How does a person qualify for a green card?

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | Citizenship And Naturalization |

Obtaining a green card, or lawful permanent residency, is a significant milestone for individuals seeking to live and work in the United States. However, not everyone is eligible for a green card.

There are specific criteria and eligibility requirements that applicants must meet. To begin, individuals must fit into one eligibility category.

Family-based sponsorship

Family sponsorship is one of the most common ways for people to obtain United States residency. Lawful permanent residents and U.S. citizens can sponsor certain family members for a green card, including spouses, parents, children and siblings.

Family-based options also include the fiancé visa. It is available for someone who will marry a U.S. citizen, but it has strict timeline requirements. Widows or widowers of U.S. citizens also may qualify for a visa under this category.

Employment-based sponsorship

Employers can sponsor foreign workers for a green card if they meet certain criteria, such as having a job offer in the U.S. and possessing specialized skills or qualifications. Physicians and investors may also fall into this category if they meet certain criteria.

Refugee or asylee status

Individuals may be eligible for a green card after a year from when the government grants them asylum. Refugees and asylees must meet additional criteria and go through a separate application process.

Special categories

There are several special categories of green card eligibility. One is those chosen through the Diversity Visa Lottery. Survivors of human trafficking or domestic violence may also qualify for a green card.

In addition to these categories, there are other factors that can affect green card eligibility, such as criminal history, health conditions and immigration violations. Applicants must meet all eligibility criteria and pass background checks to qualify for a green card.