General Information


Permanent resident is a non-US citizen who has been given permission to live permanently in the US

Green Card - although no longer green, this term is still used. Its official name is the Alien Registration Receipt Card which must be renewed every ten years and is issued to individuals who become Permanent residents.

Non-Immigrants are those who come to the US temporarily for some particular purpose but who do not remain permanently.

Quota - there is a limit on the number of visas issued each year and it can sometimes take many years to obtain a Green Card.

Immediate relatives are not subject to a quota. They are:

  • Spouses of US citizens
  • Unmarried people under the age of 21 who have at least one US citizen parent
  • Parents of US citizens if the US citizen child is over 21

Caution: Those who marry Permanent Residents of the US are subject to a quota and the queue is now a waiting period of 4-5 years with every prospect of it becoming longer

Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is the government agency having primary responsibility in the US for most matters concerning foreigners who enter the country. It is part of the Department of Justice

Department of State (DOS) regulates immigration outside of the United States. It operates US Embassies and Consulates

Department of Labor (DOL) is the government agency involved with some types of visa which are job-related. The DOL receives applications for Labour Certifications which are necessary for some immigrant visas.

Naturalization is the process of becoming a US citizen.