Foreign citizens wishing to shift to the US must obtain the correct permission, licenses, and visas. Once the legalities and paperwork are complete with US Immigration lawyer Total Law, you can start thinking about what you may need and how you plan to start your life there. Many foreign citizens choose to relocate to the US, UK, and Canada for lifestyle and career growth opportunities. However, the path to getting to each of these countries is different.
For the UK, many skilled professionals opt for the Global talent visa, while the Permanent Residency route is famous for Canada. To shift to the US, most people usually rely on work visas and permits or secure a tourist visa and search for employment.
Before starting the relocation, it is essential to have all the paperwork and documentation ready beforehand.
Ensure your passport and travel documents are valid for more than 6 months and that your family members’ passports are valid. If any of your passports expire within 6 months, it is best to get them renewed soonest to avoid delays in the US visa application process.
Shifting To The US
The best way to enter the US to live and work is to have a prospective employer sponsor your work permit. The US employer will file a petition for you with USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). This petition must be filed only by the prospective US employer. Individuals cannot file this on their behalf. This is a mandate by the US government.
Employment sponsorship automatically grants individuals a Permanent Residency or ‘Green Card.’ You can live and work in the US indefinitely if you hold a valid and legal Green Card.
If you have any family members in the US who are Green Card holders or citizens, they can also file Form I-130 on your behalf. This form must be submitted to the USCIS by your family member. You will need to show proof of your relationship and will also have to state your reason for your visit. Once the petition to shift to the US is approved by the USCIS, you will need to start the consular processing in your home country.
US Citizens can file a petition for the spouse, parent, or unmarried children under the age of 21 years. They can also file for married children, unmarried children over 21 years, or siblings. US Permanent Residents can also file for their spouse and (unmarried) children to join them in the US. However, the processing times for each of these can vary; for some, it has been months and even years.
There are other ways that you (as an individual) can apply to move to the US.
- A self-petition is possible for people with extraordinary skills that the US covets. People with exceptional arts, science, business, education, or athletics abilities can apply for a Green Card.
- Non-immigrant or temporary work visas are also possible for people working in unique occupations. However, the employer has to file the Form I-29 petition on your behalf.
- Company transfers are another popular way for skilled international talent to live and work in the US. This also comes under Form I-29 and must be filed by your company/ employer.
- Student visas are always excellent ways to experience American culture and live there for a few years. Many international students prefer shifting to the US and searching for employment opportunities, internships, and more.
- Tourist Visas are helpful only for sightseeing and visiting friends and family members. They are not valid for gaining employment or staying back in the US and building a life. At a stretch, international visitors are permitted to stay only for a period of 6 calendar months.
Schedule the Interview:
Once your visa category and petition are filed, you must undergo a medical exam in your home country. The hospitals and clinics for the medical exam are licensed by the USCIS to conduct these examinations. Simultaneously, you will need to schedule and make an appointment for the interview at the US Visa Centre or Embassy.
The interview timings and slots are usually first-come-first-served. However, there have been times when interviews of people with US employers or US Citizens who have received their interview time slots earlier. Non-priority petitions have been known to take longer than a few months and even stretched to years. It’s best to prepare for the interview in advance, anticipate the questions, and prepare all the documentation, paperwork, and proofs. When you’re at the visa center, you may also be asked to provide biometrics like fingerprints and facial recognition.
Once you finish processing, you will get an interview time and slot with the immigration officer. You must dress in formal or smart casuals for the interview and be prepared with all the documentation and supporting evidence for your visa request.
During the interview, the immigration officer may ask personal questions about your financial status, the field of work, family structure, and more. It is best to answer as truthfully and honestly as possible without withholding any information.
Since the US Embassy might conduct a background check and may already have all financial and credit reports on record, it’s best to be truthful at all times. Whether you are approved or rejected will be informed immediately. If you are approved, your passport will be retained for further processing, but if your visa is denied, you will be handed your passport directly and will be given the reason for the rejection. The US Visa Center does not refund the application and processing fees in case of a rejection.
Once you have an exact picture of the approval or rejection, you should begin checking for flight tickets, insurance, transportation of your belongings, wrapping up your household, and starting the clearing and packing. If you have any dependent children or spouses shifting to the US simultaneously, you must ensure their documentation and visas are also in order.