3 popular ways to get a U.S. Green Card

A United States Permanent Resident Card, most commonly called a "green card," allows a non-U.S. citizen to legally live in the United States for an indefinite period of time.

A US green card allows immigrants to live and work in the United States for the rest of his or her life, either through a family-based or employment-based sponsorship. For many people, obtaining a green card is the first step in the road to U.S. citizenship. The entire "green card" process is lengthy and difficult, essentially three major popular ways to get a green card.

A) Green Card Through Family (family-based)
B) Green Card Based On Employment (employment-based)
C) Green Card Through the Diversity Visa Lottery

A) Green Card Through Family (family-based)

If you have any family member who is U.S. citizen or a green card holder you can petition for a green card. This is also one of the easiest ways to obtain legal permanent residency.
The various categories or classification that a beneficiary of a family Petition may fall into are

Sponsorship by Immediate Relative

  • IR-1: Spouse of a United States Citizen
  • IR-2: Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-3: Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen
  • IR-4: Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen
  • IR-5: A Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old

Sponsorship by Family Preference

If the family member sponsoring you is not an immediate relative, you may still get your green card but there will likely be a longer waiting period.  Because only a certain number of these green cards can be issued (on a first come, first served basis) each year to persons who are not immediate relatives of U.S. citizens

  • Family First Preference (F1): Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their minor children.
  • Family Second Preference (F2): Spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 and over) of of Lawful Permanent Resident Aliens-Green Card Holders.
  • Family Third Preference (F3): Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.
  • Family Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children.

B) Green Card Based On Employment (employment-based)

There are a limited number of green cards that can be issued to foreign nationals who are sponsored for residency through employment. U.S. employer must prove there are no qualified, willing American workers for the particular position being sponsored and agree to pay the required wage to the foreign national upon issuance of the green card.  The employment-based Green Card categories are divided into three main groups:
EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3.

First preference - EB-1:

These are priority workers for employment-based Green Cards. Applicants must demonstrate:

  • Extraordinary ability
  • Recognition as an outstanding professor and researcher
  • Qualifications as a multinational manager or executive

Second preference - EB-2:

The second preference category is reserved for foreign nationals who hold advanced degrees or show exceptional ability. An advanced degree is a US degree (or foreign equivalent) which is higher than a bachelor degree, Or a bachelor's degree and five years of progressive work experience in that field.

Third preference - EB-3:

A skilled workers must have at least two years of training or experience. Unskilled workers can apply for an EB-3 if the position offered to them requires less than two years training or experience. Professionals must have a U.S. bachelor's or foreign equivalent degree.

C) Green Card Through the Diversity Visa Lottery

Every year, the United States allows 55,000 prospective immigrants to obtain a green card through the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery. The lottery is open to nationals of countries whose immigration rates to the USA are the lowest. This means the list of countries whose citizens cannot participate in the green card lottery changes each year.

  • Register online at www.dvlottery.state.gov. only participate in the lottery during a specific period.
  • Keep the confirmation number you receive: you will need it to check whether or not you have been selected.
  • If you are selected, you will be able to apply for an immigrant visa.

For more information, please visit U.S. Department of State and USCIS websites.

The information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Before making any decision, consult with the appropriate professionals. Please refer our Disclaimer for details.

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