How To Get A Green Card
Photo Credit : Sesini Law Group

A “green card” is a form of personal identification that attests to the holder’s status as a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. A green card is necessary for foreign nationals who want to reside permanently in the United States. The holder of a green card can work and live anywhere in the nation. 

How To Get A Green Card

With a green card, also known as a permanent residence card, you can legally immigrate to the U.S. If you want to naturalize as a U.S. citizen, you must have a green card, which gives you additional rights and obligations.

Obtaining a green card is difficult, although the numerous requirements can complicate the process. This lengthy process also wastes time and money. Suppose applicants have entered the country improperly, committed crimes inside or outside the country, or were illegally in the country. In that case, they risk being deported, facing criminal charges, and even being denied entry again. 

It is prudent to take the process seriously and to be aware of the risks. Suppose they meet the requirements and are already present in the country. If so, applying to change their status from whatever they currently hold—a work visa, a student visa, or a visitor’s visa—to permanent residence is required. To obtain a police and security clearance, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will need them to attend a biometric appointment to submit fingerprints and a facial scan. They must also pass a medical exam and show up for an interview to be eligible for a green card. They submit Form I-485 and all the necessary materials and fees to complete this task.

After waiting a year, they will receive their green card, proving their status as a permanent resident for ten years. After that, they can renew their green card for an additional ten years, and so on. However, that is merely a mechanical response that outlines the process without discussing how difficult it is to obtain a green card and who is eligible. 

How To Get A Green Card In The USA

The first step to getting a green card in the USA is checking your eligibility status. Here are a few ways how to get a green card in the USA

#1. Marry a Citizen of the U.S.

An immediate relative who is at least 21 years old, a U.S. citizen, or a U.S. lawful permanent resident must sponsor a foreign national for them to be qualified for a green card in this manner. Marriage is a popular method for accomplishing this, but the marriage must be sincere and not just entered into for immigration purposes—the intent is crucial.

Immediate Relatives: To qualify, a person must have a close family connection to an American citizen, such as a spouse, child, or parent. There is no cap on how many immigrants fall into these categories each fiscal year. Processing is completed quickly—on average, and it takes about a year.

Family Preference: These visas are for specific, more distant relatives of a citizen of the United States and specific, designated relatives of lawful permanent residents. These categories can only have a certain number of immigrants each fiscal year. Processing is slower, typically taking years or even decades.

#2. Study in the U.S.

Obtain a student visa to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree at a U.S. university. You will then be eligible for an Optional Practical Training post-graduate work permit, valid for one year. After a year, ask your boss to submit an H1B Visa application. 

Next, submit an application for a green card via the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service of the Department of Homeland Security. For many applicants, especially those with skills but little money to invest and no family in the United States, this is a long and winding road that is painful, but it may be their only choice. 

#3. Personal Achievements 

Follow in the footsteps of successful individuals from other countries who can obtain green cards. These typically involve people who have attained the pinnacle of their field or calling. Typically, candidates with extraordinary abilities are well-known figures in their industry.

#4. Lottery 

Apply for a green card through the yearly Diversity Green Card Lottery, which selects 55,000 candidates to apply to the United States. These candidates come from nations that are underrepresented among immigrants to the United States, like Estonia, Fiji, or Ukraine.

#5. Through Employment 

Choose between applying for an EB-2 extraordinary worker green card based on a national interest waiver or applying for an H1B work visa and obtaining a green card through labor certification, as explained in the student example.

#6. Through Corporate Transfer

Imagine a business sending a British manager to run its office in New York. That is a typical example of how a corporate transfer can result in getting a permanent residence. The petitioning employer must be a U.S.-based business and must want to hire you as a manager or executive. The petitioner must be a legal entity operating in the United States for at least a year and have a qualifying connection to the organization that employed you abroad in a managerial or executive capacity. Since a labor certification is needed, obtaining a green card is desirable. 

What is the Easiest Way to Get a Green Card?

The fastest way to obtain a green card is through the diversity lottery program for green cards. The United States State Department awards 55,000 green cards to applicants from nations that are underrepresented in the annual flow of immigrants to the country, such as Fiji or Estonia. The green card lottery’s primary goal is to increase the diversity of the yearly influx of new immigrants to the country. Applicants only need to enter their name in the lottery and adhere to the fundamental guidelines to apply for a green card under this category. 

What are the four ways to get a green card?

#1. Immigration Based on Family

Being sponsored by a member of one’s immediate family who is either a citizen of the United States or holds a green card is a common way to obtain one. For instance, by being sponsored, spouses, parents, or unmarried children of American citizens may get green cards. Family members of people with green cards can also apply to become permanent residents and bring their spouses and kids with them. The sponsor’s standing and the applicant’s relationship with the sponsor will determine eligibility.

#2. Immigration of Students

Obtaining admission to a college or university is necessary to study your way in. The procedure entails getting an I-20 letter verifying your enrollment at the school and ability to pay the tuition, followed by applying for a student visa abroad through a U.S. Consulate. To accomplish that, you must speak with the campus advisor for international students. These people receive payment in exchange for assisting students in qualifying and obtaining visas.

#3. Immigration Based on Employment

It would be best to get a work visa before you can enter. The easiest way to do this is by using the labor certification procedure, where your employer demonstrates that no American workers are ready, willing, and able to accept the job they offer. Also, a foreign worker should be allowed to do so instead. Avoiding this agonizing and thorough process is wise. It may require years.

#4. Claims for Asylum

When you request asylum, you must be able to demonstrate that you are currently outside of your country of citizenship. Also have a reasonable fear that your home government will persecute you if you go back, because of your race, religion, political opinion, etc. Only some people will be eligible for this method of obtaining a green card in the United States, but for those who are, it is a real option.

How Many Years Does It Take To Get a Green Card?

It depends. However, it is safe to assume that it will take at least a year to approve a green card application, and depending on the category, it may even take four or five years. The classes that grant green cards more quickly are those for exceptional immigrants and immediate families.

Is It Hard To Get A Green Card In The US?

No matter how you go about it, getting a green card is complex. The application process can be very challenging and complicated, especially if the applicant completes it incorrectly and wastes time and money. Suppose applicants entered the country illegally, violated the law inside or outside, or improperly entered it. In that case, they risk being deported, facing criminal charges, and even being permanently barred from entering the country. It is advisable to be cautious of the risks and treat the procedure seriously.

How To Get A Green Card FAQs 

What Is A Green Card?

This a form of personal identification that attests to the holder’s status as a lawful permanent resident of the U.S

How Can You Get A Green Card In The US?

  • Through Family
  • Through Employment
  • Lottery Winnings
  • Studies

How Long Does It Take to Get A Green Card In The US?

Getting a permanent residence card can take between two to five years

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