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Four ways to obtain your permanent resident card

USCIS gives some of the more common ways people apply for green cards.

Thanks to the internet and living in an information age, people who are thinking about coming to the U.S. to work may be familiar with what's involved in the money transfer process. This kind of knowledge can help guarantee their family will have a better life.

But in order to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis, they have to obtain a greed card, which grants them employment authorization. However, because there are many aspects to obtaining a green card, immigrants may be unclear about where they can go.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says the process depends upon immigrants' own circumstances.

1. Green card through family. Some people who wish to come to the U.S. on a temporary basis can do so through a family member that's a U.S. citizen. As a result, spouses, unmarried children age 21 and under and parents of U.S. citizens who are 21 and older may qualify for this benefit.

But family members of U.S. citizens seeking a green card may still be eligible even if they don't fit into one of the above categories. For example, USCIS says married children of any age who are the son or daughter of a U.S. citizen may also qualify for getting a green card through their family.

2. Green card through an employer. Some immigrants who arrive in the U.S. may have an employer with resources that enables them to get a green card. USCIS notes that a job offer may include the capability of becoming a permanent resident, which typically requires filling out an I-140 form.

In addition, some specific job categories give certain immigrant certain privileges with regards to green card acquisition. For instance, translators from certain countries, broadcasters, religious workers and former Panama Canal employees may have an easier route to get a green card.

3. Green card to individuals granted asylum and refugees. Other individuals from foreign countries are also given certain green card benefits. USCIS notes that this includes refugees admitted to the U.S., as they can usually apply for permanent residency one year after being admitted to the country. This privilege is also generally granted to asylees as well. Asylees are refugees who are already physically present in the U.S. Refugee status differs slightly, as in order to be classified as a refugee, immigrants must first be located outside the U.S. and be unwilling to return to their native country due to fears their life might be in jeopardy.

4. Other green card avenues. While these are the most common ways of obtaining a green card, there are a variety of other ways of accessing one. This includes people born to foreign diplomats in the U.S., victims of criminal activity, victims of illegal trafficking and people who have experienced hardship in their families, such as battered spouses or children who have been abused. Widows and widowers may also qualify, USCIS indicates.

Helpful links:

USCIS Green Card Resources
I-140 Form
Other Green Card Based Forms

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