Immigrant Visas are visas issued to aliens who wish to eventually become permanent residents in the United States.  Many people wish to live in the United States permanently because of family or jobs.  The Immigrant Visa is a precursor to obtaining permanent residence, also known as a Green Card.  There are some conditions that one can obtain a Green Card immediately upon reaching the U.S., which are located in a separate section.  Those eventually wanting to apply for a Green Card should obtain an Immigrant Visa first.

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Here are the most common ways to get an immigrant visa.

Through Family
Immediate Relative Immigration Visas allow immediate family members to enter and live in the United States.  Family-sponsored Immigration Visas are for those coming to the U.S. because of the support of a family member.

Through an Employer
Employer-sponsored Immigration Visas are for those who have received a job offer in the U.S. and wish to work there.  Employment Immigrant Visas are for employees that wish to be certified to work in the U.S. permanently.  Special Immigrant Visas are issued to those that have a special skill or occupation, such as an Iraqi translator.  

Through the Green Card Lottery
The Diversity Visa Program or Green Card Lottery provides up to 55,000 people residence in the United States each year.  People who are eligible for the green card lottery generally come from countries that have low immigration rates to the U.S. 


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