Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 immigrating to the United States has become very difficult. The Department of Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has been replaced by the Department of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is governed by the Department of Homeland Security. While less options are to available to folks hoping to come to the United States, you may find that you qualify for one of the following options.
Apply for a family-based visa. If you're the fiancé, spouse or child of an American citizen you may qualify for a K Visa. Spouses and children of U.S. Green Card holders should apply for a V Visa instead. These are good options if your reason for immigrating is to join a family currently residing in the United States.
Find an employer to sponsor you for an employment-related visa. Options for employment-related visas are Temporary Professionals (H-1B Visa), Temporary Skilled and Unskilled Workers (H-B2 Visa), Professional Trainees (H-3 Visa), Intra-Company Transfers (L Visa), or Nurses (H-C Visa) among others. Each visa has different requirements and durations of stay.
Read More: How Do I Find My Visa Number?
Explore the more unique options for employment-related visas such as O Visas for Persons of Extraordinary Ability. There are also visas for Representatives of Foreign Media (I Visas), Athletes, Artists or Entertainers (P Visas), Religious Workers (R Visas), and Government Representatives (A, G and NATO Visas).
Come to the United States to study. Academic students and their immediate families may qualify for F Visas while vocational students and their immediate families should opt for M Visas instead. Exchange Visitors can try for J Visas and International Cultural Exchange Visitors Q Visas. As with employment-based visas academic visa requirements vary.
Investing in the United States may also allow you the opportunity to apply for a visa. The Treaty Traders and Investors Visa, the E Visa, is valid for five years, but can be renewed continuously.
Enter to for a chance to be randomly selected in the U.S. Green Card Lottery. Every year the United States awards 50,000 people and their families with permanent legal resident status. If none of the other options apply to you then entering the lottery may be the best choice for you.
Megan Mattingly-Arthur has been writing professionally since 1998. She has contributed to various publications, including "Teen Voices" and "Positive Teens" magazines, as well as a book, "The Young Writer's Guide to Getting Published." Mattingly-Arthur is studying travel and tourism through Penn Foster Career School.