How to Get a Green Card - Dominguez Law Firm

Apply for a Green Card

How to Get a Green Card?

Whether you’re interested in becoming a United States Citizen or even just residing in the United States permanently, getting your green card is key to living and working in the U.S.A. There are three main ways that a person can obtain a green card: getting one through a family member, your employer, or for a few other special reasons. Keep reading to learn more about the main three ways to legally obtain your green card to see if you may qualify for one of these tracks.

How to Get a Green Card Through Your Family

One of the most common ways to obtain a green card is through a close family member who is a U.S. Citizen or Green Cardholder. This is one of the quickest and most straightforward ways to get your U.S. green card; however, there are a few limitations to keep in mind.

  • A spouse, unmarried child under 21 years of age, and parents of U.S. Citizens over 21 years old are considered “immediate relatives” and their applications are generally processed faster and have other advantages in the process not available to other categories of family members.
  • S. citizens can also petition for their siblings and married children over 21 years of age to obtain their U.S. green card, but these processes take much longer as these relatives are not considered “immediate relatives”.
  • Legal Permanent Residents may also petition for their spouses, children under 21 years of age and unmarried children over 21 years of age. But again they are not considered “immediate relatives.”
  • You can also get your green card if you can prove you are a battered spouse or child, a child of a foreign diplomat born in the U.S., or a widow or widower of a U.S. citizen. If you believe you fall into this category, you will need to file the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) form I-360 for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.

The U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident that you are related to must then fill out Form I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative. That application is generally followed by Form 1-485 Adjustment of Status. In certain instances, these forms may be filed together. There are other instances where family members not considered “immediate relatives” that are in the United States may need a waiver for unlawful presence. If you are not in the United States when your U.S. relative petitions for your green card, you will have to go through the consular process by which applications are approved by the U.S. Department of State. Once the Department of State issues your visa, you can then enter the United States and obtain your green card.

How to Apply For a Green Card Through An Employer

An employment-based green card may be issued by the U.S. government if your employer offers to petition on your behalf. The first step in this green card application process is to have your employer obtain a labor certification with the U.S. Department of State and then fill out USCIS Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for an Alien Worker.

You may also qualify for a U.S. green card if you put enough money into a U.S. businesses. Entrepreneurs who invest at least $1.8 million into a new business, or $900,000 into a business in a targeted area, can apply for a green card through the EB-5 process. This business must also create at least ten permanent jobs within the United States.

You may also obtain a green card if you fall into a specialized job category. For example, Iraqi or Afghani translators who worked for the U.S. government in Iraq can apply for a U.S green card.

Green Card Eligibility for Refugees or Asylum Seekers

If you enter the United States as a refugee or asylee you can apply for a green card one year after you enter the country. This also applies to immediate family members of refugees and asylees. Please note, asylum seekers are not required to apply for green cards while refugees are required to apply for their U.S. green card after being in the U.S. for one year.

If you believe you may qualify for a U.S. green card through one of the above avenues, we highly recommend speaking to a U.S. immigration attorney as soon as possible. Experienced professionals as Dominguez Law Firm, PLLC can help you every step of the way no matter what way you wish to obtain your green card. Contact them today for a free consultation!