A Green Card is officially known as a Permanent Resident Card. A green card allows a non-U.S. citizen to become a permanent residence of the United States. Most people want a green card because it allows them to legally live and work anywhere in the United States. Having a green card also qualifies you for U.S. citizenship after three to five years. There are several different types of Green Cards available, depending on your situation:
- Family-Based Green Card
- Employment-Based Green Card
- Humanitarian Green Cards
- Diversity Lottery Green Card
- Longtime-Resident Green Card
Family Based Green Cards
If you are a close relative of a U.S. citizen or a current green card holder, you may apply for a Family Based Green Card for yourself. Eligible family members include spouses, children, parents, and siblings, as well as the spouses and children of those spouses, adult children, and siblings. Widows and widowers who were married to a U.S. citizen at the time the citizen died are also eligible to apply. Like spouses of living U.S. citizens and current green card holders who apply for a Marriage-Based Green Card, widows and widowers must prove that their marriage was legal in order to receive a green card. In most cases extended family members — cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents — do not qualify for Family Based Green Cards.
Employment Based Green Cards
There are several categories of Employment Based Green Cards that you can apply for as a worker.
Priority workers (EB-1):
- Positions in the arts, sciences, education, business, and athletics that require extraordinary ability
- Outstanding professors and researchers
- Multinational managers and executives
Professionals with advanced degrees and exceptional abilities (EB-2):
- Positions requiring at least a master’s degree
- Positions requiring at least a baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degree, plus at least five years’ relevant experience
- Positions in the sciences, arts, or business requiring exceptional* ability
- Positions of national interest
Physicians (EB-2 with a special waiver):
- Physicians who agree to work full-time in underserved areas for a specific period and meet other eligibility criteria
Skilled, unskilled, and professional workers (EB-3):
- Skilled positions that require a minimum of two years’ training or experience that is not temporary or seasonal
- Unskilled positions that require less than two years’ training or experience that is not temporary or seasonal
- Professional positions that require at least a baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degree from a U.S. university or college or the equivalent of this degree from a non-U.S. school
Special workers (EB-4):
- Media professionals
- Religious workers and ministers
- Afghanistan and Iraq nationals who have served the U.S. government under certain capacities
- Certain other employees, retirees, and their family members
- Non-U.S. nationals who have invested or are investing at least $1 million (or $500,000 in a high-unemployment or rural area) in a new U.S. business that will create full-time positions for at least 10 workers
Our affordable and experienced immigration and green card attorneys can help you determine which Employment Based Green Card you may apply for.
Humanitarian Green Cards
If you fear for your safety or have been persecuted in your own country based on your race, religion, nationality, political opinion or social group, you may seek asylum in the United States. After you have lived in the US for at least one year after receiving asylum you may apply for a Humanitarian Green Card. Victims of human trafficking, crimes or abuse may also be eligible for asylum and a Humanitarian Green Card.
Diversity Lottery Green Cards
Under the United States Diversity Lottery Program 50,000 people are chosen at random from specific geographic locations to receive a Diversity Lottery Green Card. Only people from countries with limited immigration are eligible.
Longtime Resident Green Card
If you have physically lived in the United states, either legally or not, since January 1, 1972 you may be eligible to apply for a Longtime Resident Green Card. There are certain requirements in order for you to qualify:
- You entered the United States before January 1, 1972, which you would need to prove by providing an I-94 travel record (officially called the “Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record”)
- You have not left the United States since arriving.
- You have “good moral character,” meaning you have not committed certain types of crimes, such as fraud, prostitution, or murder, etc.
- You are eligible for U.S. citizenship through naturalization.
- You have not committed crimes that would make you “deportable” such as violations including drug abuse, smuggling, or marriage fraud.
- You have not committed crimes that would make you “inadmissible” such as violations including entering the United States unlawfully and staying more than six months in the United States with an expired visa.
- Determining whether you qualify for this type of Green Card can be difficult with the various requirements. Hiring an experienced Green Card Attorney can make the application easier. Our Green Card attorneys are affordable and qualified to help you through entire process.