Immigration Category

The Naturalization Act of 1790 established the naturalization procedures in United States with the fact that only white immigrants who kept their status current and had been resided in the country for two years were eligible to become citizens. After that there were many changes in naturalization laws during 18th and 19th centuries with many restrictions on various ethnic groups and limitations on period of residence. The Hart-Cellar Act of 1965 also referred to as the Immigration and Naturalization Act put an end to the naturalization quota system, based on the origin of nation and established a new immigration category policy supporting skilled labor and family preferences.

By the end of 20th century, there were many enhancements made to the policies of the Naturalization Act of 1965, with better enforcement of immigration policies and produced more possibilities to legal immigrants. By 1990, the Immigration Act also known as IMMACT increased the visas of non-immigrant quota to 40% and raised the total immigration limit to 700,000.With the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and increase in the number of unauthorized illegal entries in US there were many significant changes in the immigration category policies and legal immigration visas.

According to the law of immigration a person can enter into US based on two visa categories such as immigrant visa and non-immigrant visa. There are many non-immigrant visa types such as H1B, B-1, BCC, E-3, J, H-1B, F, M etc which are divided based on the purpose of travel to US on a temporary basis. For the year 2011, the H-1B employment based visa quota for extraordinary skilled professionals from other countries is limited to 65,000. In order to gain the eligibility for Immigration visa to United States, a person must belong to any one of the three basic immigration category types such as as family based, employer sponsored or special category immigration. Unlike other visa types there is another visa category known as Diversity Visa program through which the US government provides visa to the petitioners from other countries with low rates of immigration.

A foreign born citizen entering into US with the non-immigrant category such as H-1B is eligible to convert his status into Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) lawfully. These LPRs also known as Green Card Holders are allowed to live and work in US but are not eligible to vote like US citizens. This foreign national must attain citizenship through naturalization process to enjoy the same benefits of US citizen. The USICS holds responsibility for the enforcement of all these immigration laws thus strengthening the integrity and security of the immigration system.