Marriage or Family
A U.S. citizen or permanent resident can petition for their spouse or immediate family members (children or parents) to come to the United States to live. Close attention will be paid to the relationship, so don’t be tempted to try and fake this. The process begins with your spouse or relative filing a Petition for Alien Relative that establishes the relationship between you.
Various types of documentation will be required depending on your circumstances. Once the legal relationship is established, then you can apply for an immigrant visa or to change your legal status if you already reside in the U.S. with your spouse or family member.
If you have a partner whom you intend to marry in the U.S., your partner may file a U.S. Citizen Petition for a Fiancé(e). You will both be asked to prove that you have actually met in person within the past two years. If granted, you can travel to the United States and stay for up to 90 days.
Make sure to ring your wedding bells within that time frame, or you’ll be sent home again. If you decide the marriage thing is not for you, hurry up and apply for a course of study so you can stay on as a student. Keep reading to learn about student visas.
Studying in the United States does not guarantee permanent residence, but a student visa is easier to get than many others. And while you are in the U.S. on your course of study, you will have a chance to network with people in your chosen industry.
Making those connections can go a long way toward getting the job offer you need to live there permanently because someone who has a personal relationship with you is much more likely to jump through the hoops required to support your application for permanent residence.
In order to get a student visa for the U.S., you need to first be accepted to an approved program. Acceptance will trigger your enrollment in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, to which you must pay a fee. After you’ve done that, your school will issue you a form I-20 that can be used to apply for a student visa.
Your visa will be either F-1, for most academic institutions, or M-1 for vocational training. Students between the ages of 14-79 will most likely need to attend an in-person meeting with an official at the U.S. Embassy in their own country during the process.
If you are married or have minor children, they will need their own visas, either F-2 or M-2. Children are allowed to attend school in the United States during the time that they reside there with you. Note that citizens of Canada and Bermuda do not need visas to enter the U.S. as students, but they do need an I-20 from their school.
Ok, so nothing about immigrating to the United States is particularly easy, but it can be so worthwhile. It truly is a great melting pot of diverse people, scattered across 3,000 miles of upscale cities, quaint historic towns, and gorgeous vistas. So please, roll up your sleeves and get to work on a visa. America needs you!