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Visas for Filipinos

Can You Immigrate to the United States?

Question: I would like to know if I am eligible to come to the United States and immigrate so I can get my Green Card. I am very confused and am unsure of the possible ways. Can you shed some light on this subject?

Answer: Through family-based immigration, a U.S. citizen or LPR can sponsor his or her close family members for permanent residence. A U.S. citizen can sponsor his or her spouse, parent (if the sponsor is over 21), children, and brothers and sisters. An LPR can sponsor his or her spouse, minor children, and adult unmarried children. As a result of recent changes in the law, all citizens or LPR’s wishing to petition for a family member must have an income at least 125% of the federal poverty level and sign a legally enforceable affidavit to support their family member.

Through employment-based immigration, a U.S. employer can sponsor a foreign-born employee for permanent residence. Typically, the employer must first demonstrate to the Department of Labor that there is no qualified U.S. worker available for the job for which an immigrant visa is being sought.

Through various special related visas for religious persons or multinational managers. As a refugee or asylee, a person may gain permanent residence in the U.S. A person located outside the United States who seeks protection in the U.S. on the grounds that he or she faces persecution in his or her homeland can enter this country as a refugee. In order to be admitted to the U.S. as a refugee, the person must prove that he or she has a “well-founded fear of persecution” on the basis of at least one of the following internationally recognized grounds: race; religion; membership in a social group; political opinion; or national origin. A person who is already in the United States and fears persecution if sent back to his or her home country may apply for asylum in the U.S. Like a refugee, an asylum applicant must prove that he or she has a “well-founded” fear of persecution based on one of the five enumerated grounds listed above. Once granted asylum, the person is called an “asylee.” In most cases, an individual must apply for asylum within one year of arriving in the U.S. Refugees and asylees may apply for permanent residence after one year in the U.S.

Question: How many immigrants are admitted to the United States every year? Answer: Family-based immigration is limited by statute to 480,000 persons per year. There is no numerical cap on the number of immediate relatives (spouses, minor unmarried children and parents of U.S. citizens) admitted annually to the U.S. as immigrants. However, the number of immediate relatives is subtracted from the 480,000 cap on family-based immigration to determine the number of other family-based immigrants to be admitted in the following year (with a floor of 226,000). Employment-based immigration is limited by statute to 140,000 persons per year. The United States accepts only a limited number of refugees from around the world each year. This number is determined every year by the President in consultation with Congress. The total number of annual “refugee slots” is divided among different regions of the world. For fiscal year 2003, the number of refugee admissions was set at 70,000. The numbers may sound like a large amount. However, since so many people want to come into the U.S., there are many people who have to wait 10 to 20 years to have their turn to enter the U.S. as a Lawful Permanent Resident.



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