15 Ways to Get Your Green Card to the U.S.
There are many different ways that someone can get their green card to become a permanent resident of the United States (a green card holder).
In this article, I will discuss 15 ways to get your green card.
If, after reading this article, you have questions feel free to call us at +1-818-741-1117 or you may schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.
Family Based Green Card Categories
There are multiple ways for someone to qualify for a green card based on their relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
1. Marriage-Based Green Card
If you are in a legitimate (bona-fide) marriage with a US Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder), you may potentially be eligible to apply for a green card. A legitimate marriage should be one that is bona fide or true. That means the marriage should not have been entered into purely for immigration benefits.
2. K1 Fiance Visa
The K1 Fiance Visa is a special type of visa that allows the fiance of a U.S. citizen to come to the United States. Once the fiancee is in the United States, if the couple gets married within 90 days, the fiancee can apply for their green card through a process called an adjustment of status.
3. Parent of a U.S. Citizen that is at Least 21 Years Old
If you are the parent of a U.S. citizen that is at least 21 years old, you may possibly be eligible to apply for your green card through your child. Your U.S. citizen child would need to petition for you by filing a Form I-130 immigrant petition on your behalf.
4. Sibling of a U.S. Citizen that is at Least 21 Years Old
If you are the sibling of a U.S. citizen that is at least 21 years old, you may possibly be eligible to apply for your green card based on your relationship to your sibling. Your U.S. citizen sibling would have to petition for your by filing a Form I-130 with USCIS.
Employer Sponsored Green Card Categories
There are multiple ways to get a green card based on having a job offer to work in the United States.
5. EB2 and EB3 Visa
An employer sponsored green card is when an employer hires or is able to hire a foreign worker, and through that job offer, they can petition for a green card for the foreign worker.
There are several steps involved. The first step is that the U.S. employer must show that they tried to hire a U.S. worker. The U.S. employer must show that they were unable to hire a qualified U.S. worker either because there weren't any qualified, willing and available U.S. workers for the position (or something along those lines). Based on their inability to hire a U.S. worker, the U.S. employer can request authorization from the Department of Labor to hire a foreign worker. This is referred to as the PERM labor certification process.
The job must be a full-time job offer and the U.S. employer must pay the foreign worker at least the same amount as a similarly situated U.S. worker (this is called a prevailing wage). This is because the U.S. Government wants to protect U.S. workers and has therefore put forth policies to prevent foreign workers from coming to the United States and working for less than what a U.S. worker would get paid. So the U.S. employer has to pay the foreign worker at least the same amount that a qualified U.S. worker would get paid (or more).
The two visa classifications that correspond to the employer sponsored green card process are the EB2 visa and the EB3 visa. The appropriate visa classification (EB2 vs. EB3) will ultimately depend on your job duties. If your position requires an advanced degree, then you will likely fall under the EB2 visa classification. If your position is an unskilled position, you will likely fall under the EB3 visa classification.
Self Petition Green Card Options
There are multiple ways to get a green card through self petition. Below, I will discuss 2 of these options: the EB1A and the EB-2 national interest waiver. Through either of these options, someone can apply for their green card on their own without someone else filing a petition on their behalf.
The EB1A green card is for people with extraordinary ability in the sciences, business, athletics or the arts. This green card option is for people at the very top of their field. Through the EB1A green card, someone can apply for a green card without having an employer or family sponsor. To demonstrate extraordinary ability, someone may show evidence of awards, high remuneration, publications, and various other types of evidence.
7. EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW)
The EB-2 national interest waiver is another option to obtain a green card through self petition. This green card option is specifically for people who will be coming to the United States to work in a field that is in the national interest of the United States.
Investment Based Green Card Option
Through the EB5 visa, one can also get their green card by making an investment in the United States.
8. EB5 Visa
The EB5 visa is a green card option for investors looking to invest in the United States and create jobs for US workers. The minimum investment amount to qualify for an EB5 visa is $900,000. This investment must lead to the creation of 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Through the EB5 visa, someone can qualify for a green card for themselves, their spouse, and their unmarried children under 21 years old.
Other Employment Based Green Card Options
Below are some other employment based green card options.
9. EB1B Visa
The EB1B visa is a green card option for outstanding professors and researchers. This green card option is for individuals coming to the United States to work as a professor or a researcher, provided that they can demonstrate that they are of outstanding ability. They can do this by showcasing their accolades such as publications, citations to their work, and various other criteria that reflect their accomplishments in their field.
10. EB1C Visa
The EB1C visa is a green card option for multinational managers or executives. This category allows an individual working for a foreign company to transfer to a related U.S. company either as a manager or executive.
This individual must have worked for the foreign company for at least one year full time as a manager or executive. After they complete at least one full year in a managerial or executive role in the foreign company, they must seek to come to work for the U.S. company as either a manager or executive as well.
Special Green Card Options
Here are some additional green card options.
11. Diversity Visa Lottery
The U.S. government has a policy interest in making sure that we continue to maintain a nation that contains a diverse group of people of all backgrounds and cultures. Therefore, through the Diversity Visa lottery, the U.S. Government reserves a certain number of green cards for people that come from countries that don't necessarily have a large representation in the United States.
For example, if a particular country does not have a large representation in the U.S., citizens of this country can apply for the diversity lottery. If an individual gets selected in the lottery he or she can apply for a special visa to come to the U.S. Once in the U.S., the individual can apply for an adjustment of status to get their green card.
12. VAWA (Violence Against Women Act)
VAWA is also known as the Violence Against Women Act. This Green Card option is available to men and women, even though the name might suggest it is only available to women. Typically, this option is for individuals that have suffered abuse from either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) that they were married to.
There are multiple categories of people that may potentially qualify for VAWA including the spouse of an abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, the child of an abusive U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or the parents of an abusive U.S.
13. T Visa
This T Visa is a green card option which is available to victims of human trafficking.
14. U Visa
The U Visa is a green card option available to individuals who are victims of certain crimes in the U.S. This green card option is designed for individuals who have suffered some form of physical or mental abuse as a result of being a victim of a qualifying crime.
15. EB4 Visa
The EB4 visa is a green card option that has quite a few subcategories. However, one of the most common categories of the EB4 visa is for certain religious workers.
In this guide, we discussed 15 different ways to get a green card. You should now have a much better understanding of different ways to get a U.S. green card. If you have any questions, feel free to schedule a free consultation with our team by clicking this link.
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Michael Ashoori, Esq.
U.S. Immigration Lawyer
I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.
Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.
Got a question? Send me an email.