The United States immigration system is complicated. This is due to the large number of people who have entered the country for various reasons. Some come to the United States for a short time, while others stay for an extended period. As such, not everyone can fall into a single category. Immigrants can be classified into one of four types. Each of these categories refers to a person’s status as a citizen. This article will go over the four different types of immigration status in the United States.
United States Citizen
United States citizens are either born here or naturalized after three or five years of permanent residency. Even if you spent your whole life overseas, if you were born in the United States, you can still claim citizenship as soon as you cross its borders. You are exempt from the naturalization process that other foreign-born immigrants must go through.
One of your parents must be a U.S. citizen, either by birth or naturalization, for you to qualify for this immigration status. So, even if you’ve lived and worked outside of the United States your whole life, it’s still possible to apply for and earn citizenship. However, you’ll need to fill out an application and have your parents’ citizenship verified.
As proof, you can use their identification cards, birth certificates, or a state-issued driver’s license. You must also establish that you are their child. After your documents are verified and confirmed, you will be granted a visa to enter the United States as an American citizen.
A citizen of the United States has the right to reside, work, and vote in the country and is also entitled to a variety of federal benefits, including school loans and state assistance. Individuals who are legal citizens of the United States are protected from being deported back to their country of origin. Additionally, U.S. citizens can appeal for the legal status of their spouses, children, parents, and siblings, as well.
Conditional and Permanent Residents
Those possessing green cards that provide them the right to stay in the United States indefinitely are known as permanent or conditional residents. The differences between these subcategories are explained below:
Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) are foreign nationals who have been granted a green card by the U.S. government, allowing them to live and work in the country for the long term. Although the status is dubbed “permanent,” a Permanent Resident still needs to renew their green card every ten years.
Many advantages of residing in the United States are available to Permanent Residents, such as receiving federal benefits like educational assistance and social security. However, they do not have the civil rights that come with citizenship, such as voting, holding public office, and serving on juries. Application for LPR status must be made with a clear desire to live in the United States permanently.
Here are the most common types of visa petitions used to obtain lawful permanent resident status for foreign nationals:
- Family visa
- Employment visa
- Refugee or Asylee status
Immigrant spouses and children seeking permanent residency in the United States because of marriage to a Legal Permanent Resident or a United States citizen are considered conditional residents. The status is dubbed as “conditional” since the applicant must demonstrate that marriage was not solely for the purpose of obtaining permanent residency.
Immigrants and their spouses must make a joint application to lift the condition before two years have passed since acquiring their green card. If they fail to do so, the resident’s green card will lapse, which may result in their deportation.
Non-immigrants are in the United States legally for a given period and a specific reason. They do not intend to remain in the U.S. permanently and will go back to their home country upon the expiration of their visa.
Non-immigrant visas have various types, but some of the most common include the following:
- Tourist visa: A tourist visa is issued for tourism, leisure, medical treatment, or visiting family. This visa has a validity period of one month to ten years.
- Business visitor visa: Visitors holding a B1 visa are allowed to stay for up to three years but must return to their homeland. They may travel to the United States to participate in a business event, meet with partners, negotiate a deal, or manage an estate.
- Student visa: You will also require a visa if you intend to study in the United States. The F-1 visa, which is offered to full-time students at a recognized educational institution, is among the visas available to students.
- Employment visa: People can come to The United States on a work visa for a limited time. However, the visa does not cover open-ended or permanent employment.
Undocumented Immigrant Status
Undocumented immigrants and illegal aliens are foreign nationals who overstay their visas or enter the United States without authorization. They are not permitted to reside in the United States legally. They will also be unable to lawfully work in the United States and be denied access to privileges available to citizens. Undocumented immigrants may be deported at any time.
The procedure of obtaining an immigrant status in the United States for you or someone you care about is arduous and fraught with difficulties. People applying for visas on their own should seek the help of an expert in business immigration law in Minnesota to avoid extra delays or obstacles.
If you are looking for an experienced immigration lawyer to help you with the process, the Osterbauer Law Firm can help. Our attorneys are experts in business immigration law in Minnesota and can guide you through your immigration issues.
You can reach us by phone at 612-334-3434 or by filling out our online contact form for a free consultation regarding your immigration status.