2 Types of Green Cards: How to Secure Permanent Residency

After your green card application is approved, you can access the many benefits available to a permanent resident in the United States. For instance, you can apply for a social security number, work permit, and driver's license. Additionally, you can travel outside of the United States and return without issues.

Take a look at the different ways you can get your permanent residency in the U.S.

Family-based Green Card

You may be eligible for a family-based green card if you have an immediate relative who is either a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. An immediate relative could include spouses, unmarried children under 21 years, and parents (if you are over 21).

There is no limit on how many green cards can be issued to those with an immediate relative living in the United States permanently. But keep in mind the approval process can take several months. The wait time depends on how much paperwork your immigration attorney needs to file and how quickly they can process your documents.

There are also a few other family-based green card options, but they have more limitations on how many people can be sponsored at one time and how long the process takes. For example, the Fiancé Visa allows you to sponsor your fiancé(e) for a temporary stay in the United States while they complete the immigration process. Once married, your spouse may then apply for a permanent green card.

Another option is the Parent Visa which allows parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to live with their children. The wait time for this visa varies depending on how long ago your child became a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Employment-based Green Cards

The United States provides different mechanisms for eligible workers to obtain permanent resident status. This option is reserved for employed individuals or those with a job offer in the United States. Also, their employer has to file an immigration petition on their behalf with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The employment-based green card process has several preference categories that prioritize applicants based on their contributions to the United States. Each category breaks further into subcategories specific to your educational background or occupation.

Most employment-based green cards require a job offer from an employer who has filed a petition with USCIS for you to obtain permanent residence status in the U.S. But there are exceptions, such as self-petition for certain types of genius or extraordinary ability in their field of work.

An immigration lawyer can help you determine how best to obtain a green card based on your skills and education. They can also help you find an employer who can file a petition on your behalf and guide you through the entire process. In fact, working with an immigration lawyer can make the process smoother and less stressful.