A green card is a gateway to your US citizenship. Getting a green card makes you a permanent resident of that country legally. It allows you to work and live in the United States.
Ways to get a green card
- Through family
- Through your employer
- As a refugee
Green card eligibility through family: The simplest and the most common way to get a green card is through immediate family. To be eligible in this criteria, you should have a close family member who is a US citizen. That can be a spouse, a child who is under 21 and unmarried, or a parent who is a US citizen. US immigration law allows if you are a direct relative of a US citizen, and the relative is allowed to petition for you to live in the US. Your relative will file an I-130 petition for an alien relative. The process of getting a green card for such a petitioner is called ‘Adjustment of status’ if you are already living in the country. If you are not living in the US, a visa needs to be granted post which you can become a permanent resident. If your relative is also a green card holder, then the process takes longer. There are special considerations for battered child or spouse, widower/widow of US citizen, etc.
Through employer: It also includes people who can make investments or have special job skills.
If you have an offer from an employee, they can be part of the petition. A certification from the US Department of State is needed and form I-140 has to be filled which is a petition for Alien Worker.
If you are an investor and have money to put into US businesses, you can get a green card. However, you should be able to invest at least $1,000,000. It should also be able to generate at least 10 jobs in the US. The form to be filled is the I-526 petition for Alien Entrepreneur. A green card can be obtained through special skills category. They should be the best in the field, and such offers are rare.
As a refugee: If you are an asylee or a refugee you can apply for a green card after entering the country. If you are in the US as an asylee, you needn’t apply for a green card, but if you are a refugee, it is mandatory to apply for permanent residency within a year of entering the country.
Based on the category you fall in, you can file a petition. After filing the petition, check if there are visas available as it is necessary to apply for a green card. Based on the country you are coming from, there are many immigrant category visas available. Immediate relatives get Visa quickly while those who come for employment have a limited number available at their disposition.
Once you get a Visa, you should file and submit Application for Adjust status. Once that is received, you will be called for a biometric appointment and an immigration interview where you will carry all the relevant documents. After this, a final decision will be made on the application. If approved, you will receive your green card.