Ways of Getting a Green Card
The Complete Application Process of a Green Card
What is a Green Card?
Thinking about applying for a green card? Before going straight to the “how do I get a green card” question, let’s start with defining the term “Green Card,” which most people use. The Green Card application is officially called the Lawful Permanent Resident Card by the U.S government, which means that once you get it, you are legally authorized to live and work in the United States. Besides that, it also includes some benefits, such as:
- Lower college and university tuition fees.
- Apply for U.S. citizenship after five years (or three if you are married to a citizen).
- Be the sponsor of close relatives for visas or green cards.
- Easy entry to the U.S. without the risk of being denied (as long as you return during six months).
- Have the chance to apply for government-sponsored financial aid for tuition.
- Start your own business in the U.S.
- Get a mortgage to purchase a home.
Who is eligible for a Green Card?
There are many ways that you can obtain a Green Card application, although it may vary according to your nationality. Some of the visa categories are:
- Diversity Visa Lottery Program
- Special Immigrant
- Other categories
Family-based: Getting a family-based green card, it’s the best option if you are a close relative of a U.S. citizen. To get a green card you can apply to be a Permanent Resident. Eligible family members include children, spouses, parents, siblings, and widows/widowers who were married to a U.S. citizen at the time of death. When filling your green card application, keep in mind that extended family such as grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles, unfortunately, do not qualify.
Employment-based: Are you thinking about getting an employment-based green card? Firstly, you should apply to be eligible for these categories, which must be an immigrant worker with extraordinary abilities in sciences, education, businesses, or athletics. Another way to be eligible is to actively invest at least 1 million dollars (or $500,000 in a rural or unemployed area) in a business that will create at least ten new jobs. Media professionals, religious workers, physicians who agree to work full-time in clinical practice, outstanding professors/researchers, and multinational managers are eligible to apply. There is also a sub-category that includes skilled/unskilled workers. However, the employer has to prove that there are no other potential employees in the United States who could do this work.
Humanitarian: This green card category allows refugees and people who have experienced persecution or fear in their home country to seek protection in the United States. You may be eligible to apply to be a permanent resident if: you were granted asylum status for at least one year, you were a victim of human trafficking living in the United States, you were a victim of physical or mental abuse living in the United States or a victim of domestic violence.
Diversity Visa Lottery Program: Also known as the “Green Card Lottery,” the Diversity Visa Lottery Program authorizes 50,000 randomly chosen people to obtain permanent residency each year. To be allowed to participate, you need to be a citizen of a country that does not send many immigrants to the United States (put a link to the list here). Usually, you can apply for the diversity lottery green card by entering the lottery every year from early October through early November.
Registry: Individuals who have lived continuously in the U.S. since January 1, 1972, may apply for permanent residency through a special process called the registry. The other registry green card application criteria is to show a good moral character, be eligible for naturalization, and to not have committed any deportable crimes.
Special Immigrant: What is a special immigrant green card? This category allows religious workers, immigrant juveniles who need protection, international broadcasters, retired officers/employees of an eligible international organization, and nationals from Afghanistan/Iraq who have helped the U.S. government, to apply to get a permanent residency green card.
Other categories: The U.S. government issues some other types of permanent residencies, so if you do not apply for a green card to any of the categories mentioned above and need assistance finding out the best options for your case, we are here to help!
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