What Are the Four Types of Immigration?


The four types of immigration refer to four categories that people who come to the United States may fall into. Most people refer to these categories when discussing the four types of immigration.

Here are the categories and what each of them means. 


Non-immigrants refer to people who are legally in the United States on short-term or temporary visas that allow them to take limited actions, such as taking a temporary job, visiting for tourism purposes, conducting business, or studying in the United States.

These visas offer no path to a green card and have strict start and end dates. Some may be extended on a case-by-case basis. 

If your situation changes in a way that would make you eligible for a more permanent visa, you can sometimes adjust your status, but you must do so carefully and with the help of a qualified immigration attorney. Otherwise, you could be accused of misrepresenting the reasons why you applied for the visa in the first place. 


Lawful permanent residency, or LPR visas, refer to visas allowing you to live and work in the United States indefinitely but not granting you citizenship rights. LPR visas are what people are referring to when they refer to green cards. 

There are multiple ways to obtain a green card in the United States. The most common is through marriage-based immigration, family-based immigration, or employer sponsorship. All of these methods of immigration require help from a lawyer, as green card applications are by far the most scrutinized applications that USCIS receives. 


Citizenship or naturalization allows you to gain all the rights of a United States Citizen, just as if you’d been born here. Usually, you must first obtain LPR status and citizenship status with a new application. Citizens must take a test verifying their language skills and knowledge of US history and government and take an oath of naturalization. 

It’s quite possible to make mistakes on a citizenship application, even though the government has heavily scrutinized you during the LPR process. If you plan to naturalize, ensure you work closely with a qualified immigration attorney’s office like Hykel Law. 


An undocumented immigrant is anyone in the United States without prior authorization. This category also refers to Dreamers, undocumented individuals brought to the United States as children and who have lived all their lives here but have no legal status in the United States. 

Undocumented immigrants are all in a tough position and face the prospect of deportation at nearly any time. Nevertheless, they can make some legal moves to try to become lawful permanent residents. If you’re facing deportation, call Hykel Law immediately to get help today. 

See also:

What is a Dual Intent Visa? 

What Are Your Options When You’re Undocumented? 

7 Ways to Get a Green Card 

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Employment & Investment Visas

Although it often comes with controversy, immigration into the United States has always played a major role in the strength of its economy. Perhaps no one understands this more than the residents of Philadelphia, where the Liberty Bell still welcomes foreigners to one of the richest historical communities of our country.


Family Visas

Not knowing or understanding the system and laws of the U.S. can be a disadvantage for many foreign immigrants who wish to obtain permanent residency in the United States, either for themselves or for their loved ones. Hykel Law’s Family-Based Immigration Services can lead you through the complicated process to achieve either temporary or permanent residency, depending on your situation.


Deportation Defense

Are you afraid of deportation? If you are a foreign national involved in the beginning stages of removal proceedings, the deportation attorney at Hykel Law in Philadelphia can help prevent this unfortunate situation. We can evaluate your immigration case and find the best strategy to defend you from removal proceedings to help you stay in the United States.

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