How does the US immigration system work?

US immigration law has opportunities for family members, workers with valuable skills and refugees to move here. You can reside in New Jersey or any other state of your choosing, although you’ll want to check the job market and living expenses of various places to find the right match for your needs.

Family members

Immediate relatives of US citizens and permanent residents may immigrate to the US. Their family member residing in the US would have to petition for them and meet the income requirements. US immigration law has kept the income requirements low so that low-income earners may help their family members immigrate. Immediate family members include parents, unmarried children under the age of 21 and spouses. If you’re filing a petition for your parent, then you must be at least 21 years old.

A limited number of visas each year are available for brothers, sisters, adult children and married children. They are able to get a visa under the family preference system. US immigration law includes a formula to determine how many visas the US can assign each year for those immigrating based on family preference.

Workers with valuable skills

There are five preference categories for people who want to immigrate to the US-based on employment. Skilled workers with at least two years of experience or training may be eligible for residency in the US. If you have a college degree or an advanced degree, you may be eligible. People who have “extraordinary ability” in the arts, athletics, business, science and education qualify to apply for an employment-based visa. If you plan on investing $900,000 to $1.8 million in establishing a business in the US that employs at least 10 workers, you may apply for a visa. Religious workers and employees of US foreign service posts also have a chance at immigrating to the US.


If you have a “well-founded fear of persecution” in your home country based on your race, national origin, religion, political opinion or membership in a certain social group, you might be able to immigrate to the US. Each year, the US president consults with Congress to determine how many refugees the country will accept. The US also sets a limit on how many refugees from each region can move to the US.

Although there are caps for each type of immigration to the US, it’s worth trying if you want to move here. You could immigrate as a skilled worker, an investor, family preference or refugee status.

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