Immigration in North Dakota
North Dakota is situated on the border with Canada but the state doesn’t have a large immigration population. According to the Migration Policy Institute, just 3.3 percent of the state’s population is foreign-born.
The three counties with the largest number of immigrants are:
Grand Forks County- 2,800
The majority, 61.1 percent, of North Dakota’s immigrants are noncitizens.
Entry through visa
Most immigrants in North Dakota get lawful entry by filing for a visa. The U.S. State Department issued over 10 million nonimmigrant visas and over 600,000 immigrant visas in 2015. Those may seem like generous amounts, but the caps placed on all visas categories are met quickly every year and many immigrants have to shelve their dreams of coming to America.
A wide array of visas is available to foreign nationals whether they want to come to the U.S. to work, live, study or just travel. Visas are issued for temporary travel or to individuals who want to live in the U.S.
Nonimmigrant (temporary) visas:
B-2- Travel and pleasure visa
H-2A-Temporary Agricultural Worker
H-2B-Temporary Non-agricultural Worker
F-1 Student visa
Nonimmigrant visas are only valid for a limited time depending in the immigrant’s reason for travel or their field of work.
Immigrant (permanent visa):
Spouse of a U.S. Citizen or green card holder
Family relation of U.S. citizen or green card holder
Fiancé(e) to marry U.S. citizen and move to U.S.
Immigrant visas are valid for years at a time and allow immigrants to work in U.S. as long as they renew their visas. Immigrant visa holders can apply for legal permanent residency once they meet residency requirements.
H-1B- These visas are reserved for professionals with advanced degrees or individuals with exceptional ability. An H-1B visa is a temporary employment visa but it can be converted to a permanent work visa and the holder can apply for a green card.
Other immigration statuses
The U.S. is a compassionate country that offers refugees a safe place to call home when they are driven from their native countries because of war, persecution, drug and gang violence or natural disasters.
In the federal fiscal year, which ended September 2016, the U.S. gave asylum to 85,000 refugees, according to the Pew Research Center. Refugee status is reserved for immigrants who are in physical danger because of war or face persecution in their native country.
Humanitarian parole- Individuals living outside of the U.S. who need relief for humanitarian purposes can or who can provide a public benefit can be granted temporary entry into the U.S. until conditions improve in their native country.
Read more about humanitarian parole by visiting the USCIS website:
Green cards and U.S. citizenship
Many of North Dakota’s immigrants hope to become legal permanent residents or U.S. citizens eventually, but they know that can be a difficult endeavor and they will encounter road blocks. There are many benefits to being a green card holder or U.S. citizen but it’s hard work and immigrants on either or those journeys need a legal expert on their side.