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Law Offices of Haregu Gaime

Applying for a Green Card

The United States grants legal status to work in America through the issuance of a “Green Card,” to those who qualify for status as permanent residents of the United States. In order to be eligible for a Green Card, an individual must qualify and then submit an application, called an “immigrant petition” to the department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS). The application forms differ depending on the type of eligibility status of the applicant.

An immigrant visa must be available for the applicant. The U.S. Congress limits the number of immigrant visas permitted for each year. Even if the applicant is otherwise eligible, if there are no visas available from the yearly allocation, they must wait until a visa becomes available for them to be able to enter the United States.

Additionally, the person must be able to pass the basic admission requirements to enter the United States.

Green Card Eligibility

Eligibility for a Green Card comes from these categories:

  • Family - Being a relative of a citizen of the United States or of a person who currently resides in the United States who has a Green Card.
  • Job - Certain workers with extraordinary abilities, with sponsorship from a U.S.-based employer to work in the United States, may obtain a Green Card.
  • Asylum - Refugees who are granted asylum in the USA are eligible for a Green Card one year after the date that asylum is granted.
  • Special Immigrant Programs - This includes the “Diversity Program,” commonly referred to as the Green Card Lottery as well as other special immigrant categories.

Green Card Application Priority

There is no immigrant visa quota limit for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. This category includes their parents (when the son or daughter is over twenty-one years old), a spouse, and children (under the age of twenty-one and not married).

For others, each year the total number of immigrant visa permitted has a maximum limit. In order to decide who gets an immigrant visa and/or a Green Card, preference categories determine the order the applicants in any category have priority.

Family Priorities

  1. The adult children of U.S. citizens who are at least twenty-one years old and not married.
  2. A spouse or minor children of permanent residents who are less than twenty-one years old and not married.
  3. Adult children of permanent residents who more than twenty-one years old and not married.
  4. Married adult children of U.S. citizens, with their spouses, and children (under twenty-one years old).
  5. Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens, with their spouses, and children (under twenty-one years old).

Job Priorities

  1. Employees with exceptional talents, renowned professors, expert researchers, and international corporate executives from certain companies.
  2. Professionals with advanced degrees or others with extraordinary abilities.
  3. Professional highly skilled workers.
  4. Those pursuing a vocation in certain religions.
  5. Entrepreneurs and investors who invest in a business in the USA that creates jobs.

Asylum Seekers

Those granted asylum must apply for a Green Card one year after being granted asylum. A spouse and qualified children, at their option, may also apply for a Green Card after one year of asylum being granted.

Special Immigrant Programs

Under the “Diversity Program,” a certain number of immigrants are permitted annually from each qualified country. There are always more immigrants applying than the number of immigrant visas, so the ones who receive permission to enter the United States are chosen by an annual lottery.

Other programs include:

  • K category Nonimmigrant for fiancé(e)
  • Those qualified under the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE)
  • Those with special Immigrant Juvenile status (SIJ)
  • Battered Spouse or Child under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
  • Widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen
  • Person Born to a Foreign Diplomat while they are in the United States
  • V category Nonimmigrant
  • An American-Asian child of a U.S. Citizen
  • S category Nonimmigrant - Informant
  • Native American Indian that was born in Canada
  • Those who qualify under the Indochinese Parole Adjustment Act
  • A native of Cuba or a Cuban Citizen
  • A Lautenberg Parolee
  • A Refugee from Haiti
  • Those who qualify under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA)
  • Those who qualify under the Help HAITI Act of 2010
  • U category Nonimmigrant who is a victim of criminal activity
  • T category Nonimmigrant who is a victim of human trafficking

Special Job Categories

  • Translator of Afghani or Iraqi languages
  • Afghan Who Assisted the U.S. Government
  • Armed Forces Member
  • NATO-6 category Nonimmigrant
  • International Organization Employee
  • Physician under the National Interest Waiver program
  • An Iraqi Who Assisted the U.S. Government
  • Religious Worker


Getting a Green Card is highly desirable because most immigrants want to work in the United States. Find out if you qualify for any of the special programs and file the Green Card application properly by working with an immigration attorney.


Green Card Link

Green Card Eligibility Link

Other Ways to Get a Green Card Link

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