The easiest way of getting a Green Card is through the Green Card lottery where the U.S. Department of State gives away 55,000 Green Cards through the Diversity Visa Program every year.
For many people, the first step toward being allowed to live and work permanently in the United States is to apply for an immigration visa (Legal Permanent Resident Status). There are three ways to obtain a Green Card: through winning the Green Card Lottery, via your employment, or through your family.
Where can I apply for a Green Card?
A Green Card is an immigrant visa to the United States. There are various options for applying for an immigrant visa to permanently dwell in the United States. In general, all applications are forwarded to and processed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
After the Green Card application has been approved by USCIS, the primary Green Card applicant will be requested to complete “consular processing” at the US embassy in their home country. Green Card applications must be completed and filed online since 2004.
In general, there are three types of Green Cards:
- Immigration through winning the Green Card Lottery – “Diversity Visa Program”
- Immigration through a job/investment – “Employment-based categories”
- Immigration through family unification – “Family-based categories”
Admission standards, application processes and features, waiting durations, accountable authorities, and charges vary based on the Green Card category. The first step is to determine which Green Card category you fall under. Perhaps you have family in the United States, a job offer in the United States, or an idea for a new business in the United States. However, certain things never change, and the simplest method for USA supporters to obtain a Green Card is to enter the Green Card Lottery.
Green Card through the Green Card Lottery
The Green Card Lottery is the simplest way to obtain a Green Card. Every year, the US Department of State distributes 55,000 Green Cards under the Diversity Visa Program. Even if some luck is required, this road is the most accessible to people seeking to fulfill their ambition of living in the United States. People in each participating nation have an equal chance of winning because no country receives more than 7% of the total number of Green Cards.
It is simple to obtain one of these highly sought-after residence permits through the Green Card Lottery. All you have to do is apply to participate in the drawing, which is held every year.
Tips for the application:
- Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 who are included in the application instantly acquire a Green Card – there is no waiting period!
- If the marriage is legitimate under US law, the spouses of the winners immediately earn a Green Card.
Green Card through a Job
There are a few visa alternatives available for people looking to work in the United States. The type of visa required is determined on the nature of job and the circumstances. As a result, each situation must be evaluated independently. Qualifications, citizenship, anticipated duration of stay, and firm relationship or corporate constellation are all important considerations when choosing a work visa.
The most prevalent nonimmigrant visa kinds are those provided for temporary work in the United States. If you want to live and work in the United States permanently, you must apply for an immigrant visa (Green Card) in one of the following categories. Please be advised that applying for most U.S. work visas is a complicated and time-consuming procedure.
You can obtain a Green Card through employment in the following situations:
- You receive an extremely specialized job offer for a position that only a few Americans are qualified to fill. The employer must apply to USCIS and the Department of Labor and complete the application procedure.
- Entrepreneurs and investors can obtain a Green Card by creating new employment in the United States.
Some immigrant visa categories allow for self-petitioning. People with outstanding talents can apply through self-petitions under the “Aliens with Extraordinary Ability” or “National Interest Waiver” categories
- Applicants who meet the requirements of a very specialized special employment category may also apply for a Green Card. Afghan/Iraqi translator, international organization employee, religious worker, and many more are examples of these jobs.
Green Card through the Family
Making sure families stay together when one member emigrates to the United States is a long-standing underpinning of the Green Card program. Immediate relatives of US citizens or Green Card holders, as well as persons who marry US citizens or Green Card holders, are also eligible for a Green Card. Category limits apply to each individual situation. Furthermore, candidates must face a waiting time before obtaining a Green Card, which varies greatly depending on the category.
Relatives/spouse of a US Green Card holder
Immediate family members of Green Card holders may immigrate to the United States. According to American immigration law, not only US citizens, but also Green Card holders (Permanent Residents) have the right to make an application to bring specified family members to the USA via a Green Card. Bringing family to the United States is restricted.
According to US immigration rules, the following family members of Green Card holders are eligible to apply for a Green Card:
Spouses of Green Card holders
People who marry a Green Card holder may emigrate if their marriage is legally binding and not a fake marriage.
Under paragraph F2A, spouses are included in the Second Preference Category. There is an annual quota for the amount of visas awarded in this category, and candidates should anticipate to wait for their Green Card.
Unmarried children of a Green Card holder under the age of 21
According to annual immigration limits, there is a clear distinction between unmarried children under the age of 21 and those above the age of 21. Children under the age of 21 are often allowed to move more quickly since they belong under the Second Preference Category. Regardless, there is a waiting period, and applicants may have to wait years before earning their Green Card. The same rules apply to adopted and stepchildren.
Unmarried children of a Green Card holder over the age of 21
Unmarried children of Green Card holders over the age of 21 must, however, wait several years for their Green Card. These children are in the Second Preference Category, but in subsection F2B.
Exact waiting durations and immigration quotas are published monthly by US immigration officials in the Visa Bulletin. The same rules apply to adopted and stepchildren.
Take note: Under these family reunification requirements, Green Card holders cannot bring additional relatives to the United States, such as married children, parents, siblings, grandparents, and so on.
Under certain situations, US residents may also apply for immigration visas for family relatives. According to US immigration law, the following family members of US citizens are eligible to apply for a Green Card:
Immediate relatives of a US citizen:
- Unmarried children under the age of 21
- Parents of US citizens (if the US petitioner is over the age of 21)
Other Close Family Members:
- Unmarried children over the age of 21 (First Preference)
- Married children over the age of 21 (Third Preference)
- Brother or sister (Fourth Preference)
Please keep in mind that US residents cannot apply for an immigrant visa for other family members such as aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and so on, and these relatives are not eligible for a Green Card through family unification.
How a Green Card holder or US citizen can file a Green Card application for a relative
The following actions must be done in order to apply for an immigrant visa through a family member who already possesses a Green Card:
- The first step is to apply for a Green Card (I-130, Petition for Alien Relative) with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In this situation, the primary petitioner is always the Green Card holder or US citizen requesting for their family.
- Documents such as a birth certificate, evidence of familial relationship, and so on must be included in the petition. The relationship of the Green Card holder to the family member determines how soon USCIS processes the application.
- USCIS will only approve the application if they are convinced that the family relationship is genuine.
- The petition may be denied if, for example, US officials consider that a marriage was forged in order for the spouse to get a Green Card. If the US authorities are suspicious, they may ask the couple for an interview and may even check the applicant’s residence.
- Note: A US citizen who has resided in another nation for at least one year can file the petition with the US embassy in that country.
- After USCIS approves the application, the Green Card applicant (foreign relative) is advised that they can proceed with consular processing.
Family sponsored waiting period in the visa bulletin
Please keep in mind that more information on waiting times for other visa categories and kinds may be obtained in the Visa Bulletin, which is published periodically. The US government posts all current immigrant and nonimmigrant visa information here.
The applicant is eligible for a visa as soon as there is a “c” for current in the visa category table for their visa. However, depending on the authorities’ workload, the wait period for approval might still be a year or more. If there are no more visas available in that visa category, a cut-off date is displayed. The priority date is the day the petition was correctly filed with USCIS or the relevant US consulate.
The simplest method to obtain the coveted Green Card for your own family is to win the Green Card Lottery, as spouses and children under the age of 21 automatically acquire the Green Card if you win. Even though the visa category is “current” according to the Visa Bulletin, the waiting period before the Green Card is awarded can currently be up to 2 years.