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UNSKILLED IMMIGRANT

IMMIGRATING LEGALLY? GOOD LUCK!


OUR NATION’S BROKEN IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SYSTEM Sorry!
Unlike ­previous periods in our
history, there is virtually no ­process
for unskilled immigrants without family
www.reason.org JAYA DUTT
relations in the US to a­ pply for perma-
nent legal residence. Only 10,000 green
CITIZEN cards are alloted every year and the wait
YES Is relative a US Citizen or YES NO NO time approaches ­infinity. (Those who
Is applicant a Lawful Permanent Family in USA? Is applicant skilled? receive H-2A or H-2B temporary visas
spouse, parent or Resident (LPR)? for ­seasonal work cannot transition
NO
minor child? to a green card.)
YES YES YES
YES

LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENT SKILLED IMMIGRANT


Adult children and
Congratulations! siblings of US
You’ve found one of ­citizens can apply for Is applicant spouse or child of LPR? Do you have a college
the best ways to legally a green card. Can you prove that you are a ge-
degree in a speciality
immigrate into the US. nius? How about a star athlete?
NO occupation?
Spouses, minor children Or an investor with $1 million?
and parents of US Citi-
Sorry, YES
zens have no annual cap Sorry, YES
on entry and can gener- You’re out NO ...is he willing to
Wait time ­depends YES You’re out
of luck. OK. Then you have a apply for your
ally receive a green card. on home country and of luck.
shot, if... CONGRATULATIONS!
­marital status. Is child a temporary work visa
NO You have found the
minor? (H-1B)?
Is the adult child ­quickest way to get a
NO Sorry, green card - about 12-18
YES single?
...you have a job offer. You’re out months. But you would
After 5 years, green of luck. have made it anywhere,
Single Adult Children: Spouses and NO
card holder is eligible to Mr. Beckham.
6-14 year wait. minor YES
become a US Citizen
(3 years if a spouse). children of LPRs But, if an
Sorry, You Is your employer willing to file
can apply. employer can’t
don’t qualify the paperwork with the DOL
wait 6 to 10 With your green card you
to apply. for a labor certification? And
Married Adult years for you to can become a citizen in
conduct a new job search for
Children: start work... 5-6 years.
After you file your your position? And pay up to YES
7-15 year wait. Wait time $10,000 in legal and other NO Sorry,
naturalization papers and depends on
YES fees? You’re out
endure 6-12 months of home country. of luck. Then you have a 50/50 chance of
processing delays, you
can take a language and Wait time YES getting your H-1B because these
Siblings of ­visas are capped at 85,000 per
civics test, pass and depends on
US Citizens: Wait time for a green card year, well below the total demand.
become a US citizen. home country.
11-22 year wait. Wait time: (particularily from India and They run out on the first day they
5-7 years. China) is 6-10 years. become available. If you are lucky
enough to get it, then you can start
working in the country and your
Wait time for
With green card, can With green card, employer can apply for your labor
single adult After your green card, count
likely become citizen can likely become certification and green card.
children of LPR: on another 5-6 years for
after another 6 years. citizen after 6 9-14 years. citizenship.
years.

Total time to
immigrate and BEST CASE: TOTAL: TOTAL: TOTAL: TOTAL: TOTAL:
become citizen: 6-7 YEARS 12-28 YEARS 11-13 YEARS 14-20 YEARS 11-16 YEARS 6-7 YEARS

Developed by Reason Foundation in collaboration with the National Foundation for American Policy