Interested in Immigrating to the US from El Salvador?
Largescale Salvadoran immigration began in the 1980s, with a great influx of refugees fleeing civil war. Between 1980 and 1990 the Salvadoran population in the US grew from 94,000 to 465,000, and continued growing as a result of family reunification and environmental turmoil. As of 2008, about 1.1 million migrants from El Salvador were living in the US, making them one of the largest foreign-born populations.
Salvadoran Community in the United States
Over half the immigrants from El Salvador have chosen to settle in California and Texas, with smaller populations living in New York, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and Washington DC. Additionally, 1 in 5 of the world’s Salvadorans resides in the United States. Salvadoran-Americans have become quite involved in US politics, particularly local and state government affairs, and have a higher rate of participation in the civilian labor force than the overall immigrant population
The majority of Salvadoran immigrants obtained legal permanent residence in the US through family sponsorship or as immediate relatives of US citizens. Other pathways to a Green Card include employment and seeking asylum as a refugee.
Working in the US
About 5.3% of Salvadoran immigrants have entered the US through employment-based preferences. In choosing to come to the US for employment, it is important to determine which work visa is the best option. There are two categories of work visa: immigrant visas, which include the EB-1 and EB2, or non-immigrant visas, which may be the H-1B, L-1, O-1, or E-1. If an individual comes to the US under a non-immigrant work visa and wishes to become a permanent resident, they may change their status and apply for an immigrant work visa while in the States. Speaking to an immigration specialist may be helpful in guiding immigrants through the visa application process, and in determining eligibility.
Over 67% of Salvadoran immigrants to the US who have become permanent residents did so through family sponsorship or as immediate relatives of US citizens. The two categories of family-based immigration are Immediate Relative and Family Preference, both requiring unique application processes. Speaking to an immigration specialist may be useful in determining eligibility.
Resources for Salvadoran Immigrants in the US
- The Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund is a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote the civic-engagement of Salvadoran and other Latino communities in the US, "promote the economic development and democracy in El Salvador, and advocate for its economic, educational, and political advancement and growth."
- Located in Los Angeles, CA, El Rescate is a non-profit organization that began in 1981 as a response to refugees fleeing the War in El Salvador. It works to empower immigrants, particularly Latinos, "to improve their political and economic wellbeing in order to promote their full participation as citizens."
- "21 Latino Organizations You Need to Know" provides a list of organizations serving the entire Hispanic community in the United States, including some of those listed above.
- The US Embassy in El Salvador provides helpful information on immigration to the United States, and the visa application process.
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