Countless avenues are available for those looking to obtain a United States green card. Although, the challenging aspect is determining what options you qualify for and what your best course of action is. For example, the diversity visa lottery is a way that some individuals can obtain a green card. However, the United States might already accept too many immigrants from your home country, so you cannot get a green card through the diversity visa lottery. The easiest way to get a green card varies on a case-by-case basis. Moreover, the easiest way for you might not be the easiest way for others. The most common means or Easiest Way to Get a Green Card is through a family-based or employment-based petition.
Obtain a Green Card Through a Family-Based Petition
In order to obtain a green card through a family-based petition, you must first have an immediate relative that is a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident. A lawful permanent resident is also known as a “green card” holder. Meaning, they are lawfully authorized to live permanently in the United States, but they are not a United States citizen. An immediate relative includes spouses of United States Citizens, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of a United States citizen if the United States citizen is 21 years of age or older.
Family-based green card petitions can be broken up into a few categories. The categories are:
- First preference (F1). Unmarried sons and daughters of United States citizens that are 21 years of age and older
- Second preference (F2A). Spouses and children (unmarried and under the age of 21) of lawful permanent residents
- Second preference (F2B). Unmarried sons and daughters over 21 of lawful permanent residents
- Third preference (F3). Married sons and daughters of United States citizens of any age
- Fourth preference (F4). Brothers and sisters of United States citizens. The United States citizen must be at least 21 years of age.
One of the most common ways to obtain a green card is through a family-based petition, whether for the spouse you just married or a parent living abroad that you miss dearly. To apply for a green card through a family-based petition, you and your immigration attorney will file a Form I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative and a Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence if your relative is not already in the United States. This immigration lawyer recommends consulting an experienced expert prior to filing, as a mistake could potentially jeopardize your immediate relative’s green card petition.
Get a Green Card with an Employment-Based Petition
Another common and easy way to get a green card is through an employment-based petition. Like family-based green card petitions, employment-based green card petitions are also broken up into preference categories, which are:
- First preference (EB-1). This category is comprised of “priority workers,” which are individuals with “extraordinary ability” in the arts, sciences, athletics, education, or business. Priority workers may also include “outstanding” researchers or professors, as well as certain multinational managers and executives.
- Second preference (EB-2). The category includes individuals who are a part of a profession requiring advanced degrees or “exceptional ability.” Note, the threshold for “extraordinary ability” is higher than that of “exceptional ability.”
- Third preference (EB-3). The third preference employment-based category is made of skilled workers, professionals, and other workers.
Like a family-based green card petition, to obtain a green card through an employment-based petition, you will also have to file forms, more specifically a Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence. In addition, a Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker must be filed on your behalf by your employer.