Determine Whether You’re Eligible to Apply For A Green Card
To become a lawful permanent resident in the United States one must determine whether they are eligible to apply for a green card.
Who is Eligible for Green Card Application?
Whether you are currently in or outside the U.S., you may qualify for a green card if you meet the eligibility requirements under one of the following available categories.
1. Family-Based Green Card
You may qualify for a green card under the family-based category if you meet any of the following requirements:
– You are a Spouse or Child of United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
There are 2 major subcategories under this category.
The first is “immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen.” This means you are a spouse of a U.S. citizen or an unmarried child (under the age of 21) of a U.S. citizen.
The second subcategory is known as “other relative of a U.S. citizen or relative of a lawful permanent resident.” Other relatives of a U.S. citizen refers to an unmarried child of a U.S. citizen under the age of 21, a married child of a U.S. citizen, or a sibling of a U.S. citizen.
A qualifying relative of a lawful permanent resident must be a spouse or unmarried child of a green cardholder. If you qualify under the family-based category, your qualifying relative who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident will have to sponsor your green card petition.
2. Employment-Based Green Card
The employment-based green card category is available for foreign nationals who possess certain skills, ideas, experience, and academic qualifications that fit in into the U.S. employment system.
– Immigrant Worker
You may qualify for a green card as an immigrant worker if you meet the requirements under one of the available immigrant visas under this category. In all, there are 4 preferences, namely
Each of the categories has its own long list of eligibility criteria. The major factors for qualifying under these categories are your educational background, job experience, or an exceptional talent or ability in your chosen career. If you qualify for most of the immigrant worker green card categories, you will need a job offer from a U.S. employer. The employer will also act as the petitioner to sponsor your petition. In some cases, like EB-1A and EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver), you may get your green card without a job offer and also self-sponsor your petition.
– Physician National Interest Waiver
You may get a green card under this category if you are a foreign physician who is ready to work full-time in clinical practice in a medically underserved area in the United States for a set period of time. You must possess all the required licenses to practice in the specialty in the U.S., including the requirements for the state you intend to practice.
– Green Card through Investment
You may get a green card through the Immigrant Investor category, otherwise known as EB-5 green card if you are able and ready to invest at least $900,000 or $1.8 million in the United States. The type and location of your investment will determine the exact minimum investment amount. The EB-5 is also a self-petitioned green card if you meet all the requirements.
Green Card through Other Categories
While the family-based and employment-based categories are the most common routes to a green card, there are also many other categories for certain individuals. They include:
- Green card as a special immigrant
- Green card through refugee or asylee status
- Green card for victims of abuse
- Green card through the diversity lottery