“Green Card” is the common name for the document issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, proving that a person has obtained “Legal Permanent Resident Status.” Legal Permanent Resident Status, or LPR Status, allows an alien to permanently live and work in the United States. Legal Permanent Resident Status is the actual goal and aspiration of most immigrants, and not the green card document, which is only evidence of the LPR status. The official name for the Green Card document is Form I–551. Over the years, this document has been printed on a variety of different colors of paper. Currently the document is tan. Although the term Green Card is no longer an accurate description of this document, lawyers and the public at large still refer to the Green Card when describing LPR status and the two will be referred to interchangeably throughout this website. There are several different paths that an immigrant may take in order to attain LPR status. As every case presents different factual scenarios, every case presents a different path to a Green Card. Some clients may even chose to take multiple routes to this same goal. Persons seeking LPR status should contact The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates for guidance on the possibilities open to you. Below is a short list of some of the most common options to achieve LPR status:
- Green Card Based on Your Employment:
- Your employer may be able to petition for your Green Card through the Labor Certification process in conjunction with the PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) process.
- Green Card Based on Your Own Extraordinary Talent or Abilities:
- You may be able to petition for your own Green Card if you qualify as an Alien of Extraordinary ability, a Multinational Executive or Manager, or an Outstanding Professor or Researcher.
- You may be able to apply for your own green card if your work or research is considered in vital to furtherance of the national interest, commonly known as the national interest waiver.
- Green Card based on your Investment and Creation of Jobs in the United States:
- You may qualify for a Green Card if you invest $1,000,000 or more in a new commercial enterprise, you employ 10 or more United States Citizens, and you are involved with the day to day management or policy formation of that business. The federal government has also reserved 3,000 visas for entrepreneurs who invest $500,000 and create 10 or more jobs in lower income or “targeted areas” of the Country.
- Green Card Based on Your Family Relationship:
- You may be able to petition for a Green Card if you have an immediate relative who is an United States Citizen. Immediate relatives are children, spouses, or parents
- You may be able to petition for a Green Card if you are the fiancé of a US citizen.
- There are also situations where a sibling of a qualified citizen may apply as an immediate relative.
- You may be able to petition for a Green Card if your father or spouse is a legal permanent resident.
- Children and Orphans who have been adopted may qualify for a green card.
- Green Card based on the Lottery System:
- The United States makes up to 55,000 visas available per year via a lottery, to persons from countries which the government concludes are underrepresented in the overall number of applicants for LPR status in the last five years.
- Green Card based on Asylum or Refugee Status
- A person may apply for adjustment to legal permanent resident status one year after they have been found to qualify as an asylee or refugee.
- Green Card Based if you are a victim of domestic abuse
- Under the VAWA, or Violence Against Women Act, a spouse of a US Citizen or Green Card holder may qualify for a Green Card to remain in the United States even if the marriage ended in divorce
- Green Card for Religious Workers:
- Persons working in a professional capacity in a religious vocation or occupation, ordained ministers, Imams or Rabbi.
The above list is not exhaustive. Certain special immigrants may also qualify for LPR status. Set up a consultation with an attorney from The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates for a comprehensive evaluation of your situation and immigration needs.
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