A green card is what makes you a permanent resident of the United States. You can potentially stay in the country for years, maybe even the rest of your life, after you adjust your status.
Not everyone is eligible for a green card. There are specific rules that apply to those hoping to become permanent residents. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has very specific rules for who can secure a green card.
What are the different categories for green card eligibility?
1. Family-based green cards
One of the most common ways that people enter the country and become permanent residents is through a relationship with a United States citizen or a permanent resident. From the fiances of those living in the country to the parents of naturalized citizens, there are many individuals who can obtain a green card because of their relationship with someone already in the United States.
2. Employment-related green cards
Immigrant workers, as well as investors who intend to make sizable investments in the United States, can potentially secure green cards. Certain professionals, like physicians, researchers and executives, receive top priority. Others, like those with advanced degrees or experience in a specific position, can also potentially qualify for green cards when working in the United States.
3. Green cards for special immigrants
There are numerous categories of special immigrants who can apply for green cards under unique programs. Religious workers, international broadcasters and those who work for international organizations, as well as their families, may qualify as special immigrants. There are also programs for Afghanistan and Iraq nationals, as well as juvenile immigrants who have experienced abuse or abandonment.
4. Green cards for difficult situations
There are multiple different immigration programs for people in dangerous situations. The United States grants green cards to those who qualify as refugees and asylees based on persecution in their country of origin.
There are also green card programs for those who become victims of crime. There are even special visa programs for those who enter the country through family-based immigration, only to endure abuse. There are a handful of other specialized immigration programs, including the diversity immigrant visa program, which operates on a lottery basis.
Determining if you meet the criteria for one of the categories of green card eligibility will be the first step in adjusting your status to stay in the country permanently. Learning more about green cards will help those who want to live in the United States permanently.