Having a Green Card means you can work and live in the United States permanently. The official name of the Green Card is Lawful Permanent Resident Card, and the holders are known as Permanent Residents. Green Card holders have many advantages. For example, they can live and work in any state they want.

US immigration officials can issue Green Cards to eligible individuals. Therefore, You must file a petition to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to obtain a Green Card.

What is Green Card Lottery? What is the US Returning Resident Visa?

How to get a Green Card?

You can petition for a Green Card in one of the following ways:

  • Through employment
  • Through the family
  • By winning the Green Card Lottery

Employment-Based Green Card

If you can find a US employer who is eager to hire you, you can apply for a Green Card via one of the following immigrant visas:

EB-1 visa for Priority Workers

People with extraordinary ability in the sciences, business, education, arts, or athletics

Prominent professors and researchers

Multinational managers or executives.

EB-2 visa for Professionals with Advanced Degrees and Individuals of Exceptional Ability

Professionals with an advanced degree

Persons who have excellent ability in the sciences, arts, or business

EB-3 visa for killed Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers

Skilled workers

Unskilled workers


EB-4 visa for Special Immigrants

Religious workers

Retired employees of some organizations


Iraqi and Afghan translators

Some Iraqi and Afghan nationals

EB-5 visa for Foreign Investors

Immigrant Investors

In addition to the immigrant visas we have listed, holders of some nonimmigrant work visas, including the L and H1B1 visas, can also apply for a green card.

Family-Based Immigrant Visas

If your family members live in the United States and is a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, you can also apply for a family-based immigrant visa. So you first need a US citizen sponsor.

As a sponsor, you can file a petition for a visa for the following people:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children who are under the age of 21
  • Your brother or sister, if you are at least 21 years old.
  • Your mother and father, if you are at least 21 years old

Immediate Relative for family members of US citizens

  • IR1 visa: The spouse of a US citizen
  • IR2 visa: The unmarried children under 21 years old of a US citizen
  • IR3 visa: Children adopted abroad by a US citizen
  • IR4 visa: Children adopted in the US by a US citizen
  • IR5 visa: Parents of a US citizen who is over the age of 21.

Family Preference for family members of US citizens

  • F-1 visa: Unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens with their minor children
  • F-2A visa: Spouses and minor children under 21 years old
  • F-2B visa: Adult children who are at least 21 years old
  • F-3 visa: Married children of US citizens whit their spouses and minor children
  • F-4 visa: Siblings of US citizens and their spouses and minor children provided that the US citizen be at least 21 years old.

The difference between Family Preference and Immediate Relative visas is that the issuance of Family Preference visas has an annual cap. In other words, a small number of these visas are issued per year. Such a restriction is not defined for Immediate Relative visas. Therefore, the processing time for Family Preference visas is a little longer because most eligible people in this category have to wait for their priority date to become current.

What is Green Card Lottery?

The Green Card Lottery which is known as  Diversity Visa Program,  allows some people to immigrate and live in the United States. People from countries that do not have high immigration rates to the United States can participate in this lottery. People who win this lottery can apply for a visa. If they are granted a visa, they can live in this country forever.

The requirements for participating in this lottery are:

  • You must be from a country that is on the Diversity Visa Program list.
  • As a head of household, you must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must have finished high school and have a diploma.
  • You must have at least two years of work experience in the last 5 years in an occupation that is in Job Zone 4 or 5.

What is the US Returning Resident Visa?

If green card holders leave the country for a period of time but are unable to return to the country for reasons beyond their control, they can apply for this visa to re-obtain their Green Card. The visa application process is not very complicated and long. Also, its applicants do not need a petitioner.

To be qualified for this visa, you must consider the following:

  • You were a lawful permanent resident of the United States before leaving the country.
  • The reason you did not return to the United States must be beyond your control.
  • You must still be eligible to retain your previous immigrant visa status.
  • You had intentions to return to the US after your temporary stay and still intend to reside in the US.

If you can meet all the mentioned conditions, you can apply for the US returning resident visa.

How to renew the Green Card?

To renew your Green Card, you must first complete the Form I-90 form and then send it to the USCIS. Copy or scan your expired Green Card and prepare other documents. You can submit your documents online or via mail. You must also pay a fee as Green Gard Renewal Cost and send the receipt.

Let’s sum up

In the previous paragraphs, we explained the definition of a Green Card and how to get it through family, employment, and lottery. Besides, on the Visa Library website, you can learn about other types of US visas and how to immigrate to other countries.

If you have experience obtaining a visa, you can share it with us and others through the comments section. This way, you can help others make better decisions and make fewer mistakes.

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