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United States – Residency

Types of Residency in the United States

The United States is a popular destination for foreign nationals seeking new opportunities and a better life. There are several types of residency available for foreign nationals looking to move to the United States, each with its own set of requirements and benefits.

Temporary Nonimmigrant Visas

Temporary nonimmigrant visas are for individuals who wish to enter the United States for a temporary period of time. These visas do not lead to permanent residency, and the length of stay is limited. Some common types of temporary nonimmigrant visas are:

  • B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa: For business or tourism purposes, such as attending a conference, meeting, or visiting friends or family.
  • F-1 Student Visa: For students enrolled in an academic program at a U.S. institution.
  • H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa: For individuals who have a job offer from a U.S. employer and possess specialized knowledge or expertise in their field.
  • J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa: For individuals participating in exchange programs, such as research, teaching, or cultural exchange programs.
  • L-1 Intra-Company Transfer Visa: For employees of a multinational company who are being transferred to a branch, affiliate, or subsidiary in the United States.

Permanent Residence (Green Card)

Permanent residence, commonly referred to as a Green Card, is for individuals who wish to live and work in the United States permanently. There are several ways to obtain permanent residence, such as through family sponsorship, employment, investment, or the Diversity Visa Lottery. The process for obtaining a Green Card is complex and lengthy, and it can take several years to complete.

Dual Intent Visas

Dual Intent Visas allow foreign nationals to enter the United States for a temporary period of time with the intention of pursuing permanent residence. Some common types of dual intent visas are:

  • H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa: While the H-1B visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa, it also allows the applicant to pursue permanent residence.
  • L-1 Intra-Company Transfer Visa: Like the H-1B visa, the L-1 visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa that also allows the applicant to pursue permanent residence.

Process for Applying for Residency in the United States

The process for applying for residency in the United States varies depending on the type of residency the applicant is seeking. In general, the process involves submitting an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and providing supporting documentation.

Temporary Nonimmigrant Visas

The application process for temporary nonimmigrant visas involves several steps, including:


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  • Completing the Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160) form
  • Paying the nonrefundable visa application fee
  • Scheduling an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate
  • Providing supporting documentation, such as a valid passport, proof of financial support, and proof of ties to the home country

Permanent Residence (Green Card)

The process for obtaining permanent residence, or a Green Card, is complex and can take several years. The process involves several steps, including:

  • Filing an immigrant petition with USCIS
  • Waiting for a visa number to become available
  • Filing an application for permanent residence with USCIS
  • Completing a biometric appointment
  • Attending an interview with a USCIS officer
  • Waiting for a decision on the application

Dual Intent Visas

The application process for dual intent visas is similar to that of temporary nonimmigrant visas, with the addition of demonstrating the intent to pursue permanent residence in the United States.

Documents Required for Residency Applications

The documents required for residency applications in the United States vary depending on the type of residency the

applicant is seeking. In general, applicants must provide the following:

  • A completed application form
  • Passport-sized photograph
  • Valid passport
  • Proof of ties to the home country
  • Proof of financial support
  • Educational and professional qualifications
  • Job offer or business plan (depending on the type of residency)
  • Record of achievements and contributions (for employment-based applications)
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Medical examination

It is important to note that the United States government reserves the right to request additional documentation as necessary.

Registration with Government Departments and Organizations

Foreign nationals moving to the United States must register with several government departments and organizations upon arrival. The most important registration is with the USCIS, which is responsible for immigration matters. Foreign nationals must register with the USCIS within 10 days of their arrival in the United States.

Foreign workers must also register with the Department of Labor (DOL), which is responsible for employment matters. The employer is responsible for registering their foreign workers with the DOL.

Reliable Sources of Information on Residence in the United States

There are several reliable sources of information on residence in the United States. The following websites provide up-to-date information on the types of residency available, the application process, and the documents required:

In addition to these websites, foreign nationals moving to the United States should consult with their employer or educational institution for guidance on the application process and registration requirements.

Obtaining residency in the United States is a complex and lengthy process, and there are several types of residency available for foreign nationals. The application process and required documentation vary depending on the type of residency the applicant is seeking. It is important to register with the relevant government departments and organizations upon arrival in the United States. Foreign nationals moving to the United States should consult with reliable sources of information for guidance on the application process and registration requirements.


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