The insanely confusing path to legal immigration, in one chart

January 29, 2013

Congress and the White House have just begun exploring policies that would revamp the country's immigration laws. A bipartisan group of senators have proposed a new pathway to citizenship Monday and, later Tuesday, President Obama is expected to unveil his own reform plan.

Those are all ideas for the future - but what does our immigration system look like right now? A few years ago, Immigration Road put together this flowchart on how to gain a green card (which might be a bit easier on your eyes if you view as a PDF here).

While this likely does not make understanding our immigration system any easier, it does give a sense of how complicated the process is right now. A job opportunity in the United States puts a potential immigrant on one track; a relative in America kicks off a completely separate process. Marriage status, age and ability to invest can all play a role. Reason has put together a similar flowchart which shows how the process can take as many as 28 years to complete.

Comments
Show Comments

Get Wonkbook in your inbox

Sign up for our morning economic policy primer.

Most Read Business
Next Story
Brad Plumer · January 29, 2013