The Migration Policy Institute estimates that there are 821,700 foreign-born nationals in Pennsylvania, which is about 6.4 percent of the state’s overall population. Fifty-one percent of immigrants in Pennsylvania are naturalized citizens.
Pennsylvania counties with the highest number of immigrants include:
Philadelphia County- 197,600
Montgomery County- 82,700
Allegheny County- 67,300
Getting legal authorization in Pennsylvania
Foreign-born nationals who want to visit, work or live in Pennsylvania need to get authorization from U.S. immigration. There are several options for obtaining legal authorization which is outlined below:
Asylum- As a humanitarian nation, the U.S. gives refugees trying to escape war or persecution the opportunity to resettle and begin rebuilding their lives. However, refugee status is very hard to obtain. The Pew Research Center reports that for the 2016 fiscal year which ended last September, the Department of Homeland Security granted asylum to 85,000 immigrants from all over the world, compared to the 617,752 immigrant visas issued by the State Department in 2016.
Immigrant visas- Immigrant visas are granted to individuals who plan to immigrate to the U.S. There are a variety of immigrant visas that apply to different situations and travel needs. Some of those visas such as the H-1B, or the IR-1, require an immigrant be sponsored by an employer or a spouse, respectively.
Nonimmigrant visas- A nonimmigrant visa is issued for work or travel for a limited period depending on the applicant’s reason for entry. Millions of immigrants are granted temporary work and travel visas each year. The most common temporary work visas are the H-2A and H-2B visas for seasonal work in agricultural and hospitality industries.
Primary types of visas
The USCIS issues visas for work, travel or family reunification. Below are the common types of U.S. visas:
Employment-based visas- These visas can be issued for temporary or permanent employment in the U.S. and are issued to immigrants with a varying skill for a range of industries.
Fiancé(e) visa- A U.S. citizen who is going to marry a foreign-born national can sponsor their soon-to-be-spouse for immigration, but the couple must marry within 90 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania.
Family-based visas- Legal permanent residents or U.S. citizens can sponsor a spouse, child or parent for an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa. Family-based are common and reunites immigrants with their loved ones.
Getting a visa, refugee status or asylum are not easy and many immigrants have their applications denied. The difficulties associated with legal immigration are a deterrent, and some immigrants choose to enter the U.S. without authorization.
Green card and U.S. citizenship
The goal of many people who immigrate to America is to become a green card holder (legal permanent resident) and eventually a U.S. citizen. There are numerous benefits to being a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen, but the criteria for each status is stringent. It takes time and perseverance to achieve either status. That is why USAttorneys recommends immigrants get assistance with their case. We can connect you with a top-notch immigration attorney in Pennsylvania.
Benefits of both statutes include being able to travel internationally, permission to work and live in the U.S. indefinitely. Do you need help with a travel visa, an employment visa or need to fight deportation? If you have any immigration need, contact an immigration lawyer in Pennsylvania today