Those family members (must be a spouse or unmarried
children under 21) who are eligible to receive immigrant or nonimmigrant
visas based on their relation to the visa holder.
Adjusting status is the process of moving from one
immigrant status to another. Often used to describe changing status
from H-1B non-immigrant to permanent resident.
(aka Labor Condition Application, or LCA)
A sworn statement that must be made by a foreign
worker's prospective US employer to the US Department of Labor
before a formal non-immigrant employment visa petition can be
made. Attestations are designed to show that the employer will
not be unfairly replacing American candidates for the position
by hiring a foreigner and undercutting wages.
Program (Green Card Lottery)
A free annual lottery held by the US government
which attempts to increase diversity in the US population by randomly
selecting people from those countries which have the fewest immigrants
to the US relative to their population. To learn more about the
green card lottery, click here.
An H-1B alien can apply for an immigrant
visa, adjustment of status, or take
other steps toward permanent resident status without affecting
H-1B status. This is known as "dual intent" and has been recognized
in the immigration law since passage of the Immigration Act of
1990.While an application for permanent resident status is pending,
an alien may travel on his or her H-1B visa rather than obtaining
advance parole or request other advance
permission from the USCIS to return to the U.S.
Card ("Alien Registration Receipt Card")
A photo i.d. whose possession allows you to live
and work legally inside the U.S. as a permanent resident. The
green card lets you travel outside the U.S. and return as long
you maintain your primary residence in the U.S. Renewable after
A visa issued to those who have been approved to
reside in the U.S. permanently and receive green cards. Once you
obtain a green card, it replaces your immigrant visa. One who
possesses an immigrant visa is considered to have immigrant status.
A visa applicant may be refused
a visa on grounds of inadmissibility such as possessing a criminal
history, suspicion of subversive activities or lack of financial
support. In some such cases it may be possible to file an appeal.
Upon entering the US, an immigration inspector should
issue you anUSCIS form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record). The bottom
right-hand corner of this form indicates when you must leave the
US. You must return this record upon your departure. Canadians
are not issued I-94 cards.
The first step in receiving an employment-based
immigrant visa for certain classes of workers. The potential US
employer must first undergo an elaborate and often lengthy process
of advertising the position, based on specific instructions from
the US Department of Labor, to ensure that no qualified American
workers are available to perform the job before hiring the foreign
Condition Application (LCA)
The legal process through which a green card holder
becomes a legal US citizen, with all the rights and privileges
of a US citizen.
Length of Process: After ten years of residency
in the US without interruption, many green card holders may apply
to become naturalized citizens.
Issued to those planning to live or work only temporarily
in the U.S.; in order to obtain this visa you must be able to
show that you intend to return to your home country after your
One who possesses a non-immigrant visa is considered
to have non-immigrant status. Status can be changed from
nonimmigrant to immigrant status only if it can be proven that
the possessor of the current visa did not intend to live permanently
in the U.S. at the time the nonimmigrant visa was issued.
In certain situations, one may
be allowed to enter the U.S. without meeting visa requirements.
Advance parole lets non-immigrant
visa holders, or sometimes illegal aliens, travel outside the
U.S. without needing to re-apply for a visa upon returning. Advance
parole must be issued before leaving the U.S.
Who Needs Advance Parole:
Aliens in the United States who have an emergent
personal or bona fide reason to travel temporarily abroad and
For more on advance parole
for H and L visa holders, see the "Visa
Updates" section. Also see the December 13,2000 USCIS
A form which is normally the first step in the visa
application process. After a petition is approved, the applicant
can proceed with Part 2 of the process, the application.
The petitioner is the individual who sponsors the visa
applicant's petition. A petitioner can be one's US employer or
a family member who is a US citizen or green-card holder.
Certain groups of people are
given first chance at the green cards available under a quota
every year. The two main preference categories are family
preference and employment
The date from which a green card filing officially
begins. The priority date determines your place in the quota.
The number of immigrant or non-immigrant visas available
during a particular year for certain types of visa categories.
Not all visa categories have quotas. Check the quota
page for details on each visa.
A legal proceeding in US courts
to determine whether a foreigner may be allowed to remain in the
US. Many immigrants facing removal have the right to a deportation
A temporary status which allows foreign victims
of war or natural disaster to live and work in the US for a limited
period of time. Note: This status does NOT lead to a green
Currently available for residents of:
||January 22, 2010
||July 22, 2011
March 9, 2001
September 9, 2010
January 5, 1999
July 5, 1010
January 5, 1999
July 5, 2010
September 4, 2001
March 17, 2011
October 7, 2004
November 2, 2011
* You may be able to re-register for Temporary Protected Status if you originally registered by the deadline for a specific country. For more information about re-registration guidelines, please see the US
Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services website.