The Green Card Process – Eligibility, Lottery, and Application
This post will guide you on how to get a Green Card to live in America including the conditions for eligibility and how to apply and obtain the Green Card.
Before starting, it is important to define what is American Green Card: Officially known as the Permanent Resident Card, the Green Card enables an individual to permanently live and work in the US.
Green Card is managed by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services or USCIS.
Checking your Eligibility.
Before applying for an American Green Card, it is important to understand the different categories of eligibility. Green Cards are granted only under certain conditions which might change in time. To ensure you have the most accurate and up to date information, it is recommended to check the USCIS website. Broadly speaking, Green Card eligibility criteria fall into the following categories:
- Family: Including immediate relatives of US Citizen, other relatives of US Citizens, fiance(e) of US Citizens or Widow(er) of a US Citizen
- Employment: Immigrant worker, Physician of national interest and Immigrant investors.
- Special Immigrant Such as religious workers, Special Immigrant Juvenile status, International broadcaster or Employee of an international organization or NATO-6
Refugee or Asylee Status
- Refugee or Asylee Status
Human Trafficking and Crime Victims
- Human Trafficking and Crime Victims
Victims of Abuse
- Victims of Abuse
- Other Categories such as Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (also known as the green card lottery application), Diplomats or part of the Cuban Adjustment Act.
- Registry for continuous residents of the US since before Jan 1, 1972
It is important to determine whether the application for the Green Card requires a sponsor or not. A sponsor is a party that files the petition for you in cases such as a Green Card process through employment. There are cases such as abused spouses of a US Citizen where the Green Card process is requested by the petitioner without a sponsor.
The Green Card Lottery
The Diversity Immigrant Program – Also known as green card lottery or the free green card lottery application, is a possibility for nationals of eligible countries for immigration to the USA. A total of 50,000 Green Cards are offered in a lottery to those countries where the total immigrants for the past 5 years are below 50,000.
How to get an American Green Card will depend on whether the applicant is in the US or not. If the applicant is in the US at the time of application, the process to follow is an adjustment of status with USCIS by filling a form I-485 with all the pertinent support documentation.
Otherwise, for how to get a green card to live in America the process to follow is the Consular Processing through the US Department of State and the application must be made at a consulate office.