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Permanent Residence

Permanent Residence

Permanent Residence Defined

Permanent Residency is the right to live and work in the United States indefinitely. Often people refer to this immigrant status as having a "green card". A limited amount of "green cards" are made available by the Government for each fiscal year. When the numbers are exhausted, wait lists are compiled which can be years long. The U.S. Department of State maintains the wait list, and publishes a monthly bulletin containing this information each month.

The HIO is pleased to announce an informational session entitled Green Cards, Entrepreneurship, and Work Visas: What Do I Need to Know? Join attorneys from local immigration law firm Iandoli & Desai, P.C. speaking about topics such as H-1Bs, TNs, O-1s, entrepreneurship, green cards and much more during this session sponsored by the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs and the HIO. Q & A to follow. The session will be held on Wednesday, April 16th, 2013 from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm in Science Center Hall A.

Please note that Harvard University is able to provide employer sponsorship for faculty and high level researchers. USCIS has formal notification that the HIO is the only university office that may act as a signatory for immigration based applications which require job offers from Harvard University and/or signatures on immigration forms from the HIO.

Ways to Obtain Permanent Residence

There are numerous ways to pursue permanent residency. Some of the most commonly utilized routes are sponsorship by an employer and self petitioning procedures by which applicants prove national interest or exceptional ability, sponsorship by a qualifying family member, investors, religious workers, asylum, and the diversity lottery.

Employment Based Permanent Residence

Routes that are connected to employment and self petitioning procedures by which foreign nationals prove national interest or exceptional ability relate to multiple types of applications. These routes may either prove to the Department of Labor that there were no minimally qualified candidates for a position, or that the person is outstanding or exceptional in the field of endeavor. Visit the Department of State website for more information on employment based permanent residence.

Family Based Permanent Residence

A family member can offer sponsorship of permanent residence by means of a qualifying family relationship. This is most frequently achieved for spouses of United States Citizens (USC) who are considered to be Immediate Relatives and for whom there is no quota or backlog. If in the United States when a foreign national (FN) marries a USC, s/he is immediately eligible to file both a Relative Petition and Application to Adjust Status. These application packages should be filed together. The Government will schedule both an appointment for fingerprinting and a mandatory interview with the couple, and if approved will eventually result in Conditional Permanent Residence for the Foreign National. The couple must file to remove the conditional nature of the approval at a later date. Visit the Department of State's website for more information on eligibility and application procedures.

Religious Worker Based Permanent Residence

A religious worker is a person who for the past two years has been a member of a religious denomination which has a bona fide nonprofit, religious organization in the United States; and who has been carrying on the vocation, professional work, or other work described below, continuously for the past two years. Please click here for more information on Religious Workers

Asylum Based Permanent Residence

An asylee is a person who cannot return to his/her home country because of a well-founded fear of persecution. An application for asylum is made in the United States to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. For more information on this category of permanent residence please go here.

Investment Based Permanent Residence

Investors must invest between $500,000 and $1,000,000, depending on the employment rate in the geographical area, in a commercial enterprise in the United States which creates at least 10 new full-time jobs. For more information on Investors, please go here.

Diversity Visa Lottery

Each year the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas, drawn from random selection among all entries to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. For more information on the Diversity Visa Lottery, please go here.

Further Information

Department of State (DOS) maintains a list with helpful immigrant visa information, as well as many links to comprehensive details on eligibility and application information.


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