LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENCY
A lawful permanent resident (i.e., a “green card” holder) of the United States has been granted the privilege of permanently residing in the U.S. as an immigrant. There are several ways of obtaining LPR status:
Children, spouses and parents of United States citizens can be sponsored and obtain their residency through their U.S. citizen relative. Widows and widowers ofU.S. citizens can sponsor themselves, if they meet certain requirements. Also eligible to obtain green cards through sponsorship or self-sponsorship are adopted children, step-children, abused/battered spouses and children of U.S. citizens; and spouses, parents or children of members of the armed forces who died in combat.
Similarly, certain family members who are allowed to immigrate but usually must wait a bit due to annual quota restrictions are:
- children of U.S. citizens who are no longer minors (21 or over)
- spouses and unmarried minor children of green card holders
- unmarried adult children of green card holders
- married adult children of U.S. citizens; and
- siblings of U.S. citizens
Family-members who are subject to quota restrictions will first have to have a petition filed on their behalf in order to secure their place in line. Thereafter, a periodic review of the State Department’s Visa Bulletin will provide information as to when they themselves can seek green card status in the U.S.
There are five different categories for employment-based sponsorship (or self-sponsorship). Like many of the family-based categories, the employment-based categories are also all subject to an annual quota, and monthly movement for each category is reflected in the State Department’s Visa Bulletin which will show movement for the following categories:
- First Preference – persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics; outstanding researchers and professors; multinational executives and managers.
- Second Preference – professionals holding advanced degrees or those considered by the USCIS to be workers of exceptional ability.
- Third Preference – covers the widest swath of skilled workers and professionals
- Fourth Preference – Special immigrants including but not limited to religious workers; foreign employees of the United States government; Panama Canal Treaty employees; and NATO civilian employees.
- Fifth Preference – the “million dollar investor” category; or an investor of $500,000 if investing in a targeted employment area or in a specific government-approved program.
Diversity Visa Lottery:
To increase diversity in the United States, the State Department has a program which allows for a lottery system to grant green cards of certain under-represented countries.
Refugees and Asylees:
Asylee or Refugee status is available to persons who have been persecuted or who have a fear of being persecuted on the basis of at least one of the following classifications: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Asylee or refugee status, so long as it is granted, can be a path to the green card.
If you are interested in obtaining a green card, the information on these pages may at least put you in the right direction. The next useful step, you may find, after going through our website, will be to arrange a consultation where our attorneys can provide you with legal advise specific to your circumstances. We can arrange Skype video, telephonic or in-office meetings. Once we are retained, all fees paid towards the consultation will be credited towards your legal fees.