Immigration to the United States: An Overview

According to the Office of Immigration Statistics Annual Flow Report, in 2007, 1,052,415 persons became lawful permanent residents (LPRs) of the United States. Fifty-nine percent of those were already living in the U.S. when they were granted permanent residency. Two-thirds were granted permanent residency because they had a qualifying U.S. citizen or LPR sponsor.

The United States has always welcomed immigrants from all over the world and has helped immigrants integrate into the varied and inclusive American culture. A foreign citizen that wants to come to U.S. must apply for an entry visa. There are two basic types of visas for entry into the U.S., nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas. They are broken down into many categories in which a visitor can apply for a specific type visa to enter the U.S. they include: Nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, this group includes visas for:

  • Foreign government officials and their staff
  • Temporary visitor for pleasure or business
  • Aliens in transit
  • Academic visas
  • Temporary workers
  • Exchange visitors
  • Athletes and entertainers
  • Cultural exchange
  • Religious workers
  • Immigrant visa for permanent residence, this group includes visas for:
  • Family- based immigration Employment-based immigration

The Visa Waiver program allows citizens from certain countries to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without requiring a visa.

The type of visa you may require will depend on the specifics of your travel to the U.S. A visa is a request for permission to enter the U.S. Each year millions of people come to the U.S. as either visitors (nonimmigrants) or foreign nationals seeking permanent residency (immigrants). Immigrant visas can include request for Green Card, visas for employer-sponsored individual, or visas for individuals petitioned for entry into the U.S. by their family. Nonimmigrants visas can include student visas, visas for medical treatment, or tourist visas for a vacation in the U.S.

If you or someone you know is seeking immigration information or need assistance acquiring a visa to enter the U.S., you should contact a qualified and capable immigration attorney for professional assistance with your petition. An immigration lawyer can help with your request for a temporary entry visa or permanent residence visa.

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