Green Card

“I still remember the day I received approval for my Green Card. I felt relieved. Overnight, I had a different status in the society. For example, I could then apply for student loans to attend law school.” – Aparna Davé

There are four different ways of obtaining a green card or lawful permanent residency in the United States, these include: Employment based immigrants, Family sponsored immigrants (including Persons not subject to annual Green Card quota), Green Card Lottery/Diversity Immigrants and Refugees/Asylees.

Employment based Immigrants

(A) First employment-based preference (about 40,000 annual visas) for “Priority Workers”

The three types of priority workers include:

  1. Aliens of ” Extraordinary Ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics (no labor certification required) (no offer of employment required);

  2. Outstanding Researchers and Professors (no labor certification required); and

  3. Multinational Executives and Managers (L-1 visa holders) (no labor certification required).

(B) Second employment-based preference (about 40,000 annual visas plus visas not used in the first preference)

  1. Aliens of “exceptional ability” in the sciences, arts or business;

  2. Advanced Degree Professionals.

Foreign professionals who have at least a Masters degree or can prove exceptional ability in certain fields will qualify under this category. A person can qualify for a National Interest Waiver from Labor Certification if he/she can submit evidence of prospective contribution to improve U.S. economy, healthcare, environment, education, housing and culture. A person can obtain a permanent residency fairly quickly under this status, however the supporting documents have to be very well prepared.

(C) Third employment-based preference (about 40,000 annual visas plus visas not used in the first and the second preference)

  1. Professionals having a bachelor’s degree not qualifying in the second preference;

  2. Skilled workers who have at least two years of training and experience.

To qualify under this category, the person requires to get a Labor Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor certifying that the employer was unsuccessful in recruiting qualified U.S. workers, and that the foreign workers skills are pertinent to the U.S. employer.

(D) Religious workers: Priests, religious professionals and workers can qualify for a permanent status if they meet certain requirements.

(E) Investors: Persons who can invest one million dollars or $500,000 in certain high unemployment areas in a business venture in the U.S., and create ten new jobs for U.S. workers will qualify fore a legal permanent status.

Family based Immigration

The U.S. immigration law speaks about family unification. The law is designed to help families stay together. A permanent resident of the U.S. or an U.S. citizen can apply for certain relatives come to the U.S. with green cards. This is called Family Sponsorship.

A person may qualify for a Family Based green card if he/she is the Immediate Relative of an U.S. citizen. Under this category there is no limit to the number of immigrant visas issued each year. A person may also qualify in a Family Based Preference group for which there is a limit, or quota, of 226,000 per year divided among the four preferences.

The immediate relatives of U.S. citizen category include the following:

  • Spouses of a U.S. Citizen;

  • Unmarried child (under 21) of a U.S. citizen;

  • Parent of a U.S. citizen where the citizen is 21 years or older;

  • Spouse of a deceased U.S. citizen, where at the time of the citizen’s death, the spouses have been married at least two years and were not legally, separated.

The Family Based Preferences are:

  • First Family Based Preference: Adult unmarried sons and daughters (age 21 or older) of U.S. citizens

  • Second Family Based Preference A: Spouse and unmarried sons and daughters under age 21 of permanent residents;

  • Second Family Based Preference B: Unmarried children of any age of permanent residents;

  • Third Family Based Preference: Married children of U.S. citizens;

  • Fourth Relative Preference: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens where the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age or older.

Green Card Lottery/Diversity Immigrants

Each year, the U.S. government gives 55,000 visas to applicants who are natives of low-admission countries. These are countries from which less than 50,000 people have immigrated during the preceding five years.

No matter where a person currently resides, if a person is a native of the qualifying country, as the law defines native under the lottery rules, a person may win the lottery. To get more information on the lottery, please contact my office.


Asylees and refugees are people who have a well founded fear that they will be persecuted in their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

Refugees apply for refugee status at an INS office outside of the United States. If they are successful, the INS gives them travel documents that they use to enter the U.S. Asylees are people who are already in the U.S. or at an U.S. port of entry when they apply to live in the U.S.

Beginning April 1, 1997, a person must file for asylum within one year after arrival in the U.S. The only exception is if a person can prove that changed circumstances in the home country or extraordinary circumstances prevented the person from filing within the one-year limit.

The Law Office of Aparna Davé can assist you in any query related to obtaining immigrant visas in any of the categories.

For further information, send your query to Aparna Davé . Your personal information will remain confidential.

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