What Documents Do I Need for Immigration to the United States?

There are two common ways to immigrate to the US as a permanent resident: Family-based petitions, and employment-based petitions. If an applicant’s petition/ application is accepted, then that applicant will receive a Green Card. Green Cards are used as proof that the holder is legally residing in the United States. 

What documentation do I need for family-based petitions?

Within the Family-based petition category, there are two categories: immediate relative and family preference. 

Immediate Relative Visa Types: 

  1. IR-1: For the spouse of a US citizen 
  2. IR-2: For unmarried children under the age of 21 of a US citizen
  3. IR-3: For an orphan adopted abroad by a US citizen 
  4. IR-4: For an orphan adopted in the US by a US citizen
  5. IR-5: For the parent of a US citizen who is older than 21

Family Preference Visa Types:

  1. F1: For the unmarried children of US citizens and their minor children 
  2. F2: For spouses, minor children and unmarried children over the age of 21 
  3. F3: For married children and their spouse and minor children
  4. F4: For Siblings of a US citizen 

Each of the above visa types is applied for in the same way. First the US citizen or permanent resident files a visa petition. USCIS will then make a decision based on that application. If the USCIS decides in your favor, you will then apply for your chosen visa type. 

The petition is filed using the I-30 form. In order to file this form, the documentation that you need varies depending on who you are filing for. Regardless of who you are filing for, you will need to provide proof that you are a US citizen or a green cardholder. After proving your immigration status, you are trying to prove that you have a valid, legal relationship with the person you are filing for. You must also provide proof of the nationality of the person that is seeking a green card. The following are examples of the types of documentation you would need to prove your relationship to a given relation. 

  1. Spouse:
    1. marriage certificate
    2. passport photo of you and your spouse
    3. One of the following documents: 
      1. Joint property ownership
      2. A lease in both your names 
      3. Birth certificates of children you had together 
      4. Affidavits from a third party 
      5. Any additional documentation that proves you are married
  2. Child: 
    1. Mother/ Father of the Child (when the child was born to married parents): birth certificate showing your name and the child’s name
    2. A child born out of wedlock: must be able to prove your relationship to the child through proof of living with the child or supporting the child. 
  3. Sibling: 
    1. Copy of you and your siblings birth certificates which demonstrate that you share at least one common parent. 
  4. Parent: 
    1. Birth certificate proving that the person you are filing for is your parent. 

What documentation do I need for employment-based petitions? 

There are five different types of employment-based- petitions. Each category is based on the type of occupation and skill set of the person seeking a visa. 

  1. EB-1: Priority Workers
    1. Individuals with extraordinary ability in a particular field
  2. EB-2: Professionals and Persons of Exceptional Ability 
  3. EB-3: Skilled and Unskilled Workers and Professionals
  4. EB-4: Special Immigrants
    1. Religious ministers 
    2. Retired International Organization Employees 
    3. People from outside of the US that was recruited to work for the US military. 
  5. EB-5: Immigrant Investors

Regardless of which of the above visas you are applying for, the process is the same. Before you can file for a visa, your employer must obtain a labor certification and then file with the USCIS. Once the USCIS has approved your employer’s application, you will file for immigration using the I-140 From. 

In order to submit your I-149 form you will need the following documentation: 

  1. An approved Labour Certificate 
  2. Proof of the financial stability of your employer in the form of an audited financial statement or in a statement from the company’s CFO
  3. Letters describing your experience from former employers
  4. Copies of your qualifications, like degrees, awarded