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Different Types of USA Green Cards: How to apply

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Different Types of USA Green Cards: How to apply

The United States offers several types of Green Cards, also known as Permanent Resident Cards, which grant foreign nationals the right to live and work permanently in the country. Each Green Card category has its own set of requirements and benefits. In this blog post, we will provide a brief overview of the various types of USA Green Cards.


1. Family-Based Green Card

One of the Types of USA Green Cards is A family-based green card, also known as an immigrant visa, It enables foreign nationals to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States based on their familial relationship with a U.S. citizen or a green card holder. It serves as a means to promote family unity and allows individuals to live and work permanently in the U.S.

Requirements: To be eligible for a family-based green card, you must have a qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen or a green card holder. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recognizes two main categories for family-based green cards:

a. Immediate Relatives: Immediate relatives include spouses of U.S. citizens, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizens (if the petitioner is over 21 years old).

b. Family Preference Categories: This category includes unmarried children over the age of 21, married children of any age, and siblings of U.S. citizens.

Conditions and Limitations: While family-based green cards provide an excellent opportunity for family reunification, there are certain conditions and limitations to be aware of:

a. Priority Dates: Family preference categories are subject to annual numerical limitations, resulting in the establishment of priority dates. These dates determine when an individual can apply for a green card based on the availability of visas.

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b. Affidavit of Support: Sponsors filing a family-based green card petition must demonstrate their ability to financially support the intending immigrant. This ensures that the sponsored individual will not become a public charge in the U.S.

c. Conditional Residence: In some cases, if the marriage between the sponsor and the immigrant is less than two years old at the time of obtaining the green card, the immigrant will receive a conditional green card. This requires them to jointly file a petition to remove the conditions within the 90-day period before the expiration of the conditional green card.

How to Apply: To apply for a family-based green card, the process generally involves the following steps:

a. Sponsor files Form I-130: The U.S. citizen or green card holder must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the USCIS to establish the qualifying relationship.

b. Visa Availability: Once the I-130 is approved, the availability of visas in the appropriate family preference category must be checked. If a visa is immediately available, the process can proceed. Otherwise, the applicant must wait until a visa becomes available based on their priority date.

c. Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: If the intending immigrant is already present in the United States, they may apply for adjustment of status. If they are residing outside the U.S., they will go through consular processing at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

2. Employment-Based Green Cards

Employment-Based Green Cards, also known as EB Green Cards, provide permanent residency to foreign nationals based on their employment qualifications. This category is divided into several preference categories, each with its own set of requirements and limitations. These green cards not only offer a chance for foreign workers to live and work permanently in the USA but also provide a pathway to eventual citizenship.

Requirements and Conditions: To be eligible for an Employment-Based Green Card, individuals must meet specific requirements based on their skillset, education, and employment offer. The following are the five preference categories for Employment-Based Green Cards:

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a. EB-1: Priority Workers: This category includes individuals with extraordinary abilities in fields such as sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. It also covers outstanding professors, researchers, and multinational executives or managers.

b. EB-2: Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability: This category encompasses professionals holding advanced degrees or individuals with exceptional abilities in the arts, sciences, or business.

3. EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: This category caters to skilled workers, professionals, and other workers with at least two years of experience or training.

4. EB-4: Special Immigrants: This category includes religious workers, broadcasters, Iraqi and Afghan translators, and other specific groups.

5. EB-5: Immigrant Investors: This category is for foreign investors who make significant investments in new commercial enterprises, creating jobs for U.S. workers.

Each preference category has its own specific requirements and limitations, including labor certification, job offers, and priority dates, which determine the availability of visas.

Limitations and Waiting Periods: Due to the limited number of Employment-Based Green Cards available each year, there can be significant waiting periods, especially for certain preference categories. The demand for certain occupations and countries of origin can impact the waiting times as well. It is crucial to stay informed about the latest visa bulletin updates and consult with an immigration attorney to understand the current backlog and potential delays.

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How to Apply for an Employment-Based Green Card: The application process for an Employment-Based Green Card involves multiple steps, including labor certification, filing a petition, and attending an interview. It is highly recommended to seek professional guidance to ensure a smooth application process and increase your chances of success.

3. Diversity Visa Lottery

The Diversity Visa Lottery is a program established by the U.S. government to diversify the immigrant population in the United States. It offers a limited number of green cards, allowing individuals from countries with traditionally low immigration rates to have a chance at permanent residency. By allocating visas randomly through a lottery system, the program ensures a fair and impartial selection process, giving everyone an equal opportunity to pursue their dreams in America.

Requirements for Diversity Visa Lottery: To be eligible for the Diversity Visa Lottery, applicants must meet certain requirements. Firstly, they must be a native of a qualifying country, which typically includes countries with low immigration rates to the United States. Additionally, applicants must have at least a high school education or equivalent, or two years of work experience within the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience.

Conditions and Limitations: While the Diversity Visa Lottery offers a unique pathway to a green card, it is essential to understand the conditions and limitations associated with this program. Firstly, winning the lottery does not guarantee a green card. Once selected, applicants must go through a rigorous vetting process, including background checks and interviews, to ensure they meet all the necessary requirements. Additionally, there is a limited number of visas available each year, and once the quota is reached, no further applications can be accepted.

How to Apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery: Applying for the Diversity Visa Lottery requires careful preparation and adherence to the application process. Each year, the U.S. Department of State opens a specific registration period during which applicants can submit their entries online through the official Diversity Visa Program website. Applicants are required to provide accurate personal information, including their name, date of birth, and passport details. It is crucial to double-check all information before submitting the application to avoid disqualification.

After submitting the application, applicants will receive a confirmation number that allows them to check their status online. It is important to keep this number safe, as it is the only way to track the progress of the application. If selected, applicants will be notified through the Entrant Status Check and will be provided with further instructions on how to proceed with the visa application process.

4. Refugee or Asylee Status

Refugee and Asylee Status are similar in nature, as both provide protection to individuals facing persecution. The primary difference lies in the location where the protection is granted. Refugees apply for protection while outside the United States, whereas asylees apply for protection once they have arrived in the country or at a port of entry. Both statuses share the common goal of offering safety and a fresh start to those fleeing persecution.

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Requirements: To qualify for Refugee or Asylee Status, applicants must meet specific requirements set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These requirements include:

a. Well-founded Fear: Applicants must demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

b. Outside Assistance: Refugees must apply for protection through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or a designated resettlement agency, while asylees can directly apply to USCIS upon arrival in the United States.

c. Timing: Asylees must apply within one year of their arrival in the United States, while refugees typically apply before entering the country.

Conditions: Once granted Refugee or Asylee Status, individuals receive certain benefits and must fulfill specific obligations. These conditions include:

a. Employment Authorization: Refugees and asylees are eligible to work in the United States by obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This document allows them to secure employment and contribute to the country’s economy.

b. Access to Public Benefits: Refugees and asylees are eligible for various public benefits, including healthcare, language training, and educational assistance, to help them integrate into American society.

Limitations: While Refugee or Asylee Status offers significant advantages, there are some limitations to consider:

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a. Travel Restrictions: Asylees who wish to travel outside the United States must obtain a Refugee Travel Document to re-enter the country. Failure to obtain this document may result in the loss of asylum status.

b. Permanent Residency: After residing in the United States for one year, refugees can apply for lawful permanent residency, commonly known as a Green Card. Asylees can also apply for a Green Card one year after being granted asylum.

How to Apply: To apply for Refugee or Asylee Status, individuals must follow specific steps:

a. Gather Documentation: Collect evidence supporting your claim of persecution, such as police reports, witness statements, or medical records.

b. Complete the Application: Fill out the appropriate forms provided by USCIS, paying careful attention to accuracy and completeness.

c. Submit the Application: Mail the completed application, along with supporting documents, to the appropriate USCIS office or submit it in person if applying as an asylee.

d. Attend the Interview: Applicants will be scheduled for an interview with a USCIS officer, during which they will discuss their case in detail.

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5. Special Categories

Special Categories of USA Green Cards are designed to cater to specific groups of individuals who may have unique circumstances or qualifications. These categories provide opportunities for individuals who may not meet the eligibility criteria of other Green Card programs but possess distinctive skills, backgrounds, or relationships that make them eligible for permanent residency in the United States.

Requirements: Each Special Category has its own set of requirements that applicants must meet. Here are a few examples of Special Categories and their corresponding requirements:

a. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS): This category is intended for unmarried individuals under 21 years of age who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both parents. Applicants must obtain a court order confirming their dependency and eligibility for SIJS.

b. Victims of Crime: Individuals who have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of being a victim of certain qualifying crimes may be eligible for a U visa. To qualify, victims must cooperate with law enforcement agencies during the investigation or prosecution of the crime.

c. Religious Workers: This category is for individuals who are employed by a religious organization in the United States and have been offered a permanent, full-time position. Applicants must demonstrate at least two years of continuous religious work experience.

Conditions and Limitations: While Special Categories offer unique pathways to permanent residency, they come with specific conditions and limitations. These conditions may include maintaining a certain employment status, meeting specific residency requirements, or complying with legal obligations. It is crucial for applicants to thoroughly understand and comply with these conditions to maintain their Green Card status.

How to Apply: The application process for Special Categories USA Green Cards typically involves several steps. While the process may vary depending on the category, here is a general overview:

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a. Determine eligibility: Carefully review the requirements for the specific Special Category to ensure you meet the criteria.

c. Gather supporting documents: Collect all necessary documents, such as identification, evidence of eligibility, and any additional supporting materials required by the category.

d. File the application: Complete the appropriate forms and submit them along with the supporting documents to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

e. Attend interviews and provide biometrics: If requested, attend an interview at a USCIS office and provide fingerprints and photographs.

f. Await a decision: After reviewing your application, USCIS will notify you of their decision. If approved, you will receive your Special Category USA Green Card.

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