Ep. 31 What are the Best Ways to Get a Green Card to Live & Work in the US?

  • Five most common ways of getting a green card
  • Family sponsorship. If it’s not an immediate relative you must wait in line with what is called as the priority date
  • Green card lottery. If you win it, it’s free.
  • Sponsorship by an employer
  • Investing in the EB-5 program
  • For asylum or refugees

Raw Transcript:

Introduction: You ask we answer your immigration questions. Simple. And now your host immigration lawyer Jacob Sapochnick.

Jacob: Hello everybody, this is Jacob Sapochnick. You’re listening to Ask An Immigration Lawyer Podcast.

Today we have an exciting question from Jorge who is sending us this question from Texas. The question is what are the most common ways to get a green card in the United States today? This is a great question because everybody wants to know how to get a green card, what are the most common ways. So let’s start with the more obvious one.
So number one is getting a green card through a family sponsorship where you have an immediate family member, like a spouse or a child, over the age of 21. And also through not immediate family like siblings, brothers and sisters, who can also petition for you.

Now if it’s not an immediate relative, meaning that not spouses or children over the age of 21, everybody else must wait in line what is called as the priority date. Until the priority date is current most of these people have to wait, sometimes years, before they immigrate. Only immediate family members can immigrate really fast almost immediately.

So, again, number one, through a sponsorship by a family member, number two, getting a green card through the green card lottery. Every year United States are giving over 50,000 green cards that are issued worldwide and they call this The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, DV lottery. There’s only a few countries that are not eligible, most countries are. And those countries probably send more than 50,000 or more immigrants to the US. Every year it’s important to check which countries are on the list.

But, yeah, applying for the lottery could be a good way and if you win it it’s free. If you win it then you can come and immigrate and get a green card.

The third option is sponsorship by an employer. So if you work with an employer on a visa you can get sponsored by an employer and get a green card. If you are a skilled person with a degree you can fall under some of these categories: EB3, EB2, depending on your skill level. But typically if you work for an employer that employer can petition for you and eventually you can get a green card. So that’s great. So if you have an H1 visa or an L visa, working for an employer can get you a green card as long as you stay working for them.

Another option is investing in the EB-5 program where you invest $500,000 in the Regional Center or a $1 million in your own enterprise. It could be also $500,000 in your own enterprise if you are investing in undeserved low unemployment area where you can get … you setup at least 10 permanent jobs, full time jobs, and you can get a green card through the EB-5 program.

The most common option for an EB-5 is for people to apply in the Regional Center where they put the money in there and they don’t have to work in there project but it’s a way to get a green card if you can afford not to use that money for at least five, six years.

Finally there’s another way where people apply for a green card finally for asylum or if they’re refugees. So there are many people who come from … that they’re going to be persecuted in their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion if they go back to their country. So these people can apply for an asylum inside United States. And if they get it they’re going to receive a green card.

Again, there’s a few other ways for example through adoption, through living in the US before 1972 but the five ways that I just mentioned are the most common way to get a green card. So number one for family member, number two through the green card lottery, number three through an employer, number four investing $500,000 or $1 million EB-5 then finally the asylum. So here we go. Those are top five ways to get a green card.

Once again remember that this podcast we don’t form an attorney-client relationship, this is done for the public benefit. This information is not binding in any way. Immigration law change all the time and you should consult a qualified immigration lawyer before you do anything.

Once again thanks for listening. You ask, we answer, simple and we’ll see you at our next episode.

Closing: Thank you for listening to the Ask My Immigration Lawyer Podcast, the show that’s dedicated to answering your immigration questions – simple as that. See you next week for another round of questions and much needed answers.