Green Cards

Permanent resident visas are also commonly known as Green Cards and are defined by the US Immigration Laws as Immigrant Visas.

There are several different categories of Green Cards that are suitable for individuals and eligible family members.

People who seek permanent residence in the United States must fit within one of the classes of persons described in the Immigration and Nationality legislation as eligible for immigration. Under the immigration legislation, most people must qualify for immigration in one of three broad categories:


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Family-Sponsored Immigration

Family unification has always been a cornerstone of U.S immigration policy. As the numbers of people coming to the United States and eventually becoming Permanent Residents and citizens has increased, these people have in turn provided avenues to immigration for other members of their families.

There are five main sub-categories within family sponsored-immigration:

Immediate Family

If you are a minor child, spouse or parent of a U.S citizen over 21 you could be eligible for a Green Card.

Family First Preference

Unmarried sons and daughters of US Citizens aged over 21 and their children; the quota is 23,400 plus any unused by the fourth preference.

Family Second Preference

For spouses, minor children and unmarried sons and daughters (aged over 20) of lawful permanent residents, i.e. Green Card holders. At least 75 percent of all visas in this category go to spouses and children, the remainder being allocated to older unmarried sons and daughters. The family second preference category is divided into two sub-categories: F-2A and F-2B.

Category F-2A includes spouses and children and comprises 77 per cent of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75 percent are exempt from the per-country limit.

Category F-2B includes unmarried sons and daughters (aged 21 or older) and comprises 23 per cent of the overall second preference limitation.

The total allocation is 114,200 plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, and any unused first preference numbers.

Family Third Preference

For married sons and daughters (of any age) of US citizens and their spouses and children; the quota is 23,400 plus any unused by first and second preferences.

Family Fourth Preference

For brothers and sisters of US citizens and their spouses and children, provided the US citizen is aged at least 21; the quota is 65,000 plus any unused by the first three preferences.



Employment-Based Immigration

Employment is the biggest attraction for people coming to the United States of America. You may be motivated by the hope of wealth and a better life. Others may be seeking opportunities simply to make a living.

This section provides a brief overview of the employment-linked categories of immigration. There are five preference categories of employment-based Green Card:

First Preference: Priority Workers

As the term “priority worker” suggests, this category is subject to preferential treatment in terms of the immigration process. If you qualify as a priority worker, you will not have to obtain labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) before you can apply for your Green Card. This category is divided into three subcategories:

Persons Of Extraordinary Ability

You must have publicly recognized acclaim as a person of extraordinary ability in a specific discipline in order to qualify.

Outstanding Researchers & Professors

You must have an international reputation as being outstanding in your academic field.

Executives and Managers of Multinational Companies

Further information regarding the executive and managers of multi-national companies sub-category is set out in the Corporate Visas Section.

Second Preference

The second employment-based preference covers persons with advanced degrees in professional fields and persons of exceptional ability.

Third Preference

This category is divided into three subcategories:

Skilled Workers

EB-3 Unskilled Workers Visa

Fourth Preference

This classification is reserved for Immigrant Religious Workers.

Fifth Preference

Further information regarding the Fifth Preference (EB-5) is set out in the Investors Visas Section. Please click the link for more info!

Diversity Immigrants

This is commonly referred to as the ‘green card lottery’ .