What Are Some Important U.S. Immigration Laws and Regulations?


Quick Answer

Important U.S. immigration laws and regulations include guidelines for who is eligible for a visa and how the government determines priority. A visa, or green card, is required for permanent residence in the United States, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Applicants must have a family or employer sponsor, qualify as a refugee or asylum seeker, or meet other special criteria.

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Full Answer

Individuals with immediate family members who are citizens, such as parents, spouses or unmarried children, can obtain a visa without a waiting period or having to compete for a limited number of visas, states U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Most other categories of available visas have a limited supply, and the government grants applicants priority based on their status. For example, spouses of non-citizen permanent residents have priority over siblings of adult U.S. citizens. Similarly, workers with exceptional work skills and advanced degrees have priority over lesser skilled workers.

Individuals seeking refugee status in the United States must apply for a visa after a year of residency, explains U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Asylum seekers can also apply for a visa after one year, but the government does not require them to do so. Other special classes of eligible immigrants include children and spouses who are victims of domestic violence, the children of foreign diplomats, religious workers, and employees of international organizations.

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