Getting a green card is a difficult task. Not only will you have to meet certain requirements, but there is a limit on the number of ways to get a green card. However, your family, employment, and other factors may help bolster your chances.

Get started Browse Our Legal Forms Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

How to Get a Green Card

Currently, there are several different ways you can get your green card:

  • Family Based: Having a spouse, child, parent, or sibling that is a current U.S. citizen; or current green card holders, such as an unmarried child or spouse.
  • Employment Based: Researchers, professors, nurses, physical therapists, or those with advanced high education degrees may qualify for employment-based green cards.
  • Green Card Lottery: A random lottery wherein 50,000 immigrants are chosen annually to receive a green card.
  • Investors: Amount of $500,000 to $1,000,000 invested in commercial enterprise within the country. These investments must include the creation of five or ten full-time jobs.
  • Adoption: Anyone under the age of 16 that is adopted to a current U.S. citizen or green card holder can apply for an adoption-based green card.
  • Registry: Any foreign nationals that have lived within the U.S. since 1972.
  • Diplomats: Any foreign diplomats that can’t return to their country or are unwilling due to persecution.
  • Asylum: Persecution based on race, religion, or nationality may be cause for a green card to be granted.
  • Refugee: Those that are displaced from their home country or have been persecuted in their home country in the past.
  • Special: Circumstances that are deemed special by the government. This may include religious workers, medical graduates, or former employees of the government.

Determining eligibility may require legal advice. If you have any questions about how to get a green card, we offer legal advice. Contacting a lawyer to determine the ideal ways to get a green card based on your criteria is advised.

Once you have determined your eligibility, you will need to proceed with getting a green card. Oftentimes, you may find that some eligibility categories are more beneficial than others.

File a Petition

Filing a petition will be the next step in the process. You will need to have someone file on your behalf in the case of family or employment-based petitions. Petitions are simply forms that must be filled out and sent to the government.


Some eligibility categories, outside of family with immediate relatives, will have a limit on the number of green cards available. You will be able to have your visa put in queue so that when availability opens, you will be considered.

Upon Availability

When an availability position opens, you must file a Form I-485 application. This application can be filed immediately if filing under an immediate family member. A filing fee will be required in most cases and is currently $985. A biometric fee may also be required which has an additional cost of $85.

After your Form I-485 has been filed, you will need to wait for further instruction. This may include a biometrics test, an interview, and ultimately the decision on your eligibility. If a rejection is given, you will have the right to appeal the decision.

Get started Browse Our Legal Forms Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Browse Our Legal Forms Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.