There are several approaches to becoming a US Lawful Permanent Resident (commonly known as a green card holder). Some common methods of obtainaing Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status are:

  • Through a family member
  • Through employment
  • After one year of approval as an asylee or one year after entry as a refugee.

Family member

Family members are either classified as immediate relatives or preference relatives. Immediate relatives include spouses of US Citizens, Unmarried children of a US Citizen under the age of 21 and parents of US Citizen children over 21.

Immediate relative visas are not controlled by annual quotas and are immediately available.

On the other hand, only a limited number of green cards are available to preference relatives each year, and availability is based on the priority date (determined by the date your family member filed your application) and the preference category within which the application falls.

Family 1st preference – Unmarried children (any age) of US Citizens.
Family 2nd preference (A)- Spouses & Children (under 21 and unmarried) of Permanent Residents.
Family 2nd preference (B)- Unmarried Children of Permanent Residents.
Family 3rd preference- Married children of US Citizens.
Family 4th preference- Siblings of US Citizens who are at least 21 years old.

Employment based green card

For many individuals, to qualify for an immigrant visa through employment, it is important to receive a job offer from an employer willing to sponsor for a green card. The visas are limited to certain categories of workers. The categories are divided into priority workers, workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability, skilled or professional workers and special immigrants. A special subsect of priority applicants- those of extraordinary ability – are those distinguished in the arts, science, education, athletics or business. These applicants are not required to have a job offer and may self-petition.

Investors – Applicants willing to invest money in a commercial enterprise that will create or preserve jobs in the US may also be eligible to apply for a green card.

Political asylees and Refugees

In order for an individual to obtain a Political asylee or refugee status, there must be proof that the individual:

  • Has a well founded fear of persecution in his/her home country, and
  • The persecution is because of his/her religion, race, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

Asylum can be applied for at the border or within the US whereas a refugee application is made outside the US by an individual seeking entry. Both refugees and asylees may apply for permanent resident status. A refugee is required by law to apply for a green card after one year of being admitted as a refugee, while an asylee may apply a year after the asylum approval.

Lawful Permanent Resident status provides you with the ability to live and work in the US and also to freely travel to and from the US. Incorrect or incomplete applications or those with insufficient supporting documents can cause unnecessary delay or denials.

Orlando Permanent Residency Lawyer

If you are interested in becoming a lawful permanent resident and are in the Orlando, Winter Park, or surrounding areas, Contact Orlando Permanent Residency Lawyer Natalie D. Hall, P.A. today.  We will review your specific situation to determine the approach that best suits your need.