United States Immigration System – Immigration and Citizenship


The United States Immigration System is based on the reunification of families, admitting immigrants with skills that are valuable to the U.S. economy, protecting refugees, and promoting diversity.


US is one of the most desired destinations for immigrants in the world. The moto is “the land of endless opportunities”. It proven that it is the most productive economy.  In order to keep the country and its economy strong the government has designed a very complex immigration system.

United States Immigration System

The body of law governing U.S immigration policy is called the immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The INA permits the US to grant up to 675,000 permanent immigrant visas each year across various visa categories.

Once a person obtains an immigrant visa and comes to the United States, they become a lawful permanent resident (LPE). Noncitizens already inside the United States can obtain LPR status through a process known as “adjustment of status”.

Each year the United States also admits a variety of noncitizens on a temporary basis. Such non-immigrant visas which are granted to everyone from tourists to foreign students. There are several categories which are defining the paths and frames for accepting a person as an immigrant.

Family-based immigration

The family-based immigration allows US citizens to bring relatives to the United States. The applications are accepted if the person is immediately relative to a citizen or through the family preference system.

For you to be eligible for this category, you must meet standard and petitioner must meet certain aga and financial requirements. Immediate relative are:

  • spouses of U.S. citizens;
  • unmarried minor children of U.S. citizens (under 21 years old); and
  • parents of U.S. citizens (petitioner must be at least 21 years old to petition for a parent).

The family preference system includes:

  • adult children (married and unmarried) and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (petitioner must be at least 21 years old to petition for a sibling); and
  • spouses and unmarried children (minor and adult) of LPRs.

A limited number of visas are available every year under the family preference system. Any unused employment preference immigrant numbers from the preceding year are then added to this total to establish the number of visas that are available for allocation through the family preference system.

Employment-Based immigration

The US permits different professionals with valuable skills to enter the country on a temporary or permanent visa. The temporary employment-based visa allows the applicant to work for a certain time in the USA.

On temporary visa, the visa holder has limited chances to change his employer having in mind that the application is submitted by the hiring company. There are many visas in this category for high skilled employees and less skilled. The permanent category is limited to 140 000 per year and includes relatives of applicants.

Per-country ceiling

The INA also places a limit on how many immigrants can come to the United States from any one country. Currently, no group of permanent immigrants (family-based and employment-based combined) from a single country can exceed seven percent of the total number of people immigrating to the United States in a single fiscal year.

This is not a quota to ensure that certain nationalities make up seven percent of immigrants, but rather a limit that is set to prevent any immigrant group from dominating immigration flows to the United States.

Refugees and Asylees category

In this category are people who cannot go back to their countries due to live threatening reasons. Refugees are admitted to US-based on the inability to return to their country due to race, membership in particular organization, religion or national origin.

There is no cap of Asylees visas, unlike refugee number which is limited by the President and the Congress.

There is no limit on the number of individuals who may be granted asylum each year, nor are there specific categories for determining who may seek asylum. In FY 2019, 46,508 individuals were granted asylum.

The Diversity Visa program

The diversity Visa program is created by the immigration Act of 1990 as a dedicated channel for immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

This results in a reduction of the actual annual diversity visa limit to 50,000. The program was originally intended to favor immigration from Ireland (during the first three years of the program at least 40 percent of the visas were exclusively allocated to Irish immigrants).

Each year a lottery gives 55 000 visas to people from nationalities that send less than 50 000 immigrants in the previous 5 years to the USA. To be eligible for this visa the applicant should have a high school education, in the past five years to have 2 years of work experience in a professional field requiring at least 2 years of training.

Other Forms of Humanitarian Relief

Temporary protected Status (TPS) is granted to people who are in the United State but cannot return to their home country because of natural disaster.

Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) offers protection from deportation for individuals whose home countries are unstable, therefore making return dangerous.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program established in 2012 which permits certain individuals who were brought to the United States while under the age of 16 and who have resided continuously in the United States. United States Immigration System.

Humanitarian parole permits certain individuals to enter the United States, even though they may not meet the definition of a refugee and may not be eligible to immigrate through other channels.

US Citizenship.

Eligible people for citizenship must have LPR status or green card for at least 5 years.

There are other ways of acquiring citizenship as well. The applicant must be over 18, prove residency for a long time, have good moral and other criteria.


Does the US have an immigration system?

The body of law governing U.S. immigration policy is called the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

What are the 4 types of immigration?

Classification of admission category of immigrant are

  • Economic immigrant.
  • Immigrant sponsored by family.
  • Refugee
  • Other immigrant.

How hard is it to immigrate to the US?

You can come to the US legally if a family member (including a new spouse) sponsors you, an employer sponsors you, or you are seeking asylum as a refugee. The next step is submitting the relevant applications and paperwork, which could take as many as six months to process.

When did the US stop allowing immigrants?

In the 1920s restrictive immigration quotas were imposed, although political refugees had special status. Numerical restrictions ended in 1965.

When did immigration to the US become illegal?

President Bill Clinton signed the Act into law and it became effective on April 1, 1997.

How many green cards are issued every year?

1 million green cards

What is the easiest way to immigrate to USA?

There is no limit on the number of visas available each year for immediate relatives. Being a US citizen’s spouse is the fastest, easiest way to immigrate to the US.

How can I stay in the US legally?

The largest group to enter the U.S. by far comes by way of family-based immigration. U.S. citizens and legal residents can bring foreign spouses or fiancés, as well as unmarried children. They may also sponsor siblings 21 or older and parents. Another way is through a work visa.

How long does it take to immigrate to the US?

In usual circumstances, the immigration process takes six weeks at best but can realistically take months or in some cases, even years to process.

What is the green card called?

Having a Green Card (officially known as a Permanent Resident Card (PDF, 6.86 MB) allows you to live and work permanently in the United States. United States Immigration System.

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