Permanent resident visas are defined by the US . Immigration Laws as Immigrant Visas.

There are several different categories of Permanent visa that are suitable for individuals and eligible family members.

Aliens who seek permanent residence in the United States must fit within one of the classes of persons described in the Immigration and Nationality legislation as eligible for immigration. Under the immigration legislation, most aliens must qualify for immigration in one of three broad categories:

  • Family-Sponsored Immigration
  • Employment-Based Immigration
  • Diversity Immigrants

Family-Sponsored Immigration

Family unification has always been a cornerstone of U.S immigration policy. As the numbers of people coming to the United States and eventually becoming Permanent Residents and citizens has increased, these people have in turn provided avenues to immigration for other members of their families. There are five main sub-categories within family sponsored-immigration:

  • Immediate FamilyIf you are a minor child, spouse or parent of a U.S citizen you could be eligible for an Immigrant visa.
  • Family First PreferenceYou may be eligible for this category if you are the unmarried adult son or daughter of a United States citizen.
  • Family Second Preference
    • Family 2AThis subcategory is for spouses and minor children of United States permanent residents.
    • Family 2BThis subcategory is for adult unmarried children of United States permanent residents.
  • Family Third PreferenceYou could be eligible for this category if you are a married child of a United States citizen.
  • Family Fourth PreferenceYou could be eligible in this category if you are the brother or sister of an adult, United States citizen

Employment Based Immigration

Employment or the hope of finding employment is the biggest attraction for foreigners coming to the United States . Some may be motivated by the hope of wealth and an easy life. Others may be seeking opportunities simply to make a living.

This section provides a brief overview of the employment-linked categories of immigration. There are five preference categories of employment-based immigrant visas:

  • First Preference: Priority WorkersAs the term “priority worker” suggests, this category is subject to preferential treatment in terms of the immigration process. If you qualify as a priority worker, you will not have to obtain labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) before you can apply for your immigrant visa. This category is divided into three subcategories:
    • Persons Of Extraordinary Ability
      You must have publicly recognized acclaim as a person of extraordinary ability in a specific discipline in order to qualify.
    • Outstanding University Professors
      You must have an international reputation as being outstanding in your academic field.
    • Executives and Managers of Multinational Companies
      Further information regarding the executive and managers of multi-national companies sub-category is set out in the Corporate Visas Section.
  • Second PreferenceThe second employment-based preference covers persons with advanced degrees in professional fields and persons of exceptional ability.
  • Third PreferenceThis category is divided into three subcategories:
    • Professionals
    • Skilled Workers
    • Unskilled Workers
  • Fourth PreferenceThe fourth and fifth preference categories are grouped with employment-based immigration for the purposes of allocating visa numbers. Many sub-categories fall under the fourth preference.
  • Fifth PreferenceFurther information regarding the Fifth Preference (EB-5) is set out in the Investors Visas Section.

Diversity Immigrants

This is commonly referred to as the ‘green card lottery’ .