An immigrant visa is intended for an alien seeking to be admitted to the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). There are many paths to lawful permanent residence, and many options along those paths. It is strongly recommended that any alien seeking to immigrate to the U.S. use the assistance of a skilled attorney before making any decisions regarding how to immigrate.
One of the most important decisions an alien will have to make, after deciding on what basis to immigrate (i.e., employment-based, family-based, etc.), is whether to obtain an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consular Post abroad, Consular Processing, or to apply for LPR in the United States, Adjustment of Status*. Among the many factors you should discuss with your attorney are: the processing times involved for both options; the costs involved for both options, such as application fees, attorney fees, plane tickets, hotel stays, police certificates, etc.; and any special concerns you may have, such as a criminal record, other pending applications, and expired passports or visa stamps.
The most common ways to obtain LPR are: