What you need to know when applying for a Green card

For many Brits, the United States remains one of the most popular destinations to emigrate to. It’s not difficult to see the appeal. America is a vast nation with a diverse and rich variety of cultures, climates and opportunities. When it comes to acquiring that much coveted green card however, many find the process challenging to say the least. It is also worth bearing in mind that holding a Green Card does not guarantee permanent residency (this despite the fact that holders are known as Lawful Permanent Residents). Green Cards are renewable every ten years and can be withdrawn for a number of different reasons-most notably should you commit a crime or it is discovered that you concealed or withheld important information in your application.

While a green card does not entitle you to all the benefits of full U.S. citizenship, it does make living in the US a lot simpler. The Green Card is the most a foreigner can attain initially, and obtaining one is seen by many as the vital first step in the journey of becoming a US citizen. For many people all over the world, the Green Card is a highly prized possession. The competition is vast, and Brits (for reasons of diversity) do not qualify for the annual green card lottery. With this in mind, we thought it might be useful to offer four top tips to acquiring that Green Card!

Top 4 Tips for getting a Green Card

 1.  Invest Money: Your chances of acquiring a Green Card will be improved immeasurably if you are willing (and able) to invest sufficient funds, and by sufficient, we’re talking around £650,000 (around $1,000,000). If you can start abusiness where you are employing 10 or more people, or your business expands byaround 40%, you will be seen as an ideal asset to the US economy.

 2.  Have the right skills: For many born outside the US, the  employment-based immigration process is the ideal route to obtaining a green card. So what type of jobs and careers will give you a better chance of acquiring that Green Card? Your chosen career and skill-set will allocate you into an employment based preference category. For a more detailed breakdown of what professions fall into what category (bear in mind they will change to accommodate the changing economic landscape of the US economy) the you should visit the US Department of State’s visa bulletin (link below). For a more generic breakdown however, see below;

 Source: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin.html

First preference employment visas are reserved for people with ‘extraordinary ability’. This pretty much means your the cream of the crop in your chosen profession. It includes a diverse range ofprofessions from academia and IT to engineering and Executive management. While the sectors may be diverse, the standard of skills and expertise required to fall into is very high. If you are lucky enough to fall into this class however, then congratulations! You will more than likely be immediately available for a Green Card!

- Second preference employment category is reserved for those who, while not quite as exceptional as those in the category above, are still relatively highly educated (degree level) and are capable of filling solid middle class professional roles. Such professions will include, teachers, accountants, nurses, business managers and  engineers (to name just a few). Again, it is worth checking the US Department of State’s visa bulletin to determine ifyour profession happens to qualify at that particular time for this category.Second preference employment visas are generally quickly available, thoughtheir may be some waiting time, given the higher volume of applications.

 Third preference employmentvisas are reserved for individuals who, despite very little (perhaps zero)  professional experience, still meet the basic education and language requirements necessary to perform a multitude of roles once they arrive. While of course this category offers a much more accessible means of attaining a green card. The waiting time can often be significant given the number of people that fall into this  category.

 3. Have a clean record! The US is renowned for being incredibly strict and highly beuqacratic when it comes to its homeland security. Anything short of a squeaky clean record will all but eliminate you from obtaining that Green Card. Again, visit the US department of State’s website as your own circumstances may warrant an exception, but in allprobability any infringement will spell the end of the road for your application. This is also the case if and when you have been accepted but are on the waiting list.

4. Positive References letters of recommendation are an incredibly important component to your application, so make sure you get them right. For Brits, your reference will come from either a US family member, or a US based employer. Remember that the goal of these references is to convey to the immigration official that you are a responsible and worthy candidate, no more, no less. There is no need to produce implausible references overstating your achievements or credentials.

Obtaining a Green Card can be a lengthy and at times, frustrating process. However, if you can tick all of the above boxes, you've got a great shot!