The term Immigrant visa is commonly defined as a visa that allows a person to enter the United States and remain permanently. The individual and or his family will receive a “Green Card”, which authorizes them to remain permanently in the United States and authorizes them to be re-admitted to the United States after travelling abroad. This status provides the same benefits of a United States citizen, except for the ability to vote in any governmental election.

Some of the various methods in which to obtain an immigrant visa, permanent residence status, would be through either business, family, political asylum or other governmental action.

The family based immigrant visa is one where a United States citizen petitions for an immediate family member. This includes; spouse, mother, father, sister, brother or child. A Permanent resident alien may petition for their spouse and un married children. It should be noted that there are numerous qualifying requirements for these petitions.

Employment based immigrant visas include:

The employment based are divided into 5 categories:

  • EB-1 – Priority Workers
  • EB-2 – Members of the Professions holding advanced degrees or of exceptional ability
  • EB-3 – Skilled workers, professionals and other workers (these must go through the labor certification process)
  • EB-4 – Certain special immigrants (this category normally is unavailable worldwide)
  • EB-5 – Job creation /Entrepreneur visa
  • Labor certification – Where it is established that there are insufficient United States Citizens or permanent resident aliens available to fill the vacancy. Certain L-1A, executive who meets certain requirements may be eligible for an immigrant visa.

These provide a path to permanent residency in the United States through investment and job creation, extraordinary qualifications in business, sports, and entertainment fields.

The distribution of these visas is controlled by the “annual allocation” by country, commonly known as the visa quotas. These visas are controlled by priority dates which are dates by which the application is filed with either USCIS or the US Embassy.

An example would be: the current priority date for an EB-3 visa from India would be March 24th 2005, meaning that the petition would have had to have been filed prior to that date for that person to now be eligible to receive their immigrant visa. As you can see it is dependent on the country you are petitioning from and the category you are looking to obtain.