The U.S. Green Card is a cherished goal of immigrants around the world. It gives many privileges and rights, as well as responsibilities.
Obtaining a green card is not an easy goal, but it is achievable. As a result, an emigrant gets an opportunity to live freely in one of the most developed countries on the planet, as well as the right to apply for American citizenship.
Let’s check the general ways to get it!
For highly skilled professionals: Labor immigration
You can apply for a Green Card after you move to the United States on a work visa for certain professional categories.
For example, such visas include H1-B for highly skilled workers, as well as special visas for journalists, actors, models, scientists, etc. Depending on the visa type, the conditions of staying and working in the U.S. and the application for a Green Card may be different.
It is worth noting that professionals with extraordinary talents and high achievements in their field have the right to apply directly for a Green Card, bypassing the need to obtain a work visa first. This is due to the U.S. policy of attracting the best professionals from around the world.
2. For the lucky ones: Diversity visa program
Every year (since 1994), the U.S. Department of State gives away 50,000 lucky tickets. To participate, you just need to fill out a form on the official website and attach a digital DV program compatible photo to it.
Lottery winners are determined by a software program that randomly generates the winning numbers. Usually, the lottery draws about 50,000 visas, with about 10 million participants. Your approximate chances of winning the lottery can be estimated here.
Winning the Green Card Lottery allows you and your family to come to America legally within a year. If you are the winner, you may bring your spouse and children under 21 who are not legally married.
But winning does not give you the green card itself, but only the chance to get it. You have to go through a lot of procedures: collect the documents, get an immigrant visa after the interview, come to America and only then get a residence permit.
3. For Entrepreneurs: running a business in the U.S.
Top managers and business owners with L-1 visas, as well as foreign nationals who have been transferred to work in the U.S. branch of their company, are also eligible to apply for a Green Card. This can be done after 1.5-2 years of living and working in America.
4. For family people: marriage to a U.S. citizen or family reunification
Marrying an American citizen entitles the foreigner to a Green Card. To qualify, you must obtain a K-1 visa allowing you to marry a U.S. citizen, stay in the United States, and apply for a Green Card. The difficulty with this method is that immigration authorities conduct a serious and detailed check on each couple, giving permission to enter only to those foreigners whose main goal is to get married and live together in the future. If you are denied a K-1 visa your chances of immigrating to the United States in the future will be greatly reduced.
An alien whose immediate family (parents, siblings, children, etc.) is a U.S. resident is also eligible for a Green Card. Depending on the relationship, the alien may receive certain benefits when his or her documents are reviewed. However, waiting for a Green Card can take up to 10 years, depending on the quotas.
5. For refugees: granting political asylum
The U.S. government may grant asylum to people whose lives or health are in danger because of their political or religious beliefs, race, or sexual orientation, or for serious reasons that prevent them from returning to their home country.
In order to obtain such a Green Card, one must enter the United States and present irrefutable proof of the threat that awaits the refugee on the territory of the country of residence. In this case, you would have to hire a lawyer who is knowledgeable in such matters. This is likely to be expensive, but if successful, both the refugee and his or her lawful spouse will receive a Green Card.
6. For investors: contributions to the U.S. economy
Wealthy foreigners who want to open a branch of their company in the U.S. can get a Green Card by investing in the American economy $500,000 USD or more and thereby creating new jobs in the country.
You can do this by opening a new business in America, expanding your existing overseas business into the country, buying an existing U.S. company, or investing in one of the investment projects.