A green card holder has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States of America on a permanent basis.  For most, it’s a great dream, and for many it’s a huge step towards citizenship.  Getting a green card can be difficult if you don’t know how to get it, or you don’t know which way is best for you.  We will briefly talk about the different ways one can get a green card.

To get a green card, you must first be eligible for one of the Immigration and Nationality Act immigrant categories, your immigration petition must be filed and approved, you must have an immigrant visa ready, and you must be admissible to the United States of America.  The three common ways to become an immigrant, the first step in getting a green card, is through family, your job, or asylum.

There are a few different ways to figure out if you’re eligible for immigration through your family, your work, or your asylum status.  There are different levels of preference for relatives, with immediate dependent family members near the top, such as spouses or unmarried children under 21 years of age, while more independent family members, such as brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens have a lower priority and will likely have to wait longer.

Immigration eligibility through your employer or job also follows a few different levels of priority.  At the top are people with exceptional skills such as researchers or corporate executives.  The priority then drops to outstanding people in their field of employment, skilled workers, religious workers, and investors.

If you have been granted asylum, your spouse has been granted asylum, or your parents have been granted asylum, you are eligible to apply for permanent residence.  If you have been granted asylum you are required to apply for a green card within your first year in the U.S.

For your green card, you will also need an immigration petition filled out for you.  There are some exceptions to this rule and there are some self-petitions that you might be eligible for, it all depends on your situation.

You must have a visa available before you are eligible for a green card.  There are a certain number of available visas and there is a priority for applicants based on their priority date, the category they are immigrating to the U.S. under, and the country the visa will be charged to.

Finally you must be admissible to the U.S.  You may be inadmissible, or barred, from entering the U.S. under criminal, health, or security related reasons.

The path to a green card is long and can be tricky if you don’t know what you need.  There are exceptions to almost every requirement and you might qualify for them.  It is best to find an immigration attorney in Greensboro, NC, to help you navigate your way to permanent residence.

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