Perhaps you’ve been thinking up your American Dream for years, or maybe you’ve only recently learned about the myriad opportunities that the green card can possibly provide for you. Obtaining a green card is a complex process that involves much foresight, proper planning, and above all, patience. This post will address the major different ways* in which you can apply for the green card and attain lawful permanent residency in the United States.


Obtaining a green card through family

One of the most common ways to get a green card is through the sponsorship of a family member who is eitherwe a US citizen or a green card holder himself/herself.

  • Only the following family members are permitted to apply for a green card with the sponsorship of a US citizen:
    • legal spouses
    • unmarried children under the age of 21
    • parents of citizen petitioners over the age of 21
  • Family members of US citizens who fit within the following categories are also permitted to apply for the green card:
    • unmarried children 21 or older
    • married children of any age
    • immediate siblings 21 or older
  • Only the following family members are permitted to apply for a green card with the sponsorship of a green card holder:
    • legal spouses
    • unmarried children
  • Individuals within the following special categories are also permitted to apply to the green card:
    • victims of domestic abuse (children, spouses, parents) who have an immediate family member who is a US citizen/green card holder
    • widow(er)s of US citizens
    • fiancé(e)s and minor children of US citizens/green card holders – known as K Nonimmigrants
    • spouses or children of lawful permanent residents – known as V Nonimmigrants
    • children of foreign diplomats in the US

Obtaining a green card through a job

Green card applicants can attempt to obtain a green card by means of their professional background and/or business dealings.

  • Job offer: An employer can petition for an employee to get a green card by obtaining a labor certification and then filing Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
  • American investments: Foreign investors, entrepreneurs, and creators of American jobs (often with sizable assets in the United States) may apply for the green card.
  • Self-petition: Skilled and educated “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” who can prove to considerably contribute to the American workforce are permitted to apply for the green card, without the need of a labor certification.
  • Special jobs: Those amongst the following list of professionals are permitted to apply for the green card with Form I-360, the Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant:
    • Afghan & Iraqi translators
    • Broadcast journalists
    • Employees of international organizations
    • Iraqis who have aided the US government
    • Civilian NATO employees (past and present) and their spouses, unmarried children, and widow(er)s – known as NATO-6 nonimmigrants
    • Employees of the Panama Canal
    • Physicians (apply under the Physician National Interest Waiver)
    • Religious workers


Obtaining a green card through refugee/asylum status

  • A foreign individual admitted to the US as (a) a refugee, (b) an asylee, or (c) a qualifying family member of an individual granted asylum may apply for a green card one year after entering the US/being granted asylum.
  • Refugees are required to apply for lawful permanent residence, while asylees are not (but are still eligible to do so).


Obtaining a green card through the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery program

  • The DV Lottery takes place only once annually, with application submission in October and the unveiling of results in May/June of the following year. Millions of hopefuls apply for the Lottery each year, with only 55,000 lucky winners.
  • The US Department of State’s online application has rigid instructions and guidelines, and the time window for input lasts just a mere 30 minutes. Many applicants are ruled out on account of improper formatting, missing information, and input oversight. In fact, up to 90% of GUSGC’s clients submit initially incorrect uploads that would disqualify them for eligibility.
  • The Global USA Green Card Organization takes pride in providing its clients with a user-friendly web application, outstanding customer service, and conducting business guided by complete transparency. While we remind potential clients that they can apply for free on the Department of State site on their own, GUSGC guarantees successful participation in the Lottery via focused attention and laser-sharp precision by our experienced Immigration Consultants.


Check out our application page today to determine if you can apply for the Green Card Lottery!
*Please note that this article addresses only the most popular forms of securing a green card. For a comprehensive list of special programs aimed for niche categories, click here.

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