Immigrant Visas

An immigrant visa is a document issued by a U.S. consular officer abroad that allows you to travel to the United States and apply for admission as a legal permanent resident (LPR). Before obtaining this “ticket”, you need to make various types of petitions. There are two primary types of immigrant visa petitions, one is family-based and the other is employment-based. Years after becoming a legal permanent resident, you are qualified to become a US citizen through naturalization.

Click on the Visa type below for more information:

Family-Based Petition

General Requirements

If you would like to immigrate to the U.S. through family-based green card, you need your close relatives who are in the U.S. to sponsor you.  In order to be able to sponsor a relative to immigrate to the United States, the sponsor must meet the following criteria:

  • The sponsor must be a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States and be able to provide documentation proving your status.
  • The sponsor must have a qualifying family relationship with the beneficiary.
  • The sponsor must be willing to sponsor the relative for lawful permanent residency by filling the I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • The Sponsor must prove that he/she can support his/her family, relatives and all other sponsored family members at 125% above the mandated poverty line.
  • The Sponsor needs to fill form I-864, Affidavit of Form. And by signing on the form, the sponsor accept legal responsibility for financially supporting this family member. The Sponsor must be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence; The Sponsor must be at least 18 years old; and The Sponsor must domiciled in the U.S.
  • If there is one or more joint sponsors, they must meet the same criteria.

Checklist of Supporting Documents

  • Affidavit of Support
  • Federal Income Tax Documents
  • Evidence of Income
  • Evidence of Assets
  • The Sponsor’s Permanent Resident Card, US Passport or Certificate of Naturalization
  • Medical Examination Form
  • Notarized Kinship Certificate and Notarized Birth Certificate
  • I-130 Form

Self-Sponsorship Category

EB1 & NIW Self-Sponsorship

There are two ways in which a foreign national can bypass the requirement of a job or job offer and labor certification/PERM and apply for US permanent residence.  They are the priority worker EB-1 category for Aliens of Extraordinary Ability and the exceptional worker EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) category. Although these are employment based immigrant categories, neither require actual employment or even a job offer prior to the filing of the application or the approval.

The requirements of each category are quite stringent and a casual observer may believe that a Nobel prize is required to get an EB-1 petition approved, this is not the case.  Likewise, the NIW requirements can be overcome with a strong legal argument.

The benefits of the EB-1 and NIW are enormous: Speed, Cost, and Freedom.

  • A normal labor certification process can take years. The labor certification must be approved before the the employer can even file a sponsorship petition with the USCIS. EB-1/NIW petitions can be concluded in one year.
  • Labor certification requires costly advertising fees and the employer is burdened with the monetary and time expense. Employers may pass these costs on to the employee through lower wages.
  • While these petitions are pending the employee is tied to the employer until the process is completed. During this time, the employer wields an enormous amount of power over the employee which places the employee in a very weak position.

Checklist of Supporting Documents

1.      Documentation of the alien’s receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;

2.     Documentation of the alien’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;

3.     Published material about the alien in professional or major trade publications or other major media, relating the alien’s work in the field for which classification is sought. Such evidence shall include the title, date, and author of the material, and any necessary translation;

4.     Evidence of the alien’s participation, either individually or on a panel, as a judge of work of others in the same or an allied field of specialization for which classification is sought;

5.     Evidence of the alien’s original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;

6.     Evidence of the alien’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media:

7.     Evidence of the display of the alien’s work in the field at artistic exhibitions or showcases;

8.     Evidence that the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation;

9.     Evidence that the alien has commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services, in relation to others in the field;

10.   Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales.

11.   Current resume

12.   Copies of transcripts and diplomas

13.   Copy of your employment contract or a letter from your company confirming your offer of permanent employment

14.   Financial statement of the company or annual report (not necessary)

15.   General information on your company or research institution (promotional literature, brochures, etc.)



PERM Details

According to the DOL, the new PERM process is designed to eliminate the traditional labor certification process and create a single automated process for labor certifications that is based primarily on the current procedures for RIR. Unlike the previous RIR program, a PERM application can be filed in as little as 37 days and the DOL processing time is designed to be significantly shorter.

General Requirements

The US companies must offer a job to a foreign national and offer to pay the prevailing wage for that position.  The US company must advertise the position in house and in a local newspaper to give US workers an opportunity to apply for the job. Upon the conclusion of the advertisements, the US employee must show why the US applicants cannot perform the job and why the foreign national can.

Checklist of Supporting Documents

1. Copy of Application for Alien Employment Certification (Form ETA 9089);

2. Prevailing Wage determination;

3. Internal Job posting documentation; all recruitment related documentation. Documentation of major newspaper (Wall Street, Boston Globe, Boston Herald) or Technical Magazine (Info World, Computer World, Networld) advertisements; Company website advertising; Recruiter invoices and contract, on-line recruiting efforts including but not limited to copies of job postings from,,,…Posting with the Mass Dept. of Employment & Training, etc…

4. Copy of passport (cover to cover) and 1-94 (if applicable);

5. Resume;

6. Copies of all degree certificates, i.e., Bachelors, Masters, etc.

7. Copies of transcripts (marksheets) from all colleges for all degrees;

8. Copies of all diploma or training course certificates;

9. Results of any technical exams passed (if applicable);

10. Documents proving completion of high school, i.e., secondary and higher secondary school exam results, school leaving certificates (if available), etc.

11. Letters of professional references, recommendations, etc.

12. Awards or other types of recognition (publications, etc., if applicable);

13. Copies of “Notice of Action” (I-797) from Immigration and Naturalization Service for any previous petitions filed on behalf of the alien, including prior H-1, H-4, etc.


Naturalization Details

Naturalization is the manner in which a person not born in the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen. In this section, you will find information on eligibility requirements, the naturalization process and test, how to help your students get information about naturalization by attending an information session, and how to contact USCIS.

General Requirements

Before an individual applies for naturalization, he or she must meet a few requirements. Depending on the individual’s situation, there are different requirements that may apply. General requirements for naturalization are below.

·       Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

·       Be a permanent resident (have a “green card”) for at least 5 years.

·       Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you apply.

·       Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.

·       Show that you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.

·       Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.

·       Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).

·       Be a person of good moral character.

·       Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.

The Naturalization Process

·       Determine if you are already a U.S. citizen.

·       Determine your eligibility to become a U.S. citizen.

·       Prepare Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

·       Submit Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

·       Go to the biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment, if applicable.

·       Complete the interview.

·       Receive a decision from USCIS on your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

·       Receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance.

·       Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

·       Understand your rights and responsibilities as a U.S. citizen.