Eligibility Criteria for Green Cards in United States

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Eligibility Criteria for Green Cards

You must fit into one of the following categories to apply for a Green Card. Once you’ve found a category that fits your scenario, click on the link to learn more about the eligibility requirements, how to apply, and whether you can bring family members with you.

Green Card by way of family

You may be eligible to apply as a…

If you are a…

Immediate relative of a U.S. citizen

• Spouse of a U.S. citizen  

• Unmarried child under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen  

• Parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old 

Other relatives of a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident under the family-based preference categories

• You are a family member of a U.S. citizen, which means you are:

• You are a 21-year-old or older unmarried son or daughter of a US citizen.

• U.S. citizen’s married son or daughter

• A U.S. citizen’s brother or sister who is at least 21 years old

• You are a family member of a lawful permanent resident, which means you are:

• A lawful permanent resident’s spouse

• A lawful permanent resident’s unmarried kid under the age of 21

• A lawful permanent resident’s unmarried son or daughter who is 21 years old or older.

Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or the fiancé(e)’s child

• Person admitted to the United States as the fiancée(e) of a United States citizen (K-1 nonimmigrant)

• Person admitted to the United States as the child of a U.S. citizen’s fiancée(e) (K-2 nonimmigrant)

Widow(er) of a U.S. citizen

• You were married to your U.S. citizen spouse at the time your spouse died, and you were a widow or widower of a U.S. citizen.

VAWA self-petitioner– victim of battery or extreme cruelty

• Spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who has been abused

• Abused kid of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (under 21 years old)

 • Abused parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident

Green card through employment:-

You may be eligible to apply as a…

If you are a…

Immigrant worker

• You are a first-choice immigrant worker, which means you:

• Have exceptional aptitude in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics;

• Are an outstanding professor or researcher; or

• Are a global manager or executive who fits specified qualifications.

• You are a second-preference immigrant worker, which means you: o Work in a field that needs an advanced degree, o Have extraordinary aptitude in the sciences, arts, or business, or o Are applying for a national interest waiver.

• You are a third-preference immigrant worker, which means you are either:

• A skilled worker (meaning your job requires a minimum of 2 years of training or work experience), or

• A skilled worker (meaning your job requires a minimum of 2 years of training or work experience), or

• A skilled worker (meaning your job requires a minimum of 2 years of training or

• A professional (meaning you have a bachelor’s degree in the United States or a foreign equivalent and are a member of the profession), or

• An unskilled worker (one who performs unskilled labor that requires less than two years of training or experience)

Physician National Interest Waiver

Are a physician who agrees to work full-time in clinical practice in a chosen underserved area for a specified amount of time and meets all other eligibility requirements?

Immigrant investor

Have invested or are actively considering investing at least $1 million (or $500,000 in a targeted employment region) in a new commercial venture in the United States that will employ at least 10 people.

Green card as a special immigrant

You are eligible to apply as a…

If you…

Religious worker

Are you a member of a religious denomination who wishes to work for a nonprofit religious organization in the United States?

Special Immigrant Juvenile

Are you a minor who requires the assistance of a juvenile court because you have been mistreated, abandoned, or neglected by your parents

Afghanistan or Iraq
national

• Were an Afghan or Iraqi translator or interpreter for the U.S. government;

• Were an Iraqi employed by or for the U.S. government  in Iraq on or after March 20, 2003, for at least one year; or

• Were an Afghan employed by the U.S. government or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

International broadcaster

Are coming to work with the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) or a USAGM grantee in the United States as a member of the media.

Employee of an international organization or family member or NATO-6 employee or family member  

Are a retired officer or employee of a qualified international organization or NATO, or are a family member of an employee of such an organization.

Green card through a refugee or asylee status

You are eligible to apply as a…

If you…

Asylee

Have been given refuge for at least a year

Refugee

Were granted refugee status at least a year ago

Green card for human trafficking and crime victims

You are eligible to apply as a…

If you…

Human trafficking victim

Currently hold a T nonimmigrant visa

Crime victim

Currently hold a U nonimmigrant visa

Green card for victim of abuse

You are eligible to apply as a…

If you are a…

VAWA self-petitioner– victim of battery or extreme cruelty

• A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident’s mistreated spouse

• A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident’s abused kid (under 21 years old)

• A U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident’s abusive parent

Special Immigrant Juvenile

Are you an SIJ child who has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by your parents?

Under the Cuban Adjustment Act, a mistreated spouse or kid (victim of battering or extreme cruelty) is protected.

A Cuban native or citizen’s battered spouse or kid

Under the Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act, an abused spouse or child (victim of battering or excessive cruelty) (HRIFA)

The battered spouse or kid of a lawful permanent resident who was granted a Green Card under HRIFA.

Green card through other categories

You are eligible to apply as a…

If you…

Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF)

Since November 20, 2014, or

Are you a qualifying Liberian national’s spouse, child under the age of 21, or unmarried son or daughter over the age of 21?

Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

In the Department of State’s diversity visa lottery, we were chosen for a diversity visa.

Cuban Adjustment Act

• Are a Cuban citizen or native, or

• Are the spouse or child of a Cuban citizen or native.

Under the Cuban Adjustment Act, a mistreated spouse or kid (victim of battering or extreme cruelty) is protected.

Are a Cuban native or citizen who has been assaulted by your spouse or child?

Dependent status under the HRIFA

Are the spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident who was granted a Green Card under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act? (HRIFA)

HRIFA protects an abused spouse or child (victim of battery or excessive cruelty).

Are you the abused spouse or kid of a lawful permanent resident who got their Green Card because to HRIFA?

Lautenberg parolee

As a Lautenberg parolee, you were allowed to enter the United States.

Indochinese Parole Adjustment Act of 2000

Are a native or citizen of Vietnam, Kampuchea (Cambodia), or Laos who were paroled into the United States from Vietnam under the Orderly Departure Program, a refugee camp in East Asia, or a UNHCR-run displaced person camp in Thailand on or before October 1, 1997.

American Indian born in Canada

You were born in Canada, have at least 50% American Indian blood, and live in the United States as your primary residence.

Person born in the United States to a foreign diplomat

Were you born in the United States to a foreign diplomatic officer stationed in the country at the time of your birth?

Section 13 (diplomat)

Were stationed as a foreign ambassador or high-ranking official in the United States and are unable to return home

Green Card by Registrar

If you have lived in the United States continuously since before January 1, 1972, you may be eligible to apply for a Green Card.