Immigration: Am I eligible for a green card?

For those noncitizens who are hoping to permanently live and work in the United States, a green card is essential. However, since immigration laws are complicated, the process by which a person obtains a green card is not necessarily straightforward. By understanding who is eligible to apply for a green card, those hoping to immigrate to Texas can utilize the most appropriate avenue.  

Those who have immediate family members who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents can pursue a green card through a petition made by the citizen. This process is usually much quicker than the standard approach, and most people can receive their green card upon completion of the paperwork. This category includes spouses of citizens, children younger than 21, parents, stepchildren and more. 

Extended family members -- including unmarried children over the age of 21 -- can also pursue a green card through relatives living in the U.S. The process is not as quick as with more immediate family members, though. It is also important to understand that the categories of immediate and extended relatives are specific to immigration law, and what one person might consider an immediate family member -- such as a sister or brother -- might be classified differently for legal purposes. 

Green card applicants do not necessarily need to have a relative already legally residing in America. Skilled workers may also obtain green cards to work in the U.S., filling needed positions. However, this process is limited to 140,000 people per year and there are preference categories. Those with unique skills in areas such as science, art, education and more are considered first preference. Fifth preference falls to those who intend to invest substantial amounts of money in American business. 

These are far from the only avenues available for green card applicants, but they are some of the most popular and widely-utilized. Individuals who wish to live and work in Texas but do not have citizen relatives or skilled abilities still have many other options at their disposal. Since accuracy in applications is important, many people choose to first consult with experienced immigration attorneys, who can best explain those options. 

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