A green card is a permanent visa for foreign nationals. If you are not a U.S. citizen but reside in the U.S., you can obtain a green card in one of three ways.
- Marriage: If you marry a U.S. citizen, you will be qualified for green card status. You will first be given conditional permanent residence. However, after two years of residency in the U.S., you can then convert to permanent resident status.
- Employment: If your employer sponsors you, you may be qualified for a green card if you have very specific skills and meet very stringent eligibility criteria. These types of visas are extremely rare.
- Immediate Family: If you are related to someone who is a U.S. citizen, they can petition on your behalf for green card status. Immediate family members include spouses, children, and parents.
To obtain a green card, you first need to be admitted into the U.S. as a legal immigrant. Then you need to have a U.S. citizen sponsor your green card application (employer, immediate family member or spouse). Then you must file your petition at the U.S. embassy. Finally, you must meet all eligibility requirements. These might include taking a test at the embassy on American history and government.