- Green Card
What is a Green Card
Green Card is an identity document for permanent residents in the United States who do not have US citizenship. Holders of the green card are entitled to reside and work in the country without problems, but they must maintain residency status in the United States
The Green Card can be revoked indefinitely when the immigrant misusing this law, commits a crime or is involved in illegal acts. Their attitude should also be worthy of the right to possess.
The cardholders must carry it at all times and show it to immigration officials if requested.
Types of immigration
The immigration law of the United States stipulated in the Immigration and Nationality Act that a person may obtain permanent resident status primarily through one of the following ways:
- Immigration through a family member.
- immigration through work.
- immigration through investment (from 0.5 to 1 million US dollars).
- immigration through “diversity lottery”.
- Immigration through Refugee or Asylum status.
- Immigration through provisions of “The Register” of “Immigration and Nationality Act.”
- Immigration approved by the director of the “Central Intelligence”.
You can become a permanent resident in different ways.
- Green Card Eligibility
You may be eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) through your family, a job offer or employment, refugee or asylum status, or a number of other special provisions. In some cases, you may even be able to self-petition or have a record created for permanent residence on your behalf. In general, to meet the requirements for permanent residence in the United States, you must:
- Be eligible for one of the immigrant categories established in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
- Have a qualifying immigrant petition filed and approved for you (with a few exceptions)
- Have an immigrant visa immediately available
- Be admissible to the United States
Each requirement is detailed below.
- Eligibility for an Immigrant Category
Individuals who want to become immigrants (permanent residents) through their qualified family member, a job offer or employment, or a special category will generally be classified in categories based on a preference system. Except for immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen who are given the highest immigration priority and a few other exceptions, Congress has set a finite number of visas that can be used each year for each category of immigrants. The general categories are listed below. For more specific information under each general category, see the links to the left.
- Family Based
Some relatives of U.S. citizens, known as immediate relatives, do not have to wait for a visa to become available. There is no limit to the number of visas that can be utilized in this category in a particular year. Immediate relatives include:
- Parents of a U.S. citizen
- Spouses of a U.S. citizen
- Unmarried children under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen
Note: U.S. citizens must be at least 21 years old to apply for their parents.
The qualified relatives of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in the remaining family-based categories may have to wait for a visa to become available before they can apply for permanent residency. These categories include:
- First Preference:Unmarried, adult (21 years of age or older) sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- Second Preference A:Spouses of permanent residents and the unmarried children (under the age of 21)) of permanent residents
- Second Preference B:Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years or age or older) of permanent residents
- Third Preference:Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, their spouses and their minor children
- Fourth Preference:Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens, their spouses and their minor children
There are different types of categories for a family member of a person who has obtained residency or green card to get their residence. We have:
- Immediate relative (spouse of the opposite or same sex, minor children and parents) of a US citizen (the US citizen must be at least 21 years to sponsor their parents. No annual quota limit.
F1. Single (or married to someone of the same sex) children (over 21 years) of a US citizen. 23,400 annual quota. Possible delay in visas 7-18 years.
F2A opposite-sex spouse or minor children (under age 21) of lawful permanent residents. 87.934 annual quota. Possible delay in visas two years.
F2B Singles (or married to someone of the same sex) sons and daughters (over age 21) of lawful permanent residents. 26,266 annual quota. Delayed visas 7-15 years.
F3 Sons and daughters married a US citizen. Annual quota, 23,400. Delayed visas 10-19.
F4 Brothers and sisters of adult US citizen. 65,000 annual quota available. Possible delay in visas 13-25 years
- Job or Employment Based
People who want to become immigrants based on employment or a job offer may apply for permanent residence or an immigrant visa abroad, when an immigrant visa number becomes available according to the following employment based preferences:
- First Preference:Priority Workers, including aliens with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers
- Second Preference:Members of professions holding an advanced degree or persons of exceptional ability (including individuals seeking a National Interest Waiver)
- Third Preference:Skilled Workers, professionals and other qualified workers
- Fourth Preference:Certain special immigrants including those in religious vocations
- Fifth Preference:Employment creation immigrants (investors or entrepreneurs)
There are some types of visas that allow a person to be sponsored by a job. We have:
EB1 Priority workers. There are three subcategories:
- Foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics O2.
- Foreign nationals who are university professors or extraordinary researchers with at least three years experience in teaching or research and who are recognized internationally
- Foreigners who are directors or executives and find it necessary to transfer to the US. The annual quota is 41.455.
EB2 Professionals who have an advanced degree (doctorate, master’s degree or at least five years of progressive post-baccalaureate experience) or persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts or business. Annual Quota: 41.455
EB3 Equipped workers, professional and other workers. 41.455 annual quota. Delayed visas, approximately 6 years.
EB4 Certain special immigrants: priests, religious workers, people working or who have worked for the US government, etc. 10,291 quotas available
EB5. Investors. 10,291 quotas available
3.1 Green Card Through Special Categories of Jobs: There are a number of specialized jobs that may allow you to get a green card based on a past or current job, such as:
- Afghan/Iraqi Translator
- International Organization Employee
- Iraqi Who Assisted the U.S. Government
- NATO-6 Nonimmigrant
- Panama Canal Employee
- Physician National Interest Waiver
- Religious Worker
All of these require a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, and are described in Section 101(a)(27) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
If you are not eligible to adjust your status inside the United States to a permanent resident, the immigrant petition will be sent to the U.S. consulate abroad to complete the visa process. In order to apply for a green card, there must be a visa immediately available to you.
- Based on Refugee or Asylum Status
If you were admitted to the United States as a refugee or the qualifying spouse or child of a refugee, you are required to apply for permanent residence (a green card) 1 year after your entry into the United States in this status. If you were granted asylum in the United States or are a qualifying spouse or child of an asylee, you may apply for permanent residence 1 year after the grant of your asylum status.
If you are a refugee, you are required by law to apply for a green card 1 year after being admitted to the United States in refugee status.
If you are an asylee or asylee derivative spouse or child, you are not required to apply for a green card 1 year after being granted asylum or 1 year after being admitted to the United States in asylum status, although it may be in your best interest to do so.
Quotas for Asylum does not exist.
Quota refugees, 70,000.
Through Diversity Lottery. Seats available: 50,000
- Other Ways
Although most immigrants come to live permanently in the United States through a family member’s sponsorship, employment, or a job offer, there are many other ways to get a green card.
A number of special immigrant programs are limited to individuals meeting particular qualifications and/or applying during certain time frames.
Immigrants in most categories will need an immigrant petition (Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, or another petition) filed on their behalf.
A petition establishes the underlying basis for your ability to immigrate and determines your immigrant classification or category. Some categories of immigrants may be able to self-petition. Most people immigrating based on humanitarian programs are exempt from the petition requirement.
Some immigrant petitions can be filed at the same time as the adjustment application (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), known as “concurrent filing” while other categories of immigrants will be required to wait until they have an approved petition before being allowed to apply for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa.
Also there are other ways to get a Green Card
Although most immigrants come to live permanently in the United States through a family member’s sponsorship, employment, or a job offer, there are other ways a Green Card (permanent residence) can be obtained, such as the:
- Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (referred to by many as the ‘Green Card Lottery’)
- K Nonimmigrant (includes fiancé(e))
- Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act
- Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) Status