While Europeans used to account for the majority of U.S. immigration, European immigration to America dropped dramatically after the 1960s and continues to decline. This is in part due to the abolishment of national-origin quotas, which gave preferential treatment to European immigrants. But just because European immigration to America is on the decline, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. In fact, the process for European immigration to America is generally the same as it is for most other countries. In the content below, we’ll go over some of the best routes (temporary and permanent) that you can take to live in America.
European Immigration to America Through Employment
If you wish to come to America to work, several work visa programs allow you to do so. One of the most popular is the H-1B visa program. This is a nonimmigrant work visa that allows you to work in the U.S. provided you have a bachelor’s degree and specialized knowledge.
With the H-1B visa, you may stay in the U.S. for three years with the possibility of an extension of another three years. Once the maximum of six years has been reached, you must leave the U.S. for a minimum of one year before you can reapply for the H-1B visa. In order to get an H-1B visa, you will need an H-1B sponsoring employer to petition on your behalf.
There are many advantages to European immigration to America through an H-1B visa, including the fact that you are not required to maintain a permanent residence in your country of citizenship, and that you are permitted to apply for a green card while you are in the U.S.
European Immigration to America Through Marriage
This is perhaps the most infamous method for permanent residency in the United States. However, it is not necessarily the best or the easiest. This route for European immigration to America should only be pursued if you have a legitimate, romantic relationship with a U.S. citizen. Otherwise, you could risk your eligibility to ever immigrate to the United States.
In order to pursue a green card through marriage, you will first need to apply for a fiance visa. This allows you to come to the U.S. before you are married, though you will need to marry within 90 days of your arrival. If the U.S. government deems your relationship to be valid, you will receive a two-year green card. Then, after your first two years of marriage, you will receive your permanent green card. If you file for divorce before the first two years, you will have to prove to the government that your marriage ended because of unforeseeable marital issues.
It is important to note that if you come to the U.S. on a travel visa and then decide to get married, this could cause the government to scrutinize your case. This is because when you enter the U.S. on a travel visa you essentially make a promise to the government that you will leave once it expires. This is not to say that there aren’t legitimate reasons to take this route—for example, if your significant other proposes to you while you are visiting the country. However, you should be cautious.
European Immigration to America Through Investment
If you are an entrepreneur, you may be able to get a green card through investment in real estate or a commercial enterprise. The best way to pursue this is through the EB-5 immigrant investor program. However, this option may not be suitable for most people since it requires a significant amount of capital.
In most cases, you will need to invest $1,000,000. If the investment is in a rural or high unemployment area, your minimum investment will need to be $500,000 or more. The other string attached to this pathway for European immigration to America is that your investment will need to create 10 full-time, permanent positions for U.S. workers.
Any of these three pathways will allow you to come to the U.S. to work and live, provided you meet the eligibility requirements. To learn more about permanent residency options, download our free eBook, “A Guide to Residency: Top 4 Green Card Options.”
While you can pursue immigration on your own, the process is often long and confusing. A knowledgeable attorney will not only be able to help you choose your best option for European immigration to America but will also be able to expedite the process by avoiding potential complications. To schedule a free 30-minute consultation with one of the experienced lawyers at Katz Law Ltd., contact our office today.