Many immigrants to the United States try to obtain their green cards by changing their marital status by taking a spouse. Please note that marrying someone just to become a green card holder is called marriage fraud and can get you and your spouse in a lot of trouble.
What are other ways to acquire a green card without marriage?
Other ways to become a United States citizen or become a lawful permanent resident involve qualifying through your investments, employment, notoriety, or being lucky through the green card lottery.
Marriage-Free Green Cards
There are plenty of ways to acquire a United States green card apart from getting married to a US national as a foreigner.
Generally, green card qualifications can be classified into three separate groups:
- family-based green cards
- employment-based green cards
- special immigrant green cards.
What are the Options for a Green Card Application Without Marriage?
A marriage-based green card is the easiest path to acquiring a permanent resident status in the US. However, most immigrant visa applicants have no marriage ties with a US national spouse or permanent resident spouse.
There are plenty of ways to get a green card without taking on a spouse. However, a green card marriage is still of the quickest and easiest ways.
Therefore, foreigners with appropriate skill sets, unique abilities, superb academic qualifications, and competence are offered an opportunity to reside and work permanently using various routes without marriage a spouse.
Employment-Based Green Card
Hundreds of thousands of employment-based green card applications are made by foreign nationals to the US every year. The successful applicants are issued with green cards under the employment category allowing them to live and work permanently.
According to official reports, a whooping 140,000 employment-based green cards under different classes of EB immigrants were issued in 2016 alone.
It would be best if you spoke with your employer about getting a green card.
Usually, employment-based green cards are issued to non-US nationals whose US employer has offered a job. Current or potential employers sponsor most of these green cards to give their employees citizenship status.
Both foreign citizens domiciled in the US or outside the US are eligible for an employment-based visa provided they are working for a US employer or have got opportunities from a potential employer. The employer will apply for the visa on behalf of the employee.
Employment-based visas are further subcategorized into four distinct preferences, namely EB-1 (first preference), EB-2 (second preference), EB-3 (third preference), and EB-4 (fourth) preference. These four subcategories have different requirements that need to be met. For example, some are reserved for unskilled workers, while others may demand advanced skills.
Investment-Based Green Card
The EB-5 investor green card presents another route for foreign nationals to migrate to the US. This green card is reserved for foreign business individuals looking to invest more than $500,000 in a U.S venture.
A great way to get a green card without marriage is through an investment-based green card.
If you have the required minimum amount and are ready to invest, this immigration path will serve you the best since you won’t have to wait for a job opportunity to surface in the US.
However, it is necessary to keep in mind the funds must be directed to an approved EB-5 business. In addition, the investment must create over 10 jobs for US nationals.
Special Immigrants Green Card
If you’re ineligible for an employment-based or marriage-based green card, there are still options for you, as you can apply for a special immigrant green card. However, this category is not for all, as it is reserved for the following:
- Spiritual Leaders
- International Media Personnel
- Special Immigrant Juveniles
- A staff (or a family associate of the staff) of a global organization
- Afghan or Iraqi citizen who has worked as a translator for the federal government or any Iraqi national employed by the federal government past March 20, 2003, or Afghans working for the ISAF.
Other Green Card Options
If you’re a refugee or asylee in the United States and have been there for more than one year, you may qualify to apply for a US green card. Also eligible for green card application are those in possession of a T or U nonimmigrant visa.
Diversity Immigrant Visa
The diversity program sets aside 55,000 immigrant visas every year for non-US citizens whose countries have fewer applications for permanent residency in the US.
This program works like a lottery since success is mainly dependent on luck. However, this option may present you with the path to obtaining a US green card and becoming a permanent resident without marrying a US national.
A diversity visa is another way to start your journey of becoming a United States Permanent Resident.
Even if you are fortunate enough to win, there are several processes that you will be subjected to before you can be granted a permanent residency in the United States. Additionally, it demands that you have the program’s requisite education and job skills.
Although demanding, the diversity visa immigrant remains a viable option, particularly if you are ineligible for the rest of the visa categories. Each year, many non-US nationals already residing in the US exploit this option to switch from a nonimmigrant status to permanent status. Those outside the U.S leverage it to acquire a permanent residency in their dream country.
The legal aspect of getting a green card
If you are a foreign national applying for permanent residence, you are strongly advised to consult with an expert in immigration law. They will be able to give you legal advice on how to get your permanent resident card which will also give you a work permit.
They will also help you deal with the National Visa Center and any problems with homeland security when applying for citizenship.
So how can you get a green card without having to marry for it?
There are several ways of acquiring a green card besides getting married to a US national. The path to obtaining a US green card without marriage can be actualized by applying for an employment-based green card, investment-based green card, special immigrants’ green card, and ultimately diversity immigrant visas.
Summary of different ways:
- Be sponsored by your employer
- Invest money in the United States
- Be part of a particular group who has shown their service to the world
- Win the green card lottery