Becoming a permanent resident, or obtaining a “green card,” is a significant step for noncitizens who wish to remain in the country. In addition, it is an essential step on the path to full citizenship, as individuals who have obtained green cards may apply for naturalization after five years, provided they meet certain other requirements; some individuals may even apply after three years. There are many ways in which a person can obtain a green card, some of which are discussed below. For specific information regarding your case, call our office today to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer.
Employment-Based Green Cards
One of the most common ways an individual can obtain a green card is through obtaining employment in the United States. A person without U.S. citizenship may receive a job offer from a U.S. employer who petitions the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the candidate. Additionally, an individual who invests in an enterprise that creates jobs in the United States may also be able to obtain a green card, as can individuals who are in certain special categories of employment, including the following:
- Afghan and Iraqi translators;
- An employee of an international organization;
- Religious workers; and
- NATO-6 Nonimmigrants.
Family-Based Green Cards
Individuals can also obtain green cards through family members who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Categories of family members who may be eligible for a green card include the following:
- Spouses of U.S. citizens and green card holders;
- Children of U.S. citizens and green card holders;
- Parents of U.S. citizens;
- Siblings of U.S. citizens; and
- Fiancés and Fiancées of U.S. citizens.
Green Cards through Asylum or Refugee Status
Another way in which a person may obtain a green card is through approval of asylum or refugee status. Asylum seekers must reside in the United States and be able to establish that they are in fear of or have experienced persecution based upon race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Individuals who have been granted asylum may apply for a green card one year after that grant. Refugees, on the other hand, can apply from outside of the United States for refugee status. Similarly to asylees, refugees are eligible to apply for a green card after they are in the United States in refugee status for one year.
Other Ways to Obtain a Green Card
There are several other ways to obtain a green card in addition to those listed above. Some of these include the following:
- Self Petitioning pursuant to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA);
- K Nonimmigrant Status;
- Special Immigrant Juvenile Status;
- Legal Immigration Family Equity (LIFE) Act;
- Being the widower or widow of an American Citizen;
- Cuban citizenship or nativity; and
- Membership in the Armed Forces.
Contact a Chicago Green Card Attorney Today to Discuss Your Legal Options
There are a number of ways that you may be able to qualify for permanent resident status, and an experienced attorney can review your situation and determine which, if any, may apply to you. The Chicago green card lawyers of Kriezelman, Burton & Associates, LLC are dedicated to helping foreign nationals and others with issues related to immigration law resolve their cases with the best possible outcome. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at 314-332-2550.