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An Immigrant Visa
For a foreign national to work and live permanently in the United States, they must have an immigrant visa, or what is known as a “green card” visa.
A green card allows a non-U.S. citizen to obtain permanent residence in the United States. Many people living outside the United States desire a green card because it will enable them to live and work in the United States legally. After three or five years, a green card holder can qualify for US citizenship and enjoy all the benefits of being a true American citizen.
6 Ways To Obtain A Green Card
Applying for a green card visa is a daunting task. You will have to spend a lot of money, time, and effort to qualify. Here are 6 different ways:
1. Family Based
One of the easiest ways to get a green card is family sponsorship. A foreign national must be sponsored by an immediate relative who is 21 years old at the time of sponsoring and is either a U.S. citizen or a legal resident. They must be considered an “immediate relative” to be eligible for an immigrant visa.
Marriage is also a common way to obtain a green card. However, some requirements need to be followed. For instance, the marriage should be genuine and not just for immigration purposes. The intention is the key and will be scrutinized.
2. Degree Program Based
Earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the US is one way to get a green card. In addition, if you are an international student living and studying in the US, you have a good chance of living there permanently.
Once you graduate, you are eligible for a one-year post-graduation work permit called Optional Practical Training. Then, if there are no American workers to take your position in the company, you can apply for a labor certification from the Department of Labor.
Once you receive the certification, you can apply for a green card with the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
This can be a lengthy process, but this may be the best option for applicants who do not have family in the U.S. and cannot invest money.
Unlike family-based immigration, the employer or company is in the US and sponsors a foreign national. This sponsoring is by far the most difficult because although the waiting period for employment-based immigrant visas is relatively short, the application process requires a tremendous amount of work and documentation from both the applicant and the sponsoring employer.
The applicant’s professional qualifications, education, experience, and skills must be highly sought after by the employer and not available from potential employees who already have citizenship.
4. Achievement Based
There are people whose stars shine the brightest. These are the people who have won prestigious international awards such as an Oscar, the Grammy, or the Pulitzer Prize. It also includes those involved in internationally recognized humanitarian works, or who have risen to the top in their profession or vocation.
Those with exceptional skills can obtain a green card based on their works and achievements.
5. Luck Based
The Diversity Green Card Lottery is a well-known lottery in the US where 50,000 applicants get a chance to live their American dream. These spots are given to foreign nationals from countries with few permanent residency applications in the United States.
Applicants must meet minimum education requirements, prove that they can make a living in the U.S., and not be associated with criminal activity, immigration violations, or other problems.
Once the applicant has a chance to be randomly selected, they are immediately assigned an immigrant visa number. However, the catch is that the applicant should complete the processing before the visa expires for that year.
If the applicant does not fit any of these options, sometimes a spouse may qualify. In addition, the applicant’s immediate family members will also receive a green card.
How To Speed Up The Green Card Process
Permanent residency in the United States is not easy to obtain. It requires a lot of perseverance and patience. However, there are certain ways to significantly reduce the time you have to wait for a green card.
Check with a licensed immigration attorney for possible avenues that you can take to acquire a green card. Always get professional advice and do not fall prey to an illegal immigration consultant to avoid any problem in the future.