Many people think there are many ways to permanently immigrate to the United States.  The fact is there are not as many ways as people think.  The ways to permanently immigrate to the United States are through family, employment, refugee, diversity visa, investment, or U visa.

To permanently immigrate through family, you must have a spouse (U.S. citizen or green card holder), child over 21 (U.S. citizen), parent (U.S. citizen or green card holder), or sibling (U.S. citizen).  Depending on the relationship and country you are from, it can take years or less than one year.  Also, you may or may not be eligible due to unlawful presence issues or criminal issues.

To permanently immigrate through employment, you must find an employer who is willing to sponsor you.  There is a two step process.  The first step, you must go through the Department of Labor.  The second step is filing with immigration.  Residency through employment could take years or less than a year depending on skill level and country you are from.

To permanently immigrate through refugee status, you must prove you have a well rounded fear of persecution.  This is often confused.  It is not enough simply to show that the quality of life in your country is poor or there are better opportunities in the United States.  You must prove that your government or a group that the government is unwilling or unable to control is persecuting you.

To permanently immigrate through the diversity visa, is applying for a green card lottery.  The lottery is held once a year.  Depending on what country you are from, you may or may not be able to apply.  If less than 50,000 people have immigrated to the United States in the last 5 years, you can submit an application.

To permanently immigrate through investment, you need one million to invest in a new or struggling company.  In limited circumstances, you can invest $500,000.  To permanently immigrant you are going to have to create 10 jobs over a 2 year period.

To permanently immigrate through a U visa, you must have been a victim of a crime that occurred in the United States that you have been helpful to police in prosecuting.  There are a limited set of crimes that fit under the U visa.  This does require the police to certify you.

Each of these categories can be complicated and without the help of an immigration attorney, can be delayed or even denied.  It is always best to seek the advice of an attorney before trying any of these steps alone.  Please feel free to set an appointment with questions over any of these issues.