USA and the UK
Visa Guide: How to Move from Pakistan to the U.S.
If you are looking to move to the US from Pakistan then the US Citizenship and Immigration Service will need to approve your petition form before you can apply for an immigrant visa. Once your petition has been accepted, there are four main avenues to obtain an immigrant visa to the US. The first avenue is the most obvious one – to become a lawful permanent resident through what is called a ‘Family Sponsorship’ visa which applies to anybody whose relative is a US citizen. However, there are two types of family sponsorships:
Family sponsorship visas via ‘immediate relatives’ are for spouses, parents, and unmarried children of US citizens. There is no limit on the number of immediate relatives the US can accept each year and, as long as they arrive legally, they can be exempt from various grounds of inadmissibility such as overstaying their visas or accepting employment without permission.
The ‘family preference’ category is for any family that are not the spouses, parents, or children of US citizens. Because there is an annual limit on the amount of ‘family preference’ immigrants who can come to the US, there is a very long wait time because immediate relatives are a prioritised category.
The second method is via the Diversity Visa as part of the 1990 Immigration Act whereby 55,000 visas are made available as part of an annual lottery. Generally, the lottery prioritises countries that have low US immigration rates to increase diversity within the US.
The other two methods of moving to the US from Pakistan revolve around employment and there are different visa types depending on the type of work being undertaken, each of which will be outlined below.
What Is the Process?
The first thing you will need to do is to fill out a visa form, ensuring all information is accurate. Then you will go online and create an account on https://www.ustraveldocs.com/pk/ with your passport information before paying your visa fee.
After this is done, you will be able to book an appointment, where you will need:
- Case number
- The barcode number on your visa application form
- Your passport number
- The receipt number for your visa fee
A medical examination will be carried out by an approved professional, after which you can book and attend a visa interview where you will need to bring various documents.
What Documents Will You Need?
Given the importance of obtaining a US visa, you will need to make sure you bring a range of documents to your interview, and these are as follows:
- A passport with at least 6 months validity from your travel date
- A DS-160 confirmation page
- Two 2-inch by 2-inch passport photographs without headwear or eyewear
- A registered birth certificate
- A sealed medical report
- A marriage certificate and divorce certificate (if necessary)
- Evidence that you will be self-supporting whilst in the US
- Evidence that shows your relationship to the petitioner
- A receipt of your visa fee payment
- Police certificates
It is also worth noting that you may need to submit supporting documents and this largely depends on the type of visa you are applying for. For example, employment-related visas will need employment paperwork and contracts whereas family visas may need further evidence or relationships.
First Preference (E1): Priority Workers
The highest preference category is split into three further subcategories, all of which relate to highly skilled workers:
- People with extraordinary abilities in science, the arts, education, athletics, or education. This requires documentation to demonstrate your international acclaim and recognition
- Outstanding professors and researchers who have three years of experience and who are recognised internationally within their field. These individuals must be coming to the UK to undergo activities at a university or another type of higher-education institution
- Multinational managers or executives who have been employed by the company for one out of the previous three years and who must be working at a managerial or executive level
Second Preference (E2): Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees
The second preference category is for either:
- Professionals with an advanced degree or a baccalaureate with at least five years of experience in the field
- People with exceptional abilities in the arts, sciences, or business, above the level usually displayed in their field
Applicants under the second preference visa will usually need a labour certificate approved by the Department of Labour and a job offer from a US employer who has filed an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140).
Third Preference (E3): Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers
The requirements for this third preference employment visas are slightly broader than those of the first and second preferences, and they are as follows:
- Skilled workers whose jobs require 2 years’ worth of training or work experience that is not temporary or season
- Unskilled workers intending to do work that needs less than two years of training and that is not temporary or seasonal
- Professionals whose job needs a baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent
Applicants for third preference visas will also require an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) signed by their prospective employer.
Fourth Preference (E4): Certain Special Immigrants
This category is an umbrella for many specific types of roles which include, but are not limited to, the following examples:
- Certain employees or former employees of the US Government Abroad
- Retired NATO-6 civilians and their spouses or children
- Particular foreign medical graduates
- Broadcasters who are employed by the International Broadcasting Bureau
- Ministers of religion and some other religious worker roles
Unlike second and third preference categories, fourth preference applicants need an I-360 form which is an approved Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant visa, and a certificate of labour is not required.
Fifth Preference (E5): Immigrant Investors
Fifth preference visas are unlike the other four because they relate to investors as opposed to employees or former employees. This preference is reserved for those who are investing a minimum of $1,000,000 in US businesses or companies (or $500,000 in a high-unemployment or rural area). Due to its unique nature, there are many forms and petitions that must be filled out and there will be more supporting documents required for your application.
Under some circumstances, spouses and children will be able to accompany those with the employment-based visas listed above, but this depends on the preference under which you apply.
It is worth noting that the US Embassies in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, and Peshawar are unable to process Afghan Special Immigrant Visas as there is a backlog of immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications. These embassies are also extending the validity period of visa processing payments to accommodate this backlog to ensure applicants will not have to pay twice.
Applying for a visa to immigrate from Pakistan to the US can be a daunting process, especially as the US has a notoriously rigorous immigration system. Here at Total Law, we understand how overwhelming the applications can get so we are here to assist you regardless of the stage you are at.
Our services span many countries around the globe including the UK, the US, Canada, Ireland, and more. If you have any questions about our services, whether it be documentation and application checks, appeal services, application assistance, or fast-track packages then call 0333 305 9375 or get in touch online and our team of experts will be on hand to help.
Last modified on November 8th, 2023 at 12:47 pm
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Once you have paid your visa application fee, you only need to demonstrate that you can be self-sufficient once you arrive in the US so the specific amount you will need depends on your role, where you live, and the type of visa you are applying for.
The four main ways to legally migrate to the USA are via the Family Sponsorship visa, the Diversity visa, or the two different types of employment-based visas.
The only two ways you will be able to immigrate to the US without a job offer is through the Diversity visa lottery or the Family Sponsorship visa.