The green card serves as proof that its holder, a lawful permanent resident (LPR), has been officially granted immigration benefits, which include permission to reside and take employment in the United States. The holder must maintain permanent resident status, and can be removed from the United States if certain conditions of this status are not met.
Green Card Eligibility
You may be eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) through your family, a job offer or employment, refugee or asylum status, or a number of other special provisions.
In some cases, you may even be able to self petition or have a record created for permanent residence on your behalf. In general, to meet the requirements for permanent residence in the United States, you must:
-Be eligible for one of the immigrant categories established in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
-Have a qualifying immigrant petition filed and approved for you (with a few exceptions)
-Have an immigrant visa immediately available
-Be admissible to the United States
Eligibility for an Immigrant Category
Individuals who want to become immigrants (permanent residents) through a job offer or employment will generally be classified in categories based on a preference system.
Job or Employment Based
People who want to become immigrants based on employment or a job offer may apply for permanent residence or an immigrant visa abroad, when an immigrant visa number becomes available according to the following employment based preferences:
First Preference: Priority Workers, including aliens with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers
Second Preference: Members of professions holding an advanced degree or persons of exceptional ability (including individuals seeking a National Interest Waiver)
Third Preference: Skilled Workers, professionals and other qualified workers
Fourth Preference: Certain special immigrants including those in religious vocations
Fifth Preference: Employment creation immigrants (investors or entrepreneurs)
Although most immigrants come to live permanently in the United States through a family member’s sponsorship, employment, or a job offer, there are many other ways to get a green card.
A number of special immigrant programs are limited to individuals meeting particular qualifications and/or applying during certain time frames.
Immigrants in most categories will need an immigrant petition (Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, or another petition) filed on their behalf.
A petition establishes the underlying basis for your ability to immigrate and determines your immigrant classification or category. Some categories of immigrants may be able to self-petition. Most people immigrating based on humanitarian programs are exempt from the petition requirement.
Some immigrant petitions can be filed at the same time as the adjustment application (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), known as “concurrent filing” while other categories of immigrants will be required to wait until they have an approved petition before being allowed to apply for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa.
A visa is always available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.
If you are in a family or employment based preference category, visa availability is determined by:
Your priority date
The preference category you are immigrating under
The country the visa will be charged to (usually your country of citizenship)
The Department of State is the government agency that controls visa numbers. The annual limits for visa numbers are established by Congress and can be referenced in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
First, a priority date will be assigned to you based on your immigrant petition filing date (the date that the petition is properly filed with USCIS) or, in certain employment-based cases, the date the application for a labor certification was accepted by the Department of Labor. Your priority date holds your place in line for an immigrant visa.
This date, along with your country of nationality and preference category, determines if or how long a person will have to wait for a visa to be immediately available. When USCIS officials are ready to approve an applicant for permanent residency in a visa category that has limited numbers, we must first request a visa number from the Department of State.
When a visa is available, you may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (if you are in the United States) or apply for an immigrant visa abroad (consular processing).
If you are consular processing, USCIS will forward your approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center who will contact you when your priority date is about to become current as to what your next steps are and when you may apply for an immigrant visa abroad.
O-1 Visa’s dual intent and apply for U.S Green Card to become a Permanent Resident of the United States with O1 status
The “dual intent” appears to be recognized by USCIS for O-1 extraordinary ability visa holders. While not statutorily recognized as dual intent visa like the H-1B visa and L1 visa, the O-1 visa applicants are not required to maintain a residence in the applicant’s home country.
The U.S immigration regulations provide that the approval of a permanent Labor Certification of the filing of an immigrant preference visa petition should not be a basis for denying an O-1 visa application, or the extension of stay for O-1 visa holders
However, the dual intent provision does not apply to O-1 visa applicants. Unlike the O.1 extraordinary ability nonimmigrant visa, the O-2 visa applicants must satisfy that he or she has a residence abroad, and no intent to abandon that residence in their home country.
While an O-1 visa applicant does not have to have a residence in the home country which he or she does not intent to abandon, there must however be an intent to remain on the O´1 visa. Therefore the foreign national may legally come to U.S in O-1 visa, and depart U.SS at the end of the authorized stay and at the same time seek to apply for U.S. Green Card to become a permanent resident of the United States.