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What U.S. visa options might my father pursue?

My father is an Egyptian and a resident of Qatar. He got a tourist visa for the United States and he is about to travel there, but he wants to convert it to permanent residence status as there is work available for him there. However, per U.S. law, it is difficult to get a work visa—they prefer permanent citizens for those visas. He is a biologist specializing in medical analysis with a Bachelor’s degree, two other diplomas and about 10 years’ experience in the field. What visas should my father consider to achieve permanent residence in the United States?

Answers

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Most work visas require U.S. employer sponsorship or U.S. agent sponsorship to allow visa holders to work and live in the U.S. Then, the holders may obtain permanent residence by going through certain required steps. Certain persons of extraordinary ability or multinational executives or managers may petition for permanent residence in the U.S. EB-5 direct or regional center investment allows self-petitioning for permanent residence in the U.S. by investing $500,000 or $1 million into United States businesses. The investment amount differs depending on whether the investment is in a Targeted Employment Area (i.e. high unemployment or rural area) or not. People may also win diversity lottery to become permanent residents. It is recommended that your father consults an experienced immigration attorney to review various immigration options that may be suitable for his specific situation.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Permanent residence is possible under a host of circumstances: (1) if your father is sponsored by an employer, (2) if he enters the annual diversity lottery and wins or (3) if he pursues EB-5 petition either through direct investment or a regional center (RC). It is true that work visa is difficult but if an employer sponsors him for H-1B, a non-immigrant work visa, he may be able to enter the U.S. and work. Advisably, he should consult an immigration attorney for a detailed analysis of his options.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If he gets an employer to sponsor him, he could file for a direct green card but it may be close to a year before he can workso he likely will need to return home in the meantime and then return.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    In order for your father to immigrate, unless he has a U.S. citizen son, daughter, parent or spouse (or a spouse that is a Lawful Permanent Resident), he will have to immigrate through employment. Employment is difficult because it requires sponsorship and, typically, that would be under the H-1B program. While your father could theoretically qualify, there are no H-1B numbers available until next October 1, 2018 and, even then, given the limited number of H-1B numbers, the chance of obtaining one even through sponsorship may be no greater than 30%. An employer could also sponsor your father for Lawful Permanent Residency (or so-called green card status) by proving the unavailability of U.S. workers, but that process could take approximately 2 years. Alternatively, if your father cannot find an appropriate employer to sponsor him, he could use the EB-5 Regional Center Program by essentially loaning $500,000 to a projectan amount, if due diligence is exercised, your father would have every opportunity to recoup after approximately 5 years. The process of immigrating through an EB-5 regional center investment could also take approximately 2 years or somewhat longer.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you father has a U.S. employer ready to employ him, they can sponsor him for a green card. Alternatively, if he is able to make an investment of $500,000, then he can apply under the EB-5 program. There is also a green card lottery held in November that is worth applying for.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    That would depend on whether he has an employer/petitioner lined up for the work he wants to do in the U.S. He can either process for an employment authorized visa through his employer or, if he does not have a job lined up, then his options are either EB-1 (extraordinary ability), an EB-2/National Interest Waiver for his work or an EB-5 immigrant investor visa.

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