Applying for Residency in The US as An EU citizen
Tens of millions of immigrants have made the US their home; every year, more plan to move here. For EU citizens looking to move to America, there are several avenues to obtaining residency. Individuals coming to the US from Europe as EU citizens either to travel, seek medical treatment, or for business meetings and negotiations may enter on an ETSA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). In contrast, some individuals may require visas, for example, to study at a university or to work for a US employer. However, individuals wishing to live and work in the US either temporarily or permanently have several options. The route which is best for you depends on a few factors and circumstances.
Visas for Europeans looking to come to the US
Initially, you may arrive on the following visas to enter the US. Most of these visas are non-immigrant visas (does not translate directly into a green card), but there are alternative routes through these visas to potentially obtaining permanent residency.
Visa for individuals with an extraordinary ability: granted to individuals who demonstrate exceptional talent or professional achievement. A Visa for performance or achievements establishing remarkable ability is offered in numerous fields, including but not limited to sciences, business, education, athleticism, the arts, television, and more.
Work Visa: A work visa can be applied for based on an employer’s field or scope of employment in the US. The employer will usually assist and petition on behalf of the individual applying for a work visa. Instead of one standard work visa, the United States offers a variety of work visas.
Fiancé Visa: K-1 or Fiancé visas are issued to foreigners engaged with a United States citizen. K-1 visas allow foreign fiancé(e)s to visit the United States and marry their US citizen sponsors within 90 days of arrival.
Student Visa: An F-1 Visa is for individuals who have been accepted into a US college or university. F-1 visas are only valid for the duration of the education program, and students are required to return home once they complete the program or if they are no longer in attendance. However, there are ways to petition for or obtain a green card (permanent residency) through an F-1 visa. Examples include by way of demonstrating extraordinary ability or finding a US employer. Again, this method of obtaining residency is not endorsed or supported by the government, it is not easy, but it is possible under certain circumstances and conditions.
Entrepreneurship or Investor Visa: The E-2 visa is for individuals who wish to create or start a business they want to expand in the US. Generally, the business or investment will create jobs for Americans as well. The E-2 is an unlimited duration (or stay) visa, but it is a non-immigrant visa meaning it does not lead to a green card (permanent residency). Investors with more considerable capital ($800,000 for rural areas and $1.05 million for cities) can apply for an EB-5 visa, which offers green cards for the individual and their spouse and children. Nevertheless, this is extremely costly but makes sense for specific individuals.
A knowledgeable immigration attorney can help decipher if one of these alternative routes and visas are advisable for your particular and unique circumstances.
Temporary Residency, Permanent Residency, and Green Card
The term ‘residency’ refers to a status granted to someone who is not a citizen of the United States but has been admitted to the country legally. Temporary status is achieved via the non-immigrant visas described above. Temporary residence implies the individual only seeks to stay in the US for a predefined length of time (for school or work). Green cards provide proof that a person has been granted lawful permanent residency by the US government and thus meets the definition of a US resident under immigration and naturalization laws. By receiving a green card, you may now live and work in the US on a permanent basis legally.
There are a few routes for an EU citizen to achieve permanent residency or obtain a green card. The two main channels to attain permanent residence are via employer or family ties (“reunification.”) Most European countries are also home to an American consulate. Immigration will either start at a US consulate in a European country or via a sponsor who begins the process in the US.
An employer or a family member in the US can initiate or sponsor you to come to the US. An employer may also sponsor an EU citizen for permanent residence in the US by, in most cases obtaining a Division of Labor (DOL) certificate and followed by an Immigration Petition for Alien Work (I-140 visa). The sponsorship should be based on an employer’s permanent job offer in the US to an EU Citizen.
If you are soon to be or engaged to a US citizen, you will start the process toward a green card by first obtaining a 90-day fiancé visa (described above).
Alternative routes to a green card may be available to you if you meet certain criteria. If you are planning to move to the US and seek a temporary or permanent visa, it is best to consult an experienced California Immigration Attorney
Contact an Inland Empire Immigration Lawyer at Castillo & Associates
At Castillo & Associates, our immigration attorneys are proud to represent individuals and families throughout the Inland Empire and including San Bernardino County, San Diego County, Riverside County and Los Angeles County. Your immigration status is too important to trust just any law firm. You need a law firm with the experience and resources needed to tackle these complex cases.
Call us today at 1-800-497-9774 or fill out our confidential contact form. *We offer a free 15 minute consultation regarding your immigration matter, after which there will be a consultation fee. We want to meet with you to discuss your case personally — don’t delay! With five offices located in Indio, San Diego, Calexico, Riverside, and Pomona, we are here whenever and wherever you need us most.
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