Have you been dreaming of settling in the United States? Then you have probably heard of the green card, the gateway to permanent residence in the USA. A green card holder may indeed live and work in the U.S. without any restrictions. However, the immigration process is often long and arduous. Check out our spotlight on the 3 main ways to get a U.S. green card.
Is one of your parents or your spouse American? In some cases, a family member can sponsor you to get a green card. A citizen of the United States who is over 21 years old can make a request for his or her spouse, children, parents, or siblings. In addition, a green card holder can in turn sponsor his or her spouse or children.
How it works:
Your U.S. sponsor completes the I-130 form, Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative, and gathers all the required documents.
The application and payment of the registration fee (USD420) must be sent to USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services).
Your sponsor receives a receipt and then a notification regarding the decision that has been taken, once the application is processed.
Another possibility for getting the coveted card is to be sponsored by your employer. But this is hard, strictly supervised, and controlled—just like the H1B work visa, which has been very limited since 2017 (only 65,000 per year). The green card is granted in priority to 4 main categories of profiles:
persons with rare and recognised talents in the fields of science, arts, education, business, or sports; certain high-level teachers and researchers; certain business executives and managers (EB-1 visa)
highly educated or exceptionally skilled persons (EB-2 visa);
professional, skilled, and unskilled workers (EB-3 visa);
specific categories of employment (EB-4 visa) (members of the armed forces, international organisations, doctors, clerics etc.).
How it works:
Your U.S. employer completes the I-140 form, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, and gathers all the required documents.
The application and payment of the registration fee (USD580) must be sent to USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) through the post or by email, depending on the situation.
Your sponsor first receives a receipt and then a notification regarding the decision that has been taken, once the application is processed. If the request is approved, the NVC (National Visa Center) will inform you about the immigrant visa application process.
The lottery is probably the best known way to get a U.S. green card. Every year, the United States allows 50,000 prospective immigrants to obtain a green card through the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery. The lottery is open to nationals of countries whose immigration rates to the USA are the lowest. This means the list of countries whose citizens cannot participate in the green card lottery changes each year.
How it works:
Register online at dvprogram.state.gov. You must bear in mind that every year, you can only participate in the lottery during a specific period.
Keep the confirmation number you receive: you will need it to check whether or not you have been selected.
If you are selected, you will be able to apply for an immigrant visa.
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Ajay is an entrepreneur based in Europe & Asia. He looks after his family business which has interests in everything from retail to real estate, and was established by his father almost five decades ago and is now a global player.
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