The United States of America is a large country in North America, often referred to as the “USA,” the “U.S.,” the “United States,” “America,” or simply “the States”. It has a land area of about 9.6 million sq km. It also boasts the world’s third largest population, with over 310 million people.
It includes both densely-populated cities with sprawling suburbs, and vast, uninhabited and naturally beautiful areas. With its history of mass immigration dating from the 17th century, it is a “melting pot” of cultures from around the world.
The country plays a dominant role in the world’s cultural landscape, and is famous for its wide array of popular tourist destinations, ranging from the skyscrapers of Manhattan and Chicago, to the natural wonders of Yellowstone and Alaska, to the warm, sunny beaches of Florida, Hawaii and Southern California.
The contiguous United States or “Lower 48” (the 48 states other than Alaska and Hawaii) are bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, with much of the population living on these two coasts. Its only land borders are shared with Canada to the north, and Mexico to the south. The U.S. also shares maritime borders with Russia, Cuba, and the Bahamas.
The country has three major mountain ranges. The Appalachians extend from Canada to the state of Alabama, a few hundred miles west of the Atlantic Ocean. They are the oldest of the three mountain ranges and offer spectacular sightseeing and excellent camping spots. The Rockies are, on average, the highest in North America, extending from Alaska to New Mexico, with many areas protected as national parks. They offer hiking, camping, skiing, and sightseeing opportunities. The combined Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges are the youngest. The Sierras extend across the “backbone” of California, with sites such as Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park, then give way to the even younger volcanic Cascade range, with some of the highest points in the country.
The Great Lakes define much of the border between the eastern United States and Canada. More inland seas than lakes, they were formed by the pressure of glaciers retreating north at the end of the last Ice Age. The five lakes span hundreds of miles, bordering the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, and their shores vary from pristine wilderness areas to industrial “rust belt” cities. They are the second-largest bodies of freshwater in the world, after the polar ice caps.
The overall climate is temperate, with notable exceptions. Alaska has Arctic tundra, while Hawaii and South Florida are tropical. The Great Plains are dry, flat and grassy, turning into arid desert in the far West and Mediterranean along the California coast.
In the winter, the northern and mid-western major cities can see as much as 2 feet (61 cm) of snowfall in one day, with cold temperatures. Summers are humid, but mild. Temperatures over 100°F (38°C) sometimes invade the Midwest and Great Plains. Some areas in the northern plains can experience cold temperatures of -30°F (-34°C) during the winter. Temperatures below 0°F (-18°C) sometimes reach as far south as Oklahoma.
The climate of the South also varies. In the summer, it is hot and humid, but from October through April the weather can range from 60°F (15°C) to short cold spells of 20°F (-7°C) or so.
The Great Plains and Midwestern states also experience tornadoes from the late spring to early fall, earlier in the south and later in the north. States along the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico, may experience hurricanes between June and November. These intense and dangerous storms frequently miss the U.S. mainland, but evacuations are often ordered and should be heeded.
Residence and Citizenship in USA
Green Card Eligibility
You may be eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) through your family, a job offer or employment, refugee or asylum status, or a number of other special provisions.
In some cases, you may even be able to self petition or have a record created for permanent residence on your behalf. In general, to meet the requirements for permanent residence in the United States, you must :
- Be eligible for one of the immigrant categories established in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
- Have a qualifying immigrant petition filed and approved for you (with a few exceptions)
- Have an immigrant visa immediately available
- Be admissible to the United States
Admissibility to the United States
All persons applying for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status must prove to the satisfaction of immigration or consular officials that they are admissible (eligible for admission) to the United States.
There are many grounds of inadmissibility that could potentially cause someone to be ineligible to become a permanent resident. For instance, there are health-related, criminal, security-related, and other grounds USCIS must consider.
In some cases and in certain situations, if you are found inadmissible to the United States you may be eligible to file a waiver on Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility, (the form required for most immigrants) or I-602, Application By Refugee For Waiver of Grounds of Excludability (the form required for refugees and asylees) to excuse your inadmissibility.
The grounds of inadmissibility are determined by the particular category under which you are immigrating. If you are ultimately found inadmissible to the United States, your adjustment of status application (Form I-485) or immigrant visa application will be denied. Congress has set the grounds of inadmissibility and they may be referenced in Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
After all paperwork has been received, interviews conducted (if necessary), security checks completed, and other eligibility requirements reviewed, your case will be ready for a decision by USCIS.
EB-5 Investor Visa Program
What is an EB-5 Investor Visa?
The EB-5 investor visa program enables foreign entrepreneurs who make an investment in a U.S. business to obtain their green cards to become lawful permanent residents of the United States. EB-5 visa holders can permanently live and work in the United States with their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. The EB-5 visa program, which is also designated as the Employment-Based Immigration: Fifth Preference immigrant investor program, is operated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The program was established by the United States Congress in 1990 to facilitate increased investment in the U.S. economy. Several reforms have been made to the program over the years to increase demand for EB-5 visas. Such reforms include the establishment of EB-5 Regional Centers through a Pilot Program.
EB-5 Visa Immigrant Investment Requirements
To meet EB-5 investor visa requirements, foreign investors must make a capital investment in a for-profit U.S. business entity. The required investment amount depends on the location and type of business that receives the investment. In general, the capital investment must be $1 million valuated at current U.S. market rates. Investments made in economically depressed locations called Targeted Employment Areas (TEA) or in rural areas can qualify for a lowered mandatory investment threshold of $500,000. EB-5 investments must lead to the creation of 10 full-time U.S. jobs for at least 2 years.
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