Green Card Eligibility Categories

In order to apply for a Green Card, you must be eligible under one of the categories listed below. Once you find the category that may fit your situation, click on the link provided to get information on eligibility requirements, how to apply, and whether your family members can also apply with you. 

Green Card through Family 

You may be eligible to apply as a… If you are the…
Immediate relative of a U.S. citizen
  • Spouse of a U.S. citizen
  • Unmarried child under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen
  • Parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old
Other relative of a U.S. citizen or relative of a lawful permanent resident under the family-based preference categories
  • Family member of a U.S. citizen, meaning you are the:
    • Unmarried son or daughter of a U.S. citizen and you are 21 years old or older
    • Married son or daughter of a U.S. citizen
    • Brother or sister of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old
  • Family member of a lawful permanent resident, meaning you are the:
    • Spouse of a lawful permanent resident
    • Unmarried child under the age of 21 of a lawful permanent resident
    • Unmarried son or daughter of a lawful permanent resident 21 years old or older

Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen or the fiancé(e)’s child

 

  • Person admitted to the U.S. as a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen (K-1 nonimmigrant)
  • Person admitted to the U.S. as the child of a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen (K-2 nonimmigrant)
Widow(er) of a U.S. citizenWidow or widower of a U.S. citizen and you were married to your U.S. citizen spouse at the time your spouse died

 Abused spouse, child, or parent

(VAWA self-petitioner – victim of battery or extreme cruelty)

  • Abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Abused child (unmarried and under 21 years old) of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Abused parent of a U.S. citizen

Green Card through Employment

You may be eligible to apply as a…  If you…
Immigrant worker
  • Are a first preference immigrant worker, meaning you:
    • Have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, or
    • Are an outstanding professor or researcher, or
    • Are a multinational manager or executive who meets certain criteria
  • Are a second preference immigrant worker, meaning you:
    • Are a member of a profession that requires an advanced degree, or
    • Have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, or
    • Are seeking a national interest waiver
  • Are a third preference immigrant worker, meaning you are:
    • A skilled worker (meaning your job requires a minimum of 2 years training or work experience), or
    •  A professional (meaning your job requires at least a U.S. bachelor's degree or a foreign equivalent and you are a member of the profession), or
    • An unskilled worker (meaning you will perform unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training or experience)
Physician National Interest WaiverAre a physician who agrees to work full-time in clinical practice in a designated underserved area for a set period of time and also meets other eligibility requirements
Immigrant investorHave invested or are actively in the process of investing at least $1 million (or $500,000 in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. which will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees

 

Green Card as a Special Immigrant

You may be eligible to apply as a…  If you…
Religious workerAre a member of a religious denomination coming to the U.S. to work for a nonprofit religious organization
Special Immigrant JuvenileAre a child who has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by your parent and you have SIJ status
Afghanistan or Iraq national
International broadcasterAre coming to work in the U.S. as a member of the media
Employee of an international organization or family member or NATO-6 employee or family member  Are a retired officer or employee of certain international organizations, or NATO, and certain family members

Go to the Green Card through Other Categories section for information on other eligibility categories for diplomats.

 

Green Card through Refugee or Asylee Status

You may be eligible to apply as a…  If you…
AsyleeWere granted asylum status at least 1 year ago
RefugeeWere admitted as a refugee at least 1 year ago

Green Card for Human Trafficking and Crime Victims

You may be eligible to apply as a…If you…
Human trafficking victimCurrently have a T nonimmigrant visa
Crime victimCurrently have a U nonimmigrant visa

 

Green Card for Victims of Abuse

You may be eligible to apply as a… If you are…
 An abused spouse, child, or parent
(VAWA self-petitioner – victim of battery or extreme cruelty) 
  • The abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • The abused child (unmarried and under 21 years old) of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • The abused parent of a U.S. citizen
Special Immigrant JuvenileAre a child who has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by your parent and you have SIJ status 
An abused (victim of battery or extreme cruelty) spouse or child under the Cuban Adjustment ActThe abused spouse or child of a Cuban native or citizen
 An abused (victim of battery or extreme cruelty) spouse or child under  Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA)The abused spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident who received his or her Green Card based on HRIFA

Green Card through Other Categories

You may be eligible to apply under this category… If you…
Diversity Immigrant Visa ProgramWere selected for a diversity visa in the Department of State’s diversity visa lottery
Cuban Adjustment Act
  •  Are a Cuban native or citizen, or
  • Are the spouse or child of a Cuban native or citizen
 An abused (victim of battery or extreme cruelty) spouse or child under the Cuban Adjustment ActAre the abused spouse or child of a Cuban native or citizen
Dependent status under the HRIFAAre the spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident who received his or her Green Card based on the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA)
 An abused (victim of battery or extreme cruelty) spouse or child under HRIFAAre the abused spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident who received his or her Green Card based on HRIFA
Lautenberg paroleeWere paroled into the U.S. as a Lautenberg parolee
Indochinese Parole Adjustment Act of 2000Are a native or citizen of Vietnam, Kampuchea (Cambodia), or Laos who was paroled into the U.S. on or before Oct. 1, 1997 from Vietnam under the Orderly Departure Program, a refugee camp in East Asia, or a displaced person camp administered by UNHCR in Thailand.  

American Indian born in Canada

Have 50% or more of blood of the American Indian race and were born in Canada
Person born in the United States to a foreign diplomatWere born in the United States to a  foreign diplomatic officer who was stationed in the U.S. when you were born.
Section 13 (diplomat)Were stationed in the United States as a foreign  diplomat or high ranking official and are unable to return home

 

Green Card through Registry

You may be eligible to register for a Green Card if you have resided continuously in the U.S. since before Jan. 1, 1972.
 

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION