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From employment to asylum: The different types of green cards

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inmigración, ciudadanía, documentación, migrantes, concepto / immigration, citizenship, documentation, migrants, concept
Types of green cards (Photo: Mundo Archive)
  • The different types of green cards.
  • Learn more about the path to US citizenship.
  • What immigrants need to know.

There are different types of green cards, each designed for specific circumstances, and each with its own set of eligibility criteria and processing timelines.

But before you continue reading, we invite you to listen to Sargento El Podcast BY CLICKING HERE.


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Employment-based green cards

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Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

For many ambitious individuals around the world, career opportunities serve as a stepping stone to settling in the U.S.

And it’s not just about landing any job — it’s about securing a position that will make you eligible for an employment-based green card.

Companies in sectors like healthcare, engineering, and information technology often sponsor employees for this particular type of permanent residency.

These green cards are a win-win, beneficial for both the employee and the employer looking for specialized skills.

Family-sponsored green cards

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Photo: Mundo Archive

Family reunification is a cornerstone of the U.S. immigration policy, making family-sponsored green cards a popular choice.

If you have family members who are U.S. citizens or already hold green cards, they might be able to sponsor your own green card application.

But securing a family-sponsored green card is not always swift; the process often involves long waiting periods that can span several years.

This is particularly true for extended family members, where quotas and limitations further extend the waiting time.

Green cards for asylum seekers

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Photo: Mundo Archive

Sadly, not everyone is looking to move to the U.S. for happier reasons like employment or family.

Many individuals are escaping life-threatening conditions, persecution, or violence in their home countries.

These asylum seekers can apply for a green card after they have been in the U.S. for at least one year, provided they meet certain eligibility criteria.

While the path is fraught with challenges and a considerable amount of legal scrutiny, it nonetheless provides a life-saving opportunity for a new beginning.

Special immigrant green cards

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Photo: Mundo Archive

Even if you don’t fit into the more common categories of employment or family-based green cards, you might still have options.

The United States offers special immigrant green cards for particular groups such as religious workers, employees of international organizations, and juveniles who require protection.

The eligibility criteria for these green cards are specific and stringent, but they offer an alternative route for those who might otherwise fall through the cracks of the immigration system.

Types of green cards: Investors

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Photo: Mundo Archive

If you have the financial means, you might be interested in the U.S.’s investor green card, formally known as the EB-5 visa.

This path to permanent residency requires an investment in a U.S. business, usually to the tune of $500,000 to $1 million.

The investment not only has to be substantial but also must create or preserve jobs for U.S. workers.

For those who can afford it, this is often a faster route to obtaining a green card compared to employment or family-based options.

Types of green cards: The diversity visa lottery

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Photo: Mundo Archive

Commonly known as the «green card lottery,» the diversity visa program offers a unique opportunity.

Every year, the U.S. government holds a lottery for prospective immigrants from countries that have low rates of immigration to the United States.

Winning the lottery doesn’t automatically grant you a green card, but it does allow you to apply for one without the need for a job offer or family sponsor.

It’s a game of chance, yet for some, it represents their best opportunity for U.S. residency.

Temporary green cards

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Life is rarely a straight path, and sometimes you might find yourself needing a more transitional form of residency.

That’s where temporary green cards come into play.

These are often given in cases of recent marriages to U.S. citizens or pending adjustments of status.

But keep in mind, a temporary green card is not a long-term solution; you will need to meet certain conditions to convert it into a permanent one.

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