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A Tampa business immigration attorney’s green card guide
February 24, 2022 at 5:00 AM
The Statue of Liberty from a ground-level view.

If your primary place of employment is the United States, your work could lead you to become a permanent resident in this country. It’s just one of many ways a green card can help you start a new life when you’re ready to leave your country of origin.

Specifically, though, you need an employment-based green card to legally reside in the U.S. for work-related reasons. It’s one of several different types of green cards suited for various reasons for permanent residence. You could receive one based on family living in the U.S., humanitarian reasons, or after a long period of living here already, among other qualifying conditions.

In this blog post, you’ll learn from a Tampa business immigration attorney how exactly a green card works, what differentiates different types of green cards, and how you may be eligible for each of them.

What’s a green card?

A green card, also known as a permanent resident card, allows you to live and work permanently in the U.S. It isn’t the same as full citizenship, although green card holders do enjoy many of the same benefits as citizens.

Green cards allow you to receive federal benefits, apply for visas for your spouse and unmarried children, serve in certain branches of the military, and receive a driver’s license. Unlike full citizens, though, you won’t be able to vote, run for office, or apply for certain federal jobs.

A green card only lasts for 10 years before expiring. If you plan to remain as a resident of the U.S. for the rest of your life, a green card can provide time to explore a full path to citizenship.

Types of green cards

There are numerous ways you can get a green card. The primary ways most foreign-born permanent residents get one include:

Family-based: Immediate family members of a U.S. citizen or green card holder, like a spouse or children, can receive a green card themselves.

Humanitarian: If you’re fleeing your country of origin due to unrest or persecution, you may be able to receive a humanitarian green card as a refugee or asylum-seeker. Humanitarian green cards are also available to victims of abuse and crimes like human trafficking.

Diversity lottery: 50,000 people are selected from a list of countries published by the Department of State each year to receive a green card.

Longtime resident: If you’ve lived in the U.S. lawfully or unlawfully since January 1st, 1972, and don’t have a record of serious crimes and violations, you can apply for a green card.

Employment-based: If you’ve accepted a position with a U.S.-based employer or have demonstrated “exceptional ability” to contribute to the U.S. economy, you’re eligible for an employment-based green card.

How are employment-based cards different?

Employment-based green cards, while challenging to obtain, are one of the easiest ways to become a permanent resident of the U.S. aside from having immediate family members with green cards or full citizenship.

Employment-based green cards come in five categories:

EB-1: Priority Workers, including managers, executives, professors, and other professions requiring “exceptional” ability.

EB-2: Workers with a Master’s degree, a Bachelor’s and five years of experience, or in a position of national interest to the U.S.

EB-3: Bachelor’s degree holders, professionals whose positions require less than two years of training, and workers whose required experience is not temporary or seasonal for each year.

EB-4: Religious workers, media professionals, and Iraqi and Afghan nationals who’ve served the U.S. government.

EB-5: Investors creating at least 10 new jobs with at least $1,000,000 in capital.

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Interested in obtaining an employment-based green card, or any other type? Then you need the experienced Tampa business immigration attorneys at the Tampa Immigration Law Center. Call at 813-443-0581 or send us a message to learn more.