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How To Get a Green Card in the United States
Do you want to know how to get a green card? If you want to become a United States Legal Permanent Resident (LPR), you will probably need someone to file a petition on your behalf. The government only grants LPR status to non-citizens who fall into certain specific categories:
Family-Sponsored Preferences or non-citizens who are related to a US Citizen (USC) or an LPR;
Employment Sponsored Preferences or non-citizens who immigrate through employment.
How to Get a Green Card: Family-Sponsored Preferences
Family-sponsored preference emphasizes certain relationships to a United States’ citizen or legal permanent resident. It also gives them preference over other petitions. If you are immediate relatives of a USC or LPR, that family member can subsequently file a petition for you. In addition, the government will issue your green card immediately once they approve your petition.
An immediate relative is defined as a spouse, unmarried child under 21, or parents of a US citizen (if a child is over 21).
If you are not an “immediate relative,” you can still petition, but the process takes longer for the following four relationships with a USC or LPR:
1st Preference: Unmarried sons and daughters of USC
2nd Preference: Spouses and children of LPR’s OR unmarried sons and daughters of LPR’s
3rd Preference: Married sons and daughters of USC
4th Preference: Brothers and sisters of over-21 USC
The wait time for your green card varies depending upon the preference and your country of origin. It also depends on whether your sponsor is a citizen or an LPR. Since the US allows every country an equal number of immigrants annually, the wait times are long in countries where a lot of people want to immigrate to the US. If you don’t fall into any of these categories, you may still have the ability to obtain LPR status through one of the Employment Based Preferences.’