If you are one of many aspiring immigrants hoping to obtain a green card in the United States, you might be wondering what the quickest way to do so is. The problem is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer — your eligibility for a green card and the timeline for obtaining one can depend on several factors. Understanding your options is the best way to start your journey toward becoming a permanent resident.
1. Marriage to a US Citizen
Arguably the most common and fastest way to obtain a green card is through marriage to a US citizen. If your spouse is a US citizen, you can apply for an immigrant visa which can lead to getting your green card.
However, there are certain conditions that must be met. For instance, both you and your spouse must prove the validity of your marriage by providing documentation such as financial records that demonstrate shared ownership, joint bank accounts, and other evidence that your marriage is legitimate.
Fraud marriage is a serious offense, and engaging in it could result in deportation or other criminal penalties. Furthermore, if you are already married to a US citizen and your visa application is denied, you have the option to appeal within 30 days.
2. Immigration Through Family Members/Unification
Many aspiring immigrants from different countries, including Mexico, India, the Philippines, and China, are able to gain access to permanent residency in the US through family unification. This means that a family member living in the United States — typically either a parent, sibling, or adult child — can petition for you to join them. Reunification can take anywhere between nine months up to five years depending on your family member’s immigration status.
3. Political Asylum and Refugees
Political asylees and refugees are those who have been granted a special status due to religious or political persecution in their home country. To qualify for asylum or refugee status, you must prove that returning to your home country would make it unsafe for you due to political or religious persecution. Additionally, asylees and refugees are required to prove that they have the financial resources to support themselves once they arrive in the United States.
This process can be completed within one year after successfully completing an interview with a US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) immigration officer.
4. EB-1 Visa
The EB-1 visa offers a faster path to permanent residency for highly skilled professionals. This type of visa is available to those who have achieved recognition in their field, such as doctors, researchers, executives, or managers.
To be eligible for an EB-1 visa, you must have a job offer from a US-based employer and must be able to demonstrate that you have exceptional ability in your field. Additionally, the process for obtaining this visa is very time-consuming and can take up to two years.
5. Investment Visas
The EB-5 visa is a popular option for business owners and investors who are looking to obtain permanent residency. To qualify, you must have a minimum investment of $800,000 and must create or preserve 10 full-time jobs for US workers within two years. Initially, you will be obtaining a temporary Green Card for 12 to 18 months, and you can then apply for a permanent Green Card once the requirements are met.
Is There Any Way to Expedite the Process?
In certain cases, it may be possible to expedite the process of obtaining a green card. One way is through an immediate relative petition, which can be filed by a US citizen for their spouse, parent, or unmarried child under the age of 21. This type of petition is considered to be a priority and can take as little as six months for the petition to be processed.
If you have an ongoing application, you can reach out to USCIS to inquire about the status of your case. USCIS has an expedited processing option for those who are facing extreme financial hardship, urgent medical needs, or compelling humanitarian reasons. However, it is important to note that this option is only available in certain circumstances and must be approved by an immigration officer.
Related Article: What Disqualifies You from Getting a Green Card
How Can an Immigration Attorney Help?
Preparation is always the key to a successful immigration process. An experienced immigration lawyer or attorney can help you understand your options, the best way to apply for a green card, and how to avoid common mistakes that could lead to delays or even denial of your application. An immigration lawyer can also help you prepare all the necessary documents and ensure that all the requirements are met, which can help expedite your green card application process.
Call Westover Law Firm to Schedule a Consultation Today
If you need an expert to guide and advise you on the best way to approach obtaining a green card, contact Westover Law Firm today. Our experienced team of immigration attorneys can help you understand the process and ensure that your case is handled as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Call us today to schedule a consultation.