America is the land of dreams, hope, and glory for many people across the globe. It is also the reason why people sort of dream of becoming a permanent American citizen as soon as they migrate to this country. Well, one can become a permanent American citizen as soon as he/she completes the five mandatory years of continuous stay in the country. Green Card or Residency Card is the proof of being a permanent American citizen, which is valid for 10 years from the issued date. It is issued by the BCIS (Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services).
By getting a green card, the card holder is entitled to be a legal permanent resident of United States of America. He/she who gains the green card may enjoy various privileges of being a lawful American citizen along with keeping citizenship of their respective country. However, the biggest question is, how to get a green card? Well, there are a few ways of getting a green card that are explained by the US government. Keep reading the following section of the article to find out.
Green Card Application Criteria
There are several ways of getting a green card, which is the key to your legal existence (including living and working) in the United States of America. To become a permanent resident of the United States, you can apply under four categories of immigration sponsorships. Here is a little more information on all these categories.
Family Based Immigration
Family sponsored green cards can be issued to the relatives of a US citizen as well as a green card holder. A spouse, an unmarried child or unmarried stepchild (under the age of 21), an adopted child (under the age of 18) or an unmarried son/daughter (over the age of 21) of a green card holder American citizen are eligible to get family based green cards.
Along with the above mentioned relatives, a US citizen may also sponsor green card for his immediate relatives like parents, step parents, married son/daughter (of any age) and brother or sister (of any age). The Us citizen or green card holder citizen may need to fill up the Form I-130 in the same regards to file a petition for green card application process. Getting green card through marriage is also one of the easiest ways of getting a green card for non-American residents.
Employment Based Immigration
There are four types of employment based immigration sponsorships, if you are interested in learning how to get green card.
- Employment First Preference Green Card: The employer may refer a special employee with extraordinary work abilities. Apart from that, exceptional researchers or professors and people who work at executive or any such higher posts in multinational companies, can also apply for employment first preference green cards.
- Employment Second Preference Green Card:Professionals who have higher degrees at jobs, people with exceptional abilities and researchers or professionals who have done some exceptional work are eligible for employment second preference green cards.
- Employment Second Preference with NWI Green Card: Employment second preference with NIW (National Interest Waiver) are the people who are exceptional and are involved in activities that are beneficial for the national interest of US.
- Employment Third Preference Green Card: Extraordinary professionals who have a foreign equivalent degree for the US Bachelor's degree, skilled and unskilled workers, etc., are the professionals who may apply for employment third preference.
- Schedule A Listers: People who are on the Schedule A list, which is a list of occupations that have shortage of employees in the US; trained professionals like nurses and physical therapists, etc., may apply under Schedule A.
Special Immigration Considerations
Special people like religious workers, former employees of US government, Panama Canal Zone, US Armed Forces, US Consulate in Hong Kong, retired employees of International Organizations, employees of International Broadcasting Companies, foreign medical graduates, special agricultural workers, Permanent Residents of the US who left the US for more than 12 months, foreign children who are declared dependent in US juvenile courts, and abused spouses and children of US citizens or green card holders, etc. get green cards by the US government. All these mentions need to be considered valid by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services that issues the green card to non-American citizens.
Other Immigration Considerations
Apart from the aforementioned eligible people, foreign entrepreneurs with investment worth more than USD 500,000 or USD 1,000,000; in a commercial enterprise which is beneficial for the country; children who are under 16 years of age and those who are adopted by any US citizens (including green card holders); foreign nationals who have continuously lived in the country since January 1, 1972; foreign nationals that the Senate believes to have compelling humanitarian rights to be a green card holder, etc., are also eligible for green cards.
Apart from that, high level diplomats who are in the US on A-1 visa and do not want to return to their motherland on the grounds of persecution, refugees who have entered the country due to war and unrest in their own country and don't want to return on the grounds of persecution, etc., are also entitled to get green cards.
How to Apply for a Green Card: Green Card Process Steps
Once you have determined the facts about your eligibility, you need to fill in the applications that are appropriate for the type of immigration criteria that you have selected. If you are applying for family or employment sponsored green card, understand that its petition should be filed by the sponsor family member or the respective employer. As mentioned above, Form I-130 is for alien relatives, Form I-140 is for employment sponsored immigration and Form I-360 is for special immigration. Once the petitions are filed, only then you can fill the Form I-485, which is the green card application form.
While applying for green card, the applicant should keep in mind that he/she should have a visa which is appropriate for their type of eligibility. You may also pay special attention towards personal identification or biometric details, which are required while getting a green card. For that, you may require to visit the green card application support center in your area and provide important biometric details like fingerprints, signature and photographs, which are essential safety measures. Once you pass through all these levels, then is the time for you to start preparing for the green card interview. The interview questions are pretty simple and based on general knowledge. In the interview, you may need to answer questions related with your personal and family background, plus your knowledge about the United States of America.
Although you religiously complete all the steps mentioned above, whether you get a green card or don't, depends on factors like your immigration type, country that you represent, details that you provide and of course the results of your personal interview! If done with sincerity and honesty, you may get a green card within the time span of about 6 months!