Noncitizens Seeking US Visas, Asylum, Green Cards, or DACA

People seeking better prospects, safety from persecution, or a chance at a better life have long traveled to the United States. To achieve this, noncitizens seeking visas must file for asylum, get a green card, or apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. However, the U.S. immigration system is quite complicated and difficult to navigate. Hence, we have put together this quick guide to suggest the avenues open to non-citizens.

Application Process for Noncitizens Seeking Visas

One of the most common ways noncitizens come to the United States is through the issuance of visas. Visas grant temporary entry for specific purposes such as tourism, work, study, or family reunification. The U.S. Department of State oversees the visa application process, and there are several types of visas available. Here are some key points:

  • Types of Visas: The U.S. offers various types of visas, including B-1/B-2 (tourist/business), F-1 (student), H-1B (employment), and K-1 (fianc√©(e)), among others.
  • Application Process: Applicants must typically complete the DS-160 form, pay the visa fee, and schedule a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.
  • Visa Denials: Visa denials are not uncommon, but applicants can appeal or reapply. It’s essential to understand the reasons for the denial and address them.

Asylum Seekers and Refugees

For those fleeing persecution or violence in their home countries, seeking asylum in the United States can be a lifeline. Here’s what you need to know:

Asylum vs. Refugee Status: Asylum is sought by individuals already in the U.S., while refugee status is granted to those outside the U.S. Both require proof of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Political opinion
  • Membership in a particular social group

Application Process: Asylum seekers must file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year of arrival. They should also prepare a well-documented case.

Detention and Release: Asylum seekers may be detained while their cases are processed, but they may also be eligible for release on parole.

The Quest for Green Cards

Obtaining lawful permanent residency, often referred to as a green card, is a significant step toward becoming a U.S. citizen. Here are the key points:

  • Eligibility: Green card eligibility varies based on family relationships, employment opportunities, refugee/asylee status, or the Diversity Visa Lottery.
  • Application Process: The process involves filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Applicants must also attend a biometrics appointment and an interview.
  • Wait Times: Depending on the category, the wait for a green card can be substantial due to annual quotas.

DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

DACA is a program that offers temporary protection from deportation and work authorization to undocumented individuals brought to the U.S. as children. Here’s what you should know:

  • Eligibility: To be eligible for DACA, applicants must meet specific age, residency, and education requirements. Criminal history is also considered.
  • Application Process: Applicants submit Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and other related forms.
  • Renewals: DACA recipients can apply for renewals every two years, provided they continue to meet the eligibility criteria.

With the right information and legal guidance, noncitizens seeking visas may achieve their goals. They can ask for asylum, get green cards, or apply for DACA, despite the difficulty of navigating the U.S. immigration system. This quick guide has provided a foundation for understanding these processes. However, it is still best to consult immigration experts and legal professionals for personalized advice and assistance.

To maximize your chances of success in your immigration journey, keep in mind that U.S. immigration rules and regulations can change. Therefore, you should always stay informed and get professional guidance.