There are many different types of green cards available to immigrants and determining which one you need is an important part of the immigration process. This article will help you explore the different types of green cards, who can apply for them and how to get them.
A green card, also known as a permanent resident card, allows you to live and work lawfully in the United States. This type of residency differs from citizenship, but it comes with many advantages including work authorization.
Employment-Based Green Card
An employment-based green card is granted to immigrants who have been sponsored by a US employer for the purpose of employment. These immigrant visas are available in five preference categories (EB1, EB2, EB3, EB4, and EB5), each of which has a numerical cap that limits the number of applicants from each country to 140,000 per year.
Each category has specific requirements for the immigrant to be eligible. For example, an applicant for a first preference employment green card needs to have a bachelor’s degree in a specific field and have experience in that field for at least two years. The EB2 and EB3 categories also require labor certification from the Department of Labor before an employer can sponsor an employee.
Generally speaking, employers begin the process of applying for an employment-based green card by filing a labor certification through the Department of Labor’s PERM program. This process can take several months, and sometimes longer if the DOL chooses to audit your application. Once the labor certification is approved, your employer must prepare and file an immigrant petition with USCIS using Form I-140.
The process of obtaining an employment-based green card is more complex than the family and business immigration processes, and it is important to consult with a knowledgeable immigration attorney to ensure that your application is completed correctly. While this may seem like an unnecessary expense, hiring an attorney is well worth the investment because it can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
In addition, a good employment-based attorney will provide valuable guidance during the process to help you avoid common mistakes. This can improve your chances of success and can make the entire process less stressful.
For example, it is often difficult for an applicant to prove that they have the skills needed for a particular job without a bachelor’s degree. This can be especially problematic in the EB2 and EB3 categories, where work experience must still be shown as a valid reason for the applicant to obtain a green card.
Another advantage of an employment-based green card is that it does not have the same time limits as other types of visas. This is a significant benefit for many people, as it allows them to work in the United States for longer periods of time than other types of visas allow.
Family-Based Green Card
A family-based green card is one of the most common ways to become a lawful permanent resident in the United States. This type of immigration process prioritizes the relationship between a sponsor and an immigrant to determine the steps and processing time. You can also choose to immigrate via marriage, just be sure to make the preparations for a marriage based green card interview.
Obtaining a Green Card can be complicated and challenging for many individuals, especially those who don’t speak English or have never lived in the United States. If you are interested in obtaining a family-based green card, you should seek legal assistance from an experienced family immigration attorney who will walk you through the process and ensure that everything goes smoothly.
There are two main routes to a family-based green card. The first is the immediate relative category and the second is the family preference category.
The immediate relative category is primarily meant for spouses, parents, and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The number of visas that are issued to this category is capped at 114,200 per year.
Another major benefit of applying for an immediate relative green card is that it does not require you to meet any educational or employment qualifications. This is a good option for those who have a limited work history or who are looking to move into a new field.
This category is also a good option for widows and widowers of U.S. citizens who were married to their spouses for at least two years and are pursuing their green cards within two years of their death.
Unlike other types of green card applications, the immediate relative application is completed by the sponsor rather than the family member. This is a big advantage for those who are seeking to become a permanent resident in the United States because it can help them get a faster and smoother approval process.
In addition, the family based visa is available to children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have not yet turned 21 years of age, even if they have been married before the green card is approved.
Refugee/Asylee Green Card
People who are granted refugee or asylee status can eventually apply for a green card. This green card, known as the Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card) permits an individual to live and work in the United States permanently.
A person who is a refugee must be able to show that he or she has been persecuted or threatened by government officials or other non-state actors in her home country because of her race, religion, nationality, political beliefs, or membership in a particular social group. In addition, a person who is a refugee must have been physically present in the United States for one year to qualify for a green card.
To qualify for a green card, an applicant must have been admitted as a refugee under 8 USC SS 1158. The applicant must also have been in the United States while awaiting approval of his or her asylum application.
Asylees who have a green card can apply for their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to join them in the United States on a derivative basis, subject to certain conditions. However, the child’s derivative status ends when the child marries.
In addition to the right to apply for a green card, an asylee may be entitled to various support benefits and services while residing in the United States. These include food, cash assistance, health care, and other government benefits.
Additionally, asylees are eligible for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), which allow them to work while a green card is processed. These documents are typically offered to asylees for free upon initial application but may be subject to a fee after renewal.
Another benefit of applying for a green card as an asylee is that it can reduce the length of time that you must wait before applying for citizenship. Once you have been a legal permanent resident for five years, you will be considered to have met the U.S. Citizenship requirements, and you can then begin the citizenship process.
Although the path to a green card can be complicated, it is possible to get there with patience and preparation. The key is to understand the differences between a refugee and asylee and know what to expect along the way.
Business Green Card
If you’re an entrepreneur or business professional in the United States, there are several green card options available to you. However, it is important to understand that each option is different and should be viewed on a case-by-case basis.
A popular green card path for business professionals and entrepreneurs is the EB-1. This category is reserved for those with extraordinary ability, outstanding research or teaching credentials and other qualifications that prove that they will contribute to the economic growth of the United States.
The EB-1 green card may be more difficult to qualify for than other employment-based green cards, but it is worth considering if you have the right circumstances. For example, let’s say that Heidi wants to start her own taxology firm in the U.S. She has extensive experience in the field and is generating a significant salary from her efforts.
She has been awarded a lot of recognition for her work and could have an excellent chance at qualifying for this visa. But this type of visa requires a high degree of investment, so she would need to find a way to fund the venture without having to rely on her family’s finances.
Another common green card path for small businesses is the EB-2, which is meant for employers who can demonstrate that they are able to pay prevailing wages in their region. These requirements can be easier for smaller companies that hire only a few employees, but there are other factors to consider as well.
To sponsor a foreign national, you will need to file a PERM Labor Certification request with the Department of Labor (DOL). You will also need to complete an ETA 9141 application that explains your business’s capacity to pay a prevailing wage and the exact location where you intend to place the employee.
Finally, you must demonstrate that your employer is willing to conduct a good faith recruitment effort and evaluate applicants for the position. This is a critical factor in any type of immigration sponsorship.
If you are interested in pursuing this route, it’s best to contact an immigration attorney to help guide you through the process. They will help you understand all the steps and determine which green card option is the best for you.