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Multiple paths to residency and citizenship

For anyone starting down the road to immigration, it can all seem overwhelming at first. It is important to pick the correct path, complete all of the paperwork and provide all of the necessary documentation. While it may seem like an uphill battle at first, please know that it can happen and that having the right lawyer on your side -- to guide you through the immigration process -- can really help.

Mark A. Perez, P.C. is a law firm in the Dallas area that provides help to those immigrating to the U.S. Our law firm will help you to decide what path to citizenship or residency makes the most sense given your specific situation. We help with permanent residency and provide green card services.

As the U.S. Department of State points out, there are a number of paths to obtaining permanent residency in the U.S., with the first step being to obtain an immigrant visa. Out of the different paths to take, though, the majority of people either apply for an employment-based or family-based visa.

The basics to employment-based immigration

Every year, approximately 140,000 employment-based visas are available. To qualify, there are five different preferences, which really range. For example, those with "extraordinary abilities" in certain fields, like athletics, business or the sciences, fall under the first preference tier, while skilled workers, unskilled workers and professionals fall under the third preference tier.

What are the basics to family-based immigration?

There are two types of family-based immigration categories: immediate relative immigration visas and family preference immigration visas.

With immediate relatives, the number of visas that are available each year is unlimited and includes the spouse of a U.S. citizen, unmarried children of a U.S. citizen and the parent of a U.S. citizen, who is at least 21 years old.

With family preference immigration, there is a limit to the number of visas available each year. There are certain family members who qualify depending on their relationship to a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, or LPR. This includes the unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens -- including their children -- and the unmarried sons and daughters, who are at least 21 years of age, of LPRs. Like with employment-based immigration, there are different preferences.

Your path depends on your situation

The information contained in this post is only a brief overview of the two types of common pathways to residency and citizenship. An attorney will be able to lead you down the right path in terms of the specific type of visa that makes the most sense for your situation. Overall, the No. 1 thing to keep in mind is that while the process can be confusing and stressful, help is available.

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