• History of Immigration
• Family Based Immigration
• Work Based Immigration
• Diversity Immigration Program
History of Immigration to the U.S.
• Before 1776
• Spanish, French, Dutch and British immigrants
came to what would become the United
– The Spanish settled in the South and West.
– The French settled in the Midwest.
– The Dutch settled in New York.
– The British settled in New England and the
• Irish immigrants came to the United States in
the 1840’s to escape the Potato Famine.
• Italian, Eastern European and Scandinavian
immigrants came to the U.S. seeking
• Jewish immigrants came to the U.S. fleeing
• Quotas set for immigration to the U.S.
• Aliens required to have visas to enter the U.S.
• The Immigration Act of 1965
– Allowed increased immigration.
– Resulted in large increase in immigration from
Latin America, Asia and Africa.
• In the 1970’s, Vietnamese and Cubans
immigrated to the U.S. seeking freedom.
• The Immigration and Nationality Act allows for
the immigration of foreigners to the United
States based on relationship to a U.S. citizen
or legal permanent resident. Family-based
immigration falls under two basic categories:
unlimited and limited.
Unlimited Family-Based Immigration
• There is no annual limit on the number of these
immigrants who may be admitted every year.
– Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens (IR): The
spouse, widow(er) and unmarried children under 21
of a U.S. citizen, and the parent of a U.S. citizen who
is 21 or older.
– Returning Residents (SB): Immigrants who lived in
the United States previously as lawful permanent
residents and are returning to live in the U.S. after a
temporary visit of more than one year abroad.
Limited Family-Based Immigration
• Under U.S. immigration law, only a certain number of
these immigrants may be admitted every year.
– Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of
U.S. citizens, and their children, if any. (23,400 per year)
– Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and
unmarried sons and daughters (over age 20) of lawful
permanent residents. (114,200 per year)
• At least seventy-seven percent of all visas available for this category will
go to the spouses and children; the remainder will go to unmarried
sons and daughters.
– Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of
U.S. citizens, and their spouses and children. (23,400 per year)
– Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of United
States citizens, and their spouses and children, provided the
U.S. citizens are at least 21 years of age. (65,000 per year)
• The Immigration and Nationality Act provides
a yearly minimum of 140,000 employment-
based immigrant visas which are divided into
five preference categories. They may require a
labor certification from the U.S. Department
of Labor (DOL), and the filing of a petition with
the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration
• Employment First Preference (E1)
– Priority Workers receive 28.6 percent of the yearly
– Within this preference there are three sub-groups:
• Persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts,
education, business, or athletics.
• Outstanding professors and researchers with at least three
years experience in teaching or research that are recognized
• Certain executives and managers who have been employed
at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas
affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer.
• Employment Second Preference (E2)
– Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees, or Persons
of Exceptional Ability in the Arts, Sciences, or Business
receive 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit,
plus any unused Employment First Preference visas.
– There are two subgroups within this category:
• Professionals holding an advanced degree (beyond a
baccalaureate degree), or a baccalaureate degree and at
least five years progressive experience in the profession; and
• Persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or
business: Exceptional ability means having a degree of
expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered
within the field.
• Employment Third Preference (E3)
– Skilled Workers, Professionals Holding Baccalaureate
Degrees and Other Workers receive 28.6 percent of
the yearly worldwide limit, plus any unused
Employment First and Second Preference visas.
– There are three subgroups within this category:
• Skilled workers are persons capable of performing a job
requiring at least two years' training or experience;
• Professionals with a baccalaureate degree are members of a
profession with at least a university bachelor's degree; and
• Other workers are those persons capable of filling positions
requiring less than two years' training or experience.
• Employment Fourth Preference (E4)
– Special Immigrants receive 7.1 percent of the yearly
– There are six subgroups:
• Religious workers coming to carry on the vocation of a minister of
religion, or to work in a professional capacity in a religious
vocation, or to work for a tax-exempt organization affiliated with a
• Certain overseas employees of the U.S. Government;
• Former employees of the Panama Canal Company;
• Retired employees of international organizations;
• Certain dependents of international organization employees; and
• Certain members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
• Employment Fifth Preference (E5)
– Employment Creation Investors receive 7.1
percent of the yearly worldwide limit.
• To qualify, an alien must invest between U.S. $500,000
and $1,000,000, depending on the employment rate in
the geographical area, in a commercial enterprise in
the United States which creates at least 10 new full-
time jobs for U.S. citizens, permanent resident aliens,
or other lawful immigrants, not including the investor
and his or her family.
• The Immigration and Nationality Act provides U.S. citizens
with two options to bring future spouses to the United
States: the K-1 fiancé visa and the alien-spouse immigrant
– Marriage In the United States: Fiancé Visa
• U.S. citizens may file a petition for the issuance of a K-1 fiancé visa to
an alien fiancé. A citizen exercising this option must remain unmarried
until the arrival of the fiancé in the U.S., and the wedding must take
place within three months of the fiancé's arrival if he/she is to remain
in status. Also, the alien and U.S. citizen must have met personally at
least once in the two years before the petition was filed.
– Marriage Abroad: Alien-Spouse Visa
• If a U.S. citizen marries an alien abroad, a petition must be filed after
the marriage to begin the immigration process for the alien spouse.
This must generally be filed in the United States where the petitioner
U.S. spouse lives.
• Diversity Lottery (DV1): Every year, there is a
lottery for the issuance of immigrant visas. To
participate in this drawing, applicants must
have completed at least high school, or have
at least two years of experience in a qualifying
• Registration for the visa lottery generally
occurs in October.