The Different Ways You Can Become a Legal Resident of the United States
It’s been your dream for a long time—come to the United States, become a permanent resident and provide a better life for your family. You’ve made it to America, but you’re not sure what you need to do to live here legally, so that you don’t have to worry every day about being asked to leave the country. Let’s look at the common pathways for legal status in the United States.
Permanent Legal Residency—Getting Your Green Card
You get permanent legal residency in the United States with a green card. There are many ways to obtain a green card:
- You can file for a “family-based” visa—You may qualify for a green card as an immediate relative of an American citizen—spouses, unmarried children under 21 and parents of an American citizen who is 21 or older are eligible. A fiancée/fiancé of a U.S. citizen may qualify, as may widows or widowers or American citizens. Other family members may also be able to apply for a permanent visa.
- Your employer may sponsor you for legal status—Some workers may be eligible based on their skills/abilities in certain professions. Under certain circumstances, though, basic skilled and even unskilled workers may qualify.
- You have invested or will invest in a qualified commercial enterprise, entitling you to an “immigrant investor” visa
- You were allowed into the United States as a refugee or a person seeking asylum—Your must have been granted asylum or status as a refugee at least one year prior to filing for a green card
You are considered a “special immigrant”—There are a number of unique situations that may qualify you for consideration for a green card:
- You are a religious worker coming into the United States
- You are an Afghan or Iraqi national
- You are a juvenile who has been subject to abuse, neglect or abandonment in your native land
- You are an international broadcaster
- You work for certain international organizations
- You have been a victim of human trafficking or certain other crimes
- You have been the victim of domestic violence or abuse in your native land
Obtaining a Green Card through the Annual Lottery
The U.S. Department of State administers a program, known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which annually issues up to 50,000 green card through random selection of qualified applicants. The lottery program seeks to make more green cards available to people from countries with historically low rates of immigration to America. While the actual recipients are randomly selected, the process does give priority to people from those underrepresented countries.
Contact the Proven Immigration Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the fear and anxiety that you can have when your residency status in the United States is unsettled. We have a comprehensive knowledge of the different ways that you can become a legal resident in America. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To speak with a proven and effective immigration law 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.