If you wish to obtain legal permanent residence, or “green card,” you can do so in different ways.
- One way of obtaining your green card is by being petitioned by a close relative who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. In cases of this nature, the waiting times vary depending on your proximity to the individual who submitting the petition for you, the immigration status of that relative, your marital status, and your country of birth.
To give you an idea of the length of the waiting times, if you are married or getting married to a U.S. citizen, you can obtain your green card in six months or less, but if you are petitioned by a sibling who is a U.S. citizen, then it may take up to ten years or more.
- The next option is to be by an employer. The employer must prove that it cannot find a U.S. worker with enough experience and/or education to fulfill a specific job. Foreign students who don’t have any relatives in the United States, usually depend on employers to get their green cards.
- Another option is applying for a green card as an investor by proving that you are (1) a person of extraordinary ability, (2) an outstanding professor or researcher, (3) a multinational executive, (4) a religious worker, or (5) a person of exceptional ability or with an advanced degree that would interest the United States.
- Another option would be to enter the immigrant visa lottery. Millions of individuals inside and outside the United States apply for this lottery and approximately 50,000 visas are granted. The chances of obtaining a green card this way are low, nonetheless you can try.