Memphis immigration lawyer Ari Sauer provides news and information on US immigration law.
I am a student currently in the US on a valid F1 visa. I want to immigrate to US. Could you please let me know the best way to do this?
The Immigration Answer Man:
There are a number of ways to obtain U.S. permanent residence. I couldn’t say what the best way would be for you without first speaking with you and finding out more about you.
But the most common way for an F-1 student to obtain permanent residence is through sponsorship through an employer. Usually the F-1 student will work for a company in their field on an OPT employment authorization card for up to a year after their graduation. During that time, the employer can petition for the foreign national to change their status to an H-1B, which usually begins in October.
The employer would then go through the PERM Labor Certification process to show that there are no qualified U.S. workers to fill the position. When the Department of Labor has certified the PERM application, the employer would file an immigrant visa petition under the EB-2 or EB-3 preference category.
Depending on which preference category the petition was filed under and what country the foreign national (or their spouse) is from, the foreign national may then have to wait for a visa to become available for that petition before they are able to file their application for adjustment of status (green card). The entire process usually takes at least a year and often takes 5 years or longer.
Of course, as I mentioned, there are a number of ways to obtain permanent residence, therefore you may wish to consult with an immigration law attorney to determine what would be the best process for you.