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Four Ways to Apply for a Green Card

Legal Permanent Resident (“LPR”)

  • What is a green card?

–Allows foreign nationals to work in the US for any employer

–Permits self-employment

–Cannot vote

–Can be deported if commit a crime that would rise to the level of deportation

Immigration Agencies

-U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

-Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

-Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Other Agencies:

–Department of State (“DOS”) issues visas at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad

–Department of Labor (“DOL”) oversees H-1B and involved in green card through employment process


  • Immediate Family, spouse and children of a U.S. Citizen (USC) means no wait
  • Unmarried sons and daughters of USC’s 21 years or older (1st Preference)
  • Parents of a USC, if citizen 21 years old (1st Preference)
  • Spouses & unmarried, minor sons & daughters of Permanent Residents (2A Preference)
  • Unmarried Sons and Daughters over 21 (2B Preference)
  • Married sons and daughters of USC’s 21 or older (3rd Preference)
  • Brothers & sisters of USC (4th Preference)

Family Visa Bulletin
August 2010

main ways 1

Diversity Visa Lottery

  • High school degree required
  • 55,000 limit per fiscal year
  • Country limit of 7%

Diversity Visa Lottery
August 2010

main ways 2

Asylee/Refugee: Fleeing Persecution

  • Refugee applies from outside the U.S.
  • Asylee applies from within the U.S.
  • Must establish well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.


  • EB-1: Extraordinary Ability, National Interest Waiver, Multi-national Executive or Manager
  • EB-2: Outstanding Researcher, Professional with an Advanced Degree
  • EB-3: Professional or Skilled Worker
  • EB-4: Special immigrants such as reacquisition of citizenship, religious workers
  • EB-5: Investor program

Employment Visa Bulletin
August 2010

main ways 3


  • Alphabet soup of visas: A, B-1/B-2, C, E-1, E-2, E-3, F-1, H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, J-1, K, L-1A, L-1B, M-1, O-1, P-1, R-1, U and V visas
  • H-1B main visa-apply abroad or from US like many international students seeking to change status in U.S. to work after graduation
  • Long waits for green card/permanent residency
  • Visa Bulletin