Five of the Most Common Ways to Apply for a Green Card

Statue of LibertyThere are many ways you can apply for a green card in the United States.  Here are five of the most common:

  • Have a family member petition for you – Certain qualifying relatives can petition for their family members to get their green cards.  The process usually starts with the petitioner filing an I-130 petition.  Once the I-130 petition is approved and the beneficiary’s priority date is current, the beneficiary may be able adjust status (apply for their green card) in the U.S.  If the beneficiary is ineligible to adjust status, he or she will have to consular process at the consulate in their home country.
  • Have an employer or prospective employer petition for you – Although many of the most common work visas are visas that do not result in the beneficiary obtaining his or her green card (such as an H-1B visa), employers can in some cases petition for employees to obtain their green cards.  Generally, the employer must first get a labor certification which states that the job offered to the immigrant will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly-employed persons in the U.S.  Most categories of immigrant work visas also require the filing of a form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
  • Apply for asylum and then apply for a green card – Persons who are granted asylum can apply for their green cards one year after having received asylum.  In order to apply for asylum, an applicant can either affirmatively file an application with USCIS or file a defensive application when the person is placed in immigration court.  Applicants for asylum must demonstrate that they fear persecution in their home country as a result of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
  • Apply for a green card after being granted Cancellation of Removal – Undocumented persons who have been placed in immigration court can apply for Cancellation of Removal if they have lived in the U.S. continuously for 10 years, have had good moral character during that time, have not committed a disqualifying offense, and have qualifying citizen or LPR relatives.  If the immigration judge grants a person Cancellation of Removal, that person will be granted his or her green card.
  • Apply for a green card after being granted a U Visa – Persons who have been in the U.S. for a continuous period of 3 years after having obtained their U visas can file to get their green cards.  In order to apply for a U visa, a person must show that he or she has been a victim of a qualifying crime in the U.S.  The person also must have suffered physical or mental abuse as a result of the criminal activity, must possess information concerning this activity, and must have been helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.

Applying for your green card is a complicated process that requires the assistance of an experienced attorney.  Contact John L. Wheaton, Attorney at Law at 206-829-8214 to schedule a consultation today!