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Immigrating to the United States: What Should I Know?

Immigrating to the United States to live here permanently is an important and complex decision. In this section, you will learn about who may immigrate to the United States, the different types of immigrant visas, the required forms, and the steps in the immigrant visa process. For information on who may immigrate to the U.S., review Visa Types for Immigrants. Click on the links below for information on visa forms, the Affidavit of Support, other requirements, and related materials for immigrants. In general, to apply for an immigrant visa, a foreign citizen must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen relative(s), U.S. lawful permanent resident, or by a prospective employer, and be the beneficiary of an approved petition. Therefore, a first step is filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For information on this step, visit the USCIS website.

Petitions Required to be Filed in the United States U.S. citizens and lawful permanent resident sponsors residing in the United States file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the USCIS Chicago Lockbox facility or Phoenix Lockbox facility, following instructions on the USCIS website. U.S. employers file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, as instructed on the USCIS website.

Filing Immigrant Petitions Outside of the United States Some petitions may be filed outside of the United States. Review Filing Immigrant Petitions Outside the United States to learn more.

Immigrant Visa Processing – The National Visa Center (NVC)

After an immigrant petition filed in the United States is approved by USCIS, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing. NVC plays an important role in the next steps of the immigrant visa process by providing instructions to petitioners, sponsors, and visa applicants; reviewing required Affidavit of Support forms from sponsors; and receiving fees, application forms, and other required documents from visa applicants. For numerically limited family preference petitions, NVC contacts the petitioner once the petition’s priority date is about to become current. Learn more about the National Visa Center (NVC) and processing at the NVC.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook

The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a publication of the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics that includes information about the nature of work, working conditions, training and education, earnings, and job outlook for hundreds of different occupations. The Handbook is released biennially with its companion publication the Career Guide to Industries.

The current 2012-2013 edition was released in March 2012 and includes employment projections for the period 2012-2020. These projections are often criticized for their myriad assumptions at various steps in the production process; many critics[who?] have pointed out that “Handbook projections are simply a mere extrapolation of historical employment trends.

In addition, the Handbook gives job search tips, links to information about the job market in each State, and more.

Fastest growing occupations – The twenty occupations with the highest percent change of employment between 2010-20.

Visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook for full occupation descriptions.

Personal Care Aides $19,640 per year.
Home Health Aides $20,560 per year.
Biomedical Engineers $81,540 per year.
Helpers–Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters $27,780 per year.
Helpers–Carpenters $25,760 per year.
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians $29,710 per year.
Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers $38,430 per year.
Physical Therapist Assistants $49,690 per year.
Helpers–Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters $26,740 per year.
Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners $45,260 per year.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers $64,380 per year.
Occupational Therapy Assistants $51,010 per year.
Physical Therapist Aides $23,680 per year.
Glaziers $36,640 per year.
Interpreters and Translators $43,300 per year.
Medical Secretaries $30,530 per year.
Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists $60,570 per year.
Marriage and Family Therapists $45,720 per year.
Brickmasons and Blockmasons $46,930 per year.
Physical Therapists $76,310 per year.

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