Who is Eligible to Immigrate to the U.S.?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Samuel McTyre with McTyre Gutierrez PLLC.
Immigrating to another country can be a complicated process, made no less complicated by eligibility requirements and documentation proving those requirements have been met. This is why it’s recommended to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer to help you or your loved one through the process when attempting to immigrate to the United States.
The following people may be eligible to immigrate to the United States:
- Someone over the age of 18.
- Someone with the ability to read, write, and speak basic English.
- Someone who has proof of good moral character (i.e. no criminal record, a letter from a religious institution, and/or character witnesses).
- Someone who is sponsored by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
While the requirements themselves are not particularly complex, proving that these eligibility requirements have been met can present a challenge. In most cases someone who wants to immigrate to the U.S. must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who can help them fill out an immigrant petition as well as a Green Card application (Form I-458). If the application is accepted after the sponsor has filed the petition on the immigrant’s behalf, that person becomes a permanent resident and is issued a green card, moving them along to the next step in the immigration process.
A person must hold a valid Green Card for five years before they are eligible to undergo the final naturalization process to conclude immigration.
After five years of living in the United States as a lawful permanent resident with a Green Card, the person in question can begin the final step of the immigration process: naturalization. Naturalization occurs in 10 steps, after the completion of which immigration will be complete and the person in question will be considered a U.S. citizen. During the naturalization process, eligible individuals will be required to properly complete and submit form N-400, undergo naturalization testing on subjects including U.S. history and civics, and undergo a personal interview. Once this process has finished, the person in question can be sworn in as a U.S. citizen, and the legal immigration process is complete.
It’s important to submit the required documentation and appropriate forms correctly the first time.
One of the biggest challenges of the immigration and naturalization process is the long wait time. It can take months for someone’s paperwork to be reviewed and approved, so it’s important to make sure every legal document related to the immigration is completed and submitted correctly the first time. This is another reason immigrants are encouraged to reach out to an experienced U.S. immigration law attorney to help complete and collect the necessary paperwork and documentation.
To learn more about who is or is not eligible to immigrate to the United States, for help beginning or completing the immigration process, reach out to an immigration lawyer in your area.