If you are a non-US citizen, but you intend to work and live permanently in the United States, you need to get a green card. Family-based green cards and employment green cards are the most common types that people get to permanently live in the US. There are several other ways for you to be a green card holder such a diversity lottery, refugee, political asylum, and adoption green cards. Green card, therefore, is only given when a permanent employment opportunity is provided. For this matter, an employer can sponsor an alien to have a green card with the assurance that the person will have a permanent job with them. But commonly, aliens get a non-immigrant work Visa prior to the filing of green card application.
A green card holder enjoys the perpetual entry to the United States without the fear of rejection by the immigration officer, the right to get educational aid from the government, the opportunity to start a business or be part of a corporation, and many more. On the other hand, there are restrictions that a green card holder must face, including moving to another country for permanent residence, failure to file income tax returns, and such cases of re-entry permit as provided.
An employment green card is a long and tedious process. You need to wait for years before you can have the green card. This may frustrate you, but this is how things work. This is the main reason why it is recommended to work first in the US prior to applying for green card.
- Eligibility – It is necessary to determine if you are eligible to get a green card. An immigration lawyer can check the US Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS’s lawful paths for permanent residency. A family-based green card is faster to get provided that your parents, spouse, or children who are under 18 years of age are US citizens. For employment-based green cards, there are preferences provided. Priority Workers, which include those with extraordinary capabilities unmatched in the US workforce, can get their green card faster. The second preference includes those who have exceptional abilities; the third preference consists skilled and professional workers; religious immigrants are part of the fourth preference; and lastly, employment creation like investors or businesspeople fall on the fifth preference.
- Labor Certification – The employer of the applicant must file a labor certification with the labor department to provide that there is no qualified US citizen who can or is willing to do the job. But for other preferences, there is no need for any labor certification, especially for the fourth and fifth preferences.
- Petition – After the labor certification is approved by the labor department, the employer can now file the Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers.
- Immigrant Visa Number – An immigrant visa number will be given to the applicant, but the person must wait for the priority date to be current before proceeding to the last part of the process.
- Adjustment Status – Later on the applicant can ask for adjustment status of his or her stay in the United States.