The U.S. Consulate receives many questions related to visas. One of the most common is: How can I become a legal permanent resident of the United States? An immigration visa, commonly known as a green card, permits someone to reside permanently in the United States. An immigration visa normally must be solicited for an individual by a citizen of the U.S., a family member who is a permanent resident, or an employer. The majority of immigrant visas issued in the Dominican Republic are granted because family members have solicited visas in the Dominican Republic. To begin this process, the petition must be approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

United States citizens can submit petitions for immigration visas on behalf of spouses, children under 21 years of age, parents, boyfriends and girlfriends. Additionally, United States citizens can submit petitions for adult children (over 21 years of age) and siblings, whether single or married; but the wait time in these cases is longer. In some cases, widows and widowers of United States citizens can submit petitions for themselves.

The United States immigration law is complex. It limits the number of immigrant visas granted annually for certain categories and for certain countries. When the number of petitions for a specific category exceeds the annual number of visas granted, the solicitant’s case is placed on a waitlist. Those on the waitlist will receive an interview in chronological order, according to the date when the petition was filled out. This date is called the priority date.

The Immigration and Naturalization Act of the United States also permits legal residents to solicit visas for their spouses and single children of any age. Cases presented by legal permanent residents have a priority date that indicates when the solicitant will be given an interview.

It is also possible to obtain residency in the United States with an employment contract, through a United States business. For more information about immigration visas, visit www.ustraveldocs.com/do.