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Green card eligibility: know the basics

If you or a loved wants to become a permanent resident of the United States, securing a green card will be critical. However, the process of doing so can be incredibly complicated and frustrating which can lead to some unfortunate oversights and mistakes.

Even the eligibility process involves several different requirements, exceptions and limitations of which you need to be aware if you are seeking permanent residency. First you must understand that there are different categories of eligibility, and each category has specific requirements that must be observed.

For instance, many people get a green card through relatives who are already in the U.S. This is possible if an immediate relative or other family member is already a citizen or already has a green card. This can be one of the more straightforward options if you are seeking permanent residency, though you must first confirm that you are in fact eligible based on factors like age, relationship and priority date status.

Green cards can also be given for job-related purposes. If you are offered a job, invest in a U.S. enterprise, have extraordinary abilities or work in certain categories of employment, then you can be eligible for a green card. However, this too will depend on several factors like visa availability and successful completion of different forms by you and/or your employer.

In more desperate situations, a green card can be obtained by seeking asylum in the U.S. or refugee status if you or your loved one cannot or should not return to a home country due to fears of persecution and violence. Again, however, there are eligibility requirements that must be met before a green card can be obtained.

If you are seeking permanent residency under any of these categories, you will need to take care to understand the specific eligibility requirements associated with each type, from the paperwork you must complete to the time limits on when you must apply for your green card. Working with an attorney during this process can prove to be critical in helping you navigate the immigration process and avoid costly mistakes.

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