When seeking to apply for a green card, you must first have eligibility in one of several categories. Even after that, you must still put in an application before getting approval. But the first step is seeing whether you can apply at all.
Thus, you must know which of the categories you may be eligible for and what the categories are.
Green card eligibility
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services look at eligibility categories for green cards. The categories of eligibility include:
- Special immigration
- Asylee or refugee status
- Victims of abuse
- Human trafficking and crime victims
There is also a category for “other”, or situations that do not perfectly suit any of the above options.
Each category has its own requirements that you must meet. For example, to be eligible for a family-based green card, you need to be the spouse of a U.S. citizen, a parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21, or an unmarried child of a U.S. citizen under the age of 21.
Benefits and downsides
Each category also has its potential benefits and downsides. For example, if you self-petition as a victim of domestic abuse through programs like VAWA, you may end up having to wait longer. In many cases, immigration systems suffer an enormous backlog. They will sort by priority, with the direct members of U.S. citizen’s families getting pushed to the front of the line.
Due to how complex these situations often are, you may want to get legal help. They can guide you through the situation and explain anything you may come across that you do not understand.