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Who Can Apply for a Green Card?

There are lots of misconceptions about green cards. In fact, the name has become confused with citizenship, when that is incorrect. “Green Card” refers to the color of the identification provided to non-citizen, permanent residents. These people have fulfilled certain standards allowing them to stay forever in the United States.

So, just who can apply for this immigrant status? The leading San Diego immigration lawyers at KS Visa Law have the answer.


The largest number of green cards comes through family connections. Husbands, wives, and children apply for this status to reconcile their families, often with family law immigration help. Unmarried children can apply alone, independent of their foreign parent.


Employment is another prominent means to get a green card. In general, the sponsor needs to demonstrate the ability to provide permanent, full-time employment. Investors can also apply through this category, if their venture will provide jobs for Americans.

Refugee or Asylee

People subjected to persecution in their home countries often have nowhere to turn for safety. The United States helps these people by allowing them to stay in the country on a permanent basis. Applicants must enter as a refugee. Then, after a year, they can apply for a green card. Family members of the refugee may apply as a well. All refugees must apply for a green card or be subjected to losing their refugee status.

Anyone granted asylum upon entry can apply for permanent residency after a year.
Asylum recipients may remain indefinitely, but the authorities recommend seeking permanent residency.

Special Categories

  • Diversity — 50,000 people per year enter the visa system through a lottery of individuals who reside in countries with low rates of immigration to the USA.
  • K Nonimmigrant – Fiancé(e)s and their minor children are able to enter the country without being subjected to the regular immigration process in order to avoid long periods of separation.
  • Legal Immigration Family Equity — Individuals who may not normally qualify to apply or who have applied for some other status previously but may not have become regularized can apply under certain criteria.
  • Special Immigrant Juveniles — Young immigrants who have been abandoned, neglected, or abused while in the country and who the authorities decide cannot be reunited with a parent can apply for a green card.

Wondering if you qualify or need help with your paperwork? Turn to KS Visa Law. We specialize in family immigration, temporary employment immigration, and naturalization, and can ensure your paperwork is completed correctly and submitted on time. Give us a call today at (858) 874-0711 and schedule a free immigration consultation.

May 2024