How to Apply for a Green Card?
Updated on August 20, 2020
How to apply for a green card depends on the type of immigration status and circumstances that you are in. There are several different categories of green cards in the United States. Each category has its eligibility requirements and application process. You’d better have a general picture about it then figure out the best solution to get a green card.
1. What is a green card?
A permanent resident card is commonly known as a green card or Form I-551 (see sample below). It allows a foreigner to live and work in the United States and enter the United States freely, even though they are not a United States citizen. Although some green cards are temporary or conditional, generally the term green card means a permanent resident card.
2. Family-based green card
Some foreigners are able to acquire a green card based on marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Another green card option is gaining lawful permanent resident (LPR) status by being an immediate relative of a green card holder or a U.S. citizen.
Noncitizens may be able to achieve lawful permanent residency via their relatives who are either green card holders or United States citizens. Some individuals who may receive a family-based green card include the following:
Not sure if you’re eligible to get a green card through your U.S. citizen or LPR relative? You can free check eligibility through DYgreencard without giving any private information. When you are ready, we can help you prepare an application package reviewed by an immigration lawyer to ensure its success. Learn more, or get started today!
3. Employment-based green card
An employment-based green card may be appropriate for someone who has specific career qualities that would allow them to get lawful permanent resident status. This type of green card may or may not require a labor certification by the foreign national’s employer in the United States. Categories of employment-based green card include:
Labor certification to obtain a green card
To apply for EB-2 (based on PERM) and EB-3employment-based green cards, an employer will need to obtain a labor certification (PERM). The employer, rather than the employee, is responsible for obtaining the labor certification.
Green card that do not need a labor certification
In order to avoid the labor certification requirement, a foreigner could consider petitioning under an EB-1, first preference, classification. To do so; however, they must prove that they are either a multinational manager or executive; alien of extraordinary ability; or outstanding professor or researcher.
Additionally, alien workers who have earned advanced degrees (U.S. master’s degree or higher) in their career field might qualify under second preference, or EB-2 status, without a labor certification. They may qualify for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) if their proposed work in the United States has substantial merit and national importance.
EB-4 and EB-5 categories of employment-based green cards do not need a labor certification, either.
It is much more complicated to get a green card through employment categories. Schedule a consultation with a skilled immigration attorney for $100 only!
4. Green card based on asylum or refugee status
There is another type of green card that is made available by the USCIS for humanitarian reasons. A foreigner can apply for this type of green card as either a refugee or an asylee.
How can a refugee apply for a green card?
The difference between a refugee and asylee is that a refugee applies for refugee status while living outside the United States while an asylee applies for asylum status inside the United States.
Actually, a foreigner who is an asylee is also a refugee. A refugee is defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as person who is outside their country of origin because of a well-founded fear of persecution and are unable to return to their nation because of their trepidation.
In fact, more than 22,000 refugees enter the United States each year to seek protection from persecution. Refugees may only apply for a green card by filing I-485 form after they have been physically present in the United States for at least one year.
How do you get an asylum green card in the USA?
If you are interested in getting more information on how to obtain a green card through refugee or asylum status, it may be wise to contact a skilled immigration law attorney about your options and the process.
5. Other green card categories
The United States issues many other types of green cards besides the ones discussed above, including: