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Visit or Study
Family Based
Employment Based
Citizenship

Introduction to US immigration

Visit or Study


​The United States supports international education and welcomes foreign students and exchange visitors. Students and exchange visitors must be accepted by their schools or program sponsors before applying for visas.


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Citizenship


Legal permanent residents over age 18 may apply for US citizenship after waiting the statutory period of five years, or three years for those living in marital union with a US citizen spouse. While legal permanent resident’s children under 18 may acquire citizenship automatically from their US citizen parents.

At an interview at the USCIS local office, applicants will take an English language, civics and history test, and go over their N-400 application for citizenship.  

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Green Card: Employment Based


There are five preference categories of employee or investor immigrants (and their spouses and children): (EB-1) priority workers; (EB-2) professionals with advanced degrees or aliens of exceptional ability; (EB-3) skilled workers, professionals (without advanced degrees) and needed unskilled workers; (EB-4) special immigrants, those who work as ministers, religious workers or employees of the US government abroad; and (EB-5) job creation immigrants or investors.  


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Green Card: Family Based


Those with an “immediate relative” relationship to a US citizen aged 21 or over have immigrant visas available to them without much wait. Most family based immigrant visas are granted to spouses, children under 21 and parents of US citizens for this reason.  

Those with a similar relationship to an LPR or a close, but not immediate relationship to a US citizen may also apply for a family-based immigrant visa, but they have a several year wait for visa availability. They
fall into family-sponsored preference categories, and their “place in line,” or wait time depending on their filing date, can be found in the monthly Department of State Visa Bulletin.


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