Having a US green card has a lot of perks. These perks include the ability to travel freely and the ability to plan for a long term future in the US. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that immigration lawyers are frequently asked about the best way to obtain a green card. This post highlights three common paths to US green card status.
Path #1: Obtaining a Green Card through Family Sponsorship
One option is to obtain a green card through an immediate family member. Say for instance that you have a US citizen spouse or child over the age of 21. If you have such a qualifying family member, you will be able to obtain a green card through that relationship. However, if you committed any crimes or immigration violations in the past you could have bars in place that you would have to overcome before obtaining a green card.
If you have a permanent resident(green card holder) family member, you can obtain a green card through that relationship. Unfortunately, you will be subject to the quota system. The quota or preference system limits the number of new green cards in given year. Once you have an approved I-130 you wait in line until USCIS tells you that you can adjust to green card status or obtain an immigrant visa.
You can also immigrate through US citizen family members that USCIS defines as non immediate family members. This group includes brothers and sisters. As with family members of green card holders, this group is also subject to the preference system. In order to get a better idea of how the preference system works please visit the USCIS website.
Path # 2: Sponsorship by an Employer
If you are working with a US employer on a non immigrant visa, they may be so impressed with your skills that they decide to sponsor you for a green card. The wait for a green card will depend on your particular skill level and expertise. Generally speaking, the higher your skill level and expertise, the shorter the wait will be for the green card. One common employment based green card scenario involves an employee on H1b status who is later sponsored by the employer for a green card. This enables the worker to obtain a green card after all of the proper steps are followed.
Path # 3: Obtaining a Green Card through Investment
A third way to obtain a green card is to invest in an Eb5 project. In order to obtain a green card through investment in an Eb5 project you need to invest in a regional center, entrepreneurial or direct pool project. The required investment is currently $500,000 or $1,000,000 depending on the area where the project is taking place. If the investment creates ten full time jobs over a period of time, then you are rewarded with a green card.
Hopefully this information helps you to think about some ways that you may qualify for a green card. If you feel like one of these options may be right for you, it is important to speak with an immigration lawyer who will be able to explain the process and the requirements in further detail.