Immigrate to New Hampshire from Overseas
As you plan your move, at times it will feel overwhelming, but just remember that millions of people – including some Free Staters – have gone through this process before you and are now American citizens. So, put on your hiking boots and let’s start climbing that bureaucratic mountain!
Whether you are visiting New Hampshire from abroad, or moving in for good from another country, you will meet with regulations set by the federal government. These rules are typically the same as the rest of the U.S. At the same time, immigration opportunities can be different depending on the country of your birth (for example, for the Diversity Visa Program), or depending on your citizenship (for example, for an E-2 business visa).
Visiting/Entering vs. Immigrating
Typically, a foreigner needs a visa to enter the US. Some visas are non-immigrant and some are immigrant visas. Often, to get a non-immigrant visa (such as a tourist visa) one needs to prove that he/she has a strong bond to their home country and doesn't plan to immigrate. In the case of immigrant visas, the applicant often needs to prove the opposite - strong plans to immigrate to the US and become a permanent resident (to live here 6+ months out of the year). While there are various strategies to adjust status and move from a non-immigrant status to an immigrant status with a path to residence and citizenship, it is better to consider these strategies before starting the whole process to be sure that your specific circumstances will allow you to proceed to the level you desire. Different paths to citizenship require different levels of investments and take from several months (being sponsored by your fiancé) to more than a decade (being sponsored by your sibling).
If you are still on the fence about making a permanent move, consider coming for an extended stay with a non-immigrant visa. J1 visa are available for short-term or seasonal workers such as summer camp counselors and au-pairs. After visiting with a J1 visa, you typically need to return to your home country before applying for a Green Card. Let us know when you plan to visit!
Obtaining a Green Card
Before applying for citizenship, you’ll need a “Green Card”, also known as a “permanent resident card.” A Green Card holder is an immigrant who has been granted authorization to live and work in the U.S. Here are some of the most common visa types and how they might provide a path to a Green Card:
- Diversity Visa, also known as "the green card lottery" because you have less than a 1% chance of winning. If you're able to win, you'll be in good company - Carla Gericke, the President Emeritus of the Free State Project, won the green card lottery in 1996 when she was living in South Africa!
- Family Based Visas
- Immediate family member (Including unmarried children under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen; or Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old). Note: You might’ve heard of so-called "anchor babies" - a term that’s usually used in a derogatory tone for babies that are born in the U.S. to non-U.S. citizens. Any person born in the U.S. is granted instant U.S. citizenship, regardless of the parent’s citizenship status. However, as noted above, no child under 21 years old can sponsor their parent.
- Spouse and their children
- Fiancé and their children
- Student Visas are non-immigrant visas that can allow you to temporarily study, live and work on a campus. Staying in the US after completing your degree is difficult, yet possible, through transformation to another visa type through marriage, becoming an investor, or showing exceptional abilities.
- Work Visas allow the applicant to temporarily work in the US. There is a strict selection where some qualifications can include your profession, your qualifications, and the salary you were promised. Typically, work visa holders can move to a job-related immigrant visa after their employer sponsors them as a skilled exceptional worker.
- Two visas for investors and entrepreneurs are the Investor Visas (EB-5) and Treaty Investor Visas (E-2). EB-5 is an immigrant visa but it might require you to make a certain type of investment in the amount of $1 Million. E-2 is for direct operations of a company in which you have invested capital. It does not grant a permanent residency automatically, and options depend on your nationality, but it may allow you to live and manage your successful business in the US after a much smaller investment.
- On behalf of your spouse and/or your children, you can apply as a Refugee and acquire Asylum because of a well-founded, established fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
- Other Visas
A Green Card offers you the opportunity to live, work, own a car and a house, volunteer for a political cause, and even donate money to political campaigns. At the same time, you won’t be able to vote, run for political office, some government-connected jobs won’t be available to you, and your Green Card can expire if you leave the country for too long. So most people strive for citizenship, although some exceptions exist such as ultra-rich who plan to leave the country and save on taxes.
Becoming a United States Citizen
With your Green Card, you can now advance to becoming a U.S. Citizen!
- To be eligible for citizenship, you must be at least 18 years of age, have a Green Card, and have at least 5 years of permanent residency (3 years if your permanent residency was obtained through marriage).
- Complete a naturalization form, called Form N-400 and pay the application fee. Avoid the five most common reasons that your Form N-400 may get denied.
- After you receive a notice of receipt from USCIS for Form N-400, complete the FBI Criminal Background Check.
- Have your fingerprints taken at any authorized location, including any USCIS office, Application Support Center, or a U.S. consular office or military installation abroad. There's a location in Concord, NH. Background checks and fingerprinting are done by appointment only, so make sure you call ahead.
- Bring a photo ID and your completed Criminal Record Release Form to the appointment.
- Make payment by check, money order, or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express).
- Once your application is complete, and you have passed the background check, you will be scheduled for your USCIS interview, in which you’ll be asked up to 10 of these 100 questions. Be on time, remain calm, and avoid jokes and sarcasm.
- You will receive written notice when your application for naturalization has been granted, then you will be asked to swear an oath of allegiance to the United States.
Congratulations, you made it! Now, you can legally live, work, and vote in NH as part of the most exciting liberty movement in over 200 years. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up and start planning your move today! See ya soon!
Note: This page should not be considered legal advice. Please consult a licensed immigration attorney for legal counseling. The government may change any of the information gathered on this page without any notice.