There are various ways to obtain a permanent resident card or green card. An applicant may obtain a green card through employment, through a family member, asylum and refugee status, through green card lottery program or through adoption by a permanent resident or a US citizen . Most people obtain permanent residency through a family member who is a US citizen or permanent resident of the United States. The United States allows the US citizens and permanent residents to help their family members to live and work permanently in the United States.
1. What is family based immigration?
Family-based immigration helps certain people to become U.S. permanent residents through family members who are either US citizens or US permanent residents. The US citizen or permanent resident who petitions for a family member is called a Sponsor and the person for whom the petition is filed is called the Beneficiary.
2. Who is eligible to sponsor a family member for a green card?
A petitioner or the sponsor must be at least 18 years old, and a US citizen or legal permanent resident to sponsor a family member for a green card. The sponsor generally must live in the United States or in a territory or possession of the US.
3. Whom can I sponsor if I am a U.S. citizen?
If you are a US citizen, you may petition for the following individuals.
- Married or unmarried children,
- Brother or sister (only if you are at least 21 years old),
- Parents (only if you are at least 21 years old)
4. Whom can I sponsor if I am a legal permanent resident?
If you are a lawful permanent resident, you may then petition for your spouse (husband or wife) and unmarried children.
5. How to process a petition for my spouse who is in the United States in a different status?
If you are a US citizen, then you must file Form I 130 to petition for your spouse. Your spouse may also apply to adjust the status to permanent resident at the same time as your petition. If you are a legal permanent resident, you then need to file the same Form I 130. The process differs a little where your spouse will have to wait for an immigrant visa to become available in the second preference category. Once the visa number becomes current, your spouse may apply for adjustment of status. During the application process, your spouse must maintain the non – immigrant status.
6. Can I file for my parents if I am permanent resident?
No, you are not allowed by the law to file for your parents. If you wish to petition for them, then you must be a US citizen.
7. I have petitioned for my husband. Can he join me in the United States when the petition is in process?
Yes, your husband may join you in the United States. You must petition him for a non-immigrant K-3 Visa while Form I 130 is pending. With this K3 visa, he may enter the United States. He is eligible to work while his permanent residency visa petition is pending.
You have the ambition to work in the US and thereby settle in the US! Well, you can fulfill your ambition by following the right path. You can sponsor a foreign national and allow him to attain his permanent residency as an employer,for which you have to file a petition. The petition filed is Form I-140 which is the Immigration Petition for Alien worker.
Most people obtain green cards either through family based or through employment. Basically getting a green card has the possibility of having permanent employment in the US. One such method is by filing the immigration petition where an employer is required to sponsor. There are few others where the employer is not required to sponsor.
Who should file form I-140:
The form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker can be filed by the US employer for
- The outstanding researcher or professor who has at least three years of experience in the field of education establishing himself in research and teaching which have achieved accomplishments in the academic field
- An alien who has achieved executive position in the firm for at least one year and wishes to render services to the same
- An alien who has extraordinary skills which will benefit the economy of the US thereby helping in the welfare of the US as well.
- A skilled worker with at least two years experience in the respective skill and to perform labor for the qualified workers.
- An unskilled worker with less than two years of specialized training and to perform labor for the qualified workers
- A member of professions with degree of baccalaureate (preaching)
Sponsoring a green card with respect to job offer will entitle one to get a permanent job in the future after getting the green card. So it is not necessary that the beneficiary has to work presently for the employer in order to sponsor the green card. Before filing the form I-140,the employer must file for the labor certification with the Department of labor,which certifies that no US workers are qualified or willing to work for which the alien will do for them. After approval of the labor certification,the immigration petition is filed by the employer. Form I-140 and Form I-485 can be concurrently filed if the priority date is current .The Department of State gives immigration visa number only when the priority date is current. The priority date is the date the Department of labor receives the application in cases if the application is based on the labor certification. The non immigrant status of the applicant does not change though the I-140 is approved.
The Evidence documents include the completed Form I-140, approved labor certification,evidence that the employer is able to pay the wages like the annual reports, bank account records etc, job experience letters from the employers and other documents proving the qualification of the job should also be submitted.
Getting the employment based green card is not an easy job. The foreign worker himself cannot file Form I-140. Submission of the falsified documents along with the application will lead to crime and the application will be denied and worst cases the applicant will be deported.
Permanent Residents or Green Card holders are authorized to live and work permanently in the US. Most people get their green cards through employment, through marriage or through the green card lottery program. Obtaining a Green Card through work is less favored by most people as the employee needs an employer in the US to petition for them.
Green Card through employment:
There are various categories where an individual may obtain a Green card through work.
- Green Card through job offer
- Green Card through investment,
- Green Card through Self Petition, and
- Green Card through special categories of jobs
Green Card through job offer:
If an individual wishes to obtain a Green Card through work he/she needs to find a job offer in United States which is relevant to his/her educational qualification. If the individual is offered the job, then the US employer must sponsor the individual. The US employer must file a petition to sponsor the individual in the immigration process. The petition works as an authorization that the individual will be employed on entering US. This category might require a letter from the Department of Labor to prove that the individual is skilled for the job and no American is displaced by the individual.
Green Card through investment:
If the individual wishes to obtain a Green Card though investment then he/she needs to invest in an enterprise that would create new jobs in US.
Green Card through Self Petition:
Some people may petition for themselves if they fall under the category called Aliens of Extraordinary Ability where the applicant has extraordinary ability in sciences, business, athletics or education. In this case the applicant must provide documents of proof that their awards of excellence have been recognized internationally.
Green Card through special categories of jobs:
This is a category where the individual may get a green card based on his/her past or current job. In these cases if the individual is not able to adjust the status inside US to Permanent Resident, then the immigrant petition can be sent to the US Consulate abroad to complete the process.
Obtaining a Green Card through work is a multi – step process where it takes a longer time for the petition to be approved. Once the petition has been filed, the first step is obtaining the Labor Certification. Once it is approved, the individual’s US employer must file form I 140, Immigrant petition for Alien Worker. The second step is Adjustment of Status in United States or Consular processing. If the applicant is in US he/she may apply for Adjustment of Status. If the applicant is abroad, he/she may go through consular processing. If the petition for Green card through work by the US employer has been approved, USCIS will forward the approved application to the Department of State’s National Visa Center and will notify the US employer about the approval of the petition. This might take 15 to 24 months or even longer than that depending on the priority date of the applicant.