Learn about U.S. residency, green cards, and citizenship requirements and related issues: Immigration and Citizenship
See Charts and Forms for more documents.
How does an individual obtain U.S. Citizenship?
If you meet certain requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth.
To become a citizen at birth, you must:
- Have been born in the United States or certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; OR
- had a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad) and meet other requirements
To become a citizen after birth, you must:
- Apply for “derived” or “acquired” citizenship through parents
- Apply for naturalization
What is a Green Card?
A Green Card holder (permanent resident) is an individual that has been granted the authority by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person is granted a permanent resident card, commonly called a "Green Card."
What Types of Visas Exist in the U.S.? Below is a summary of Non-Immigrant Visas Categories
What Types of Visas Exist in the U.S.?
Below is a summary of Non-Immigrant Visas Categories
|G||Representatives or employees at International|
|H-1B||Temporary professional workers|
|H-2A/H-2B||Agricultural or non-agricultural temporary workers|
|K-1/K-3||Fiancés/fiancées of US citizens or spouses of US Citizens waiting for the green card|
|L-1A||Intra-company transferees who are executives or managers|
|L-1B||Intra-company transferees who are specialized knowledge workers|
|N||Parents or children of special immigrants|
|O||Persons of extraordinary ability|
|P||Athletes, artists or entertainers|
|Q||International Cultural exchange visitors|
|T||Trafficking of person victims|
|TN||NAFTA professionals (Mexico and Canada)|
|U||Certain crime victims|
|V||Certain spouses/children of green card holders waiting for green cards|
How Does Someone Come to the U.S. as an Immigrant?
There are various catagories of Green Card holders and much depends on the location of the applicant. If applying within the U.S, the process is known as “adjustment of status” and outside the United States, the process is referred to as “consular processing." There are are four main ways in which foreign-born individuals can come to the United States legally:
I. Family-Based: Through family-based immigration, a U.S. citizen or LPR can sponsor his or her close family members for permanent residence. A U.S. citizen can sponsor his or her spouse, parent (if the sponsor is over 21), minor and adult children, and brothers and sisters. An LPR can sponsor his or her spouse, minor children, and adult unmarried children.
In most cases, citizens or LPRs wishing to petition for a family member must earn at least 125% of the poverty level and sign a
legally enforceable affidavit of support to that effect.
II. Employment-Based: An employment-based immigrant, sponsored by a U.S. employer or by investing in the U.S. Through employment-based immigration, a U.S. employer can sponsor a foreign-born employee for permanent residence. Typically,
the employer must first demonstrate to the Department of Labor that there is no qualified U.S. worker available for the job, but labor certification is not required for all of the employment-based categories, and even if required, can be waived.
III. Refugee: A person located outside the United States who seeks protection in the U.S. on the grounds that he or she faces persecution in his or her homeland can enter this country as a refugee. In order to be admitted to the U.S. as a refugee, a person must prove that he or she has a “well-founded fear of persecution” on the basis of at least one of the following internationally recognized grounds: race, religion, membership in a social group; political opinion; or national origin.
Refugees generally apply for admission to the United States in refugee camps or at designated processing sites outside their home countries. In some instances, refugees may apply for protection from within their home countries (e.g. Cuba, Vietnam, former the Soviet Union). If accepted as a refugee, the person is sent to the U.S. and receives assistance through the “refugee resettlement program.” A person who is already in the United States and fears persecution if sent back to his or her home country may apply for asylum in the U.S. Once granted asylum, the person is called an “asylee.” Like a refugee, an asylee must prove that he or she has a “well-founded” fear of persecution based on one of the five enumerated grounds listed
IV. Diversity Immigration: To qualify for the diversity visa lottery, individuals must have a high school education or its equivalent, or within five years preceding the application, have had at least two years of experience in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience. Applicants for the lottery can electronically file only one application
every year during a designated period.
What is DACA?
DACA is an acronym for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals? California State University, Long Beach is committed to supporting undocumented AB 540 students (Dreamers).
What are the Guidelines for DACA?
These laws are actively changing at this time so please call for an appointment or visit the Dream Center on Campus.
An individual may request DACA if he or she satisfies the following:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
For further information on DACA go to the following link Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service
What Governmental Agency is charged with deportation?
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is charged with administering the Immigration Courts nationwide
What procedures govern the deportation process?
While there are many sources that outline the deportation procedure, The Immigration Court Practice Manual provides an overview of procedures, requirements, and recommendations for practice before the Immigration Courts. The manual can be obtained at the below link. In accordance with the guidelines and disclaimers set forth therein, the manual is for the general public and for parties that appear before the Immigration Courts; however, it is not intended, nor should it be construed in any way, as legal advice. A hard copy of the manual can be obtained at the CBA Legal Information Clinic as well as other publications at Resources.
The Immigration Court Practice Manual, a hard copy is available at CBA Legal Information Clinic.
Source: The Executive Office for Immigration Review.