3 ways to get a U.S. Green Card

green card

Have you been dreaming of settling in the United States? Then you have probably heard of the green card, the gateway to permanent residence in the USA. A green card holder may indeed live and work in the U.S. without any restrictions. However, the immigration process is often long and arduous. Spotlight on the 3 main ways to get a U.S. green card.

1. Getting a family-based green card

Is one of your parents or your spouse American? In some cases, a family member can sponsor you to get a green card. A citizen of the United States over 21 years can make a request for his spouse, children, parents or siblings. In addition, a green card holder can in turn sponsor his spouse or children.

How it works:

1. Your U.S. sponsor completes the I-130 form, Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative, and gathers all the required documents.
2. The application and payment of the registration fee (USD420) must be sent to USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services).
3. Your sponsor receives a receipt and then a notification regarding the decision that has been taken, once the application is processed.

2. Getting an employment-based green card

Each year, the United States can deliver up to 140,000 employment-based green cards. There are different priority categories. When granting permanent residence, priority is given to:

  • people of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics,
  • outstanding professors and researchers,
  • certain executives and managers.

Entrepreneurs, people who have a job offer from a US company and workers engaged in very specific areas (religious workers, for instance) are also eligible for a green card. As quotas vary from one country to another, do note that waiting time can sometimes be extremely long.

How it works:

1. Your U.S. employer completes the I-140 form, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, and gathers all the required documents.
2. The application and payment of the registration fee (USD580) must be sent to USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) through the post or by email, depending on the situation.
3. Your sponsor first receives a receipt and then a notification regarding the decision that has been taken, once the application is processed. If the request is approved, the NVC (National Visa Center) will inform you about the immigrant visa application process.

3. Winning the green card lottery

The lottery is probably the best known to way get a U.S. green card. Every year, the United States allows 55,000 prospective immigrants to obtain a green card through the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery. The lottery is open to nationals of countries whose immigration rates to the USA are the lowest. This means the list of countries whose citizens cannot participate in the green card lottery changes each year.

How it works:

1. Register online at www.dvlottery.state.gov. You must bear in mind that every year, you can only participate in the lottery during a specific period.
2. Keep the confirmation number you receive: you will need it to check whether or not you have been selected.
3. If you are selected, you will be able to apply for an immigrant visa.

To find out more about the U.S. Green Card :

Take a look at the U.S. Department of State and USCIS websites.

Date of publication Nov 5 2014

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