How to Get a Green Card

You may qualify for a green card (GC) in one or more of the following ways:

green card

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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Consular Processing

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:

Related Pages:




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