If you are outside the United States and you are eligible to apply for permanent resident status, then you may apply for an immigrant visa. If approved, you will enter the United States as a permanent resident and you will receive a green card.
The immigrant visa process typically involves a petition from a qualifying relative or an employer. You might also qualify to apply for an immigrant visa if you have been the victim of a crime in the United States, or have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent.
For many people, eligibility to apply for an immigrant visa is based on marriage. In most cases, U.S. immigration officials recognize any marriage that was lawfully conducted in the place where the marriage took place, including same-sex marriages.
U.S. immigration officials, however, do not recognize marriages to more than one person at the same time. In other words, in order to have your marriage legally recognized by U.S. immigration officials, all previous marriages must be terminated prior to your current marriage.
If the visa petition from your relative or from your employer is approved, then you may apply for an immigrant visa. Depending on your particular situation, you may need to wait a certain period of time before you are eligible to apply for an immigrant visa.
After initial processing of your application, you will be scheduled for an interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy in the country where you are residing.
After the conclusion of your visa interview, U.S. government officials will let you know if you are approved, or if you need a waiver of inadmissibility in order to be eligible for approval of your visa.
If U.S. government officials approve your visa application, you will receive an immigrant visa in your passport and you will have a 6-month period in which to enter the United States as an immigrant. Within one year of your entry to the United States as an immigrant, but usually within approximately 60 days, you will receive your permanent resident card (green card).
Applying for an immigrant visa often involves complex legal issues and legal analysis of your particular situation and history. Michael Carlin has extensive experience in handling immigrant visa applications and in reviewing the histories of potential applicants to determine if you are likely to be approved for an immigrant visa, or if you may need a waiver in order to be approved.
This page does not provide legal advice, and is intended only as a general introduction. Please contact us for more information.