Can You Get a U.S. Green Card? Eligibility Quiz

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The following quiz will give you an introduction to whether you might be eligible for a U.S. green card (lawful permanent residence). U.S. immigration law defines numerous narrow categories of people who can be green-card eligible, and you’ll need to fit into one of these to apply. Don’t, however, make your final determination as to eligibility using this quiz – see an immigration attorney for a full analysis.

Eligibility Question

Green Card Possibility

Are you engaged to marry a U.S. citizen?

You may be eligible for a K-1 fiancé visa, which would allow you to enter the United States in order to get married. Once you’re married, you can apply to “adjust status” (get a U.S. green card).

Are your parents (if you’re unmarried and under age 21), husband or wife (whether of the same or opposite sex), or children over 21, citizens of the United States?

You are an “immediate relative,” and may be eligible for a green card as soon as you can get through the application process, so long as your U.S. citizen relative is willing to petition for you and promise you financial support.

Are your parents (if you’re married or over age 21), or your brothers and sisters citizens of the United States?

You are a “preference relative,” and may be eligible for a green card when visas become available in your category (expect a long wait, due to annual numerical limits), assuming that your U.S. citizen relative is willing to petition for you and promise you financial support.

Are your parents (if you’re unmarried) or your husband or wife U.S. permanent residents (green card holders)?

 

You are a “preference relative,” and may be eligible for a green card when visas become available in your category (expect a long wait, due to annual numerical limits), assuming that your green-card holding relative is willing to petition for you and promise you financial support.

Do you have a job offer from an employer in the United States?

You may eligible for a green card, if you have the right background and qualifications, if the employer is willing to sponsor you, and if (in most cases) no U.S. worker is qualified, willing, or available to take the job. Note : Some jobs may qualify you for temporary U.S. work visas, such as H-1Bs, allowing you to work in the U.S. for several years.

Do you have $1 million or more to invest in the creation or expansion of a U.S. business? (That amount may go down to $500,000 if you invest in an economically depressed area.)

You may be eligible for an investment-based green card.

Are you a member of the clergy or a religious worker who plans to come to the U.S. to work for the same religious organization that you’ve already been working for over the last two years?

You may be eligible for a green card as a special immigrant.

Are you a graduate of a foreign medical school who came to the United States before January 10, 1978 and is still living in the United States?

You may be eligible for a green card as a special immigrant.

Are you a former overseas U.S. government worker or a retired employee of an international organization who has worked at least half of the last seven years in the United States?

You may be eligible for a green card as a special immigrant.

Are you helping a child who is living in the U.S. and been declared dependent on a juvenile court and eligible for a long-term foster or state agency care?

The child may be eligible for a green card as a special immigrant.

Have you served in the U.S. armed services for a total of 12 years or more after October 15, 1978?

You may be eligible for a green card as a special immigrant. Also look into whether you might immediately qualify for U.S. citizenship, available to anyone who performed active duty with the U.S. armed forces during certain recent conflicts, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Do you live in a country outside the United States where you have faced or fear persecution, either by the government or by forces beyond the government’s control, and is that persecution due to either your race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group?

You may be eligible to be declared a refugee, which would allow you to enter the United States with refugee status and apply for a green card after one year.

Are you in the United States now, but fear returning to your home country because you have faced or fear persecution, either by the government or by forces beyond the government’s control, and is that persecution due to your race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group?

You may be eligible for asylum, which would allow you to stay in the United States for as long as you fear returning to your home country and apply for a green card after one year.

Have you lived in the U.S. continuously since January 1972?

You may be eligible to adjust status and get a green card based on registry.

Have you said “no” to all of the above questions?

See an immigration attorney for a full evaluation of whether you might qualify for any type of U.S. green card. Also consider the possibility of applying for a temporary visa to the United States.

 For more information on any of these green card categories, and information on how to apply, see U.S. Immigration Made Easy, by Ilona Bray (Nolo).

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