A lot of people have heard of Green card this or Green card that. However, what seems to confuse many is who can apply for US Green Card. Of course, you need to know that not everybody can apply for the US Green card. There are people who the Green Card is meant for. In this post, we will outline who and who can apply for the US Green card.
If you do not know yet, a Green Card identifies its holder as a U.S. permanent resident, with rights to enter, exit, work, and live in the United States for their entire life—and to eventually apply for U.S. citizenship. But before you think about applying for U.S. permanent residence, make sure you’re eligible under one of the following categories. Let’s show you Who Can Apply For US Green Card.
Who Can Apply For US Green Card?
Like we already pointed out above, there are different classifications of persons that can qualify to apply for the US Green Card. They are as follows.
1. Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens
The number one people or persons who can apply for the US Green card are the immediate relatives of US citizens. They are given special considerations for qualifying for green cards and receiving them quickly. This category includes:
- Spouses of U.S. citizens, including recent widows and widowers; also including same-sex spouses, if the marriage is legally valid in the state or country where it took place
- Unmarried people under age 21 with at least one U.S. citizen parent
- Parents of U.S. citizens, if the U.S. citizen son or daughter is at least age 21
- Stepchildren and stepparents of U.S. citizens, if the marriage creating the stepparent/stepchild relationship took place before the child’s 18th birthday, and
- Adopted children of U.S. citizens or permanent residents, if the adoption took place before the child reached age 16 and other conditions are met.
An unlimited number of green cards are available for immediate relatives whose U.S. citizen relatives petition for them—applicants can get a green card as soon as they get through the paperwork and application process.
2. Other Family Members
The other family members who did not fall within the immediate relatives can also apply for US Green cards. They fall into the “preference categories”. A total number of 480,000 will receive green cards each year under this category. The system is first come, first served. Before this category is awarded the Green card, a lot of factors are considered. This includes the category of visa you’re asking for, the country you are from, how many other people from your country are asking for your type of visa, and the workload at the immigration agencies.
- Family First Preference (“F1”). Unmarried adults, age 21 or older, who have at least one U.S. citizen parent.
- Family Second Preference: “F2A:” Spouses and unmarried children of a green card holder, so long as the children are younger than age 21. “F2B:” Unmarried children age 21 or older of a green card holder.
- Family Third Preference (“F3”). Married people, any age, who have at least one U.S. citizen parent.
- Family Fourth Preference (“F4”). Sisters and brothers of U.S. citizens, where the citizen is age 21 or older.
3. Preferred Employees and Workers
Another category of Who Can Apply For US Green Card is the prefered employees and workers. A total of 140,000 green cards are offered each year to people whose job skills are needed in the U.S. market. In most cases, a job offer is also required, and the employer must prove that it has recruited for the job and not found any willing, able, qualified U.S. workers to hire instead of the immigrant. Because of annual limits, this is a “preference category,” and some applicants wait years for an available green card. Here are the subcategories:
- >Employment First Preference. Priority workers, including:
- persons of extraordinary ability in the arts, the sciences, education, business, or athletics
- outstanding professors and researchers, and
- managers and executives of multinational companies.
- >Employment Second Preference. Professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability.
- >Employment Third Preference. Professionals and skilled or unskilled workers.
- >Employment Fourth Preference. Religious workers and miscellaneous categories of workers and other “special immigrants”.
- >Employment Fifth Preference. Investors willing to put $1 million into a U.S. business—or $500,000 if the business is in an economically depressed area. The business must employ at least ten workers.
4. Green Card Lotteries: Ethnic Diversity
A certain number of green cards (currently 50,000) are made available to people from countries that in recent years have sent the fewest immigrants to the United States. Diversity Visa Lottery application form is here.
5. Special Immigrants
Occasionally, laws are passed making green cards available to people in special situations, such as young people who are under the care of a juvenile court, international broadcasters, and retired employees of the U.S. government abroad.
6. Refuge and Asylum
The U.S. government offers refuge to people who fear, or who have experienced, persecution in their home country. A person still outside the U.S. would apply to be a refugee; a person already at the U.S. border or (better yet) inside the U.S. would apply for asylum. To qualify as a refuge, the persecution must be based on the person’s race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. If you are fleeing only poverty or random violence, you do not qualify in either category.
One year after having been granted asylum or refugee status, you can submit an application to adjust status (get a green card). Refugees are, in fact, required by law to wait no longer than one year after receiving their status and having been physically present in the U.S. to apply for the green card. Asylees can wait as long as they want to apply, though earlier is better—your asylee status can be taken away if conditions if your home country change and the U.S. government decides it’s safe for you to return there.
7. Long-Time Residents
The law allows certain people who have lived unlawfully (commonly called illegally) in the U.S. for more than ten years to request permanent residence as a defense in immigration court proceedings. This remedy is called “cancellation of removal.” You must also show that your spouse, parent, or children—who must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents—would face “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” if you were forced to leave. Consult a lawyer if you think you qualify. Do not go straight to USCIS, which could result in your own deportation (removal).
8. Special Cases
Finally, the last group of Who Can Apply For US Green Card falls under the special cases. Individual members of the U.S. Congress have, on occasion, intervened for humanitarian reasons in extraordinary cases, helping someone get permanent residence even if the law would not allow it.
We have been able to give you a very detailed analysis on Who Can Apply For US Green Card. Hope this was quite helpful to you? Do you have any question? Kindly use the comment box below.