A non-United States citizen may use an immigrant visa to enter the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Upon entry into the United States with an immigrant visa, a lawful permanent resident is entitled to receive a green card. There are many different ways to obtain an immigrant visa or green card. A non-United States citizen can obtain a green card through:
Each of the above paths to obtain a green card requires the filing of different and complex applications and visa petitions with the United States Department of Homeland Security.
Obtaining a Green Card in the shortest time possible requires a careful evaluation of your factual circumstances, expert navigation of the Immigration bureaucracy, expert advice and review of the relevant documentation required to support an Immigration petition and superior knowledge of the US Immigration and Nationality Act, US Immigration and Citizenship Service regulations, US Customs and Enforcement regulations, US Labor Department Regulations, and US State Department Regulations.
The reason different cases take different time periods to complete is because the number of people allowed to enter the United States each year with an Immigrant Visa is limited under a quota system. Some cases have a long waiting list under the quota system, such as sponsorships of brothers and sisters of United States citizens and other cases have very little wait at all, such as self sponsorship based on extraordinary ability. A person who is being sponsored for a green card is called a “beneficiary”. A beneficiary’s place in line under the quota system is determined by priority dates. A priority date is the date in which a beneficiary’s application is first received by the immigration service or labor department.