You may qualify for a green card (GC) in one or more of the following ways:
Our website contains dozens of articles and videos explaining how you can qualify for permanent residence in the U.S. and how the process works.
Every year, over 1 million persons obtain green cards to live in the United States. For family-based immigrants, the annual quota is 226,000. It is 140,000 for employment-based immigrants and 55,000 for the visa lottery. Because of these annual quotas and the 7% per country cap, over 4 million persons are currently waiting in line for green cards.
When will your priority date become current? See our Visa Bulletin Predictions page.
However, there is no quota for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (Spouses, parents and children).
Obtaining permanent residence enables you to live and work in the United States for the rest of your life as long as you do not abandon your residence by staying outside the US for too long a time or engage in conduct which renders you subject to deportation. After a certain number of years after obtaining permanent residence, you can apply to naturalize and become a U.S. citizen.
You can stay up-to-date with the latest immigration laws and procedures by subscribing to our Free E-Mail Newsletter.
Adjustment of Status
Most persons who are residing in the US are eligible adjust their status to permanent residence without leaving the U.S. However, if you have ever violated your lawful immigration status, you may be eligible to adjust your status only if you: (1) Are an “immediate relative” of a U.S. citizen (Parent, spouse or child); (2) Qualify for benefits under section 245(i) of the law and pay an appropriate fine; (3) Qualify under section 245(k) of the law as an employment-based immigrant; or (4) Qualify under section 209 if you are an asylee or a refugee.
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“Mr. Shusterman and his law firm have represented my family and me very successfully. He is not only a legal guru in all things immigration but even more so he is an exceptional human being because he empathizes with his clients and cares that justice is done.”
- Maria Davari Knapp, Chicago, Illinois
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Links on this page describe the process of obtaining an immigrant visa abroad if you are either residing in a foreign country, or you do not wish to adjust status in the US. However, if you are ineligible to adjust status to permanent resident in the U.S, be sure to carefully read our section entitled Unlawful Presence Bars and Waivers before you decide whether to attempt to obtain an immigrant visa abroad.
Scroll down this page to learn how you can qualify to receive a green card, or how you can sponsor an employee or a relative for permanent residence.
How to Get a Green Card is divided into the following subtopics:
- General Information
- Special Categories of Immigrants
- Success Stories
- Green Cards: Additional Resources
- Green Card Videos
- Permanent Residence through Employment
- Permanent Residence through Family Members
- Employment Authorization Documents (EADs)
- Diversity Visa Lottery
- Section 245i
- Unlawful Presence and 3/10 Year and Permanent Bars
- Adjustment of Status
- 180-Day Portability Rule
- Consular Processing
- Child Status Protection Act
- Medical Exams for Permanent Residence
- Priority Dates
- Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ)
- Death of Immigrant’s Sponsor or Petitioner
- Multiple Family and/or Employer Petitioners
- Immigrant Classes of Admission (DHS)
- How to Apply for a Green Card (USCIS)
- Green Card-Based USCIS Forms
- Welcome to the U.S.: A Guide for New Immigrants (USCIS)
- How Do I Know What My Responsibilities Are? (USCIS)
- How Do I Change My Address With USCIS? (USCIS)
- How Do I Get a Reentry Permit? (USCIS)
- How the Survivors’ Law Works
SPECIAL CATEGORIES OF IMMIGRANTS
- Allied Health Professionals
- Asylees and Refugees
- International Adoptions
- Recent University Graduates
- Registered Nurses
- Special Immigrant Juveniles
SUCCESS STORIES – GREEN CARD
- Turning Around a Green Card Denial (Part 1)
- Turning Around a Green Card Denial (Part 2)
- A EB-1 for an Extraordinary Post-Doc
- Retaining a Priority Date with a Successor-In-Interest Employer
- Options for an Extraordinary Employee
- A Long & Winding Road to a PERM Approval
- Obtaining An O-1 Visa & Permanent Residence for a Film Director
- Overcoming an Adjustment of Status Denial
- From Humanitarian Parolee to Permanent Resident
- Obtaining Permanent Residence Through Hardship
- Overcoming the Complications of Being “Waved in”
- Getting a Green Card in Juarez (The Hard Way)
- Permanent Residence Granted to Abandoned Spouse
- Getting a Green Card Through Registry
- One Immigrant’s 20 Year Journey to a Green Card
- Green Card for a Person of Extraordinary Ability
- My First Argument Before the 9th Circuit
- Erroneous I-140 Denial is Overturned
- Green Cards through Humanitarian Reinstatement
- 245(i) – Turning Denials into Approvals
- Establishing That a Job Offer is Permanent
- The Best Laid Plans Often Go Astray
- Immigrants Who Became Permanent Residents on July 1st
- Fixing a Poorly-Handled Immigration Case (for an Accountant)
- Rules of Engagement: Obtaining a Green Card for a Fiance (the Hard Way)
- Saving a Scientist’s NIW from Revocation
- Upgrading Your Applications at DOL & CIS
- Overcoming Backlog Elimination “Centeritis”
- Brazilians Ride Skateboards to Wealth and Fame
- Demonstrating Extraordinary Ability
- Researcher and Systems Engineer: “What a Difference a Day Made”
- Professional Athlete – “Curveball: The Immigration Officer Who Knew Too Much”
- Employment-Based Immigration: Cancer Research Center
- Engineers and Nurses
- President Clinton Signs Private Bill on Behalf of Our Client Guy Taylor
- Artist Wins Right to Stay in U.S.
GREEN CARD – ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
- How to Make an Expedite Request (USCIS)
- New Health Insurance Requirement – Who Does It Apply To?
- Practice Tip: Responding to a Request for Evidence
- AAO Non-Precedent Decisions on Legalization: Application to Adjust Status from Temporary to Permanent Resident
- How Long Does It Take USCIS to Issue a GC?
- Class Action Suit Challenges Government’s Denial of TPS Holders’ GCs
- Lawsuit Asks Government to Stop Blocking Temporary Protected Status Holders from Applying for GCs
- The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program: An Overview
Decades of Immigration Experience Working for You
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.