The Statue of Liberty
This is a guest post from Judith Ludwic, immigration lawyer on JustAnswer.
There are five main ways to immigrate to the United States to live permanently (often known as "getting a green card"). They are family, employment, asylum, investment, or lottery.
Family: You must have immediate family such as U.S. citizen spouse or U.S. citizen children over 21 in order to be able to immigrate immediately. U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident parents or U.S. Citizen siblings, or Lawful Permanent Resident spouses can also help you, but the wait for that is about 4 to 12 years or so.
Employment: To obtain a green card this way, you would have to generally prove that you would not be taking away a job from a U.S. worker. The less experience and education you have, the harder that is to do.
Asylum: you must prove that you will be persecuted, tortured or killed if you stay in your country and that this will happen to you because of your nationality, race, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group, not because you would run the same risk as anyone else in your country to fall victim to a crime or bad economic conditions.
Investment: you are looking at generally $1,000,000.00 for a residency, or if you want a temporary visa, probably at least $100,000 or $200,000 investment to start.
Lottery: It would be very difficult to win one of the 50,000 visas available per year.
For more information, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services website.