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Green Card

The ultimate goal for many immigrants living in the U.S and those wishing to relocate the US is to achieve permanent immigration i.e. the right to live in the U.S indefinitely with the freedom to live and work permanently in the U.S

There essentially three main steps to becoming a The steps to becoming permanent resident ( a Green Card holder)

The main categories are:

  • Green Card Through Family
  • Green Card Through a Job
  • Green Card Through Refugee or Asylee Status

Green Card through Family

Many people get Green Cards (become permanent residents) through family members. A person may be eligible to get a Green Card as:

  • an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, this includes spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21 (this includes adopted children), and parents of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older
  • a family member of a U.S. citizen fitting into a preference category, this includes unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21, married children of any age, and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older
  • a family member of a green card holder, this includes spouses and unmarried children of the sponsoring green card holder
  • a member of a special category, this can include battered spouse or child (VAWA), a K nonimmigrant, a person born to a foreign diplomat in the United States, a V nonimmigrant or a widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen

Green Card through Job

A person may be eligible to become a permanent resident based on an offer of permanent employment in the United States. Most categories require an employer to get a labor certification and then file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, for you.

These are the EB categories

The EB-1 preference category consists of a persons of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers and executives and managers of multinational employers.

The EB-2 preference category consists of persons of exceptional ability and persons whose jobs require an advanced university degree or its equivalent. Most EB-2 petitions require that an employer obtain the approval of a PERM application from the U.S. Department of Labor before sponsoring the person for lawful permanent residence.

The EB-3 preference category consists of professionals, skilled workers and unskilled workers. Most EB-3 petitions require that an employer obtain the approval of a PERM application from the U.S. Department of Labor before sponsoring the person for permanent residence.

The EB-4 preference category are for religious workers and other "special immigrants"

Green Card through Investment: Green cards may be available to investors/entrepreneurs who are making an investment in an enterprise that creates new U.S. jobs.

The EB-5 preference category is reserved for investors.

Green Card Through Self Petition: Some immigrant categories allow you to file for yourself ("self-petition"). This option is available for either "Aliens of Extraordinary Ability" or certain individuals granted a National Interest Waiver.

Green Card Through Special Categories of Jobs: There are a number of specialized jobs that may allow you to get a green card based on a past or current job, such as:

  • Afghan/Iraqi Translator
  • Broadcaster
  • International Organization Employee
  • Iraqi Who Assisted the U.S. Government
  • NATO-6 Nonimmigrant
  • Panama Canal Employee
  • Physician National Interest Waiver
  • Religious Worker

Green Card Through Refugee or Asylee Status

Refugees and asylees can apply for a green card.

Asylee - A person admitted to the United States as a refugee or a qualifying family member of an asylee may apply for green card 1 year after entry into the United States

Refugee - a person granted asylum in the United States is required by law to apply for permanent resident status 1 year after being admitted to the United States.

Other Ways to Get a Green Card

Although most immigrants come to live permanently in the United States through a family member's sponsorship, employment, or a job offer, there are other ways a Green Card (permanent residence) can be obtained, such as the:

  • Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (referred to by many as the 'Green Card Lottery')
  • K Nonimmigrant (includes fiance(e))
  • Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) Status

Other Green Card Programs

  • Amerasian Child of a U.S. Citizen
  • Informant (S Nonimmigrant) American Indian Born in Canada
  • Indochinese Parole Adjustment Act Cuban Native or Citizen
  • Lautenberg Parolee Haitian Refugee
  • Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Help HAITI Act of 2010
  • Victim of Criminal Activity (U Nonimmigrant) Victim of Trafficking (T Nonimmigrant)