What is the path from temporary to permanent visa status? There are various types of immigrant status visas that are used either temporary or permanent status. Temporary visas are usually issued for those who are planning on being in the United States for a specific period of time. The most common types of temporary visas include tourist visas (B-visas), students (F-visas), and temporary/seasonal workers (H-visas). These are designed to allow for a temporary stay in the U.S. The temporary visa ends after a specific period of time. The temporary visa may allow a limited number of re-entries.

Extending Your Stay

There are some ways to extend your stay in the United States while still under temporary visa status. This option may be available to you if the circumstances regarding your original visa have changed. For example, if you are here on a student visa and your studies are extended, you may qualify for an extension.

Permanent Visa

Those who want to live in the United States on a permanent basis must apply for permanent residency. This is also known as a green card. A temporary visa does not allow you to automatically obtain a green card. Those seeking permanent residency must meet the requirements set forth by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).

Permanent Resident Sponsorship

Sponsorship is typically necessary in order to obtain a green card. A sponsor may be a family member or employer. An eligible family member is required to be a United States citizen or permanent resident. Only close family members are allowed to be sponsors, including a spouse, adult sibling, or parent. There are also some special categories for a battered spouse or child, a child of a foreign diplomat born in the U.S., the widow of a U.S. citizen, K nonimmigrant, and V nonimmigrant visa holders.

Diversity Lottery

Another way to obtain a permanent resident visa is through the diversity lottery. This is a special process that allows 50,000 green cards to be provided from specific countries. The number of green cards for each country is limited. If selected, you must meet the criteria for permanent residency, but the process will be expedited. Check with the USCIS to learn more about the specifics of the program.

Seek Legal Guidance

If you are interested in becoming a permanent resident, it is best to discuss the situation with a qualified immigration lawyer. Every case is different, so it is important to review your needs with an attorney who will help to determine the available options.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding The Path from Temporary to Permanent Visa Status, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at  480.461.5330, log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.