How Do You Become a Legal Immigrant in the United States?

(Credit: Unsplash) How do you become a legal immigrant in the United States?
January 29
1:41 AM 2020

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people become US citizens. And if the country's borders were fully opened for everyone who wanted to become an American citizen to do so, the numbers would increase exponentially. However, becoming a US citizen is not an easy thing to do and many requirements must be met in order to become one.

Why do people want to come to the United States?

The answer to this question is impossible to contain in simple sentences. The reasons are as varied and different as the number of people wanting to come here. It might be because of prosecution, in order to escape a war zone, to look for better economic opportunities, to offer the next generation a better and safer life or simply to save one's life.

Is it a good idea to start the process of becoming a legal immigrant by coming into the country illegally?

One thing you definitely want to avoid is coming into the United States illegally. This may not only jeopardize your chances of ever becoming a lawful immigrant, but you may also even be deported and denied entry in the future.

Your entry is illegal if you break any law when you first come in or if you stay in the country after the visa that allowed you entry has expired and you still remain in the country.

Start by applying for a visa

The State Department issues different types of visas to foreign individuals that have a desire to travel to the United States. These can be secured through the embassies or consulates in the places of origin of those interested in applying. The most common visas are:

  • Tourist visas

  • Student visas

  • Business or professional visas

  • Immigrant visas for permanent residency

As soon as you arrive in the United States you will be asked to show to immigration officials the proper visa to allow you entry. This should be accompanied by your travel document or passport.

How can you become a legal immigrant?

Whether you are an immigrant or a refugee, you must follow these steps in order to become an American citizen:

  • Obtain a permanent residency card - this step represents the hardest hurdle to overcome and make take years to obtain

  • Determine if you are eligible by ensuring that you meet the residency requirements after obtaining the green card, that you are over 18 years old, of good moral character, able to read and speak English, and understand the basic ideas of the constitution, history, and government of this country

  • Apply for naturalization using Form N-400, send in the form accompanied by the current application fee

  • Take the biometric test and background check

  • Attend the interview and take the civics test

  • Take the oath and receive your naturalization certificate

You should be aware that this is neither a short nor a simple process. It may take over a year to get from the moment when you send your application to the day you receive the naturalization certificate.

Engage the services of a professional immigration attorney that can advise you every step of the way to make sure you have the best chance of achieving your immigration objective. Visit and get started on the road to becoming a legal immigrant in the United States.

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