Permanent Resident status, symbolized by the so-called green card, confers on foreign nationals the right to live and work in the United States.
The process to acquire a green card changes frequently, as do the waiting periods associated with each of the different steps. Some of the different ways to obtain permanent resident status are through:
- Employment based petitions
A total of 140,000 immigrant visas are available in this category each year. Most of these visas are available for members of certain professions, people of extraordinary ability in a particular field, or professionals whose skills are in short supply in the US.
- Family–based petitions
Eligible for permanent residency in this category are immediate relatives of either United States citizens or United States residents.
- Greencard lottery
Each year 50,000 green cards are made available through the Congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, or Greencard Lottery