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3 main routes for immigration

Those looking to immigrate to the United States typically have three main routes that they can use. They are family reunification, employment and humanitarian protection. Immigration will be allowed on these grounds, though every case is considered separately.

In many cases, employment immigration begins long before the person enters the United States. He or she may line up a job with an employer in advance. The employer then helps with the process by requesting that the worker be granted legal immigration status.

Family reunification typically just means that some members of the family are already legally in the United States, and they want to bring in closely related family members so everyone can be together. A child and mother could be living in Georgia, for instance, while a father is not. One of the biggest hurdles to this type of immigration is simply that the numbers are restricted and only so many people can immigrate for this reason annually.

Humanitarian protection efforts often don't apply to immigrants, but to asylum seekers and refugees. They come from countries where they are in significant danger due to things like civil war or religious persecution. Many of them live in camps outside of their home countries, they don't believe they can safely return, and they're looking for a permanent place to live.

These are not the only reasons for immigration and relocation, but it's important to know that most cases fall into these categories. If you're interested in immigrating and you don't qualify for protection efforts or family reunification, there are legal steps you can take to be allowed into the country to take a qualifying job. It's critical to know how this process works, what you and the employer need to do, and how to get everything started.

Source: American Immigration Council, "Why Don't They Just Get In Line?," accessed March 31, 2017

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