Our Nashville immigration attorneys explain some of the most efficient and effective ways to obtain permanent residency in the United States.
A permanent resident card (otherwise known as a green card) allows you to live and work in the United States and provides a pathway to citizenship. Our Nashville immigration attorney explains some of the most efficient, effective, and common ways of obtaining one.
Six Common Ways to Obtain a Green Card
Lawful permanent residence status is a life-changer. Some people may obtain their permanent resident status through an application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Form I-485, called “adjustment of status,” but others may have to obtain their status by attending an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home countries. Our experienced Nashville immigration attorneys guide clients in determining which type of green card they are eligible for, submitting applications, and collecting all required documents. While the process is never easy, the following highlights six ways in which permanent residency is commonly granted. It is important to note, however, that there are many ways a person may obtain permanent residency in the United States, and the following list is not exhaustive:
1. Marry a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
Being married to a U.S. citizen, or even a current green card holder, can provide a fast and efficient pathway to permanent residency. However, you can still expect to undergo scrutiny. USCIS is alert when it comes to marriages of convenience and immigration fraud. You must be able to provide documents and statements showing your marriage is legitimate. Furthermore, a legitimate marriage to a citizen or permanent resident is not a guarantee of approval for permanent residence. The person must also be “admissible,” meaning the person is eligible for permanent residence under the immigration laws. If a person is inadmissible to the United States, sometimes the person can apply for a waiver to forgive the grounds on which the person is inadmissible.
2. Family preference.
If you are a close family member of a permanent resident or U.S. citizen, this can also provide a pathway for you to live and work in the United States. You must be able to legally establish the relationship, such as through a marriage license or birth certificate. Sometimes a wait for a visa number to become available is required. Just as with any other permanent resident application, the applicant must be “admissible” to the country, and any ineligibilities will need to waived by the immigration service before successfully obtaining permanent resident status.
3. Employment-based immigration
If you are not eligible for a green card based on relationships with other permanent residents or citizens, you may be able to live and work in the country as a result of your job or even a future job. Employment-based immigration is common but usually requires obtaining a “labor certification” from the U.S. Department of Labor showing that there are not enough able, willing, and qualified U.S. workers to perform the job. Our attorneys are able to handle the entire employment-based immigration process from labor certification through permanent residence.
4. Study and learn
Students accepted and enrolled into accredited U.S. colleges, universities, and seminaries may also be entitled to an H-1B visa, which can provide a pathway to a fulfilling career and financial security, as well as a permanent resident card if the H-1B visa holder successfully completes labor certification. There are many opportunities for an employment-based case to go awry, so it is important to consult an attorney for assistance early in the process.
5. Humanitarian pathway
Victims of certain crimes (U visa) or human trafficking (T visa) are often eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence. For example, U visa holders can apply for permanent residence in many cases after they have been continuously present in the United States on their U visa status for three years. They may also petition for qualifying family members to obtain permanent residence at the same time. Children who were abandoned, abused, or neglected by one or both parents may also qualify for a green card under the special immigrant juvenile (SIJS) program. Persons abused by their citizen or green-card-holding spouse or children may also qualify for permanent residence under a special law called VAWA. Religious ministers may also qualify for permanent residence under a special program. Persons granted asylum or refugee status because they are afraid for their lives in their home countries may apply for permanent residence status after one year. All these humanitarian-based programs allow for a noncitizen to obtain permanent residence—and a pathway to full U.S. citizenship—in certain situations. Furthermore, many of these programs allow for generous waivers to forgive conduct that would otherwise cause the person to be “inadmissible” to the country (such as criminal history, immigration fraud, smuggling, lack of documents, and more).
6. Invest in the U.S.
If you have the inclination and the resources, the EB-5 immigrant investor program allows you to obtain a green card by creating jobs or investing a minimum of $800,000 in a U.S. business.
Discuss Your Options With Our Nashville Immigration Attorneys
To discuss the above and other effective ways of obtaining a permanent resident card, reach out to Ozment Law, PLC. Call or contact our Nashville immigration attorneys online to discuss your options today.