The Immigration Green Card Categories

Immigrant perspective
Personally, I came to the United States in August 2003 as a student on F1 Visa, I went to school and in the process of school I passed the Nursing Licensing examinations. Based on the nursing shortage nationwide there was a provision for foreign nurses to get green cards after passing the nursing exam and securing employment in the United States. Therefore, I was able to change my status from Student F1 Visa to permanent residency
The application process for legal residency took about 1.5 years but I was able to get legal employment while changing my status from student to legal resident. The work permits also known as EAD was issued after a short period of time and therefore I was able to secure employment as a nurse. Eventually I received my green card in 2005 and was able to apply for my family to join me in the United States.
The reason I wrote this piece today is because many immigrants are familiar with the diversity visa lottery also known as green card which is announced each year by the US Department of State. However, some might not be aware about the other green card categories. For the Visa lottery, applicants apply this lottery around October and November each year and the selections are based on pure luck so long as the applicant submitted the application correctly.
However, it’s important to know that there are many other ways people get green cards in the Unites States. Here are some examples of how immigrants get green cards: Green card through family, Green card through employment, Green card as a special immigrant, Green card through refugee or Asylee status, Green card for Human trafficking and victims of Crime, Green card for victims of Abuse. Today I will focus on a few categories that might be of interest to my readers.

How to get the Green card as a religious worker.
According to US immigration services religious workers can get green cards if they meet the following criteria: They must be a member of non-profit religious denomination. They must be working continuously for the past 2 years before filing for the grencard. They must only enter the United States solely to carry out such religious occupation of the employer’s denomination.

How to get the green card through national waiver interest.
The other Category of green cards is the national interest waiver which mainly serves foreign medical doctors if they agree to work in underserved areas for a period of time. These foreign doctors must meet the following criteria: agree to work full time for a period of 5 years, be employed in the following primary care categories such as a general practitioner, family practice petitioner, general internist, pediatrician, obstetrician/gynecologist, or psychiatristor be a specialty physician. They must serve either in a Health Professional Shortage Area, Mental Health Professional Area – for psychiatrists only, a Medically Underserved Area or a Veterans Affairs facility, or for specialists in a Physician Scarcity Area.

How to get a green card as an international broadcaster.
“Individuals (and their spouses and children) who are coming to work in the United States as a broadcaster for the International Broadcasting Bureau of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), or for a grantee of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, may apply for a green card (permanent residence). The term “broadcaster” may include a reporter, writer, translator, editor, producer, announcer, news broadcast host, news analysis, editorial and other broadcasting features, or a news analysis specialist. The term broadcaster does not include individuals performing purely technical or support services or working in the entertainment field.There is an annual limit of 100 visas in this category. Spouses and children are not counted towards this yearly limit.”
How to Green Card as an International Organization employee or qualified family member
To meet these criteria, you must be a retired officer or employee of an international organization and these will include the spouse too. Surving spouses of deceased retired officers or employees and their unmarried children also meet these criteria. These immigrants must maintain legal status and be physically present in the U.S. for a total of at least half of the last 7 years before they apply for adjustment of status or for a visa; and they must have combined period of physical residence in the U.S. of at least 15 years before retirement; andfilea petition for special immigrant statusno later than 6 months after retirement.

Things to consider as you prepare for the green card application
Before applying for the green card it’s important to determine if you are eligible to apply. Find out if you qualify for adjustment of status from non-immigrant visa to green card. Adjusting is normally done by temporary immigrants who are already settled in the United States but have found opportunities to stay permanently. For those who want to migrate to the United States permanently while outside the United Sates, they will have to go through consular processing.Consular processing is a method used to obtain green cards while the applicant is outside the United States.

Sometimes a petition may be filed on your behalf for instance it may be filed by your family member who is a US citizen, or it may also be filed by your employer. The green card must be available before applying depending on which category you are applying. Some visa categories require applicants to line up and wait for their turn while others have no waiting time. Regardless, a priority date is usually assigned on a first come first serve basis.
It is important to remember that travel documents are required to travel outside the United States if your green card has not been issued. Examples of travel documents include advance parole in the case of people like students and a refugee permit is needed for those who apply for a green card through refugee status. You may be prevented from re-entering the United States if you do not have the above-mentioned travel documents.

For those immigrants who need to work they do not have to wait until the green card is issued, they can apply for a work permit and start working as they wait for the final approval. Before getting the green card, a medical exam will be required,and this exam will be conducted by health provider at approved immigration sites.
Some immigrants may need an affidavit of support to show that they have the financial means to stay in the United States without draining benefits from the US government. Therefore,it’s important to demonstrate that you will not become a public charge meaning you will not depend on the US government for financial support.

More information about Green card categories can be obtained here:
https://www.uscis.gov/greencard/eligibility-categories
https://www.uscis.gov/greencard/green-card-processes-procedures

Janet Rangi Blogger/Vlogger

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