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Sunday, February 21, 2016

How To Get A Green Card?

How to get a Green Card?


The best way to get all the details of the green card process is to visit the official website of the department of homeland security at https://www.uscis.gov/

In this short article we will attempt to touch upon few of the basic things which most folks want to know regarding green card processing. You may also want to read a similar article on the various USA work visas here: USA Visa Basics L1A, L1B and H1B.

So what exactly is a green card? In a layman term, it is a kind of a permission or legal status or authorization granted to live and work in the United States of America. A green card holder is also called a permanent resident. There are multiple ways or categories in which a person can apply for permanent residency or green card. Most common categories are:
  • Green card through family
  • Green card through job
  • Green card through Status(Refugee or Asylee)
  • Other ways: Green card lottery(Diversity immigrant visa program), LIFE Act, SIJ Status
There are few more ways, you can read those here: Other Ways To Get Green Card

What is the difference between being a Green Card Holder and being a US Citizen? OR Is it one and the same thing to be a Green Card Holder/ Permanent Resident and be a US Citizen?


Having permanent residency, that is, having a green card does NOT mean that you are US citizen. In order to become a US citizen you need to go through the naturalization process. You can apply for naturalization once you meet the requirements for:
1. Continuous residence
2. Physical presence
3. Time in state or a USCIS district
4. Good Moral Character
5. English and Civics
6. Attachment to the constitution

By continuous residence it is meant that you must be permanent resident for continuously five years before you can begin the process(naturalization) to become a US citizen.

Note the use of word "continuous", there are lot of conditions that will come into play if you leave the US for six months or longer. If you leave the US for more than a year and return then the clock may reset and you may need to begin all over again as far as the naturalization process is concerned.


Who gets priority or preference for Green Card processing?

There are eligibility criteria's defined to determine who qualifies for green card processing. You may refer Green Card Eligibility to know exactly what are the eligibility requirements in each category. For those who are going to apply based on the Job or Employment need to know the following employment based preferences(as mentioned on the USCIS website):
First Preference: Priority Workers, including aliens with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers
Second Preference: Members of professions holding an advanced degree or persons of exceptional ability (including individuals seeking a National Interest Waiver)
Third Preference: Skilled Workers, professionals and other qualified workers
Fourth Preference: Certain special immigrants including those in religious vocations
Fifth Preference: Employment creation immigrants (investors or entrepreneurs)
if you have offer for permanent employment then your employer may need to get a labor certification and then file Form I-140, Immigration Petition for Alien Work for you.

You will need to go through CP, that is, consular processing if you are living outside the united states. If you are living in the US you will need to go through the adjustment of status process.

The preferences listed above are also called EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4 and EB-5.

It may also make sense to read and understand How Much Money Would One Save In USA?