The Green Card, also known as lawful permanent residency, is one of the most sought-after immigration options for individuals dreaming of establishing a long-term presence in the United States. It offers a pathway to permanent residence, allowing holders to live and work in the country indefinitely. With numerous benefits and opportunities, the Green Card is undoubtedly the best choice for those seeking to build a stable and prosperous future in the United States.
In this article, we will explore the different ways to obtain a Green Card, the advantages they provide, and how to embark on the journey to becoming a lawful permanent resident.
Diversity Visa Lottery Program
The Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Program, also known as the Green Card Lottery, is an exciting avenue for individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Each year, the U.S. Department of State allocates a limited number of diversity visas through a randomized selection process. If you are fortunate enough to win a DV Lottery, you may be able to apply for a Green Card and seek permanent residency in the United States.
It is essential to note that not all countries are eligible to participate in the Diversity Visa Lottery. The list of eligible countries is updated annually, and certain countries with high immigration rates to the U.S. are out of the program. Therefore, it’s crucial to check the official U.S. Department of State website or consult with an immigration expert to confirm if your country is eligible to participate in the program.
The application process for the Diversity Visa Lottery typically occurs once a year and is entirely electronic. Requires applicants to submit their entries during the designated registration period, usually announced months in advance. It’s vital to follow the instructions given by the U.S. Department of State carefully and accurately to complete the entry form to avoid disqualification.
Employment-Based Green Cards
For skilled workers, professionals, and investors, the employment-based Green Card categories provide a significant opportunity to secure permanent residency in the U.S. The Employment First Preference (EB-1) category is for individuals with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational executives and managers. The Employment Second Preference (EB-2) category is for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities. The Employment Third Preference (EB-3) category is for skilled workers and professionals, while the Employment Fifth Preference (EB-5) category is for immigrant investors who make substantial investments in the U.S.
The process of obtaining an Employment-Based Green Card involves several steps, including labor certification (in most cases), filing an immigrant petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and, if applicable, attending an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in the foreign national’s home country.
The priority date is crucial in the Employment-Based Green Card process, as the number of available visas is limited each fiscal year, and the demand often exceeds the supply. Priority dates are established based on the filing date of the immigrant petition, and they determine the applicant’s place in line for visa processing.
Family-Sponsored Green Cards
U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can sponsor their family members for Green Cards. The Family-Sponsored Green Card categories include immediate relatives (spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents of U.S. citizens), also other family members in preference categories such as married children of U.S. citizens, siblings of U.S. citizens, and spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents.
There are four primary preference categories under the Family-Based Green Card program:
- F1: This category is for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who are 21 years old or older.
- F2: This category is into two subcategories:
- F2A: Spouses and unmarried children (under 21) of lawful permanent residents.
- F2B: Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years old or older) of legal permanent residents.
- F3: This category is for married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
- F4: This category is for siblings of U.S. citizens if the U.S. citizen is 21 years old or older.
Obtaining a Family-Based Green Card involves several steps, beginning with the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family member filing a family-sponsored petition (Form I-130) on behalf of the intended immigrant relative with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
When Form I-130 is accepted, the priority date is set, which defines the applicant’s position in the visa processing queue. The priority date is important since the number of visas available for specific preference categories is limited. There may be a waiting time until it becomes available.
When the priority date becomes current, a potential immigrant can apply for an immigrant visa (if staying outside the United States) or for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (if residing in the United States).
Refugee and Asylee Green Cards
Individuals with refugee status or asylum in the United States may apply for a Green Card if they fulfill specific qualifying requirements. These Green Cards provide a path to permanent residency and offer a safe and secure future for those fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries.
For Asylees: Asylees are individuals with asylum in the United States. To apply for a Green Card as an asylee, the individual must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least one year after being granted asylum. They can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with any eligible dependents, to obtain a Green Card. Asylees may also apply for a Green Card if they have been physically present for at least one year since the day of their last arrival in the U.S., even if they have not yet received asylum.
For Refugees: Refugees are individuals who are not in their home country and have been granted refugee status by the U.S. government. To apply for a Green Card as a refugee, the individual must have been in the U.S. for at least one year since being admitted as a refugee. Refugees can also file Form I-485, along with eligible dependents, to adjust their status and obtain a Green Card.
It’s important to note that both asylums and refugees are generally eligible to apply for a Green Card one year after being granted asylum or refugee status, respectively. This status provides them a path to permanent residency and eventual citizenship in the United States. However, the Green Card application process requires careful attention to detail and the submission of necessary supporting documents.
Benefits of U.S. Green Card Visa
The US Green Card Visa offers plenty of advantages, making it the best choice for those looking to establish a long-term presence in the United States. Green Card holders enjoy the following benefits:
- The freedom to live and work anywhere in the U.S. without additional visas or work permits.
- Access to most educational opportunities, including college and university education, has the same benefit as U.S. citizens.
- Eligibility for various government benefits, including social security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits.
- The ability to sponsor family members for Green Cards keeps families united in the U.S.
- A pathway to U.S. citizenship after meeting specific residency requirements.
The Green Card is undoubtedly the best immigration option for individuals seeking to make the United States their permanent home. Whether through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, employment-based categories, family sponsorship, or refugee and asylee status. There are various pathways to obtaining a Green Card. With many benefits, including the chance to live, work, and pursue education freely in the U.S., the Green Card opens doors to a brighter and more prosperous future. As immigration experts, we are committed to guiding you through the Green Card application process, helping you achieve your dreams of permanent residency in the United States a reality. Embrace the opportunities that the Green Card offers and take the first step toward a promising future in the land of opportunities.