Becoming a U.S. citizen is a dream for many people. Although the U.S. has its share of problems, America is still seen by many around the globe as a place of relative prosperity and opportunity. For those who wish to become U.S. citizens, becoming a lawful permanent resident is the first box which needs to be checked off. People enter the U.S. under many different circumstances; this is why the U.S. allows newcomers to apply on a variety of grounds. In other words, people with different circumstances may have their own specific path to permanent residency.
In this post, we will discuss a few of the different ways people can obtain permanent residency (i.e. a Green Card). Readers should keep in mind that, even with a Green Card, it’s still possible to be removed from the U.S. if you commit certain violations. Committing certain crimes, for instance, can lead to deportation even for permanent residents.
- Immediate Relatives
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The first category we will discuss is immediate relatives. If you’re an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, this status can provide one of the simplest ways to become a permanent resident. One reason for this is because the U.S. doesn’t impose a limit on the number of immediate relatives who can receive permanent residency status per year. Immediate relatives include the following persons: spouses, recent widows and widowers, children, stepchildren and stepparents provided the married occurred before the children were 18 years of age, and adopted children provided that the children were adopted prior to the age of 16.
- Certain Employees & Workers
Another category applies to certain employees and workers who offer unique skills to the U.S. economy. These are essentially highly skilled workers who provide a substantial net benefit to the economy. In total, the U.S. grants no more than 140,000 of these Green Cards in a given year. For most of these workers, a job offer is required to jumpstart the application process, and the worker’s employer must participate in the process. However, in some rare cases, a person may be able to apply without a job offer. These persons include investors, persons of extraordinary ability, and persons of exceptional ability.
- Diversity Visa (Green Card Lottery)
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Another category is the so-called “Green Card lottery” category. This category is also referred to as a diversity visa, because only people from certain countries may apply, and these countries historically have sent the fewest number of immigrants to the U.S. in the past. The Department of State accepts this type of application for one month during the year. The application itself is free, but potential immigrants need to meet various requirements, such as minimum educational qualifications. In total, only 50,000 Green Cards of this sort are granted every year, and millions of people throughout the world apply every year. Hence, this path to permanent residency has been referred to as the Green Card lottery because of the low probability.
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These are just a few of the paths to permanent residency in the U.S. There are numerous other paths as well, paths which align with other circumstances. The key point we need to emphasize is that, even after achieving permanent residency, deportation is still possible. And, in order to apply successfully for permanent residency, you need to make sure that you are completely eligible. On these matters, you should seriously consider hiring an experienced immigration attorney. To learn more, contact New Frontier Immigration Law by calling 623-742-5400.