There are different categories of green cards including those based on employment, family, investment and the diversity visa lottery. Berardi Immigration Law is experienced in filing petitions for a variety of employment-based green card categories including multinational managers/executives, aliens of extraordinary ability and highly skilled workers.
The quickest paths for green cards are those based on family sponsorship. This includes spouses, children and siblings of citizens. Other categories have lengthy wait times due to annual quotas.
Employment-Based Green Cards
The most common path to green card status is through employment. Most work-based visas require sponsorship by a U.S. employer, a labor certification process, and sometimes a lengthy wait before obtaining a visa.
The EB-2 category covers foreign nationals who possess a master’s or doctorate degree (or their foreign equivalent) in their field of expertise or who have at least a bachelor’s degree and significant professional experience. The EB-3 category includes skilled or unskilled workers who are seeking employment in the United States and for whom no qualified American worker is available.
Several other categories include special immigrants such as religious workers, broadcasters and athletes, as well as individuals who have been victims of severe human trafficking or have assisted law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases. Finally, there are also the Diversity Visa and VAWA Green Card programs.
Family-Based Green Cards
Family-based green cards are reserved for certain close relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, including spouses, children, and siblings. Unlike immediate relative visas, which have no numerical limitation, family preference categories are limited each year.
Sponsors must file a petition I-130 on behalf of the family member they wish to immigrate. Once the visa is approved, the beneficiary must apply to become a lawful permanent resident. Those who are already in the United States can do this through adjustment of status, while those outside the country must go through consular processing.
Obtaining a green card through one of the preference categories can take several years. However, once you are a permanent resident, you can live and work in the U.S. indefinitely and are eligible for government benefits like Social Security, Medicare, and public assistance. The Boundless team can help you navigate the complexities of family-based immigration. Contact us to start your journey today.
Marriage-Based Green Cards
A green card for a spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is a popular path to U.S. citizenship for many couples. However, spousal visas are very competitive and can have long wait times.
The process for obtaining a marriage-based green card involves filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The couple must also submit extensive proof of their relationship, including photos and bank statements. Applicants are required to attend a green-card interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate office.
During the interview, an immigration officer will carefully examine all aspects of the couple’s relationship. The goal is to ensure the marriage is bona fide and not a sham entered into for the purpose of fraudulently obtaining a green card. This is why officials ask many questions and request extensive documentation. In addition, spouses must show that their marriage is genuine by demonstrating love and commitment to one another. Since 2013, same-sex marriages have received the same treatment as opposite-sex marriages in terms of obtaining a green card.
EB-5 Green Cards
The EB-5 visa program is designed to encourage foreign investment in the US, create jobs, and promote economic growth. This visa is available to individuals who invest in a commercial enterprise that has the potential for substantial job creation, and that will be a “new business.” Unlike passive investments, such as land speculation, the commercial enterprise must also be actively engaged in generating profit.
EB-5 participants are given conditional permanent resident status for two years. They may apply to have the conditions removed if they can demonstrate that their investment has created or maintained the required number of jobs. Once the conditions are removed, they become unconditional lawful permanent residents of the United States.
Canadian families often participate in EB-5 because they want their children to have access to prestigious US universities. It can be much easier to attend these schools as a US citizen or Green Card holder than as an international student. Additionally, EB-5 holders are eligible for in-state tuition rates which can significantly reduce the cost of their education.