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What is Immigration?

Here's everything you need to know about immigration.


Immigration is a complex and sensitive topic. Those seeking to become permanent residents or naturalized citizens of the United States must understand their rights and responsibilities as well as their options for staying in the country legally. This guide covers the details you need to know, from the different types of immigration status and green cards to the benefits of permanent residency and citizenship.

Guide to Immigration: Understanding Permanent Residents and Naturalized Citizens

Immigration is a complex and sensitive topic. Those seeking to become permanent residents or naturalized citizens of the United States must understand their rights and responsibilities as well as their options for staying in the country legally.

This guide covers the details you need to know, from the different types of immigration status and green cards to the benefits of permanent residency and citizenship.

Introduction to Immigration: Understanding the Basics

Understanding immigration basics is the first step to becoming a permanent resident or naturalized citizen of the United States.

There are four different types of immigration status: citizens, residents, non-immigrants, and undocumented.

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The most significant difference between these statuses is the ability to apply for a passport in the country one resides in. Citizens have this right, while permanent residents do not.

The most common path to US citizenship is through naturalization. Naturalization is the process by which a non-citizen not born in the US voluntarily becomes a US citizen.

To be eligible for naturalization, an applicant must meet certain requirements, such as being at least 18 years old, residing in the US as a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years, demonstrating continuous residence in the US for at least 5 years, having been physically present in the US for at least 30 months out of the five years, having lived for at least 3 months in the state of residence, being of good moral character for at least 5 years, demonstrating an attachment to the principles and ideals of the US Constitution, being able to read, write, and speak basic English, having knowledge and understanding of US history and government, and taking an Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

If an individual is married to a US citizen, serving in the US military, or is the child of a US citizen, they may be eligible for different requirements than those listed above. Further information on the different immigration statuses and how to obtain citizenship can be found on the USCIS website.

Types of immigration status

A. Citizens

Citizenship is a legal status that provides an individual with a range of rights and privileges, including the right to live in a particular country and to work, vote, and own property in that country. There are several types of immigration that can lead to citizenship.

1. Naturalization: Naturalization is the process of becoming a citizen through legal means.

This is usually done after living in a country for a certain period of time, passing an exam on the country’s culture and laws, and demonstrating good moral character. It is often a lengthy and complicated process, but it allows immigrants to become citizens of their new country and enjoy the rights and privileges that come with it.

2. Refugee Status: Refugees are people who are fleeing persecution or war in their home countries.

If they meet the criteria for refugee status, they may be granted legal protection in another country. This includes the right to live and work there, as well as access to education and healthcare. It does not, however, automatically confer citizenship.

3. Ancestry: Some countries allow individuals to apply for citizenship based on their ancestry or heritage.

This can be done if at least one of the applicant’s parents or grandparents was born in the country. In some cases, the applicant must prove that they have a strong connection to the country by providing evidence such as birth certificates or marriage records.

4. Marriage: Individuals who marry a citizen of another country may be eligible for citizenship if they meet certain criteria.

This can include living in the country for a certain period of time, passing an exam, and demonstrating good moral character.

5. Investment: Some countries offer citizenship in exchange for a significant investment in the country’s economy.

This can include buying property, creating jobs, or investing in businesses. This type of citizenship is usually only available to wealthy individuals, and the criteria and requirements vary from country to country.

B. Residents

Residents are immigrants who have been granted a permanent residence permit, which allows them to stay in the host country for an indefinite period of time. Residents may be naturalized citizens or may hold a temporary residency permit such as a work visa.

Permanent residency permits may be issued to foreign nationals who are married to a citizen, have invested in the host country, or have been granted asylum. Residents have many of the same rights as citizens, including the right to work and live in the host country without the threat of deportation.

Additionally, residents may be eligible for certain social benefits, such as healthcare and education. However, they may not vote in elections or hold public office.

C. Non-immigrants

Non-immigrants are individuals who come to the United States on a temporary basis. Non-immigrants are typically foreign nationals who are traveling to the U.S. for business, pleasure, or education. They may also come to the country to work temporarily in certain specialized fields or to participate in a special program.

Non-immigrant visas are divided into several categories, including tourists, students, business travelers, temporary workers, and exchange visitors.

Tourist visas allow people to visit the United States for a limited period of time, usually six months or less. Student visas are granted to those wishing to attend school or pursue higher education in the United States. Business travelers can stay in the country for a certain period to conduct business activities.

Temporary workers are typically employed by a company in the United States to perform a specific job. Exchange visitors are typically sponsored by a foreign government to participate in an exchange program with the United States.

Non-immigrants are expected to leave the United States at the end of their authorized stay. They must not overstay their visa and must comply with all regulations related to their visa category. Failure to do so can result in deportation.

D. Undocumented

Undocumented immigration is the illegal entry of a foreign national into a country without authorization from the government of that country.

This type of immigration often occurs when individuals enter a country by crossing its land or sea borders without official permission, or when they remain in the country after their visa has expired. Individuals who are undocumented may be at risk of deportation if they are discovered by the authorities.

In some countries, undocumented immigrants may be able to obtain legal status if they can demonstrate that they have been living in the country for an extended period of time and have not broken any laws. However, this process can be difficult and lengthy.

Additionally, many countries have strict laws regarding the entry and residence of undocumented immigrants, making it difficult for them to gain access to basic services such as healthcare and education.

The U.S. is one of the most common destinations for undocumented immigrants, with an estimated 11 million people living in the country without legal status.

What is Immigration in Economics?

Immigration in economics is the movement of people from one country to another in search of work, residence or other opportunities. Immigration is a major factor in the growth of economies and population, as it increases the labor supply and consumption of goods and services. Immigration also has an impact on wages, productivity, and inequality.

Immigrants are often attracted to countries with higher wages and greater economic opportunities than their own.

This can lead to increases in demand for certain products and services, which can have positive effects on economic growth. In addition, immigrants bring with them new skills and perspectives that can help drive innovation and productivity gains.

Immigration also has a negative effect on some native workers, who may be displaced by foreign workers willing to accept lower wages. This can result in reduced wages for native-born workers, as well as a decrease in job opportunities.

Additionally, immigration can increase competition for certain jobs, leading to downward pressure on wages.

Finally, immigration can have a significant impact on the distribution of wealth and income. Immigrants tend to earn less than native-born workers and may be more likely to work in low-wage jobs.

This can lead to increased inequality within countries. On the other hand, when immigrants arrive with higher levels of education and qualifications, they can improve the overall quality of the labor force, which can lead to greater economic growth and higher wages for all.

Who Qualifies as a Permanent Resident or Naturalized Citizen?

A permanent resident or naturalized citizen is a foreign-born individual who has been granted full rights and privileges in the United States. In order to qualify as a permanent resident, an individual must meet certain criteria outlined by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Generally, an individual must have a valid visa or green card, which is the document that grants them legal status in the United States.

The most common visas are family-based, employment-based, student, refugee, and asylum. Once a visa or green card has been obtained, an individual can apply for permanent residency.

In addition to a valid visa or green card, individuals must also meet certain criteria to qualify as a permanent resident.

These include being of good moral character, having a valid job offer in the United States, having a sponsor in the United States, and meeting certain financial requirements. If all of these criteria are met, the individual can then apply for permanent residency.

Naturalization is the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. To become a naturalized citizen, an individual must meet certain eligibility criteria.

These include being at least 18 years old, having a valid green card, having resided in the United States for at least five years, and demonstrating knowledge of U.S. history and government. Once these criteria are met, an individual can apply for naturalization.

In order to be eligible for either permanent residence or naturalization, an individual must meet the above criteria and also pass a background check.

This includes providing documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, tax returns, and other personal information. Additionally, they must pass a medical examination and an English language test.

Once all of the criteria have been met, an individual can apply for either permanent residence or naturalization. After the application is approved, the individual will be issued a certificate of citizenship.

This document is proof that the individual is now a permanent resident or naturalized citizen of the United States.

Applying for Permanent Residency in the U.S.

Applying for permanent residency in the United States is a long and complicated process that requires careful consideration of the applicant’s individual circumstances.

In general, the application process consists of completing and submitting the necessary paperwork, attending an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer, and undergoing a medical examination.

Depending on the visa category, the applicant may also need to submit additional documents or take additional steps.

The first step in the process is to determine which visa category best fits the applicant’s situation.

The USCIS website provides information on each visa category and the requirements for applying.

Once the applicant has decided on the best visa category, they will need to complete the appropriate application form. The forms vary depending on the visa category and must be completed accurately and completely. It is also important to provide all supporting documentation as requested.

After the paperwork is submitted, the applicant will need to attend an interview with a USCIS officer.

During this interview, the applicant will be asked questions about their personal history, reasons for wanting to become a permanent resident, and other matters related to their application. The officer will also review the applicant’s documents and ask for clarification or additional information if needed.

Following the interview, the applicant will need to undergo a medical examination.

The doctor performing the examination will evaluate the applicant’s overall health and screen for certain diseases and other conditions. If the applicant passes the medical examination, they will receive a report from the doctor that must be submitted with the application.

Once all the paperwork and documents have been reviewed and accepted, the application will be approved or denied.

If the application is approved, the applicant will receive an official notification in the mail. The notification will include instructions on how to complete the next steps, such as obtaining a green card or applying for naturalization.

Applying for permanent residency in the United States is a lengthy and complex process. However, with careful planning and preparation, the process can be successfully completed.

Those considering applying for permanent residency should seek legal advice to ensure they are taking the right steps and fulfilling all the requirements.

Obtaining a Green Card

The process of obtaining a green card can be complex and time-consuming. A green card, also known as a permanent resident card, is a document that provides an individual with legal status in the United States. It allows them to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely, and it is a necessary step in obtaining U.S. citizenship.

There are several different ways to obtain a green card, but the most common path is through a family member who is already a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

This process is known as “family-based immigration.” To qualify for a family-based green card, the applicant must have a qualifying relationship to the sponsor, such as being a child, spouse, parent, or sibling.

Once the relationship is established, the applicant will need to submit an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The application package should include evidence of the qualifying relationship and other required documents. Once the application is submitted, the applicant will need to wait for the USCIS to review the application and make a decision.

If the application is approved, the applicant will receive a notice of approval and will be allowed to apply for a green card.

The next step is to attend an interview at a local USCIS office.

During the interview, the applicant will need to provide additional documentation and answer questions about their background, relationship to the sponsor, and intentions in the U.S.

After the interview, the USCIS will make a final decision on the application. If approved, the applicant will be issued a green card and will become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

Obtaining a green card can be a lengthy process, but it is possible with the right guidance and patience. It is important to remember that each case is unique and the process may vary depending on the individual situation.

The Naturalization Process

The naturalization process is the means by which a non-citizen can become a citizen of the United States.

This process has been used for centuries, and each year thousands of individuals successfully complete the process.

Naturalization involves the application for U.S. citizenship, the review of an individual’s eligibility, the taking of an oath of allegiance, and the formal recognition of a person as a U.S. citizen.

The naturalization process can be lengthy and complicated. However, it is a critical part of being a citizen of the United States and offers many benefits.

The first step in the naturalization process is to apply for U.S. citizenship. This requires submitting an application, also known as Form N-400, to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The form must be filled out accurately and completely and submitted along with the required documents and fees.

The applicant may also need to provide biometric information such as fingerprints and photographs. Once the application is received, USCIS will review the application and the supporting documents to determine if the applicant is eligible for naturalization.

If the applicant is found to be eligible, they will receive a Notice of Action indicating that they have passed the initial review and are now eligible to take the next step in the process.

This step involves taking a written civics test, which consists of 10 questions about U.S. history and government. The applicant must answer at least 6 out of the 10 questions correctly in order to pass the test.

Once the applicant has passed the civics test, they will be scheduled for an interview with a USCIS officer.

During the interview, the officer will ask questions about the applicant’s background and their application.

The applicant will also be asked to take the oath of allegiance, which is a promise to uphold the values and laws of the United States. After the interview, the USCIS officer will make a decision on the application.

If the application is approved, the applicant will receive a Certificate of Naturalization, which is the official document that recognizes them as a U.S. citizen. Once the applicant has received this certificate, they can enjoy all of the rights and privileges of being a U.S. citizen.

The naturalization process can be lengthy and complicated.

However, for those who wish to become citizens of the United States, it is an important step in achieving their goal. By following the steps outlined above, applicants can successfully complete the naturalization process and gain the many benefits associated with being a U.S. citizen.

Rights and Responsibilities of Permanent Residents and Naturalized Citizens

Rights of Permanent Residents and Naturalized Citizens

Permanent residents and naturalized citizens are both afforded the same rights under the U.S. Constitution, including the right to vote, the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, and the right to due process.

They also have access to public education and the ability to obtain a driver’s license and other state-issued documents.

Permanent residents and naturalized citizens may travel freely within the United States and its territories, although they must carry their green card or other proof of legal status.

Permanent residents and naturalized citizens also have the right to seek employment without discrimination and to be eligible for many government benefits, such as Social Security and Medicare.

Responsibilities of Permanent Residents and Naturalized Citizens

Along with the rights afforded to permanent residents and naturalized citizens come certain responsibilities.

These include paying taxes, obeying all laws, registering for the Selective Service if required, and respecting the rights and beliefs of others.

Permanent residents and naturalized citizens must also maintain their immigration status, meaning they must avoid criminal activity and not remain outside of the country for extended periods of time.

If a permanent resident or naturalized citizen commits a crime, they may be subject to deportation.

Additionally, permanent residents and naturalized citizens should strive to become involved in their communities and understand their rights and responsibilities as citizens.

Different Types of Immigration Visas

Immigration visas are documents that allow foreign nationals to enter a country and live there for a certain period of time. The type of visa issued depends on the purpose of the visit, such as employment, study, or family reunification.

1. Temporary Worker Visas: There are several types of temporary worker visas, including H-1B visas for specialty occupations, H-2A visas for agricultural workers, and H-2B visas for non-agricultural workers. These visas allow foreign nationals to work in the U.S. for a specific period of time.

2. Student Visas: F-1 visas are issued to international students who are attending an accredited college or university in the U.S. J-1 visas are for exchange visitors, including students, professors, and researchers.

3. Family Visas: These visas are available for the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, including spouses, parents, children, and siblings. Immediate relatives are not subject to the annual visa quota.

4. Employment-Based Visas: These visas are for individuals who have job offers from U.S. employers. There are five categories of employment-based visas: EB-1 (priority workers), EB-2 (professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), EB-3 (skilled or professional workers), EB-4 (special immigrants), and EB-5 (investors).

5. Refugee and Asylum Visas: Refugees and asylees are persons who have been persecuted or fear persecution in their home countries. These visas allow them to enter the U.S. and live here permanently.

6. Investor Visas: These visas are for foreign investors who want to invest at least $500,000 in a U.S. business. The investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

7. Humanitarian Visas: These visas are available for victims of human trafficking, as well as individuals who face persecution in their home countries due to their race, religion, nationality, or political opinion.

8. Diversity Visas: The Diversity Visa Program is a lottery program that allows people from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. to apply for a green card. The winners of the lottery are chosen randomly and can then apply for lawful permanent residence.

Employment Opportunities for Permanent Residents and Naturalized Citizens

Employment opportunities for permanent residents and naturalized citizens are vast and varied, depending on the individual’s skills and interests.

Permanent residents and naturalized citizens can find employment in virtually any field, from business to education, healthcare to technology.

Permanent residents and naturalized citizens may work for any employer who is willing to hire them. This includes employers in the public sector, such as government agencies and nonprofit organizations, as well as private companies.

In addition, many employers will sponsor permanent residents and naturalized citizens for green cards, which allows them to remain in the U.S. and work legally.

Permanent residents and naturalized citizens are also eligible for jobs that require security clearance or special government certifications. For example, they can be hired as law enforcement officers, first responders, or intelligence analysts. They may also work in specialized fields, such as aviation, marine engineering, or nuclear energy.

In addition, permanent residents and naturalized citizens may be eligible for certain jobs that are not open to non-citizens. These include positions in the federal government, such as judges, diplomats, and military personnel.

They may also be eligible for certain jobs in the banking industry, such as loan officers, credit analysts, and mortgage brokers.

Finally, permanent residents and naturalized citizens may be able to take advantage of certain tax benefits, such as the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit.

The EITC is a refundable tax credit that is available to low-income individuals and families. The Child Tax Credit is a nonrefundable tax credit that provides assistance to families with children.

Overall, permanent residents and naturalized citizens have access to a wide range of employment opportunities. With the right skills, experience, and qualifications, they can find a job that fits their interests and provides them with a rewarding career.

Conclusion: Benefits of Immigration to the Economy

Immigration has many benefits to the economy. It can help to increase the labor force, which can lead to an increased GDP. Immigrants often bring with them new skills and perspectives that can help to drive innovation and business growth. Immigration can also help to diversify the workforce and create a more vibrant cultural landscape.

Finally, immigrants often bring with them money, which can help to stimulate economic activity in their adopted countries. All of these benefits demonstrate why immigration should be seen as a positive force for the economy.


I'm an Entrepreneur, Blogger & Mentor. Having lived in the USA for almost 7 years, I got bored and returned back to India. While doing so, created this website as a way to curate and journal my experiences. Today, it's a movement with a large community behind it. I hope this website helps NRIs planning to move back to India, make their transition smooth and easy. Feel free to ask any questions you may have. Happy to help!

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