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5 Ways to Get a Green Card

Starting a new life in the USA is what many of us dream about, some of us have achieved and others are trying everything they can to get there. Now, why do you need a green card and why couldn’t you just get a visa to live your dream? Visas are just a temporary solution and come with strings attached, although some can be extended under certain circumstances. You’ll always be dependent on government rules and most likely the company that sponsored you. A green card is a permanent resident card allowing you to live and work in this great nation for as long as you want. You’re also free to choose the kind of (self) employment that suits you best.

 

Here are the 5 most common ways to get a green card.

 

Sponsorship by Family

If you have close family members who are US citizens, they can sponsor you for a green card. And yes, you guessed it – becoming a close family member through marriage is probably one of the fastest ways to get a green card, however approval is not guaranteed or automatic. You would still have to formally apply for it.

 

Green Card Lottery

Every year, the United States are giving away over 50,000 green cards worldwide. It is called the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Lottery). There are only a few countries that are not eligible to participate and that’s because these countries already sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the US within the last 5 years. Best of all, this lottery is F-R-E-E of charge! So, if you’re serious about it, give it a shot. Here’s the link to the official site. There will be a specific time frame when you will have to enter the lottery, so setup your reminders.

 

InterNations.org

Sponsorship by Employer

Many green card holders that I know got the green card through their employer. Your employer will have to proof that you are valuable to the company and that they couldn’t find an American that could do your job. Documentation will have to be provided that they actively tried to find people and held job interviews. Also somebody has to pay all the filing and legal fees, so if your employer isn’t willing to pay for it you could maybe offer to pay parts of it as an incentive. I’m sure it’ll open up some opportunities for both parties. Win-win!

 

Invest a Million Bucks

You don’t have a million of spare change? Well here’s a half off deal: immigration laws in states with a high unemployment rate only require an investment of $500,000 in a commercial enterprise. You’ll then get a temporary green card and have to be invested for a minimum of 2 years. During that time your investment needs to create at least 10 permanent full-time jobs.

 

Asylum and Refugees


Foreign nationals who believe they are going to be prosecuted in their home country on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in particular social groups or political opinion, if they return to their country, can apply for asylum in the US. If granted, they’ll receive a green card.

 

There are a few more ways to get a green card (being a diplomat, getting adopted, having resided in US since 1972), but the 5 above are the most common ones.

 


How to Get a Green Card is a great handbook that helps you understand all the requirements for getting a green card before starting your application.
Do you know about any other ways to get a green card that is not mentioned above? Please comment below.

 

48 Responses to “5 Ways to Get a Green Card”

  1. alain ngudia kale says:

    Hello! I m from congo temporaly residing in south africa
    Due to potical opinion and then here its
    Realy difficult for me to get a refuger status
    Reason why I need some help from you

    ALAIN MARC KALENGAYI

    • Dan says:

      Alain, unfortunately I’m not an attorney and can’t give you any legal advice.
      My site is merely to give ideas and help to get people better adjusted to their new life in the U.S.
      I hope you’ll find a way to fulfill your dream. Here’s a link to give you some more information about the Refugee process:
      http://1.usa.gov/9ut1UP

  2. Adebowale olujide says:

    Thanks for your response, I really appreciate you.
    I could not think of any other way to get a green card.
    I will wait till October this year as rightly said by you if there will be any luck. And if there is any way you could assist I will appreciate it much.
    Thanks

  3. Jan says:

    I have one question, If i win that green card, does my wife obtain one too ?

  4. Alex says:

    I have two B.Sc. degrees (Mathematics (GPA 3.95/4.00), Molecular Biotechnology (GPA 3.98/4.00)) and I am about to get an M.Sc. in Mathematics (GPA 4.00/4.00) from a German university. I will enter a PhD program here this or next year and expect to graduate within two years. I am 24 years old and an Austrian citizen. What are my best options to obtain a Green Card?

  5. Mohammed says:

    Good day Dan,

    I am Mohammed. I’m 22 years old. I’m from Saudi Arabia. I really love America and I want to live and work in the States. I am DYING to be in America. I don’t know what’s the best way to immigrate. I am studying Petroleum Engineering. I will graduate in 2016. I’m thinking about taking my master’s degree in America then apply for a job there. Is it possible that I can find a job in America immediately after graduation? or it’s better that I finish my master’s then apply for a job? I don’t know what’s better. Could you please help me? Thank you.

    • Dan says:

      Hi Mohammed,
      Studying petroleum engineering sounds very interesting and I wish you best of luck to fulfill your dream of moving to the US. Is being a few months abroad part of your study? If so, try to get to the US to gather some first experience. If not, don’t worry. Just keep searching the job boards and/or reach out to potential employers and ask about internship programs. Maybe you’re lucky and there is an opening.
      In the meantime, save up enough money so that you can pay for your flights and living expenses for the first little while in the US. No matter if you’re studying there or doing an internship, you will have to support yourself.

      Good luck!

      • Mohammed says:

        Thanks Dan for responding. I will try to find internships for non-American students outside America, but I don’t know where to start. I think that my only opportunity is to complete my master’s degree in America, then search for a job. Another thought I have is to start my career in Saudi Arabia then try to find a job in America. The problem with the second option is that I can’t wait to leave this country and go to America. I can’t live here. What are your thoughts about this? Thank you again.

        • Dan says:

          I think the more experience you have the more valuable you are for American employers. Maybe you find an employer in the U.S. sooner. If not, don’t worry. Just keep doing what you’re doing in Saudi Arabia, gain more experience and keep never take your eyes off your goal. Also keep studying potential job descriptions and if there are requirements that you cannot yet fulfill, keep working on them and expand your skill set. Also, keep trying out for the greencard lottery. If you’re lucky you’ll win and then it’s a totally different situation.

  6. frank says:

    hi man hope you doing good man i have a lot of friends in USA but they are little old what do i do to get in a USA i am a developer &
    animator.

  7. Kirsty says:

    Hey Dan,

    My mum was born in the USA but only lived there for a couple of months, she currently has a British passport and an American passport, she has also got US citizenship but she lives here in the UK, that being said would I be able to get a green card with my mum being an American citizen or not because she lives here?

    Cheers

    Kirsty

    • Dan says:

      Hi Kirsty,

      Congrats, because if your Mum is a US citizen, it will be pretty easy for you to get the greencard, since she is family.

      Dan

      • Kirsty says:

        Hey Dan,

        Even if she lives here and not in America.

        Kirsty

        • Dan says:

          This should not matter. When you think about people who win the greencard lottery and don’t even live in the US, they don’t have a US residence either.
          Regardless, you probably should ask an immigration specialist to make sure you submit everything the US immigration service needs from you, because I don’t know all the ins and outs about this process.
          Good luck! :)

  8. abdirahman says:

    hi dan am from somalia and i finish my college am staying in south africa for bad life and i would like to get a green card my question is when is going to start for a green card for this year 2014 by wish u the best

    • Dan says:

      It’s going to be later this year around October/November. Follow me on Facebook because I usually give everybody a heads up when the US government opens up the new greencard form.

  9. Eric says:

    Hi, my name is eric and I’m from Nigeria. I want to file for asylum due to the numerous acts of terrorism going on in my country. I’ve been in the US for 8 months now and I arrived legally on an F1 status. I would like to know what would happen if I fall out of immigration status after I submit the asylee form and If I would be deported because I am no longer in status. Also if I am denied but I remain in status with my F1 visa, does the denial affect me in anyway? Thank you.

  10. monica says:

    Hi Dan,
    Political situation gets worse in my country and that’s why I applied very quickly for master degree in France and US(I believe it’s the fastest way to obtain visa and get out of here). I want to apply for asylum in US.

    I got admission from an accredited university in France and also one university in US. I want to go to France for one year master and then going to US and applying for asylum. I have a question and highly appreciate if you can kindly help me. Is studying in France has negative impact on applying for asylum in US? Is it better to go to US in a first place or there is no difference?

    Many thanks in advance

    • Dan says:

      Monica, I really don’t know the ins and out on how the U.S. goverment decides about giving somebody asylum or not. Personally, I don’t think it matters if you were studying in France before applying for asylum in the U.S.
      Fact is that you are afraid to go back or stay in your home country.

      Good luck!

  11. Mohammed Belal Uddinn says:

    Hi Dan, good day. Fortunately I discovered this site. I found that giving your valuable suggestion you are doing very good for people. I am a graduate nurse and I am a MPH degree holder. I am looking for a good chance. Hope you will give me a valuable advice about working opportunity in the USA.

    Regards
    Mohammed Belal Uddin
    Assistant Professor of Research
    North East Nursing Colege
    Dist. Syhet
    Bangladesh

    • Dan says:

      Mohammed, since I am not a job agency or immigration lawyer, the only advice I can give you is to search the American job boards for companies that A) hire people with your profession and B) would have a benefit of you being bilingual. There are millions of people looking for jobs, that are already in the country, so it’s very tough to find an employer who would pay for a visa and bring somebody in from abroad.

      Good luck!

  12. jessica says:

    hi Dan,
    I don’t know what to do. I’m kind of lost and looked around a lot. any information or ides, or suggestions with be greatly appreciated. I have a boyfriend lives in Agadir, Morocco (20) and I live in California USA (18). we known each other for 4 years but stated dating. we have never met, but Skype and text all the time. I really want to met him and he wants to meet me to, and live together. is there a fast ways to get him here? or just here to stay with me?
    – thank you

    • Dan says:

      Hi Jessica,

      Personally, I would start out with him visiting you on a tourist visa, just to finally meet him in person and get to know each other better. You’re still very young, so I’m not sure if marriage should be an option yet. It would for sure be the easiest way for him to immigrate, but that is a life decision that only you can make. The other option is what I usually recommend others who dream of working in the U.S.: Polish your skill set, write a great resume and start finding an employer who would be willing to sponsor you (in that case your boyfriend) for a work visa. Maybe an internship would be a good way for A) be together and B) gain valuable work and life experience in the U.S.
      Sometimes this is the first step in finding a visa sponsor.

      Good luck!

  13. Rizwan says:

    Hi there, I just wanted some clarification regarding the green card lottery, if I win the lottery and my wife and I decide to come to the USA. What are the chances of getting good employment there. How long does it take and what are the usual procedures involved. We are both 23 years of age and have post graduate diploma level education in Economics/Accounting and Management/Accounting. It seems quite risky to enter a new country without any place to stay or employment. What’s the usual procedure for the winners of the green card lottery.

    • Dan says:

      Hi Rizwan, I would never recommend to just move to the US and just take it from there. I like to play it safe and do as much as I can in advance to ensure a seamless transition to living in a new country. I would for example reach out to potential employers first to make sure one of you has a job when you move. Without a job you won’t last long in the US, unless you have rich parents. The greencard alone doesn’t do you any good, it is just a permission to legally stay and work in the US.

  14. Akmal says:

    Hi Dan! I have some questions. If, my parents will play greencard and they are declare our names too. Could we play Greencard again in this year ? me and my brother apart from theirs ?I’m 21 years old. Brother is 20. I want to say , is it possible? each one person in our family will play green card and will declare each other? Or it’s forbidden? Thank you. that’s all!

    • Dan says:

      Hi Akmal, I assume you mean the Greencard Lottery with “play greencard”. Every person in your household can participate in the Greencard Lottery, if they are at least 21 years old. For example my wife and I both took a chance, because only one of us has to win it. Since we’re married the greencard winner would sponsor the spouse.
      On your case your parents would sponsor you and vice versa, depending who wins, if you win. Good luck. The next Greencard Lottery won’t open until October 2015 though.

  15. din says:

    hi i want to study and work in usa but i dont know how to do? can you give some information please.

  16. Shamsullah Khan says:

    I want to go to america i am from afghanistan i am afraid here some teririst thraten me what i do i will study there and job alsa help me said to all world help me i am afriad

  17. sherece says:

    hey,Dan I live here in the usa . Im in love with a man from a different country. Im 29 . i met him here visiting at 27. i feel in love with him and we been keeping in touch.we want to marry .. what do i do . what do i need. its killing me

  18. Beau says:

    Hi i’m Beau drom The Netherlands and i’m A welder of i Search for welding job in Houdton TX than i think by my self is it easy for my to get a green card because there are many offers for welders!
    I hope that it easiers is because I want to life in Houston TX and I love the American culture and life style

  19. Waseem says:

    I am not American citizen .I am outside of US, My son is three years old born in US and hold US passport how he can give me green card or to his mother or brothers.

    • Dan says:

      Your son will have to be at least 21 until he can get a greencard for immediate family members. It’s the same for me. I’m German and my daughter (6 yrs) is born in the U.S. I’ll have to wait until she’s 21 to get a greencard through her.

  20. sherece says:

    I would truly appreciate your response.

  21. shola says:

    hi dan, am a Nigerian schooling in Republic of Benin, am in my final year graduating this year, I am thinking of doing my masters degree in USA and I want to live permanently there, what kind of visa will I apply for and how do I get my work permit? Thanks

  22. Jason says:

    Hey there. I’m currently working as a Primary (Elementary) School teacher here in Melbourne as a Sub, and also work down on the docks occasionally. I have degree and a couple diplomas, do you think I’d be in with a reasonable shot of getting a Green Card for the US? I’m not sure where to work or if I should even look for the same type of work there.

    J.

  23. Foysal says:

    If I want to buy a house and live,How to get green card .

  24. thakur says:

    hey I am a Welder from Nepal Can I get a job in USA?/

  25. karen says:

    2 questions – I am currently completing my Bachelor of Science in Holistic Medicine – is this a job that will get me in to the U.S ? ( I am Currently living in Canada)
    second question – if my grandmother was a US citizen ( she passed away some years ago) would that in any way make me eligible to get a Green Card?

  26. Nelsa says:

    hi, recently i came with my family to US,and i have two sons who are minors and are going to US government school, is there any hope for me and my children for future greencard,according to you any other idea to apply for green card, and how long it takes.
    thankyou

  27. Mrs.Ade says:

    hi dan, can someone that already have tourist visa of USA can apply for this green card?

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