How Can I Obtain a Green Card?

Schedule Your Consultation
U.S. flags

The journey to obtaining a Green Card, symbolizing lawful permanent residency in the United States, is document-heavy and often not straightforward; each applicant’s road is unique, influenced by their personal, familial, and professional circumstances. Please continue reading and reach out to a seasoned New York City immigration lawyer from the Lightman Law Firm to learn more about how to obtain a Green Card. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What Are the Main Routes to Obtain a Green Card?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) outlines several pathways for obtaining a Green Card, each of which caters to different individual situations, including employment, family relationships, refugee or asylum status, and more. Some of the most common routes to obtaining a green card, however, are as follows:

  • Family-Based Immigration: A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident can sponsor certain family members.
  • Employment-Based Immigration: This includes immigrants with specific job skills, employment offers, or who are investing in the U.S.
  • Refugee or Asylee Status: Individuals granted asylum or refugee status can apply for a Green Card after one year.
  • Diversity Lottery: The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program awards up to 50,000 visas annually, chosen randomly among entries from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S.
  • Special Categories: This encompasses several less common paths, such as the U visa for victims of crime or the Special Immigrant Juvenile status.

How Does Family-Based Immigration Work?

Family-based immigration is one of the most common routes to obtaining a Green Card. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can sponsor certain relatives for permanent residency. The specific legal statutes governing this process, found in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), prioritize immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, including spouses, parents (if the U.S. citizen is over 21), and unmarried children under 21. Preference categories extend eligibility to other family members, but they often involve longer waiting periods due to annual caps.

How Can I Obtain Permanent Residency Through Employment?

The USCIS designates several categories for employment-based immigration, from EB-1 to EB-5, catering to individuals with extraordinary abilities, professionals holding advanced degrees, skilled workers, and investors. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, for instance, allows entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) to apply for a Green Card if they make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States and plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.

Ultimately, there are several potential paths to permanent residency, and, eventually, even citizenship, and the path you choose will depend largely on the specifics of your situation. If you have further questions or believe you may qualify for a Green Card, please don’t hesitate to contact the Lightman Law Firm today.