Green Card FAQs

HOW TO OBTAIN A PERMANENT RESIDENT GREEN CARD

Question: I've always wanted to be a permanent resident. How can I do this?

Answer: You can apply for a permanent resident green card, if you have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen or a U.S. spouse. A U.S. spouse or a U.S. parent or U.S. child over the age of 21 can help you qualify; or if you have a job offer requiring a special skill and the education or training to fulfill the job, you can apply as well.

Question: I have a U.S. spouse, how long would it take?

Answer: If you came with a visa, you should get permission to work in about 2 ½ months and permanent residence in about 6 to 9 months. At the interview you will be asked to prove the good faith of your marriage. If you came without a visa, your U.S. spouse can apply for you by filing an alien relative petition and after the approval, your spouse can file for a waiver by proving that your spouse would suffer extreme hardship if you were not to get your permanent residence. This whole procedure would take you about one year and three months. The waiver may be applied for in the U.S. that avoids a long separation between you and your spouse.

If you have a U.S. citizen son or daughter over the age of 21, who applies for you and if you came with a visa, you would be immediately eligible. The procedure should be done in 6 months. If you did not come with a visa, your U.S. citizen child regrettably cannot file for a waiver.

If you are petitioned by a U.S. parent and you are under the age of 21 you would immediately be eligible; if you are over 21 and single, the quota at this time (first preference) will not be available for 7 years; if you are married, the quota is in arrears for 10 years.

Question: What if my spouse is only a permanent resident green card holder?

Answer: Last month in September 2013, permanent residents could apply for their alien spouses and their children immediately. In October, 2013 the quota has backed up to be in arrears by one month. If you came with a visa you can apply for permanent residence now as long as you are in legal status and if the quota reaches you, you can apply for permanent residence. This applies to your children under 21 as well. If you are over the age of 21 and the child of a permanent resident, the quota under the 2nd preference (B) for you is 7 years behind.

Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and children come under the 3rd preference. This category is in arrears 10 years. Brothers and sisters have to wait 12 years but if they're from Mexico, 18 years.

Question: Can I get a job offer here and then come to get my permanent residence green card?

Answer: If you have extraordinary abilities or are an outstanding professor and/or a researcher or a multinational executive or manager (1st preference) the quota is now open. If you are a professional with an advanced degree such as a Master's degree or you have exceptional ability or you are seeking a national interest quota you are immediately eligible unless you are from China or India. For these countries the quota is behind 5 years.

For skilled workers and other professionals (3rd preference) the quota worldwide is backed up for 3 years at least.

Question: Are there any other routes to permanent residence?

Answer: Religious workers are current as well as investors in rural or high unemployment area or designated regional centers. Investor status has a high priority with Immigration because of high unemployment in the U.S.

Question: Are there any other ways?

Answer: As a refugee or asylee you can apply if you can prove a credible claim that you would be subjected to persecution if you return to your country. If you receive refugee status, you must apply for residence after one year; if you are an asylee you may after one year apply for permanent residence and we recommend that you do apply.