US Immigration Laws

Understanding US Immigration Laws

If you are looking into immigration to the United States you may have discovered that US immigration laws can be quite complex.  There are many different categories and policies for all different types of individuals.  If you are just beginning to learn more about potentially moving to the US it helps to have a general understanding of US immigration laws which will provide you with an idea of where to start in terms of preparation.

Two Ways to Legally Enter the US

First, it is important to understand that you basically have two options for legally entering the United States.  The first option is on a temporary basis and in this case you would acquire a visa for non immigrant

status. When the visa expires you are required to leave the country.  You are also ineligible to apply for US citizenship and you cannot obtain employment while you are in the country.

The second option for legally entering the US is an application for permanent residency.  In this case you would pursue the required route to obtaining your green card.  This makes you eligible to apply for citizenship and to obtain employment within the United States.

Criteria for Being Ineligible for Entry to the US

There are a few conditions which will make you ineligible to enter the US on either a permanent or temporary basis.  Some of the criteria which disqualify you for entry into the US include being convicted of a felony, having a contagious illness, having a history of drug abuse, or failing to find gainful employment or at least proof of how you plan to support yourself once you are in the US.

Categories of US Immigration

US Immigration Laws

US Immigration Laws

There are different categories of US immigration which are prioritized according to the goals and objectives of the current US immigration laws and policies. First, the primary goal is to bring families together by permitting entry of immigrants who already have family living in the US.  Therefore the first category is immediate family members of US citizens with a second category of family sponsored immigration for more distant family members.

The second goal is to fill employment positions which require skills which are in demand for specific occupations. Therefore, the third category is immigration which is based on employment for individuals with advanced degrees, entrepreneurs who are capable of creating jobs, those with skills that are highly in demand, or ministers of religion.

The third goal is to offer protection for immigrants who face pressures in their home country related to political or religious views.  So the fourth category relates to refugees who potentially face persecution in their own country.

The last goal is to foster diversity by allowing a specific number of immigrants to enter the US who are from underserved countries in terms of immigration opportunities.  This category relates to the green card lottery system to encourage immigration from countries which are underrepresented in the US immigration system.


Once you are legally residing in the United States on a permanent basis you can apply for US citizenship.  You must be living within the US for anywhere from 3 to 5 years, be able to speak the English language, maintain good moral character, understand US history and government, and constantly support the US Constitution.

Of course the US immigration policies are more involved than what we described here however, the information we have provided in this article will provide you with a solid starting point.  Having knowledge of the most important basics for understanding US immigration laws will help you get started on the path to preparation for immigration to the US.

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