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How do I get a green card?

How do I get a green card?

How to Get A Green Card

Daily, people contact our immigration office asking "how can I get a green card?". Below are the most common methods to obtain permanent residency in the United States, which will lead to United States Citizenship.

Green Card Through Family

The most common way people receive a green card in the United States is through a family petition. A family member who is a United States Citizen can petition for their spouse, parents, children and siblings. If the family member is a permanent resident, he or she can only petition for their children or spouse. In many circumstances, be prepared to wait a long time until your priority date becomes current. For immediate family members such as a spouse, see our blog on "How to get a Green Card Through Marriage."

Green Card Through Employer

Another way one can obtain permanent residency is if their employer petitions for them through a process known as PERM Labor Certification. Once this process is complete and the requirements met, you will be able to obtain permanent residency in the United States.

Green Card Through the Diversity (DV) Lottery

A select few are lucky enough to be selected in the annual State Department's Diversity Lottery. This method is not available for people from every countries, although most countries are eligible. To enroll in the DV lotto, visit the US Department of State Registration Site. Registration is conducted annually between October and November.


There are two programs immigration investment options. The most commonly known is the EB-5 program, sometimes referred to as the "$1,000,000 green card" requires an investment of $500,000 or $1,000,000. This process is quite complex and requires that you place your money at risk and create ten full time jobs for US employees. Another way which does not directly lead to a green card is the E-2 visa, which allows you to remain in the United States so long as you are operating a bona fide business.

Victims of Crime (U Visa)

For some, the options above are not available. However, a skilled immigration lawyer may be able to pinpoint events in your past that may make you eligible for a U visa. A U-visa requires that you be a victim of crime, suffer harm, and help in the prosecution of the accused.


Some individuals have left their home countries not because they wanted to, but because they had to. Usually, this is due to fear of being harmed, often referred to as "persecution." An approved asylum application will lead to a green card.

Extraordinary Ability or National Interest Waiver

Other people possess great success in their carreers or can other contribute to the national interest of the United States. These individuals can self-petition under an EB-1 program or through a national interest waiver.


The above list is not exhausitive, but lists the most common methods of obtaining a green card in the United States, which will eventually lead to citizenship. Each method is complex which requires thorough examination and preparation by an immigration lawyer. Contact a skilled green card attorney today to discuss which option, if any, is available to you.


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