While there are many ways to obtain a green card, some paths are quicker than others. The quickest route to a green card is through the annual green card lottery, but your chances of winning are slim (about 4% according to recent estimates). You also have a better chance of obtaining a green card if you have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen or if you have been offered a job in the United States.
Keep in mind that there are quotas for both family-based and employment-based green cards so it may take some time before your application is processed even if you qualify for one of these preference categories. There are many ways to obtain a green card, but some paths are quicker than others. If you want to become a permanent resident of the United States, here are a few of the quickest routes.
The Green Card Lottery (Diversity Lottery)
The green card lottery is an annual program that makes about 50,000 Permanent Resident Cards available to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) is a program that makes 50,000 permanent resident visas available each year to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
It was created in 1990 as a way to diversity the pool of immigrants coming to America. To be eligible, applicants must have completed high school or have at least two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience. They must also meet certain other requirements, such as not having been convicted of a crime. If selected, lottery winners are then able to apply for a Green Card, which allows them to live and work permanently in the United States.
The Green Card Lottery is a highly competitive program, and only a small fraction of those who apply are ultimately selected. However, for those who are selected, it can be a life-changing opportunity. If you are a citizen of one of the qualifying countries, you can apply for the lottery. Applications are open for about a month each year and winners are selected at random. Note that there is no fee to apply for the lottery.
Family-Based Green Cards
If you have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen, you may be able to obtain a green card through them. Immediate family members include spouses, parents, and children who are unmarried and under 21 years of age. There are also certain preferences given to siblings of U.S. citizens as well as married children of U.S. citizens.
In general, family-based green cards are subject to quotas so it may take some time before your application is processed. The process is simple: your family member just needs to fill out a few forms and submit them to the proper authorities. Once everything is processed, you will be on your way to obtaining your very own Green Card!
Employment-Based Green Cards
When it comes to employment based green cards, there are five different categories that applicants can fall into. If you have been offered a job in the United States, you may be able to obtain an employment-based green card.
There are five preference categories for employment-based green cards, with priority given to workers who will fill positions that require advanced degrees or exceptional ability in their field. As with family-based green cards, there are also quotas for employment-based green cards so it may take some time for your application to be processed.
EB-1: Priority Workers
This category includes individuals who have extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, or business, as well as certain outstanding professors and researchers.
EB-2: Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability
This category includes individuals who have advanced degrees or the equivalent of a master’s degree, as well as individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.
EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers)
This category includes skilled workers who have at least two years of training or experience that is not readily available in the United States, as well as professionals with a bachelor’s degree and unskilled workers.
EB-4: Special Immigrants
This category includes adjusted religious workers, broadcasters, Afghan and Iraqi translators, international organization employees, Iraqi and Afghan nationals who have provided service to the U.S. government, and certain family members of Special Immigrants.
EB-5: Employment-Based Business Investors
Lastly, the fifth preference track falls under employment creation which is also knowns as the investor visa. In order to qualify under this section, the investor must invest between $900K to $1.8 million into a U.S based commercial enterprise
Corporate-Based Green Cards
Receive your Green Card in as little as two years by utilizing the EB-1C visa. This is the quickest and most direct path to a Green Card for qualified individuals. The EB-1C visa is available to executives and managers of multinational companies who are being transferred to the United States.
To qualify, you must have been employed outside of the United States for at least one year within the three years preceding your application. In addition, you must be coming to work for a branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of your current employer. If you meet these qualifications, you may be eligible for an EB-1C visa.
The process for applying for an EB-1C visa is relatively simple. First, you will need to file a petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Along with your petition, you will need to submit evidence that you meet the qualifications listed above. Once your petition has been approved, you will then need to apply for a Green Card.
If you are approved for a Green Card, you will be able to live and work in the United States permanently. You will also be able to apply for citizenship after five years. If you think you may be eligible, be sure to get started on your application today.