The Immigration Act of 1990

The US immigration act of 1990 is a comprehensive package of changes that regulates US immigration. Its changes resulted in an increase in the total number of people that may immigrate to the US every year. The changes brought the following amendments to the existing immigration laws:

1)      Provided revisions for exclusion and deportation policies;

2)      Authorized temporary protected status to aliens of designated countries;

3)      Revised and established new non-immigrant categories for admission into the US;

4)      Reviewed neutralization authority and requirements;

5)      Reviewed and expanded Visa Waiver pilot program.

In addition to the changes made in immigration policies, the Act created several visa types and revised the existing ones. Particularly, the act created five employment-based (EB) categories, released Diversity Immigrant Visa program and grouped four visa categories under the family-based category.

Five employment-based visa categories involve:

  • EB-1 visa– aliens with extraordinary abilities or talent in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics;
  • EB-2 visa– aliens possessing an advanced education degree, and individuals whose exceptional abilities in the arts, sciences or business is of benefits of the States’ economy, culture and education;
  • EB-3 visa– aliens with at least 2 years of professional experience as skilled workers holding bachelor’s degree, and other persons who can readily work in the field for which readily available professionals cannot be found in the US;
  • EB-4 visa– aliens who are special immigrant religious workers, e.g. ministers or priests;
  • EB-5 visa– immigrant investors who invest money in the US and establish their business.

Four family-based categories for US visas are:

  • Married children of US citizens;
  • Unmarried children for US citizens;
  • Spouses, children and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents;
  • Siblings of US citizens.

Besides, the Act released a visa lottery program that randomly assigns visas to persons depending on their country of origin and immigration history of the previous five years. This is known as Diversity Immigrant Visa program, which allows nearly 50,000 US visas annually available to the natives of those countries that are deemed to have low rates of immigration to the US.


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