Green Card

What are Green Card holders?

A Green Card holder is someone who the United States government grants authorization to live and work in the U.S. permanently. As proof of status, a person is given a permanent resident card, commonly known as a “Green Card”.

Who is eligible for a green card?

The steps to becoming a green card holder, or a permanent resident of the United States, vary by category. There are three green card eligibility categories:

  • Green Card Through Family
  • Green Card Through a Job
  • Green Card Through Refugee or Asylee Status

Green Card Through Family

Many individuals acquire green cards to become permanent residents through family members. You may be eligible to get a green card as:
• An immediate relative of a U.S. citizen. This includes spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older.
• A family member of a U.S. citizen fitting into a preference category. This includes unmarried children over the age of 21, married children of any age, and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizen petitioners 21 or older.
• A family member of a green card holder, including spouses and unmarried children.
• A member of a special category. This includes a battered spouse or child (VAWA), a K nonimmigrant, a person born to a foreign diplomat in the U.S., a V nonimmigrant, or a widow(er) of a U.S. citizen. 

Green Card Through a Job

There are four primary ways to immigrate to the United States based on a job offer or employment:

Green Card Through a Job Offer: You may be eligible for permanent U.S. residence if you receive an offer of permanent employment in the U.S. Your employer will be required to get a labor certification and file a Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker for you.
Green Card Through Investment: Green cards may be available to investors or entrepreneurs who invest in an enterprise that creates new U.S. jobs.
Green Card Through Self Petition: Some immigrant categories allow you to file for yourself (“self-petition”). This option is available for either “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” or specific individuals granted a National Interest Waiver.
Green Card Through Special Categories of Jobs: You may be eligible for a green card if you have worked or are working a specialized job: 

  • Afghan/Iraqi Translator
  • Broadcaster
  • International Organization Employee
  • Iraqi Who Assisted the U.S. Government
  • NATO-6 Nonimmigrant
  • Panama Canal Employee
  • Physician National Interest Waiver
  • Religious Worker 

Green Card Through Refugee or Asylee Status

Refugees and asylees can apply for a green card.

If you wereThen you may apply for permanent residence
Admitted to the United States as:a refugeea qualifying family member of an asylee1 year after your entry into the United States
granted asylum in the United States1 year after the grant of your asylum status

Note: As a refugee, you are required by law to apply for permanent resident status 1 year after being admitted to the United States. As an asylee, you are not required to apply for permanent resident status after being granted asylum for 1 year, although it may be in your best interest to do so.

Applying for a Green Card

Do you fit one of the three green card eligibility categories? If so, it may be time to contact an attorney to help you through the process. 

Shabani & Associates is a law firm in Birmingham, Alabama, that specializes in immigration law. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience needed to handle green card applications and status issues. 

To contact one of our immigration attorneys for green card assistance, give Shabani & Associates a call at (205) 823-1223 or 1-866-WRK-VISA (toll-free). If you would like to handle matters online, you can email or provide us with your information via our contact form. 

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