What are the four main types of Immigration in the US?
By: Harlan York
January 13, 2023

The United States has a long history of being enriched through immigration. Immigrants come to the United States from all around the world for various reasons and through different channels. The four main categories of immigrants are family-based, employment-based, humanitarian-based, and diversity-based.

Here are the four main categories of Immigrants that come into the US each year.

  1. Family-based immigrants are sponsored by a family member who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. These individuals may include spouses, children, parents, and siblings. Family-based immigration is the most common form of immigration to the United States, accounting for about two-thirds of all legal immigration.
  2. Employment-based immigrants are sponsored by an employer in the United States. These individuals may include skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers. Employment-based immigration is more limited than family-based immigration, with only 140,000 visas available each year.
  3. Humanitarian-based immigrants are admitted to the United States for humanitarian reasons, such as refugees fleeing persecution or people seeking asylum protection. These individuals may include victims of human trafficking and people from countries experiencing civil war or natural disasters. The United States admits up to 85,000 refugees and up to 10,000 asylees each year.
  4. Diversity-based immigrants are selected through a lottery program designed to promote diversity in the United States. The program is open to individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Each year, 50,000 individuals are selected through this program.

It is important to note that these categories are not mutually exclusive and an individual may fall under multiple categories. Additionally, there are other forms of immigration such as student visa, etc. Understanding the different types of immigration can help individuals navigate the complex process of coming to the United States. As always, if you have any questions about what category you should try to get your green card under, it’s best to contact an immigration-specific lawyer, as laws change every year.


About Harlan York

The first-ever attorney in New Jersey to win “Immigration Lawyer of the Year” from Best Lawyers, Harlan York is former immigration chair of the NJ State Bar Association and former co-chair for the NY State Bar Association CFLS Committee on Immigration. He currently serves on the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) National Practice Management Committee.

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Harlan York & Associates practices law in the areas of Immigration, Deportation Defense, Family Immigration, Corporate Immigration, Naturalization throughout Essex County – Hudson County – Morris County – Passaic County – Somerset County – Middlesex County – Bergen County – New Jersey -Immigration Lawyer – NJ Immigration Lawyer – Jersey City-Newark-Paterson Passaic Elizabeth Edison Woodbridge Toms River Hamilton Trenton Camden Clifton Passaic Garfield Wallington Cherry Hill East Orange Passaic Union City Bayonne Irvington Old Bridge Lakewood North Bergen Vineland Union Wayne Parsippany-Troy Hills New Brunswick Plainfield Bloomfield Perth Amboy East Brunswick West New York West Orange Hackensack Atlantic City Kearny Mount Laurel Montclair Essex Hoboken North Brunswick Belleville. In addition to serving clients in New York, Pennsylvania, the greater United States, and Internationally.

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