The term “green card” means permanent residency status in the United States. Having a green card means that you can stay in the U.S. whether or not you have a job, are a college student, etc. Permanent residence can be a step on the road to citizenship, or you can live in the U.S. with green card status for the rest of your life if you prefer.
There are eight ways to qualify for a green card:
- Family: you can apply for a green card if you are an immediate relative (spouse, minor child, parent of an adult at least 21 years old) of a citizen or close relative of a permanent resident, such as an adult child, sibling or fiancé(e).
- Employment: Many jobs can qualify you for green card status. Jobs that require “extraordinary ability” or an advanced degree get preference over skilled or unskilled jobs. But almost any job can potentially help you qualify.
- Refugee/asylee status: If you were granted asylum or refugee status in the U.S. at least a year ago, you might qualify for a green card.
- Special immigrant status: Religious workers, juveniles under the protection of a juvenile court, Afghan and Iraqi nationals who worked for the U.S. government during those wars, international broadcasters and employees of international organizations.
- Victim of human trafficking or crime: This is for people in the country on a T or U nonimmigrant visa.
- Victim of domestic violence: Including abused spouses and children of U.S. citizens or permanent residents
- Living continuously in the U.S. since before Jan. 1, 1972.
- Other qualifications: Including being a Cuba native or citizen or the spouse or child of a Cuba native or citizen.
If you and your family plan to live in Kent and the Seattle-Tacoma area for the foreseeable future, starting permanent resident status proceedings can help end worrying about maintaining a visa.