

The Secretary may designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country:

Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war);
An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic;
Other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
During a designated period, eligible individuals:

Are not removable from the United States;
Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD);
May be granted travel authorization.
While having TPS by itself does not lead to permanent resident status (a green card), a TPS beneficiary may be able to immigrate to the U.S. permanently under other provision of law, if qualified.

For the list of countries that are currently designated for TPS, please follow the link below: