These days, immigration issues seem to make headlines more than they ever have before. Many non-citizens are growing concerned about their chances of staying in the country, and they may want to know what their immigration options are.
If you are interested in securing your stay in the United States, it may be worth exploring the possibility of getting a Green Card. A Green Card grants you many of the same rights as a U.S. citizen, allowing you to legally stay in the country for an indefinite period. To find out if you are eligible, you may want to review the various categories that could qualify you:
- Family -- You may be eligible for a Green Card through your relationship with a U.S. citizen, either as an immediate family member, a spouse, a fiancé or a widower. This includes parents of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old, as well as unmarried children of U.S. citizens.
- Employment -- An employer may also decide to sponsor your Green Card based on a company's need for your skills. An immigration attorney can help you and your potential employer determine what type of sponsorship you may need to legally work in the country.
- Refugee or asylee status -- If it has been one year since you were admitted as a refugee or were granted asylee status in the U.S., you may be eligible for a Green Card.
- Crime victims, including human trafficking -- Victims of human trafficking or other crimes, who currently have either a T or U nonimmigrant visa may also be eligible for permanent residency.
- Victims of abuse -- If you have been abused by your spouse or an immediate relative, and he or she is a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident or a Cuban native, you may also be eligible for a Green Card. An attorney can help you determine whether your situation qualifies.
- Special immigrants -- There are also a few special categories that could qualify you for permanent residency. They include religious workers, children who have been abused or abandoned by their parents, Afghan or Iraqi nationals who have served the U.S. government in certain ways, international news journalists, and employees of intergovernmental organizations.
Knowing which path is right for you
Every situation is unique, and there may be other special categories you could fall under. For example, you may qualify for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which is a lottery that recruits underrepresented immigrants in the United States. An experienced immigration attorney can help you understand your options, as well as help you prepare for any pathway to permanent residency you qualify for.