Green Cards and How to Obtain Them

The United States offers several ways to become a Permanent Resident (Green Card holder). A Green Card allows you to live and work permanently in the U.S. Below is a list of the various ways that you may qualify for a Green Card.


1. Family Based Immigration

a. Relatives of U.S. Citizens

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried child (under the age of 21)
  • Unmarried stepchild (under the age of 21)
  • Adopted child (under the age of 18) or
  • Parent or stepparent
  • Unmarried son or daughter (over the age of 21)
  • Married son or daughter (any age)
  • Brother or Sister

b. Relatives of Green Card Holders

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried child (under the age of 21)
  • Unmarried stepchild (under the age of 21)
  • Adopted child (under the age of 18) or
  • Unmarried son or daughter (over the age of 21)

2. Employment Based Immigration

a. Employment First Preference

  • Persons with extraordinary ability
  • Outstanding professors and researchers
  • Managers and executives in multinational companies

b. Employment Second Preference

  • Professionals with advanced degrees
  • Persons with exceptional ability
  • Exceptional professors and researchers

c. Employment Second Preference with National Interest Waiver (NIW)

  • Persons with exceptional ability involved in activities that will substantially benefit the U.S. national interest
  • Advanced degree professionals involved in activities that will substantially benefit the U.S. national interest

d. Employment Third Preference

  • Professionals with a U.S. bachelor's or foreign equivalent degree
  • Skilled workers
  • Unskilled workers

3. Green Card Lottery

  • Winners of the Green Card Lottery conducted by the U.S. Department of State.

4. Investors

Foreign entrepreneurs who invest $500,000 in a commercial enterprise in a targeted employment area that will benefit the U.S. economy. Although there is also an avenue where foreign entrepreneurs can invest $1,000,000 in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S., with different requirements that need to be met, most of our clients choose the former avenue.

We have had good success working with investors and we shall be on hand at all stages of the process to advise you. We want to make you feel as comfortable as possible and hopefully welcome you to the United States once the USCIS approves your paperwork and issues a visa. Your immediate family members can also benefit under this visa.

Many people ask me about their children, and can children accompany the beneficiary. The answer is normally yes. If your child is unmarried and under the age of 21 years of age, they normally benefit from any approved visa application.



Regional Center EB-5 Immigrant Investor Timeline-Flowchart (PDF)

Contact us for additional Investor information.



5. Adoption

  • Children under sixteen years of age adopted by U.S. citizens or green card holders.

6. Registry

  • Foreign Nationals who have resided continuously in the U.S. since January 1, 1972.

7. Private Bill

  • Foreign nationals that Congress (House of Representatives or Senate) believes have compelling humanitarian factors to stay permanently in the U.S. and for whom the USCIS cannot grant permanent resident status.

8. Diplomats

  • High-level diplomats on A-1 visa who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution.

9. Asylum

  • Foreign nationals in the U.S. who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social or political group.

10. Refugee

  • Foreign nationals displaced by war, famine, and civil and political unrest or, unable or unwilling to return to their home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution.
  • Foreign nationals in their home country who have experienced persecution in the past or have a well-founded fear of persecution in the future.

11. Special Immigrants

  • Religious Workers
  • Retired employees of International Organizations
  • Former employees of the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong
  • Employees of International Broadcasting Companies
  • Special agricultural workers
  • Foreign medical graduates
  • Abused spouses and children of U.S. Citizens or Green Card holders