Family Based Immigration
Immigrants often get a green card through family members. Persons mentioned below may be eligible to get a green card :
- immediate relative of a US citizen: (spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of US citizen petitioners who are aged 21 or older.)
- family members of a US citizen eligible under the preference category: (unmarried sons or daughters above 21 years old, married children of any age and brothers and sisters of US citizen petitioners who are aged 21 or older.)
- family members of a green card holder: (spouses and unmarried children of the sponsoring green card holder.)
- members of a special category: (battered spouse or child (VAWA), a K non immigrant, persons born to a foreign diplomat in the US, a V non immigrant or a widow(er) of a US Citizen)
Employment Based Immigration
Another way to become a permanent resident is through a job or offer of employment. For certain categories, eligible persons require a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor to show that there are not enough US workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available in that particular geographic area where the immigrant is to be employed. Also that American workers are not displaced by foreign workers. In certain other categories, highly skilled workers with extraordinary ability in certain professions, and investors/entrepreneurs are given priority to immigrate to the US through several immigrant categories. In all cases, the it is a multi-step process.
Main Ways to Get a Green Card Based on a Job Offer or Employment
You may be eligible for permanent resident status based on an offer of permanent employment in the US. Most categories require an employer to get a labor certification and file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker on the applicant’s behalf.
Green Card Through Investment
You can also obtain a green card if you are an investor/entrepreneur making an investment in an enterprise that creates new US jobs.
Green Card Through Self Petition
You can file for yourself (self-petition). This option is available for “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” or certain individuals granted a National Interest Waiver.
Green Card Through Special Categories of Jobs
There are a many specialized jobs that allows you to get a green card based on a past or current job. These require a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.
Green Card Lottery
You can be one among the 55,000 persons to get a green card through this program that is held annually.
Foreign entrepreneurs investing $500,000 in a commercial enterprise in an employment area that will benefit the US economy and create at least 5 full-time US jobs. Foreign entrepreneurs investing $1,000,000 in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the US economy and create at least 10 full-time US jobs also fall under this category.
Foreign children under sixteen years of age adopted by US citizens or green card holders can qualify for green card status.
Foreign nationals living in the US continuously since entering on or before January 1, 1972 and who are not otherwise excludable or removable
- Officers of permanent diplomatic missions or consular posts in the US (ambassadors, public ministers, career diplomats, or consular officers)
- Visiting high-level officials of a foreign state ( head of state, cabinet members, legislative leaders, and top judicial officers representing their national government)
- Immediate family members of A-1 diplomatic visa holders
Foreign nationals physically present in the US on approved asylum status for one year may also be eligible.
Refugees who have been physically present in the US for one year may also qualify
Religious Workers, former employees of U.S. Government, special agricultural workers, foreign medical graduates, former employees of the Panama Canal Zone, former employees of US and certain others fall under this category.