Green Cards

Permanent Residence may be acquired through the following different routes:

  • Family Relationship or Self Petition
  • Employment, Professional Skills or Achievement
  • Religious Worker
  • Investment
  • DV Lottery


  • You are the spouse, parent, unmarried child under age 21, the unmarried son or daughter over age 21, the married son or daughter, or the brother or sister of a United States citizen and have a visa petition approved in your behalf.
  • You are the spouse or unmarried son or daughter of any age of a lawful permanent resident and you have a family-based visa petition approved in your behalf.
  • You must have an immigrant visa number available from the State Department unless you are in a category that is exempt from numerical limitations. Immediate relatives of United States citizens are exempt from this requirement.


  1. Spouses & Children (means unmarried & under 21) of US Citizens.
  2. Parent of USC. (US Citizen Petitioning Child must be over 21).
  3. Widower of a UCS if married for at least 2 years who petitions within two years of spouses death, is not remarried and was not legally separated from spouse at tome of his or her death. This does not extend to the unmarried children under 21 of the widower. The deceased need not have been a USC for 2 years as long as USC at time of death.
  4. Battered Spouse or Child of USC or LPR.
  5. Adopted Child before child is 16 and two years of residency with parent before or after adopted. (unless sibling of 1st adopted child, then can be 18).

PREFERENCE SYSTEM for visa availability

  1. First Preference (F-1); UNMARRIED sons and daughter of USC over 21.
  2. Second Preference (F2):
    1. F2A: Spouses and UNMARRIED CHILDREN OF LPR under 21.
  3. Third Preference (F3, former F4): Married Sons and Daughters OVER 21 of USCs.
  4. Fourth Preference (F4, former F5): Brothers and Sisters of USCs.
  • Visa Bulletin


    Employment Based immigration can be achieved by:

    1. Proving the alien is an Outstanding Professor/Researcher, Alien of Extraordinary Ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletic, or a Multinational Executive or Manager.
    2. Obtaining Labor Certification or RIR for Alien Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Aliens of Exceptional Ability whereby Labor Certification may be waived based on the National Interest.
    3. Obtaining Labor Certification or RIR for Professionals, Skilled Workers, and Other Workers.
    4. Obtaining sponsorship as a Religious Worker.
    5. Investing in the United States.

    These categories are described in more detail below:

    1. Outstanding Professor/Researchers, Aliens with Extraordinary Ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, and certain Multinational executives and managers. This category is known as First Preference (EB-1) priority workers.

      Labor Certification or RIR (unless Labor Certification may be waived based on the National Interest) including the following two categories:
    2. Workers with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability: aliens who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent and aliens who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural, or educational interests or welfare of the United States. Qualified alien physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the U.S. which is underserved. This category is known as Second Preference (EB-2) workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability.
    3. Skilled Workers with at least two years of experience as skilled workers, professionals with a baccalaureate degree, and others with less than two years experience, such as an unskilled worker who can perform labor for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. This category is known as Third Preference (EB-3) professionals, skilled workers, and other workers.
    4. Religious Workers: aliens who, for at least two years before applying for admission to the United States, have been a member of a religious denomination that has a non-profit religious organization in the United States, and who will be working in a religious vocation or occupation at the request of the religious organization. This category is known as Fourth Preference (EB-4) special workers such as those in a religious occupation or vocation.
    5. Immigrant Investor: Aliens may be granted immigrant status in the United States for the purpose of engaging in a new commercial enterprise. This category is known as Fifth Preference (EB-5) Employment Creation.


    The month-long DV entry period begins each fall at noon on the first Monday in October and lasts for 30 days.

    For DV-2004, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because they sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years:

    CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, SOUTH KOREA UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.

    All applicants who are selected will be informed promptly of their place on the list. Interviews with those selected will begin in early October 2003. The Kentucky Consular Center will send appointment letters to selected applicants four to six weeks before the scheduled interviews with U.S. consular officers at overseas posts. Each month visas will be issued, visa number availability permitting, to those applicants who are ready for issuance during that month. Once all of the 50,000 DV visas have been issued, the program for the year will end. In principle, visa numbers could be finished before September 2004. Selected applicants who wish to receive visas must be prepared to act promptly on their cases.

    Selected applicants who are physically present in the United States may apply to the Bureau of Citizenship & Immigration Services (BCIS) for adjustment of status to permanent resident. Applicants must ensure that INS can COMPLETE ACTION on their cases, including processing of any overseas derivatives, before September 30, 2004, since on that date registrations for the DV-2004 program expire. No visa numbers for the DV-2004 program will be available after midnight on September 30, 2004 under any circumstances.

    Persons selected in the DV-2004 lottery are entitled to apply for visa issuance only during fiscal year 2004, i.e., from October 2003 through September 2004. Applicants must obtain the DV visa or adjust status by the end of the Fiscal Year (September 30, 2004). There is no carry-over of DV benefits into the next year for persons who are selected but who do not obtain visas during FY-2004. Also, spouses and children who derive status from a DV-2004 registration can only obtain visas in the DV category between October 2003 and September 2004. Applicants who apply overseas will receive an appointment letter from the Kentucky Consular Center four to six weeks before the scheduled appointment.

    Please refer to the following website for additional information and instructions:


    Consular Processing refers to the process of obtaining a visa to enter the U.S. at a U.S. Consulate located outside the United States. If a person is inside the United States they may, in many cases, change or extend their visas without having to exit the U.S. Some visa categories must begin the application process in the United States, if, for instance, when sponsored by a U.S. employer, by submitting the initial application to an INS Service Center in the U.S. However, in certain cases, the individual will be required to either complete a process begun in the U.S. or begin the application for a visa a U.S. consulate abroad.

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