Immigration to the US / US Green Card: Living in the USA on a Permanent Basis
There are different applications available for applying for US Permanent Residence or a US Green Card.
Family Based Petitions or Family Sponsorships
Depending on your situation, you may be eligible to apply for a US Green Card using a Family based Petition for having relatives living in the US as US Citizens or Green Card holders. Certain family members may be eligible to sponsor or petition you for a Green Card.
Spousal Sponsorship Petitions I-130
If you are married to a US Citizen or a Green Card holder, your spouse may be eligible to sponsor you by filing an I-130 Petition. However, your spouse must earn an income that is equivalent to at least 125% above the poverty line. If this is not the case, your spouse will have to have a co-sponsor or co-signer complete an I-864 application form. Of course it is more complicated than this. Further if your spouse is not a US Citizen and only a Green Card holder or a US Permanent Resident, then the application can take much longer, usually a number of years to process.
There are also two different application procedures available for US Citizen Spouses:
1. The Consular Processing application where the foreign spouse usually remains outside the US while the application is in process and the application is forwarded to that spouse’s local US Consulate.
2. The Adjustment of Status (AOS) process. This process is for applicants who are already in the US usually as visitors, workers or students and who marry a US Citizen and want to remain in the US while their Spousal Petition is in process. This application involves filing an AOS application (Form I-485) along with the other applications such as the I-130 and I-864. The application is usually filed the local district office in the state you live in.
NOTE: that if you file an AOS application you cannot leave the US until the application has been approved unless you also file an I-131 application for Application for Advance Parole with the other AOS documents.
General Family Sponsorship Petitions
In certain circumstances, you may be able to be sponsored for a US Green Card by a relative who is a US Citizen or US Permanent Resident such as your sibling or parent. These applications usually take longer than Spousal Sponsorship Applications and Adjustment of Status (AOS) procedure are usually not available in such cases.
Employment-Based Petitions for a Green Card
You may have a US employer who is willing to Petition you for US Permanent Residence. In this case, most applicants are usually already in the US on a valid US Work Visa such as an L1 Visa or an H-1B Visa. These Green Card applications are called Employment Based Petitions and usually involve filing an I-140 application to the Service Centre located in the jurisdiction of the place of employment. These applications are complicated and you should consult an immigration lawyer to assist you and your company with the application.
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