How to Get a Green Card through Employment

Employment in the U.S. can be the basis for a Green Card.

A Green Card is an official document that proves a person’s permanent residency in the U.S. Permanent residency can be turned into U.S. citizenship after a period of time.

Most people seek permanent residency primarily because it is a step in the citizenship process, but Green Card holder has most of the same rights U.S. citizens have:

  • Green Card holders can live in the U.S. permanently
  • Green Card holders can work in the U.S. in most jobs (Some jobs, government positions, for example, are only for citizens.)
  • Green Card holders are protected by all U.S. laws

In general, there are four ways to get a Green Card through employment.

  • A Job Offer
  • An Investment
  • A Self Petition
  • A Job in a Special Category

Green Card through Job Offer

To get a Green Card through a job offer, employers must complete and file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for the person they are interested in hiring.

If the person is living inside the U.S., Form I-140 has been approved, and there is a Green Card available for this category, the person must file Form I-485, the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. The documents that must be submitted with the I-485 are the following:

  • A copy of the approval notice
  • Two color photographs taken within the last 30 days
  • Form G-325A, Biographic Data Sheet
  • Form I-693, Medical Examination
  • A letter from employer with the job offer
  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, which has been completed by the employer

If the person is living outside the U.S., he or she will be applying for a Green Card through Consular Processing. Consular Processing involves the USCIS and the Department of State and those two agencies work together to approve Form I-140 and issue the Green Card when it becomes available.

Green Card through an Investment

To get a Green Card through an Investment, a person must file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. An investor must show that he or she can invest $1,000,000 in business in the U.S.  If the business will be set-up in a targeted area of high unemployment, then the investment is at least $500,000.

If the person is inside the U.S., Form I-526 has been approved, and there is a Green Card available for this category, the person must file Form I-485, the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. The documents that must be submitted with the I-485 are the ones mentioned above.

If the person is outside the U.S., he or she will be applying for a Green Card through Consular Processing. Consular Processing involves the USCIS and the Department of State and those two agencies work together to approve Form I-526 and issue the Green Card when it becomes available.

Green Card through Self-petition

People with extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business or athletics and people who are given a National Interest Waiver do not need a job offer or an investment to get a Green Card. There are very few people who are eligible for this category: Examples are Nobel Prize winners and famous athletes.

To get a Green Card through a self-petition, people must complete and file Form I-140 on their own.

If the person is living inside the U.S., Form I-140 has been approved, and there is a Green Card available for this category, the person must file Form I-485, the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. The documents that must be submitted with the I-485 are the same ones mentioned above.

If the person is living outside the U.S., he or she will be applying for a Green Card through Consular Processing. Consular Processing involves the USCIS and the Department of State and those two agencies work together to approve Form I-140 and issue the Green Card when it becomes available.

Green Card through a Special Job

A Green Card through a Special Job can be given to someone whose profession is one of the following:

  • Afghan/Iraqi Translator
  • Armed Forces Member
  • Broadcaster
  • International Organization Employee
  • Iraqi Who Assisted the U.S. Government
  • Afghan Who Assisted the U.S. Government
  • NATO-6 Nonimmigrant
  • Panama Canal Employee
  • Physician National Interest Waiver
  • Religious Worker

To Get a Green Card through a Special Job, a person must file Form I-360, Petition for Special Immigrant. The documents that must be submitted with Form I-360 will vary depending on the job.

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