Immigrating From India to The United States

Learn the various pathways of immigration to The United States, including family-sponsorship and employment.

Interested in Immigrating to the USA from India?

Beginning as early as 1820, Indian migrants have chosen to come to the United States, seeking opportunity. Since the 1990s, Indian immigrants have grown to become the second largest immigrant population in the US. Today, over 2 million Indian immigrants reside in the United States, Indian citizens are the largest group of temporary high-skilled workers receiving H-1B visas, and thousands of Indian students come to the US each year to study (migrationpolicy.org).

Indian Community in the US

As of 2015, the largest populations of Indian immigrants resided in California, New Jersey, Illinois, and Texas. Indian immigrants have come from throughout India, mostly from Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, and Telangana. Migrants from India in the US have high levels of employment and participate to a large extent in the labor force. Indian influence is also felt in the political sphere, as groups like USINPAC have shown. Through this organization in particular, Indian voices in the US have been represented in dealing with various issues.

Immigration Process

To become a lawful permanent resident of the United States, one must obtain a Green Card. Most immigrants will do so through employment, through family sponsorship, or by being an immediate relative. Through these various pathways, immigrants may reside legally in the US.

Work Visas for Immigrants from India

The United States provides great economic opportunity for skilled workers in search of jobs, and the most likely way to obtain a Green Card is through employment in the US. More than 50% of Indian immigrants to the US obtain lawful-permanent residence in this way. Immigrant work visas include the EB-1 and EB-2 visas, and imply receipt of a Green Card soon after entry. Non-immigrant work visas are temporary, and include the H-1B, L-1, O-1, E-1, and TN (note: TN applies only to Mexican and Canadian citizens). If an immigrant comes to the US under a non-immigrant work visa and wishes to become a permanent resident, they may change their classification and apply for an immigrant work visa while in the states. Speaking to an immigration specialist is also helpful in determining eligibility, as well as which visa is right for each individual.

Family Sponsorship

There are many pathways by which immigrants may be sponsored by family members in the US. These include the Petition for Alien Relative (I-130), Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (I-485), the Affidavit of Support (I-864), or Petition for Alien Fiancé (I-129F). Speak to an immigration specialist to learn more about your eligibility.

Useful Resources for Indians in the US

  • The US Embassy and Consulates in India provide information on how to apply for a visa, as well as which visa is best for individual cases.
  • Indo American Community Services (IACS) is a not-for-profit organization with the goal of fostering the development of the South Asian community in the United States through various community building programs.
  • The US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) is an organization with the goal of impacting policy on issues of concern to the Indian community in the US, giving them a voice in the political sphere.
  • The Association of Indo Americans (AIA) is a non-profit organization that aims to promote the exploration of the rich cultural heritage of Indians in the US, foster cultural and social interaction among its members, and to provide support to members of the Indian American community in the US.
  • The Indo-American Community Federation is a non-profit organization aiming to involve the Indo-American community in the mainstream by promoting the understanding of issues facing the community at large.

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