The American Dream is alive in the hearts and souls of millions of people around the world, and being a holder of the Green Card is one of the ways through which a good part of those millions hope to achieve it. As a Green Card holder, you will have the right to live and work in the United States permanently. The card is usually valid for ten years, and you must renew it upon expiration, and as a holder still, you are eligible to apply for citizenship after lawfully staying in the country for at least five years.
If you have any intentions of getting the Green Card to work and live in the United States, then it is proper to understand that there are different kinds of Green Cards, and you should be very clear about the specific type you will be applying for. To help you out about the processes and the types, here is a brief guide on the fundamental things you need to know about the various types of card as well as the application process-:
What is a Green Card?
A Green Card is also known as the Permanent Residency Card. The name Green Card arose from the fact that the very original cards to be issued to those who qualified for permanent residency were green in color. Over the years, the card has been designed with different colors and the designs currently in use are very different from the designs that were initially used, though the name has stuck.
A Green Card holder is, therefore, a permanent resident of the United States, but this should not be confused with them being citizens. They can become citizens through an elaborate application process after lawfully staying in the country for at least five years as permanent residents. However, the process of being citizens of the United States will be slightly different if they get married to legal US citizens or they got into the country as refugees.
Though Green Cards may be obtained through various approaches such as family, refugee status, investments as well as a few other special conditions, one can also get the card through employment, and if you had dreams of living and working in the United States as a permanent resident, then you should know the various types of green cards you can apply for. Below is a brief description of some of the types of employment-based green cards you can potentially consider-:
- First Preference Green Cards – the category of persons who are eligible for first preference permanent residency include international executives, researchers, distinguished academicians, professors and people with special abilities. If you are interested in this type of green card, all you will have to do at the time of application is to provide evidence on why you merit to be considered for this status. The evidence can be anything that really makes you special from the rest and they may range from Nobel Peace Prize to stellar athletics achievements or a breakthrough in scientific research.
- Second Preference – if you are a professional with an advanced degree or you have exceptional talents, then this is the category of green card you should apply for. This would also be the right category if you are professional from another country and you already have a firm job offer in the United States.
- Third Preference – this category is for professionals and skilled workers in different fields. For you to eligible to apply for this card category, you will be required to have at least two years of experience and you must also have a degree from a recognized university.
- Fourth Preference – the individuals for this category are considered under special circumstances and they may include certain religious workers, armed forces members, translators, employees who have served for NATO-6 or workers for international organizations.
- Fifth Preference – this category is for immigrant investors that intend to invest between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in the United States and be willing to create at least new jobs which will be taken up by citizens of the United States or any other lawful permanent resident.
How you can get a green card through employment
There are basically four ways through which you may get a green card through employment and this include-:
- Through a job offer – this is by far one of the most common approaches many people use to get to the United States. It happens after you receive a formal job offer in the United States, after which you can go ahead and apply for the Green Card.
- Self-Petition – if you are a distinguished individual with special skill or abilities, or you are lucky enough in your area of expertise to be granted a national interest waiver, then you may be able to file for a green card.
- Through investment – America loves investors and those who are willing to help create more jobs for the citizens, and so this is another avenue you can use to become a permanent resident through the green card. All you have to do is to establish a business venture in the United States and create jobs for the citizens. In this case, your green card would be under the fifth preference.
- Special Category Green Cards – Some of the people who may be eligible to apply for green cards under this category include international employees, broadcasters, and specific religious workers.
The Green Card Application Process
The application process of a Green Card will vary based on the specific Green Card you will be applying for, but if you already have a job offer in the United States, either you or the employer will have to fill in and submit the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Form, commonly known as I-140. If the petition is approved, you will then have the green light to go ahead and apply for the Green Card. This will be done through form I – 485.
Then there is also the Green Card Lottery program which can be used by potential immigrants to gain lawful permanent residency status in the United States. This is by far the most popular way most people hope to get to the United States, and it is opened every year for people from various countries to try their luck at becoming permanent residents of the United States.
If you try and fail in getting the Green Card through the normal application, you should not lose hope. You can always try again, or you can head to their neighbor in the north, Canada. You can check out more information about the Canada ETA visa here, but don’t think this is how to become a Canadian citizen. It is just a quick way to get into the country, and you must leave upon its expiration.