Family Visas Ending?

Many people who cannot use the family-based immigration program in the United States eventually turn to the Green Card Lottery.

That is the Green Card Lottery’s purpose after all, to provide the opportunity for immigration to those who may not be able to through other means.

However, many more people may have to take advantage of the Green Card Lottery if certain parts of the immigration system in the United States are changed or done away with.

One of the aspects of the immigration system that has recently undergone some criticism is the set of family-based preferences. If removed, this would mean that siblings and adult children of U.S. Green Card holders and citizens would not be eligible for family-based immigration.

However, they could be potentially eligible for the Green Card Lottery.

The only requirements for the Green Card Lottery are location and education.

An applicant must be from a country that has not had a significant number of immigrants sent to the United States in the past five years. The U.S. State Department releases a list of ineligible countries around the time of the registration period for the Green Card Lottery.

Applicants must also have either a high school education on two years of experience in a job that took two years to train for. This profession needs to be approved by the Department of Labor as well.

Applicants can look to register in the Green Card Lottery (DV-2015) in October 2013 and they can find out whether or not they have won in May of 2014.

Visa applications are to be filed between summer of 2014 and the end of 2015.

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Work Requirements for Green Card Lottery

One of the requirements for the entry into the Green Card Lottery is an examination of an immigrant’s education.

Typically, a high school diploma is enough to qualify for the Green Card Lottery, but for those who do not have a diploma equivalent to a U.S. diploma, or no diploma at all, there are alternatives.

Applicants with two years of experience in a job that took two years to train for can also apply.

However, there are further requirements for those applying under the strength of their work experience.

The Department of Labor sets forth certain standards and classifications for jobs in the United States. These standards dictate how much experience one must have to do well in a particular profession.

These standards are listed at the O*Net OnLine website.

The Department of State requires that any immigrant claiming job experience, claim experience in a profession listed in either zone four or five of the O*Net OnLine categorization.

Zone four includes positions that take considerable preparation and zone five requires extensive preparation.

Because of the nature of these positions, one may still have to have completed a high school degree in their home country, though that degree may not meet the standards of a U.S. high school.

Zone four includes professions that often require a bachelor’s degree and have to do with supervision and management. Accountants, engineers, chemists and teachers fall into this category. All of these professions require a good deal of experience in the field to be accepted by the program.

Zone five includes professions that require post graduate degrees and even doctorates. These jobs may take up to and exceeding ten years to train for and are significantly more difficult to achieve than zone four jobs.

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Is Nigeria No Longer Eligible for Green Card Lottery?

The Green Card Lottery is coming up and registrants eagerly await the list of countries designated ineligible for diversity visas.

The U.S. Department of State has not yet released any information for DV-2015 (the official name of the Green Card Lottery which will begin in 2013), but it is expected to begin in early October of 2013.

Every year, a certain set of countries are announced where their denizens are not allowed to participate in the diversity visa lottery.

These countries are selected based on their history of immigration numbers over the previous five years.

Countries that send large amounts of immigrants to the United States during this period of time are put on the list.

Immigrants who are from these designated countries still have a way to get around this requirement sometimes. For example, they can claim their parent’s nationalities if they are from an accepted country. The nationalities of spouses can also be claimed by people who wish to enter the Green Card Lottery.

It appears that Nigeria will be one of the designated countries for DV-2015 because of extensive immigration numbers in recent years.

Online sources claim that the most recently released immigration statistics from the U.S. government support this supposition.

However, these claims have not been supported by the governing agencies of the Green Card Lottery. The public will frankly not know for sure until that information is released.

In the news recently there has been a great deal of talk about ending the Green Card Lottery. While this is a possibility during a period of such great upheaval in immigration reform, the U.S. Congress will have to use both houses to eradicate the lottery.

Getting both the House and the Senate to agree on this issue at this time will be a great challenge and it is unlikely anything will be done this year.

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Repeat Applications and the Future of the Green Card Lottery

Many people who sign up for the Green Card Lottery do so in consecutive years. Although the Green Card Lottery may be a particularly easy program to sign up for, the popularity of the program means that the allotted Green Cards are quickly reached.

Repeat Applications

Generally, applicants’ information changes very little from year to year so it is easy to sign up for consecutive years, all one has to do is retain the information from the year before.

However, if any information has changed it is absolutely important that that information is changed on the application from year to year.

Many people believe that if they apply multiple times for one Green Card Lottery they can increase their chances of winning. However, it is very important that applicants not do this because the State Department will throw out any duplicate applications.

By filing two registration applications, immigrants effectively drop their chances to zero!

However, it is perfectly acceptable to file for consecutive years.

It should also be noted that confirmation numbers, the code given to applicants immediately after their registration in a lottery, cannot be re-used from year to year. A new application must be made every year.

Because of the relatively low cost of registering for the Green Card Lottery it is very cost effective to apply for multiple lotteries in consecutive years.

The Future of the Green Card Lottery

Immigration reform legislation in the United States Congress poses something of a threat to the Green Card Lottery program. However, it is unlikely that it will be abolished entirely.

Too many law makers find the lottery to be an important part of American immigration and immigrants should expect that the program will be around for years to come.

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Green Card Lottery Alternatives? Part 2

This is part two of the blog discussing alternatives to the Green Card Lottery. Many people who are not able to apply for the below visa categories instead use the Green Card Lottery to immigrate to the United States.

Employer Sponsorship

People can also immigrate to the United States if they are able to secure a job offer. However, to do so is rather difficult.

The employer must be willing to sponsor the immigrant’s entry into the country and the employer must also prove that no one else can do the job other than the immigrant. This is to prevent companies from bringing in foreign labor at a lower cost when there are already workers in the US who are qualified to do the job.

Investment Visa

Foreign investors looking to gain Permanent Residence in the United States may apply for a Green Card if they invest a certain amount in an American business venture.

Typically the sum that must be invested is greater than 500,000.

There are a number of restrictions to this visa type that revoke the permanent residence if violated. Not many people choose to immigrate using this visa type.

Asylum

Foreign nationals who suffer from persecution in their home countries or are even persecuted to an extent to not have a home country can apply for asylum in the United States.

After an examination of the applicant’s suitability for asylum or refugee status, they will be granted a Green Card.

Amnesty?

Recently, in the United States, there has been a great deal of discussion about the 12 million residents of the United States who does not have permanent resident status or citizenship. These people are often called undocumented immigrants.

While amnesty (instant forgiveness and issuance of permanent residency) has been discussed it is more likely that these people will instead be offered a pathway to permanent residency that may take a few years.

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Green Card Lottery Alternatives? Part One

The Green Card Lottery is one of the most popular pathways to citizenship because it is an alternative to the more difficult and onerous immigrant visa programs.

There are a number of other programs, but as one can see, there is much more work to it than the Green Card Lottery.

Temporary Work to Permanent Residency

The H1-B visa is an incredibly popular non-immigrant visa because it allows a person to maintain something called dual intent.

Typically, foreign residents in the U.S. are either non-immigrants (temporary) or immigrants (permanent) and it is difficult to switch between the two. However, with dual intent, immigrants can easily switch from a temporary work visa to Permanent Resident.

This is a difficult visa to get because it requires employer sponsorship and there are a limited number of visas available per year. H1-B visas very often run out within a month of becoming available!

Family Sponsorship

Family members living in the United States can sponsor the citizenship of their relatives into the United States, but they have to complete quite a few requirements in the process.

For example, the sponsor’s immigration status in the United States affects the process. Citizens are able to help their relatives immigrate rather quickly, but the relatives of Permanent Residents have to wait for visas. Sometimes up to ten years!

Sponsors also need to prove to the government that they are well off enough to financially support their relatives upon their entry into the United States.

This is of course beside the fact that only certain relatives are allowed to be sponsored. Cousins, for example, are not eligible.

However, recent changes in U.S. policy have made it possible for same-sex couples to sponsor their partners for immigration. This was previously not possible.

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DV-2015 Dates

The Diversity Visa Lottery registration period for 2013 is officially called the DV-2015. During this period of time, immigrants will be given the opportunity to enter into the Green Card Lottery.

Green Cards are United States immigration documents that allow their holders the right to live, work and study within the country. Green Cards are also necessary for the citizenship application.

The DV-2015 Dates, that is the relevant dates for registration, are uncertain at the moment. The State Department requires confirmation from Congress in order to initiate the program and as Congress has not authorized the lottery yet, the dates remain unknown.

However, it is highly unusual for the Diversity Visa Lottery program to not be authorized. It is likely that the announcement has simply been delayed.

Previous years may serve as a source of estimation for DV-2015 dates.

The registration period should begin sometime in early October of 2013 and end in early November of 2013. No other applications will be accepted outside of this time-frame for registration in the Green Card Lottery.

On May 1, 2014, the winners of the Green Card Lottery will be announced and registrants can enter their registration numbers into the State Department’s website.

When checking the State Department’s website, applicants will be given another number, which will be used to track one’s place in the Visa Bulletin.

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin is a document that is released monthly and announces which petitioners and applicants of immigration visas can now actually apply for their visas.

Green Card Lottery winners can apply for their Green Cards when their number come up in the Visa Bulletin sometime between summer of 2014 and December of 2015. However, it is a good idea to apply for the actual visa sooner than later.

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Diversity Visa Lottery and Multiculturalism

The Diversity Visa Lottery is a national immigration program designed to bring people from nations who typically don’t immigrate to the United States into the country.

Many immigrants find this program to be the easiest or even the only immigration program in which they can participate.

Unlike other immigration programs that require that an immigrant already have an established job in the U.S. or family members currently living there, the Green Card Lottery (as the Diversity Visa Lottery is often called) has few requirements.

Through this program the U.S. has an opportunity to expand the degree of multiculturalism that exists within its borders.

In the past, multiculturalism and immigration have brought both good and bad things.

In the category of positive contributions, multiculturalism has encouraged innovation, strengthened the economy of the country and contributed to a broader understanding of culture.

Unfortunately, high levels of immigration have encouraged backlash throughout history. However, it is clear that the positive contributions of immigration far outweigh the negative impact it may have.

The United States was fundamentally founded by immigrants. It is ironic that even though the first immigrants to the Americas were European when even more Europeans immigrated to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th century, they were met with a great deal of opposition.

That period, of Ellis Island fame, brought forth some of the most successful and important industrialists of the age, such as Andrew Carnegie.

But great contributions to culture did not only originate from Europe, but every other continent and country has contributed large numbers of immigrants who have made America richer culturally.

Some policymakers in the U.S. government believe that the Green Card Lottery should be done away with, but this is a mistake. Immigration has brought numerous benefits to the country that cannot be counted and categorized. It is better to be the land of opportunity, than the land of application qualifications.

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Green Cards Prevent Deportation

A Green Card is the physical evidence of the immigration status called permanent residency. With permanent residency, a foreign resident can live, work, study and travel in the United States for as long as they please.

The amount of time that permanent residents (or green card holders) can stay in the United States is truly indefinite as long as they do not violate any of the requirements for keeping permanent resident status.

Long trips abroad may nullify permanent residency status.

However, even letting Green Cards expire will not result in the nullification of permanent resident status!

Currently in the United States there are a great many people (approximately 11 million!) who are in the United States without a proper immigration status.

Public opinion about what there is to be done about this situation is extremely variant and subject to no end of political rhetoric. However, the law currently states that these people should be deported.

Deportation, or removal, is the process of taking a foreign resident from the United States and sending them to another country or region.

The possession of a Green Card prevents the deportation of an individual in all but the most extreme cases. Many of the people who are in the United States without a status, unfortunately, are not allowed to get Green Cards because they do not have a status. It is a bit of a vicious cycle.

Recent discussions in Congress have begun to rethink what to do with these people in the United States. In the very near future there may be a way for these 11 million status-less individuals to stay in the United States and eventually obtain Green Cards.

However, in exchange for this action, Congress will also demand tighter security in the future. This means that all future applicants for entry into the United States must be careful to get a Green Card before they live in the U.S. permanently.

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The difference between tourist visas and immigration visas

Many people who visit the United States become enamored by the country and decide that they want to immigrate. Many folks choose to immigrate to the U.S. using the Green Card Lottery, which is often considered to be one of the easiest ways to immigrate.

However, there are distinct differences between visa types that potential immigrants should know about.

Tourist Visas

Tourist visas are temporary visas in the United States. Generally these are given to people when they cross the U.S. border and take the form of a stamp in their passports.

When the stamp is placed on the page, the immigration officer also gives the tourist an arrival/ departure notice. This document serves to indicate how long the tourist may stay in the United States. Typically, tourists are given no more than six months’ time in the country.

The U.S. government does not allow people to switch from a temporary visa to an immigration visa. Tourists must always leave the United States before applying for a different immigration status.

Immigration Visas

Immigration visas are documents that permanent residents must receive in order to live and work in the United States. Usually, the primary immigration document is the Green Card.

There are a few different ways to apply for a Green Card such as:

  • The Green Card Lottery, which is available to many people who do not have the family or employment opportunity in the United States as others have.
  • Green Card through employment. Employers can sponsor the immigration of their employees.
  • Green Card through family. Close family members can be sponsored by their permanent resident or citizen relatives in the United States.
  • Asylum. Immigrants subject to persecution in their origin countries can apply for asylum in the U.S. and receive permanent resident Green Cards.
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