Ahh, the American dream: freedom, money, success… Now that’s what I call the good life. But for modern immigrants, obtaining the American dream is much harder than it was 100 years ago.
These days, U.S. visas take years to obtain. If you’re not the parent, spouse, or minor child of a U.S. citizen, you’ll be waiting for awhile. If you’re being sponsored by a relative, the waiting period depends on how closely related you are and what country you’re coming from. You could be waiting upwards of 20 years to immigrate.
One of the fastest ways to get a visa is through business immigration. Work visas are highly regulated though, and as any business immigration law firm will tell you, unless you can prove you have a specialized skill set and an American company that is willing to employ and sponsor you, you will be denied. Even if you meet the immigration law standards for a work visa, limits on the amount of visas that can be issued to each country could still have you waiting up to eight years.
If you’re looking for an easier way to chase that American dream, here are some out-of-the-box ways that will get you to the land of opportunity faster.
Marriage: Marriage is without a doubt the fastest way to citizenship, so start searching for love stateside. Internet dating is now one of the primary ways for Americans to meet future spouses, so get on match.com or eharmony and start scouting for lonely citizens, who are looking for love. Though making that initial connection can be tricky, when it really works, sparks can fly.
Such is the case of American citizen Mike and his Russian wife Svetlana. The two met on the Internet in 2003 and formed an instant bond over emails. After flying Irina to California for a ten day vacation, Chris knew she was the one, and the pair has been together ever since.
Education: There’s nothing like the American college experience, so apply for a student visa and get ready to hit the books. Though student visas are temporary, if you’re not too busy playing beer pong, you can use the time to build work skills and schmooze potential employers. If you’re lucky, one of them will sponsor you for employment and immigration once you have your degree.
Dave, a citizen of the U.K., moved to the U.S. in 2006 with a student visa to study business at the University of Southern California. He took advantage of the school’s alumni networks to build connections and spent his summers doing internships around Los Angeles. Though his student visa expired upon graduation, he was able to gain employment with a high profile accounting firm, where he had previously interned and who sponsored him for immigration.
Diversity Lottery: If you’re out of options, try your luck with the lottery. The Diversity Lottery was created to increase immigration rates from underrepresented countries and grants 50,000 visas annually. So give it a shot; if the stars align, you could gain legal entrance to the U.S. without any effort at all.
The diversity lottery is a long shot, but if you’re a lucky winner, immigration can be a breeze. Robert, a citizen of Australia, moved to the U.K. in 2007 after being denied for a U.S. visa. He applied for the Diversity Lottery in early 2008 and was notified that his application was selected later that year. After providing the necessary information for passing the interview, Robert finally moved to the U.S. in late 2009.
U.S. immigration is a tricky system to navigate, but with a little creativity and a little luck, you could get a one-way ticket to the land of the free and the home of the brave.
~ Ellen Crigan