Immigration to the United States:
Ten Requirements

Tucson Landmarks

The phrase “if they want to come here, they should do it legally” in consideration of United States immigration disregards the challenge of the process. While it may seem that someone who wants to obtain permanent residence can simply sign papers and get a green card, the real procedure takes a level of dedication that many lack the means for. The following list will examine what must happen in order to live in the country without fear of arrest and deportation.

1. The process works best if applicants marry first

Often, people want to immigrate for marriage. Starting the process this way will almost ensure the chances of obtaining the green card since spouses can act as sponsors. During the wait time, applicants will oftentimes be free to reside in the country.

2. If married, legitimacy must be proven

Applying for permanent residence through marriage can be an attempt to cheat the system. Therefore, couples must prove genuine matrimony with pictures, text messages, emails, and affidavits from at least four to five U.S. citizens. In addition, applicants and spouses must complete a background check from birth to current status.

3. Immigration lawyers are not necessary but will help with the ever-changing process

The laws for obtaining a green card change regularly. If the government makes revisions during an active case, applicants may face setbacks that can delay or be cause for rejecting applications. Having an immigration lawyer will both familiarize applicants with laws and help to stay ahead of changes, but the fees can be expensive.

4. The submission cost is nearly $2,000

Three fees must be paid to submit an application. The largest is for Form I-485, which is $1,140. The others are the I-130 which is $535 and the $85 Biometrics fee. If the Department of Homeland Security rejects an application, these fees are non-refundable.

5. Applicants are responsible for obtaining documentation from their home country

Many documents are needed to complete the process, and some originate in the applicants’ home country. The obtainability depends on the cooperation of the country’s government.

6. A medical exam must be done at the applicant’s expense

Once Homeland Security verifies paperwork, applicants must complete a medical exam to prove their current vaccination status. Either proof of vaccination or an antibody test must show that the person is protected from flu, tetanus, meningitis, and other diseases. COVID vaccination is now required as well.

7. Applicants and spouses may be interviewed by Homeland Security

On a case-by-case basis, an in-person interview can be held for the approval of immigration. The guidelines for determining necessity are not available in advance.

8. Communication between applicants and Homeland Security occurs through the mail

In order to know the progress of the application processing, applicants must wait months for correspondence without receiving details in-between.

9. Employment for applicants is banned during processing

While the application is being processed, applicants cannot legally work for an employer. All income must be generated by spouses or supported by friends and family.

10. The full process can take six months to three years

Depending on numerous factors and the number of current applicants, the wait for approval varies. In addition, if applicants change their address during the wait time, the move must be reported to Homeland Security.

Overall, the process of applying for permanent residence in the United States is time-consuming and expensive, and the list above details optimal circumstances. Many immigrants trying to enter the country are fleeing poverty, violence, and other conditions. Therefore, claiming that people should come to the U.S. legally overlooks a process that is unobtainable for many people fleeing hostile circumstances.