What is a Green Card?
"Green cards" are documents that allow persons from other countries to live and work in the United States permanently. A person with a green card is a permanent resident in the United States. Permanent residents have many of the same rights and obligations of U.S. citizens. The major differences are that permanent residents cannot vote and they can be deported for certain types of crimes.
Below is information to details about the most common ways for obtaining permanent residency in the United States.
Work: Employment-Based Green Cards
You can obtain a green card through your employment in the United States, based on your achievements, your occupation, or because of shortages of qualified U.S. workers for your position. Employment-based green card opportunities include:
- Achievement-Based opportunities
- Aliens of Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A)
- Outstanding Professors or Researchers (EB-1B)
- National Interest Waivers (NIW)
- Occupation-Based opportunities
- Multinational Executives and Managers (EB-1C)
- Nurses and Physical Therapists
- Shortage-Based opportunities
- Labor Certification, including Standard Processing (cases filed before March 28, 2005), Reduction in Recruitment ("RIR") (cases filed before March 28, 2005) and PERM (cases filed on or after March 28, 2005).
Investment: Investment-Based Green Cards
• EB5 Immigrant Investor Visa: You can obtain your green card through a large investment in a business in the United States. Typically, you must invest either $500,000 or $1 million and create 10 full-time, permanent jobs for U.S. workers.
You can either create your own company or invest in a special entity called a USCIS-designated Regional Center. Whichever investment option you choose, this green card path is called the EB5 Immigrant Investor Visa category (or just "EB5 Visa" for short).
Please note: Although the EB5 Visa is technically the only truly "investment-based" immigrant visa category, it is by no means the only type of immigrant visa available to investors and entrepreneurs. If fact, sometimes--depending on your circumstances--your immigration lawyer and you may determine that even though you might also qualify for an EB5 Visa some other approach may be a better fit for you. If you have any questions about whether the EB5 Visa approach or some other approach will work better for your family and you, please contact us.
Family: Family-Based Green Cards
You may also obtain a green card based on your family relationship with a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident.
Fear: Political Asylum
You may be granted political asylum and be eligible for a green card if you fear certain types of persecution if you return to your home country. Find out more information about political asylum.
Luck: Visa Lottery Program
You may be eligible to receive a green card through the visa lottery, which provides permanent residency for citizens of certain countries through a random drawing. Find out more information about the visa lottery process.