Insight from Los Angeles Immigration Lawyers

Obtaining permanent resident status in the United States can be challenging. Generally speaking, an individual can obtain this status through a family-based petition, through employment-based immigration, due to being a victim of a crime of violence (U visa), through the visa "lottery" (or diversity visa), or due to political reasons such as asylum. Another way to gain permanent resident status is when deportation is suspended or removal proceedings canceled. This results in the individual becoming a lawful permanent resident.

The two most common categories include family-sponsored and employer-sponsored visas. Our Los Angeles immigration attorneys explain more below.

Family-Sponsored Immigrants

Most immigrant visas issued go to relatives of U.S. citizens / permanent residents. Those who are immediate relatives of U.S. citizens do not face any quotas, which means they can always apply and their applications are often processed quicker; however, wait times can vary greatly depending on the specific circumstances of the applicant.

  • There are four different preferences for family-sponsored immigrants:
  • First: Unmarried children over the age of 21 of U.S. citizens.
  • Second: Spouses and minor children of permanent residents / unmarried adult children of permanent residents.
  • Third: Married children of U.S. citizens.
  • Fourth: Siblings of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children.

Employment / Investment-Based Immigrants

  • Immigrants seeking to come to the U.S. for employment reasons must often obtain a labor certification, which means the U.S. Department of Labor must find that there are no qualified U.S. workers available to take the job. Those who fall under the first, fourth, or fifth preference category may be exempted from this qualification.
  • First preference (EB-1): People with extraordinary abilities in science, athletics, business, etc., outstanding professors / researchers, and multinational executives or managers
  • Second preference (EB-2): Professionals with an advanced degree or progressive work experience
  • Third preference (EB-3): Registered nurses and Physical therapists
  • Fourth preference (EB-4): Ordained ministers and religious workers whose are serving at non-profit religious organizations.
  • Fifth preference (EB-5): Immigrants making investments of $1 million - $500,000 and creating 10 new jobs depending on the area

Need an Experienced Immigration Attorney? Call (213) 489-5202.

Many family-based immigrant petitions—including spouses and children of permanent residents, or married children of U.S. citizens—must wait many years before their priority date is current, and they could acquire the right to immigrate to the U.S.. However, several non-immigrant visa classifications can lead to permanent resident status, which allows the individual to enter the U.S. sooner, and work in the U.S. while awaiting to immigrate. There are various visa options available for foreign nationals to remain in the United States legally.

Foreign nationals who wish to send their children to school in the United States may use the Student Visa category, and parents with children below 16 years old can even stay with their kids to care for them.

E1/E2 visas, H1Bs, TNs, Os, Ps and other non-immigrant classifications can potentially lead to permanent resident status

To maximize opportunities, explore your eligibility for both immigrant and non-immigrant visas with the help of an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles. Call today: (213) 489-5202.