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The three categories of immigrant visas

Anyone considering immigration to the United States has a long road of paperwork and waiting ahead of them. But there are also plenty of resources to lean on when things get confusing.

Before applying, people may want to research how their situation applies to the categories of visas. The current process, according to FWD.us, already has an employee visa backlog of over 900,000 applications. Doing research may help avoid any further unnecessary bumps or delays that arise from a misapplication.

Relative or family-sponsored visas

This categorizes those applicants with family members or spouses that are U.S. citizens or another form of lawful permanent resident. It also includes the intercountry adoption of orphan children.

Employer-sponsored visas

This category involves work visas from various preference groups like priority workers, advanced degree holders, investors and other professionals. Other visa types include religious workers and Iraqi or Afghan people who worked on behalf of the U.S. government.

Other immigrants

This category includes anyone as a returning resident and those who register for the diversity visa program.

Wait times

Assuming all the paperwork is in order when someone applies, he or she still has months of waiting ahead of them. According to Visa Help, the application process for any visa takes between three and five weeks, minimum. This length of time increases based on the permanence of the visa. Those seeking lawful, permanent residence may expect to wait 14 months or longer depending on which category they fall into.

When navigating the complexities of immigration law, it is important for anyone to do their own research while double-checking all filings to increase the chance of a smooth application.