The United States is a nation that attracts people from around the world who dream of working and living there, seeking the benefits and reputation that come with becoming a citizen. However, obtaining a US Green Card, which grants permanent residence and allows individuals to live and work anywhere in the United States, is not a simple process. It requires meeting specific eligibility conditions set by the US government. In this article, we will explore various ways to obtain a Green Card and discuss the steps to apply for an online visa for the USA.
What is the Meaning of a US Green Card?
A US Green Card is the pathway for non-American residents to gain permanent citizenship in the United States. It provides individuals with the opportunity to live and work in the country without restrictions. To ensure transparency and accountability, the US government has established eligibility criteria that must be fulfilled to obtain a Green Card. Typically, the card is issued to individuals who have been living and working in the United States successfully for 3 to 5 years. However, there are alternative criteria through which permanent residence can be acquired.
Ways to Get a Green Card in the United States
- Family-Based Green Card: If you have a close relationship with a green card holder or US citizen, such as a spouse, children, siblings, or parents, you can apply for a family-based green card. It is important to note that if you are applying for a marriage-based green card, your marriage should be genuine and not solely for the purpose of obtaining a green card. This also applies to widowers who were married to US residents when they passed away.It is crucial to maintain genuine relationships with US citizens, as there have been instances of fraudulent cases where individuals promise to provide a green card by posing as relatives, particularly spouses. Engaging in such illegal activities can have severe consequences, including imprisonment. Therefore, it is essential to choose a legitimate process for obtaining a green card that will support your future endeavors.
- Employment-Based Green Card: If you are working in the United States, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence based on employment. The following are the employment-based categories:
- EB-1 (Priority workers): This category is for individuals holding positions in the fields of sciences, arts, education, athletics, business, or those working as researchers, professors, or executives/managers in multinational companies.
- EB-2 (For Professionals): Individuals with a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of relevant work experience, as well as those holding significant positions within a company, can apply for this category. Physicians who are willing to work for a specific period in underserved areas can also obtain this green card.
- EB-3 (Skilled, Professionals, or Unskilled Workers): This category includes three subcategories:
- Skilled workers who have at least 2 years of experience or training in a specific field that is not temporary work.
- Unskilled workers who have less than 2 years of experience or training in a specific field that is not temporary work.
- Professionals who hold a degree from a recognized US university.
- EB-4 (Special workers): This category includes ministers, professionals in the media field, and nationals from Iraq and Afghanistan who have served the US government under certain conditions.
- EB-5 (Green Card Through Investment in Real Estate or Investment Green Card): If you are willing to invest a minimum of $1 million (or $500,000 in a rural or high-unemployment area) to establish a new business that will employ a minimum of 10 workers, you can apply for this type of green card. Many businessmen from different countries have successfully settled in the United States by opting for this investment opportunity to obtain a green card.
- Humanitarian-Based Green Cards:
- For Refugees: If you have been persecuted in your country due to factors such as religion, racism, or nationality, the United States provides protection. After completing one year as a refugee, you can apply for a green card.
- For victims of human trafficking: Victims of human trafficking living in the United States can obtain a T-Visa, allowing them to stay in the country for a maximum of four years. After completing three years on a T-Visa, they can apply for a green card.
- For victims of crime: Similarly, victims of crime can apply for a U-Visa, which allows them to live in the country. The conditions for obtaining a U-Visa are the same as those for victims of human trafficking.
- For victims of abuse: Victims of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, can seek protection from the government and apply to live in the United States.
- Diversity Lottery-Based Green Card: Each year, the US government organizes a lottery and randomly selects 50,000 individuals for the Diversity Visa Program, commonly known as the Green Card Lottery. This program is open to applicants from countries with little immigration to the US in the past. The program applies to individuals from six geographic regions of Asia, Oceania, and Africa. Some eligible countries include Lebanon, Slovakia, and Algeria. The complete list of eligible countries can be found on the website of the US government.
- Longtime-Resident Green Card: If you have been residing in the United States from or before January 1, 1972, you can apply for a green card under a special category called “registry.” This option provides an opportunity for individuals who have been long-term residents to easily obtain permanent citizenship. To avail of this facility, contact your nearest government office, complete the required form, and submit all necessary documents.
How to Get an Online Visa for the USA?
To obtain a visa to the United States, you need to go through a simple process. First, decide whether you are applying for an immigrant or non-immigrant visa. Then, pay the applicable visa fee, which varies depending on the type of visa.
The process for obtaining a US visa for Indians involves scheduling two appointments:
- Appointment at the Embassy or Consulate.
- Appointment at the Visa Application Center (VAC).
During your first interview at the Embassy or Consulate, make sure you have the following information:
- Your passport number
- The visa application fee receipt number
- The 10-digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page
For your second appointment at the Visa Application Center (VAC), remember to bring the following documents:
- A valid passport for the US with a validity period extending at least six months beyond your intended stay.
- A confirmation proof for DS-160.
- A confirmation proof of your appointment.
- If the visa applicant is under 14 years of age, a photograph is required.
After having your photo and fingerprints taken at the Visa Application Center, you will need to visit the US Embassy or Consulate for your visa interview. Carry the following documents for the interview:
- A printed copy of your appointment confirmation letter.
- Your DS-160 confirmation page is stamped at the VAC.
- Your current and any old passports.
- Supporting documents specific to your visa type.
In conclusion, obtaining permanent residence in the United States through a US Green Card is a process that requires meeting specific eligibility criteria set by the US government. Whether it is through family connections, employment, humanitarian reasons, the Diversity Lottery program, or long-term residence, there are various avenues to explore. By understanding the available options and following the necessary procedures, individuals can increase their chances of obtaining a green card and achieving their goal of gaining permanent residence in the USA.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. How long does it take to get a US Green Card? The processing time for a US Green Card varies depending on the category and individual circumstances. It can range from several months to several years.
2. Can I apply for a Green Card if I am already in the United States on a temporary visa? Yes, it is possible to apply for a Green Card while in the United States on a temporary visa. However, the eligibility criteria and application process may vary depending on the specific visa category.
3. What happens if my Green Card application is denied? If your Green Card application is denied, you may have the option to appeal the decision or reapply in the future. It is essential to understand the reasons for the denial and consult with an immigration attorney for guidance.
4. Can I work in the United States while my Green Card application is in process? In some cases, individuals may be eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) while their Green Card application is pending. This document allows them to work legally in the United States.
5. Can I travel outside the United States while my Green Card application is pending? If you have a pending Green Card application, it is generally advisable to avoid international travel. Traveling outside the United States may impact your application, and you could potentially encounter difficulties reentering the country. It is best to consult with an immigration attorney before making any travel plans.