Ways to Stay in the U.S. Legally

The United States is still considered to be a land of opportunity. In 2017, there were about 44.5 million immigrants in the country. Every year, millions of immigrants are looking for ways to stay in the U.S. legally. Depending on your situation, you might qualify for one of the following ways to remain in the country with legal status.

Get an Employment Visa

There are several types of employment visas that will allow you to remain in the U.S. in compliance with immigration laws. While some are immigrant visas, others are temporary non-immigrant visas.

The H-1B Visa

If you want to be a temporary worker in the U.S., you can apply for an H-1B visa. The visa is only issued to those who have a specialty occupation. You must have specific knowledge and experience relating to the job and have a Bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, you need an employer to sponsor you. After six years, the visa expires and you must look for another way to remain in the country.

Extraordinary Ability Visa

This type of work visa is an immigrant visa and grants you permanent residency. However, very few foreign nationals qualify for this type of visa. You must be one of the top individuals in your profession and have national acclaim. 

There’s a strong burden of proof for this type of visa. Before applying, you should consult with an immigration attorney.

Advanced Degree Visa

An employer may be able to sponsor you if you have an advanced degree. Before anything can happen, they need to prove that there are no qualified applicants who are permanent residents or legal citizens. They also need to show that the job requires a minimum of a Master’s degree and that you have the required degree. 

Non-Employment Visas

You could qualify for one of several non-employment visas. With one of the following options, you might be able to obtain permanent residency.

Family-Based Visa

Do you have a family member who is already a U.S. citizen or green card holder? If so, you could apply for this type of visa. The wait for approval depends on the relationship between you and the visa holder and whether or not they are a citizen or permanent resident.

Marriage Visa

One option for remaining in the U.S. is to marry a citizen. After you marry them, you will need to go through the green card application process. This includes doing an interview with immigration officials. If they doubt your relationship, they will deny your request.


If you fear returning to your home country, you could have grounds for asylum. There must be evidence that returning to your country would put you in danger. Once you’ve been in the U.S. for a year, you will be able to apply for a green card.

Speak to an Immigration Attorney

Your best chance at remaining in the U.S. with legal status is to consult with an immigration lawyer. If you want to be successful, you need to learn more about your options and apply for the right type of visa. If you fail to do so, you’ll be denied or forced to wait years to have your visa approved. 

An experienced attorney will streamline the application process and navigate the challenges that come with immigration. If you’re ready to get started, contact the Florida Immigration Law Counsel.

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