Green cards are personal identification documents that allow holders the rights to permanent residency in the United States. This means they can live and work in the country as long as they wish, as well as guaranteeing a host of other benefits such as:
- Unlimited legal re-entries
- Pension rights and medical care upon retirement
- Access to medical insurance and credit
- Ability to buy real estate
- Ability to start a business
- Discounted education tuition fees for children
For would-be immigrants, ownership of a green card is a base-level requirement and offers more freedom than a non-immigrant visa. The process can be complex and lengthy however, so it can be helpful to speak to immigration law experts like those at Withers.
In the meantime, read some of the most common ways to qualify for a green card below.
Family reunification through marriage or relation to a U.S. citizen or green card holder is one of the most popular routes for immigration to the U.S. This option is designed to allow people to bring their loved ones closer to them.
Categories you can apply under include:
- Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen
- Other relative e of U.S. citizen or lawful resident
- Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or the fiancé(e)’s child
- Widow(er) of a U.S. citizen
- Victim of battery or extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen
Employment-based green cards make up another large portion of those approved, limited to 140,000 per year. You could apply as an immigrant worker, a physician of national interest, or an immigrant investor.
There are certain stipulations that come with each category, however. Investors for example must be investing a minimum amount in a U.S.-based business while creating a certain number of positions.
Through refugee or asylee status
Green cards can also be obtained by asylees and refugees who had been granted their status at least one year prior to application.
Through the Diversity Green Card Lottery
Other options include green cards for human trafficking victims, abuse victims and registry. But a quicker route is winning the Diversity Green Card Lottery.
This annual program offers 50,000 visas for applicants from countries with historically low U.S. immigration numbers. Entry is done online and comes with minimal requirements, with the next set of results set to be revealed in May 2021.
The program is designed to welcome immigrants from different parts of the world and walks of life. While hundreds of thousands of foreign citizens apply every year, it’s still worth trying if you qualify.
Could you qualify for a green card through one of these routes?