The steps to become a resident of the United States vary and depend on whether you currently live inside or outside the United States. There are several ways that allow a foreign national to adjust his/her status to that of a Permanent Resident of the United States. The process usually begins with a petition. A person can acquire residency in the United States through a petition from a family member, employer, investment, diversity lottery, refugee/asylee status and through the Registry provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The I-130 petition is a petition in which a Lawful Permanent Resident or U.S. citizen can petition for a family member. A U.S. citizen who is petitioning for a spouse, minor child or parent is not subject to the visa bulletin processing times since these are considered immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens who petition for their immediate family members have to wait for the processing times of the I-130 petition, which can take 6 months to one (1) year for approval of said petition.
If the family member is abroad, the petition is then transferred to the National Visa Center to finalize processing of the petition prior to it being sent to the U.S. consulate abroad for interview. Those who are not considered an immediate family member of a U.S. citizen are subject to the processing times found in the visa bulletin which can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin.html. Please note that the visa bulletin changes every month. Once your petition reaches the date the visa bulletin is working on, the petition will then be sent to the National Visa Center to finalize processing of your petition so it can then be sent to the U.S. consulate for an interview. Once your case is scheduled for an interview and your case is approved, you may the enter the U.S. as a Lawful Permanent Resident. It is important to note that although residency status creates a path to citizenship, it is not a permanent status and there are several reasons you can lose your status. For more information for this process, please contact us at Canero Lammers Fadul Acevedo Immigration Law Group.