For many who come to the United States for temporary reasons, such as education or travel, the desire to remain here and make the U.S. their home is strong. Even those who have not visited the U.S. may hear from family and friends about the many benefits of life in the U.S. Foreign nationals who wish to live in this country must first obtain a permanent resident card, also known as a green card.
Obtaining a green card has its challenges, including the fact that not everyone who applies is eligible for entry to the U.S. Nevertheless, the government offers numerous options for foreign nationals to apply for green cards based on the following:
- Employment and investing opportunities
- Familial relationships with U.S. citizens or green card holders
- Membership in religious denominations coming to the U.S. to work
- Work assignments for certain media agencies
- Status as a juvenile who has suffered abuse or abandonment by a parent or a spouse who is a victim of domestic violence in the U.S.
- Status as a holder of certain nonimmigrant visas who are victims of crimes or human trafficking
- Status as an asylee or refugee in the U.S. for at least one year
- Continuous presence in the U.S. since January 1972 or earlier
There are additional green card programs, including some for immigrants from specific countries. Determining eligibility is the first step, and in many cases, the applicant will need a sponsor who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Each program has its own set of forms the applicant must complete. It can be a complicated process but worth it for the opportunities it opens for those who are successful.