The 3 Most Common Ways to Obtain U.S. Permanent Residence/Green Card

Dear friends,

As many of us know, the path to US citizenship for immigrants starts with first obtaining a green card.

To commemorate the Hispanic Heritage Month, we want to address, the 3 most common ways to obtain U.S. permanent residence or the green card: Family based petitions, business or employment-based petitions, and special programs. The video and summary below explains each of these options.

1. Family based petitions

Family based green card/residency petitions involve a US Citizen or Legal Permanent resident applying for immediate family members. For example a US Legal Permanent Resident can apply for a spouse or any unmarried child. On the other hand a US Citizen, can apply for a spouse, a child (single or married), a parent or even a brother or a sister.

2. Business or employment based petitions

Business or employment based residency petitions can be filed on behalf of an employee or prospective employee, as well as an executive or even an owner of a business. For example, the owner of a business that is investing a certain level of capital in the US and providing new employment opportunities is eligible to apply for his own green card. Similarly, an employer may petition for an employee or prospective employee to obtain employment-based residency/green card and this is a great option for those who do not have a family petition available to them.

3. Special Programs

There are Special Programs under Immigration law that make green cards available for people such as those who: have been granted asylum in the US, have won the green card lottery, or have been victims of certain crimes or domestic abuse; as well as for certain juveniles who have been abandoned in the US, and for some people who have been in the US for 10 years or longer and have members of their families who are US Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents with special needs or circumstances.

More about US Residency/Green Card

Most residency or green card petitions have waiting periods of time because there is a limited number that can be given out each year and when there are not enough visas at the end of the year, the additional applicants have to wait in line, for the next set of green cards to be available the following year and so on.

Once permanent residency is approved it will remain valid as long as the person complies with the legal conditions of permanent residency, such as continuing to reside permanently in the U.S., paying taxes, obeying the law (not engaging in criminal conduct), and not remaining outside of the U.S. for a period greater than 6 months without permission.

Read more about US Residency/Green Card – U.S. Immigrant Visas

Take Action for Immigration Reform on National Hispanic Heritage Month

In this year’s presidential proclamation, President Obama says his Administration remains committed to ensuring Hispanics have every opportunity to achieve the American dream. This is why even though the President has taken actions to make the immigration system better, these actions are not a permanent fix to the broken immigration system, and both the president and his administration continue to call on Congress to pass meaningful and comprehensive immigration reform [read details here].

In our immigration law practice, we see first-hand the need for such a comprehensive immigration reform. Every day we speak with so many tax paying and law abiding immigrants that want an opportunity to live and work in the US to provide a better future for their children (many of whom have been born here), and it is heart wrenching when many times we have to tell them that there are no options, under the current law, to legalize their immigration status. As Pope Francis said it well to Congress, these families deserve our compassion and support. We encourage you to honor National Hispanic Heritage month by asking Congress to cooperate and come up with “humane immigration reform”. Please click here to communicate with your congress representatives.

You may also check our Frequently Asked Questions on Family/Marriage Residency and Employment Residency.

If you would like legal representation from one of our experienced immigration lawyers in Boston, call for an appointment at 617-303-2600, or fill our online appointment request form.

Thanks for being a loyal subscriber to our newsletter and remember we are here to assist you with any immigration, criminal or personal injury matter you encounter.


Desmond P. FitzGerald,
And the FitzGerald Law Company Team

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