Millions of people each year seek to gain access to the United States to either live, work or even retire here. The visa and permanent processes process is managed by the US government and is constantly evolving. Today, much of how the US allows in foreigners is in dispute with lots of misinformation being thrown about relating to the role that foreigners coming to the US shores, play in the country.

People allowed into the US come in via a series of different visas that fit the description of their desire and reason for coming. There are tourist, work, business and education visas available and also visas set aside for refugees or those who have extenuating circumstances. For those who seek permanent residence in the US, there is the green card system. Navigating obtaining a green card is complicated and detailed.

You must work through the local courts and immigration offices in the city in which you are residing as a visa holder in order to move your permanent resident case along. Hiring an immigration attorney is the best way forward. For instance if you live in Los Angeles and are seeking a green card, you should hire a reputable green card lawyer in Los Angeles to handle your case.

What is a Green Card?

A Green Card is a legal document given to those who have been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants a person a permanent resident card, most commonly called a Green Card.

Obtaining a Green Card

There are many paths that you can take to become a permanent resident United States, but the majority of them are challenging.  The easiest path is if you have a relative who is a US citizen.  In fact more than 60% of those who obtain green cards I sponsored by a family member who is a citizen in the US.

The second most popular type of green card is given to workers who are sponsored by an employer in the United States.  Receiving an employer based green card is often difficult and time-consuming, requiring many visits to the immigration office, interaction with immigration lawyers and lots of paperwork.  Although it is very challenging to get through, thousands of people get US green card through work each year.

Even more challenging ways to obtain a green card and become a permanent resident is through refugee or asylum status or other humanitarian programs. In these cases there is typically an organization like the United Nations or some other large group that files for the person seeking permanent resident status. In rare cases an individual can file for him or herself to receive permanent resident status.

Timeline for Receiving a Green Card

The timeline for receiving a green card varies depending on the reasons for the green card being sought. Currently no matter which type of green card you are looking to obtain the. To receive it. Is between 1 and 4 years. In some instances there are limits as to the amount of green cards that will be issued. This is the case for example with employment and diversity based green cards each has an annual limit. Therefore if you are not selected for a green card within the limit, your application will be reconsidered the following year.

Special Green Cards – EB-5

Under a federal program called EB-5, foreigners who invest in companies in the United States can also receive permanent resident status and a green card. The EB-5 program is very controversial, yet it is brought billions of dollars and investment into the United States particularly from China. A person must invest between $500,000 and $1 million dollars in a business or project that will create at least 10 long-term jobs. In return the person will receive permanent residence. Thousands of foreigners participate in the EB-5 program each year.

No matter what type of green card you seek, obtaining one is complicated. Hiring a reputable immigration attorney in your city is the best route to take to help you successfully get through the process.