How to Get A Green Card to Work in the United States

How to Get A Green Card to Work in the United States

This guide outlines the process of acquiring a Green Card, which grants lawful permanent residence in the United States, specifically for the purpose of employment. By following the steps below, individuals can gain valuable insights into the requirements and procedures involved in pursuing a Green Card for work-related opportunities in the United States.

The Green Card provides holders with numerous rights and benefits, including the ability to work for any employer in the United States, travel freely in and out of the country, and apply for certain federal government benefits. It also offers a pathway to becoming a U.S. citizen through the naturalization process, provided all eligibility requirements are met.

Green Cards are typically valid for a period of ten years and must be renewed before their expiration date. In certain cases, such as conditional Green Cards granted through marriage or investment, the card is valid for a shorter period, typically two years, and requires a subsequent application to remove the conditions and obtain a permanent Green Card.

Obtaining a Green Card usually involves a lengthy and complex application process, with various eligibility categories available, including family sponsorship, employment-based sponsorship, refugee or asylum status, and certain humanitarian programs. Each category has specific requirements and procedures that applicants must meet and follow to successfully obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States.

Types of Green Cards in US

  1. EB-1: Priority Workers The EB-1 category is reserved for individuals with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational executives or managers. To qualify, applicants must demonstrate exceptional achievements in their field, such as national or international recognition, significant awards, published work, or evidence of high salary.
  2. EB-2: Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability The EB-2 category is for professionals holding advanced degrees or individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Advanced degree holders must possess a master’s degree or higher, while those with exceptional ability should provide evidence of significant achievements and expertise in their field.
  3. EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers The EB-3 category encompasses skilled workers, professionals, and other workers who perform work requiring at least two years of experience, a bachelor’s degree, or less than two years of experience in a position not requiring higher education. Job offers and labor certifications are usually required for this category.
  4. EB-4: Special Immigrants The EB-4 category includes special immigrants who fall into specific classifications, such as religious workers, employees of U.S. foreign service posts, broadcasters, Afghan and Iraqi translators, physicians, and more. Each subcategory has its own eligibility criteria and requirements.
  5. EB-5: Immigrant Investors The EB-5 category is designed for immigrant investors who make substantial investments in new commercial enterprises that create jobs for U.S. workers. Applicants must invest a minimum amount of capital, create or preserve a certain number of jobs, and meet other program requirements.

Additionally, some individuals may be eligible for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) under the EB-2 category, which allows them to bypass the labor certification process if their work is deemed to be in the national interest of the United States.

How to Get a Green Card in US

Determine Eligibility

To start the process, it is essential to assess whether you meet the eligibility criteria for obtaining a Green Card based on employment. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides various employment-based categories, each with its own set of requirements. Common options include employer-sponsored petitions, extraordinary ability classifications, and investment-based pathways. Thoroughly evaluate the criteria associated with your chosen category to ensure you qualify.

Secure Job Offer

In most employment-based Green Card categories, securing a job offer from a U.S.-based employer is a crucial step. Prospective employers can sponsor foreign workers by filing a petition on their behalf. The employer’s petition serves as evidence of a legitimate job offer and is a critical component of the Green Card application process.

Labor Certification (if applicable)

Certain employment categories necessitate obtaining labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This certification verifies that there is no qualified U.S. worker available to fill the position being offered to the foreign worker. If your chosen category requires labor certification, the employer must initiate this process before proceeding with the Green Card application.

File the Immigrant Petition

Once you have a job offer and, if necessary, labor certification, the next step is to file an immigrant petition with the USCIS. The appropriate form, such as Form I-140 for most employment-based categories, must be completed accurately and submitted along with the required supporting documentation. The USCIS will review the petition and determine its approval.

Priority Date and Visa Availability

Employment-based Green Cards are subject to numerical limitations, and the demand often exceeds the available supply. As a result, the USCIS assigns a priority date to each approved immigrant petition, which establishes your place in line for visa processing. Stay updated on the Visa Bulletin published monthly by the U.S. Department of State to track the availability of visas in your specific employment category.

Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing

Once your priority date becomes current, you can proceed with either adjustment of status or consular processing. Adjustment of status is applicable if you are already in the United States, allowing you to apply for a Green Card without leaving the country. Consular processing, on the other hand, requires attending an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country to obtain an immigrant visa.

Attend Interviews and Provide Biometrics

Regardless of the chosen processing method, you will need to attend interviews and provide biometric information, such as fingerprints and photographs, as part of the Green Card application process. These steps ensure proper verification of your identity and eligibility for permanent residence.

Receive Conditional or Permanent Green Card

Depending on the specific circumstances, some employment-based Green Cards may initially be granted on a conditional basis. In such cases, individuals must later apply to remove the conditions within a designated time frame. Once all requirements are met and the application is approved, you will receive either a conditional or permanent Green Card, granting you lawful permanent residence in the United States.

Steps to Apply for Green Card in US

  1. Determine Eligibility: Review the eligibility requirements for the desired Green Card category to ensure you meet the qualifications.
  2. File Form I-130 (Family-Sponsored) or Form I-140 (Employment-Based): These forms serve as petitions for alien relatives or immigrant workers, respectively. They are typically filed by a sponsoring family member or employer.
  3. Complete Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status) or Form DS-260 (Consular Processing): Form I-485 is used for applicants who are already in the United States, while Form DS-260 is for those outside the country. These forms collect personal and background information.
  4. Pay Fees: The USCIS requires payment of various filing fees, which can be submitted electronically through the USCIS online payment system.
  5. Biometrics Appointment: Once your application is received, you will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment at a local USCIS Application Support Center. During this appointment, your fingerprints, photograph, and signature will be taken.
  6. Attend Interviews: If required, you will need to attend an in-person interview at a USCIS field office. This is typically part of the adjustment of status process and is conducted to verify the information provided in your application.
  7. Submit Supporting Documents: Along with the forms, you must gather and submit supporting documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, financial records, and any required translations.
  8. Medical Examination: As part of the application process, you will need to undergo a medical examination by an authorized physician to prove you are not inadmissible to the United States on health grounds.
  9. Receive Decision: After completing the necessary steps, USCIS will review your application and supporting documents. You will receive a decision on your Green Card application, either through mail or via your USCIS online account.

The Green Card Lottery Program

The annual Green Card Lottery is another way for potential immigrants to become permanent legal residents of the United States (formally known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program). This program is held annually and provides green cards to candidates chosen at random in a lottery.

How The Green Card Lottery Program Works

The annual lottery, which began in 1990, aims to ensure diversity in immigration to the United States. To be eligible for the Green Card Lottery, you must be a native of a country with a low rate of immigration to the United States. Applicants from countries that have sent more than 50,000 foreign nationals to the United States in the last five years are not eligible for this visa.

You must also have the appropriate education or work experience. To be eligible for the lottery, a person must have a high school diploma or two years of trade work experience. You might want to look into US Work Visas.

What Is The Cost of The Green Card Lottery?

Entering the Green Card Lottery is completely free. During the registration period, the only way to apply is to fill out and submit an electronic form on the website of the US Department of State.

Many companies charge a fee to help with the application process, but using these vendors does not improve a person’s chances of getting approved.

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