How to get a US green card: 6 ways

How to Get a Green Card in the United States: 6 Different Ways

The process of applying for a Green Card can be extremely complicated. Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether or not you are eligible. In this blog post, we outline 6 of the main ways you can apply to get a Green Card and obtain Lawful Permanent Residency.

It’s important to note that in order to apply, you must always pay close attention to the details of your application. Even the slightest error in your application could cause the government to reject or delay your application. This is why it is always best to hire an experienced immigration attorney. The immigration lawyers at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group have had years of experience helping people successfully receive Green Cards.

Our firm works with some of the most difficult immigration cases. And, we can help you start and complete your Green Card Application. Contact us today for a confidential case evaluation.

Family-Based Green Card

If you have a parent or spouse that is an American citizen, they may be able to sponsor you to get a green card. Citizens of the United States over 21 years old can request for their spouses, children, parents or siblings to get a Green Card. Additionally, green card holders can in turn sponsor their spouse or children via Green Card Family Sponsorships.

Process for Family-Based Green Card

  • The Family sponsor must complete the I-130 form (Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative), along with all required documents and fee ($420.00) to USCIS.
  • Secondly, after applying, the sponsor will receive a receipt and later a notification on the decision after the application is processed.

Apply for an Employment-Based Green Card

Each year, the United States grants up to 140,000 employment-based green cards. There are different priority categories. People of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, outstanding professors and researchers, certain executives and managers sometimes receive employment-based green cards. Also, employment-based green cards are given to entrepreneurs. These are people who have job offers from U.S. companies. Workers engaged in very specific industries, such as religious workers or news reports might also be eligible for green cards.

It’s important to note that quotas vary from one country to another. This sometimes causes the waiting times to last for long periods of time.

Entrepreneurs, people who have a job offer from a US company, and workers engaged in very specific areas (religious workers, for instance) are also eligible for a green card. As quotas vary from one country to another, do note that waiting time can sometimes be extremely long.

Immigrant Workers

To qualify as an immigrant worker,  you must fit into one of the following categories:

1st Preference Immigrant Workers

  • Demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
  • You are an outstanding professor, researcher, or multinational manager/executive that meets specific criteria

2nd Preference Immigrant Workers

  • You are a member of a profession that requires an advanced degree
  • Demonstrate exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business
  • You are seeking a national interest waiver

3rd Preference Immigrant Workers

  • You are a skilled worker with at least two years of training or work experience
  • Professional with at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree, or a foreign equivalent. You must already be a member of the profession
  • You’re an unskilled worker, meaning you will perform a job that requires less than 2 years of training or experience.


Doctors that agree to work full-time in clinical practice in a designated underserved area for a specified amount of time may be eligible. Also, you must meet special eligibility requirements.


Applicants able to make an investment of at least $1 million, or $500,000 in a targeted employment area are eligible to apply for a Green Card. The investment must be made in a new commercial enterprise in the United States. It must create full-time jobs for at least 10 qualifying workers.

Learn more about our Phoenix E2 Visa Lawyer.

Get a Green Card for Special Cases

Refugee or Asylum

U.S. immigration law requires refugees and asylees to apply for lawful permanent resident status after they have been physically present in the U.S. for at least one year.

Learn more from our immigration lawyer for refugees and those seeking asylum in the United States.

Human Trafficking and victims of Abuse and Other Crimes

People who are victims are human trafficking or other crimes may be eligible to apply for Green Cards. This is usually done through a U-Visa

Special Immigrant

  • Religious workers
  • International broadcasters

For details on other special cases, see the USCIS page on Green Cards.

Registry-Based Green Card

This type of visa allows people who have been in the U.S. since January 1, 1972 to apply for a Green Card. You may apply even if you are currently in the US unlawfully.

  • Good moral character
  • Not ineligible for naturalization (citizenship)
  • Not deportable or inadmissible, according to the Immigration and Nationality Act.

To apply for a registry-based Green Card, you must file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).

Apply for the Green Card Lottery

The Green Card lottery, also known as the Diversity Visa Program, is one of the most well-known ways to get a U.S. green card. Each year, the U.S. allows 55,000 immigrants to get a green card through this lottery. It is open to citizens of countries whose immigration rates to the U.S. are the lowest. The list of countries whose citizens cannot participate in the green card lottery changes each year.

  • Register at
  • Each year, you may only participate in the lottery at specific times
  • Remember to keep the confirmation number you receive after entering. This will tell you whether or not you’ve been selected.

How to Apply for the Green Card Lottery

  • Register online at Also, you must bear in mind that every year, you can only participate in the lottery during a specific period.
  • Keep the confirmation number you receive: you will need it to check whether or not you have been selected.
  • If you are selected, you will be able to apply for an immigrant visa.
  • There is no cost to apply for this program.

Experienced Immigration Attorney in Phoenix

The Phoenix immigration lawyers at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group understand how difficult it can be to apply for a Green Card. We know the ins and outs of the Visa and Green Card Application process. Our attorneys help clients ensure their paperwork meets the requirements of USCIS. We can also help you find your USCIS alien number if you need it for immigration paperwork. To learn more, call 602-910-4040 or visit our website today for a confidential consultation.

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