Minnesota Immigration Attorneys
What Qualifies Someone for a Green Card?
A green card allows an individual to permanently reside in the United States and eventually apply for U.S. citizenship, but it’s often very difficult for foreigners to obtain. There are several categories that may help an individual qualify for a green card. Some of these categories are more “preferred” than others, meaning that applicants who fall into the preferred categories are more likely to get a green card and get it quickly. If you or someone close to you is interested in applying for a green card for one of these reasons, it’s recommended that you contact immigration attorneys in Minnesota for more information.
- Immediate Family Member: Relatives who are immediate family members of U.S. citizens have a strong chance of being awarded a green card. This includes spouses, unmarried children (under the age of 21), adopted children (under 21), and parents of children who are U.S. citizens and under the age of 16.
- Other Family Member: Other relatives may fall into a less “preferred” category. This includes unmarried adults who are over 21 and have one parent with U.S. citizenship, spouses and children of a green card holder, and siblings of U.S. citizens.
- Employer-Sponsored Worker: Employers have the ability to sponsor immigrants for legal employment in the U.S. The highest preferences go to individuals with advanced degrees or other notable achievements, and the lowest preferences are for unskilled workers.
- Green Card Lottery: Each year, the U.S. government holds a green card lottery for foreigners who live in the countries where the fewest legal immigrants come from.
- Asylum and Refugees: Many countries, the U.S. included, give refugee status to individuals who are fleeing their home country because of persecution. An individual who is living outside the U.S. when they apply is called a refugee; an individual who applies at the U.S. border or when they are already in the country is called an asylum seeker. Common reasons for granting asylum include persecution for race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or political stance.
- Long-Time Illegal Resident: Individuals who have lived in the United States illegally for a long period of time (usually at least 10 years) may be able to apply for permanent residency. These individuals must be able to prove that their immediate family members or dependents would face “undue hardship” if they were deported.
Green card are granted for many other reasons beyond what is listed here. There are countless special cases where individuals have been granted green cards for extenuating circumstances. These special cases often involve individuals who have significant professional skills, who are the victims of a specific humanitarian crisis, or who are minors under the age of 16. In recent history, for example, many individuals who were brought to the U.S. as young children have been granted temporary legal status.
It’s important to remember that green cards are not the same thing as U.S. citizenship — they are merely one step toward becoming a citizen. For more information on this process, don’t hesitate to contact the team of Minnesota immigration attorneys at Johnston Martineau PLLP.