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How to Legally Immigrate to the US?

The Carolina Law Group > Blog  > How to Legally Immigrate to the US?

How to Legally Immigrate to the US?

There are many ways to legally immigrate to the US. Here is a brief overview of the main ways a person can move from another country to the US permanently.

First, What Does It Mean to Immigrate to the US?

It’s possible to visit, live, and work in the US on a temporary basis through nonimmigrant visas. However, when people talk about immigrating to the US, they are referring to securing the right to live and work here permanently by attaining a permanent resident card, commonly known as a green card. The categories discussed below are paths to getting a green card.

Family-Based Immigration

Relatives of US citizens and green card holders account for the majority of immigrants to the US every year. This category also includes fiancé(e)s and widow(er)s of a US citizen.

Employment-Based Immigration

This category includes immigrant workers, who are typically sponsored by their employer, and immigrant investors. Approximately 140,000 employment-based visas are made available each year.

Refugee or Asylee Status-Based Immigration

The number of refugees (who are outside of the US when they apply to enter the country legally for protection) and asylees (who are already in the US when they apply for asylum) immigrating to the US varies each year.

Lottery-Based Immigration

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) is a potential pathway to permanent residency for people who want to immigrate to the US but don’t fit into other eligibility categories. Approximately 50,000 immigrant visas are made available each year for winners chosen at random by a computer program.

Immigration through Other Means

Other ways to get a green card include pathways for victims of abuse, human trafficking, and crime; “special immigrants” including certain types of workers and abused or neglected juveniles; people who have lived in the US continuously since before January 1, 1972 (green card through registry); and people with other various, rarer backgrounds or circumstances.  

Call the Immigration Attorneys at The Carolina Law Group

We’ve barely skimmed the surface on how to legally immigrate to the US; however, the takeaway is that there are a variety of legal pathways to permanent residency status (green card status) in the US.

For more information, check out the official USCIS website’s page on green card eligibility, and if you’re in South Carolina or plan to move here, give us a call. As experienced immigration attorneys who have helped people with a variety of immigration matters from visas to green cards to citizenship and more, we can answer your questions and help you with your immigration issue.    

The Carolina Law Group has four offices in South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.312.4444) & West Columbia (principal office; call 803.881.1110).

Call us at one of our four offices or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys. Our business hours are Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:30pm & Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm. Weekend and evening hours by appointment only. Our Greenville, SC law firm offers Spanish, Hindi, and Gujarati language translation services for your convenience.




Monty D. Desai came to the United States on Christmas Eve, 1988. After high school he joined the service in order to earn money for college. Monty would go on to earn a letter of commendation as a Navy Corpsman for the Marine Corps. After his service, Monty completed his undergraduate studies at the University of South Carolina. From there, Monty went on to attend Thomas M. Cooley Law School on full scholarship, where he earned his Juris Doctorate. Following graduation from law school, Monty served as prosecutor with Greenville County Solicitor’s Office, and also worked as a a adjunct professor in the Criminal Justice Division at Greenville Technical College. In 2015 Monty was recognized by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys as ranked among the Top 10 Under 40 for excellence in the field of personal injury.

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