What Are the Different Ways that You Can Establish Lawful Permanent Residency?
Securing a green card brings many benefits—it allows you to live and work permanently in the United States, provided you don’t engage in certain activities that could lead to deportation. Furthermore, you may be able to apply for U.S. citizenship, a status that will even protect you from deportation. To qualify for a green card, however, you must fit into one of the following categories. Furthermore, even if you meet the criteria for one of those green cards, you may still be prohibited from obtaining a green card, based on what immigration law refers to as “inadmissibility,” which may stem from health, security, financial or criminal issues.
Who May Be Eligible for a Green Card?
You may be able to get a green card under these conditions:
- You are an immediate relative of a United States citizen—This includes spouses (same or different-sex spouses), qualified children, parents, stepchildren, stepparents and adopted children. There is no limit on the number of green cards available for persons who meet these qualifications.
- You are another type of family member—Some family members don’t qualify for the unlimited number of green cards. There are 480,000 green cards available annually for unmarried children over the age of 21, certain spouses and siblings of a citizen who is at least 21
- You are a preferred employees or workers—A total of 140,000 green cards are available each year for persons whose job skills are need in the United States. Immigration officials may also require that the person have a valid job offer. The employer may also be required to prove that no qualified American workers were available.
- You apply to the annual diversity green card lottery—Every year, the U.S. State Department holds a lottery for 50,000 green cards, to be made available to persons from countries that have sent the fewest immigrants into the United States in recent years. A person who is chosen for a green card through the lottery must still meet educational and other requirements.
- You qualify as a special immigrant—10,000 special immigrant visas are issued annually, going to persons meeting a wide range of unique qualifications. Typically, these green cards are made available to clergy and other workers in nonprofit religious organizations (though no more than 5,000 can go to this type of applicant), foreign workers who have provided valuable service to the United States, and foreign medical graduates.
- You are a person seeking refuge or asylum—Green cards may be available on an individual basis to persons who have been designated as refugees by the United Nations or persons seeking asylum because of persecution in their country of origin
- You have been a long-time resident of the United States—Persons who have resided illegally in the United States for more than 10 years may petition for “cancellation of removal,” thereby obtaining lawful permanent residency
Contact the Experienced Immigration Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the challenges you face trying to make sense of the American immigration laws. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To speak with a proven and effective immigration attorney, Contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.