What are the different ways to get a Green Card?
There are several different ways to get a Green Card if you wish to move to the USA permanently. Most require sponsorship from a US citizen, but this isn’t always the case.
If you’ve thought about moving to the United States, it’s important to learn about the different ways to get a Green Card. So, here’s a brief overview of the main routes into permanent resident status in the USA.
What is a Permanent Resident?
Someone who holds a United States Green Card is known as a lawful permanent resident (LPR). As the name suggests, it’s someone who has entered the country through lawful means and is legally allowed to stay there permanently.
It differs from a nonimmigrant, who is someone with a temporary visa. One of the main conditions is that they return to their home country once the visa expires.
Typically, most LPRs move to the United States for work or family reasons – these are the two most common types issued each year. But, there are different ways to get a Green Card, as we’ll explain below.
Different Ways to Get a Green Card
One of the most widely used sources for Green Card petition filing is employment connections. It usually relates to jobs that have some kind of specialization or skillset. For example, you might have luck with an employment Green Card if you’re a:
- Tech worker
There are plenty more job roles that qualify for employment sponsorship. The key is that you must have a skill set that’s lacking in the United States, as this is what your sponsor must prove during your application.
Generally, you’ll have a job offer lined up when you move to the country, as it’s required for the application. It’s worth noting that it needs to be a permanent job, as temporary/seasonal work will fall under a nonimmigrant visa. Finding the correct employment Visa is, in most cases, quite complicated. Therefore, it’s always good to get advice from a professional immigration office or use the step-by-step visa guides from US Green Card Advice.
Different Ways to Get a Green Card for Family and Relatives
The second most common way to get a Green Card is through family sponsorship. Your eligibility for this depends on your relationship with the family member and their immigrant status within the United States.
If your sponsor (family member) is an LPR, they can only sponsor spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21. However, if they’re a full US citizen, they can sponsor what are known as “preference” family members: parents and siblings, along with the members mentioned above.
Along with who they can sponsor, it also impacts how quickly applications are approved. An immediate relative (spouse or child) will receive their Green Card immediately, whereas preference family members must wait for an available visa. This can depend on various factors but could mean a fairly lengthy wait.
Also, fiancés and would-be spouses fall into this category. A foreign national can marry a US citizen and receive a Green Card faster. However, they must enter the country on a nonimmigrant visa and then go through Adjustment of Status (explained below).
Adjustment of Status
Adjustment of Status means exactly what you think it might: the process of a nonimmigrant visa holder applying for a Green Card. Typically, it’s someone who’s already in the USA, and the process is designed so they don’t need to return to their home country to apply.
It simply means you apply through USCIS to have your visa adjusted to a Green Card. Almost all applications follow the same process and the same categories mentioned here apply.
Not all temporary visas are eligible for adjustment of status, too. For example, if you hold a seasonal worker visa, you can’t expect to be eligible for a Green Card, as the whole point of the visa is that you’re only there to work for a short period. However, if you’ve entered the USA under a different work visa and your job is being made permanent, you can use this as the basis of an Adjustment of Status application.
Adjustment of Status covers different ways to get a Green Card, but at the same time is just one option. The main thing is that plenty of temporary visas can be converted to permanent residency through this option.
$900 thousand or $1.8 million Investment Opportunities into the United States
One of the lesser-known ways to get a Green Card is by investing in the USA. It’s a bit more complex than just throwing money at the country, though. To be eligible, you must invest capital (money or equipment) into a company with the aim of creating jobs and growth. The amount varies depending on the company and area, but it ranges between $900,000 and $1.8 million.
Of course, if you plan to invest this kind of money in the country, you should expect some dive into your assets. That said, USCIS isn’t as careful as it could be, but you should expect some kind of financial review as part of it. Most countries offer “golden visas” (citizenship by investment) but it’s one of the less common ways to get a Green Card in the United States. Compared to most countries, the US investment amount is quite high. An alternative – and a faster route to a Green Card in the United States is through the EB-5 Visa Program.
Different Ways to Get a Green Card for Asylee Status and Refugee
Entering the US as an asylum seeker or refugee definitely isn’t a preferred way to get a Green Card. However, if for some unfortunate reason you are seeking refuge in the USA, you can apply for a Green Card after one year of residence.
The application process is slightly different, as you don’t need a sponsor. Instead, you must prove that there’s still a reason why you can’t return to your native country. For some, this can be a difficult thing to deal with, but the rewards often outweigh the difficulty.
As with other different ways to get a Green Card, there are a limited number of asylee and refugee cards issued each year. But, this doesn’t mean refugees are always deported back to their native country. It can be a difficult balancing act, though.
The Green Card Lottery: The easiest way to enter the United States
Finally, there’s the Green Card Lottery. Unlike most other ways to get a Green Card, you don’t need existing connections in the country. Instead, you enter an annual draw to win Green Cards for yourself and your family. This is a great opportunity how to get a Green Card in USA without marriage to a US citizen.
Luckily, US Green Card Office is here to help with your application. While there are plenty of different ways to get a Green Card, the lottery is perhaps the easiest.
So, apply through the Green Card Lottery – and be the next lucky Green Card holder.
If you want to get more information about the different ways to get a Green Card to the USA always welcome to send us an email I’ll give us a call. We are here to assist you in moving to the United States.