More About USA Green Cards

Most would-be migrants to the United States know something about the green card system. Run by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), it allows authorised people to live and work in the country on a permanent basis. In truth, the term 'green card' is an unofficial one despite the fact that it is commonly used by officials and the public, alike. The correct term is a United States Permanent Resident Card which used to be green. The card has reverted back to its traditional green colour since 2010. For anyone applying for one today, the form required is I-551. According to USCIS, other than applying as a refugee, there are three main ways of making an application for permanent residency as an individual. Separately, there is a green card lottery system which can be applied for. This system is aimed to promote migration from certain countries with traditionally low levels of immigration. Today we will look at the three main application categories in greater detail.

Family Applications For Green Cards

Many people are able to obtain a green card and subsequently become permanent residents of the United States through their family members. Migrants may be eligible for a green card if they have a spouse who is a citizen of the United States. Equally, they can apply for a green card if they have unmarried children under the age of 21 who are US citizens. Having parents over the age of 21 who are citizens also makes would-be immigrants eligible to apply.

If the relative of the US citizen does not happen to be an immediate family member, then they may still be able to sponsor a migrant under a category called “family preference”. This includes married children of any age and brothers and sisters in the case where the citizen petitioner in the US is already over the age of 21. However, Congress limits the number of relatives who are allowed to immigrate under the preference category, so there are no guarantees.

Family applications for green cards can still be made if the relative in question is not a fully-fledged US citizen. The family member can simply be a green card holder themselves; however, this category of application is limited to spouses and unmarried children of the sponsoring green card holder.

In addition, there are some special regulations that relate to emergency cases, fiancés and the offspring of certain diplomatic officials. Under a so-called K nomination, the children of betrothed are allowed to enter the country, so long as they are minors and the fiancé or fiancée concerned has already successfully applied.

Employment Applications For Green Cards

Migrants who would like to apply for a green card based on the fact that they have been offered a permanent job in the United States may do so. An employer that wants to sponsor a migrant for a green card based on their job offer must go through certain processes beforehand. However, some self-employed people are able to petition for a green card themselves without needing an employer to do it for them. Migrants can become a permanent residents through what is called consular processing when they are living outside of the country. Consular processing is when USCIS liaises with the Department of State to issue a visa. To begin this process a form named I-140 – or the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker form - must be filled out and submitted.

When already living inside the United States, the I-140 form must be approved and a visa number to have become available. After that, it is possible to apply for a green card by using form I-485, which is otherwise known as the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. To fill this in properly some supporting evidence will be needed. Things like a job offer letter, two colour photographs and a medical examination document will all be expected.

Some jobs are treated differently by USCIS. They sometimes relate to the qualification level of the employment role and sometimes because of a particular skill, such as in the medical profession. At the moment, some broadcasting jobs fall into the special job category, as do things like professional translators with experience in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Other Applications For Green Cards

There are other ways of obtaining a green card than the employment and family-related processes. These include people who are already employed by certain international organisations which are not based in the United States. For example, employees and retired persons who have worked for organisations such as NATO or the International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation are considered. There are also some special provisions for Cuban nationals which have been in place since 1996. The law allows the Attorney General the right to grant green cards to people from Cuba on a discretionary basis if they have been present in the United States for a minimum of one year.

December 22, 2014

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