Who Qualifies for a Green Card?
January 30, 2019
A green card represents that its holder is a permanent resident of the United States. With that comes the right to enter, exit, and work in the U.S. It also allows the holder to eventually apply for U.S. citizenship.
The question arises as to who may qualify for a green card?
Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens
The easiest individuals to qualify for green cards are those who are immediate relatives of United States citizens. These individuals may include:
- Spouses of U.S. Citizens, including same sex.
- Under the age of 21 unmarried people who have at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen.
- Parents of U.S. citizens, so long as the citizen is 21 years of age or older.
- Stepchildren and stepparents of U.S. citizens, so long as the relative marriage took place before the child’s 18th birthday.
- Adopted children of U.S. citizens or permanent residents, as the adoption took place prior to the child reaching the age of 16 (as well as other conditions).
Non-Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens
Certain family members of United States citizens are also eligible for green cards. However, only 480,000 will receive them annually on a first come, first served basis. The sooner the U.S. citizen submits their Form I-130 visa petition, the sooner their other family member may apply for a green card.
Visa categories include:
- F1 – Unmarried adults, at least 21 years of age, who have at least one U.S. citizen-parent.
- F2A – Unmarried children and spouses of a green card holder, as long as the children are younger than age 21.
- F2B – Unmarried children of a green card holder who are aged 21 or older.
- F3 – Married people, regardless of age, who have at least one parent who is a United States citizen.
- F4 – Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, so long as the citizens are at least 21 years of age.
Preferred Employees and Workers
Annually, the U.S. offers 140,000 green cards to those whose job skills are desired in the U.S. market. Usually job offers are required, and the employer in question must prove it has recruited that person for the job because they have been unable to find any able, willing, or qualified U.S. workers to hire.
These employment subcategories include:
- First Preference – This is priority workers with specific, exceptional abilities.
- Second Preference – Those who have advanced degrees or exceptional abilities.
- Third Preference – Professionals and skilled or unskilled workers.
- Fourth Preference – Religious workers and “special immigrants.”
- Fifth Preference – Investors who are willing to put $1 million into a U.S. business or $500,000 if the business is in an area of economic depression. The must be at least 10 employees in the business.
Green Card Lottery “Winners”
For those who come from countries that have sent the fewest number of immigrants over the last few years, there are 50,000 green cards that are usually available.
Immigrants in Special Situations
Sometimes exceptions are made for people in special situations. This may include international broadcasters, retired employees of the United States government abroad, and young people who are under the care of a juvenile court.
Philadelphia Visa Petition Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Can Help With Applying for Green Cards
If you are a U.S. citizen and desire to help someone obtain his or her green card, we can help to explain and make the process easier. The Philadelphia visa petition lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC have helped people in Pennsylvania, the tri-state area, New Jersey, and nationally. For a free consultation, contact us online or call 215-496-0690.