From foreign national to permanent resident

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
If you want to be a lawful permanent resident of the United States, you can obtain that status in a variety of ways. Most people qualify to immigrate to the U-S either by being sponsored by a close family member who's already a U-S citizen or permanent resident or by employment. If you're the relative of a citizen or permanent resident, that individual needs to file form I-1-30 (eye-one-thirty), a 'Petition for Alien Relative.' You should be aware that U-S law limits the number of visas that can be issued each year as well as the number of visas issued to people from the same country. You might be placed on a waiting list and have to wait up to a year or more. For this reason, apply for your application as early as possible. If you're the close family member of a U-S citizen, you could be exempt from petitioning for a visa and will be given immediate attention. To be an eligible 'immediate relative', you must meet one of these criteria: You can be the spouse of a citizen. You're also eligible as the widow or widower of a citizen who died within the last two years, and were married for at least two years and not remarried. Unmarried children of citizens under the age of 21 are also eligible as 'immediate relatives', as are parents of citizens over the age of 21. If you'd like more information about permanent residence, contact a lawyer in your area who specializes in immigration law.

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