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U.S. Immigration

Permanent Immigration

There are 3 basic categories, which are subdivided again, of permanent immigrants:
numerical unlimited, numerical limited, and special immigrants.
First category (Numerical Unlimited Immigrants) describes
  • Immediate Relatives
    The spouse, widow(er) and minor unmarried children of a United States citizen, and the parents of a United States citizen who is 21 or older. 
  • Returning Residents
    Previous U.S. lawful permanent residents who are returning to the U.S. after a stay of more than one year abroad. 

The 'Numerical Limited Immigrants' category is subdivided as follows

  • Familiy-based immigration
    Family that does not belong to 'Immediate Relatives', see also next page
  • Employment-based immigration
  • Green Card Lottery

The 'Special Immigrants' category

  • Adoption
  • Asylum
  • Refugees
  • and others

Please see USCIS Website for further information, see link below.

Note: The number of issued visas under the 'Limited Immigrants' category are subject to the an annual numerical limitation.

Marriage is of course a way to get access to the first category by becoming an immediate relative.
To prevent abuse of this way, there are certain restrictions, e.g. the fiance(e) gets in the first place a conditional permanent residence status, which can be removed after 2 years.

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Document Information
Source: U.S. State Department; USCIS
Last modified: 20041128
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