If you plan on moving to the United States from a foreign country, one of the first steps you will have to take is applying for a green card. A green card grants an individual the right to live and work in the United States. Each year, the President and Congress determine the amount of refugee admissions, an average of over 1 million green cards a year. There are many types of green cards that you can apply for, each with their own set of qualifications.
Family Based Immigration
If you are a direct relative of a current U.S. citizen, you will not have to wait to get a visa, as there is no limit on the number of visas that can be granted in a year. If your family members in the U.S. are not direct relatives, are children over 21, or your relative is a permanent resident but not a U.S. citizen, then you may have to wait.
This type of immigration is based on skill, so the higher your job skill level is, the more likely you will get chosen for this type of green card. Immigration laws state that in order to get a business immigration green card, you must prove your skills will substantially benefit the U.S. If you have a degree, are a researcher or professor, or a manager of a multinational company, there is a higher chance you will be granted a green card.
Green Card Through Marriage
If you are or will be getting married to a U.S. citizen, they are allowed to sponsor your green card. Note that your resident status will be conditional if your marriage is less than two years old. This is to ensure the USCIS that your wedding was legitimate, and not a way to get around the United States immigration laws.
If you don’t meet any of these criteria, applying for a green card may still be possible. These types of green cards are very specialized, but this does not mean they will not apply to you. There is also a yearly green card lottery known as the Diversity Visa lottery. The Diversity Visa lottery is stated in the Immigration Act of 1990 to help immigrants from countries with low rates of immigration move to the United States. If you come from a country with less than 50,000 immigrants who have relocated to the United States in the past 5 years, you could be randomly chosen for one of 55,000 visas allocated to this program each year.
If you are unsure whether or not you may qualify for any of the methods of applying for a green card, immigration law attorneys can help guide you through the process. Remember that green cards are only valid for 10 years, and will need to be renewed if you plan on staying in the United States as a permanent resident.