Prince Harry, Sixth in Line to the Throne, Steps Down as Senior Member of the Royal Family - What's Next?

By Kennedy Ruffin

What do you have in common with a British Prince?

Earlier this year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced a change in their circumstances. They explained to the world their intention to step down as senior members of The Royal Family and to reside primarily in North America. It has not been confirmed whether the couple will choose the United States as a primary residence. Perhaps an announcement will be made in the new year.

Of course, the Prince’s nonimmigrant visa options are numerous. He can travel to the U.S. freely for short periods as a visitor for business, pleasure, transit, exchange, medical and for many other purposes. However, a question worth asking is, what options for permanent immigration are open to him? More importantly, what options are open to you?

There are two main options to becoming a permanent resident: through a permanent resident or U.S. citizen family and being sponsored by an employer. Most commonly, a U.S. citizen would petition for his or her spouse to become a legal permanent resident. Meghan Markle is a U.S. citizen, making this option the most likely. Second, an employer or the Prince himself could petition to obtain a work visa under the EB-1 category for individuals with extraordinary ability in the field of science, art, business, sports, entertainment, etc. Or he could self-petition under the EB-5 category for investors. This option requires that one invests a minimum amount of $1.8 million and creates at least ten full-time jobs. Both employment visa options can lead to a successful adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident and eventually citizenship.

Surprisingly, there is no special or rare diplomatic way for him to permanently reside in the United States. That is because the U.S. constitution, U.S. Code, and other public laws govern all individuals, with no exceptions. So, Prince Harry could become a U.S. citizen after being a permanent resident for a number of years. Will he? 8 U.S.C. §1448 (a)(b) declares one must renounce allegiance to any foreign state and any hereditary title pronouncing nobility in any foreign state. Would you give it all up?

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